A Sri Lankan Response to Ms. Julie de Rivera, Human Rights Watch, Item 2: General Debate – Thematic reports of the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights, 15th meeting 19th Session of the Human Rights Council
Posted on March 9th, 2012

Dr D.Chandraratna, Perth, Australia

In her statement, Ms Rivera opined that the report of the Sri Lanka Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission falls short of the comprehensive accountability process recommended by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts and encouraged the Council to consider the matter. These are baseless allegations.  The report of the expert panel is a document made from the anecdotal evidence given in secret to the committee who made no attempt to check the credibility of the allegations. If the HRW is an organization which is committed to impartiality and truthfulness surely it cannot allow this lady to malign countries on the basis of unverified evidence which do not stand up to scrutiny.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe briefed the Council the intentions of the government with regard to the implementation of the LLRC recommendations as well as the other measures with regard to reconciliation.  Ms Rivera maliciously puts the response of the government as “ƒ”¹…”a laundry list of steps’.  Such disrespect to member states at the UN is most unbecoming of organizations such as HRW. The contempt of these bodies speaks volumes as to their partisanship. Nonetheless the government of Sri Lanka says at every turn that it is taking conceivable measure within its powers, particularly financial, to address accountability and reconciliation.

Ms Rivera also claims that many of these measures were set up in haste on the eve of a possible resolution on Sri Lanka at the Council. She is in a time warp. She must realize that the report is only three to four months old. No government in the world has taken such expeditious measures as Sri Lanka in the aftermath of a horrendous war. Remember what these busy bodies said about the IDP’s. Can Rivera or anyone else name any country which has done better? She also says that GOSL actions represent cosmetic gestures intended to avoid international action to promote accountability in the country. The recently announced army court of inquiry, for instance, nominated by Gen.  Jayasuriya, Head of security forces, she dismisses out of hand. Does she not know that this is standard practice in every sovereign country? Which self respecting nation on earth would ever allow its security forces to be investigated by outsiders?  Who conducted inquiries in the US, UK and Australia on allegations against their forces? Why should any other rule or convention apply to Sri Lanka? It is shameful that we are living in an age where the terrorists and their friends have become the defenders of human rights, after all the killings that they have perpetrated on a nation.

The likes of these agents of INGO’s should never ever be allowed as investigators which the resolution against Sri Lanka is trying to do. This exactly is the agenda behind the US sponsored resolution. We should totally and utterly reject any outside intrusion because the human rights groups who enjoy perks and privileges by living off the backs of the wretched of the earth should never be trusted to do justice. Many of these agents are in pay rolls that they are not entitled or incapable of getting in their own countries and the hobby horse is to champion the dissidents all over the world having no regard to the terrible injustices that they perpetrate on nations outside western countries. The human rights gurus can never afford to be impartial. And as far as HRW and other organizations are concerned we are acutely aware that these were the organizations that were hell bent on preserving the LTTE purely as an extension to their pay packet.

 Miss Rivera also alleges that  the Sri Lankan government has a long history of failed promises to provide accountability for serious human rights abuses. She is never specific on any. Because of the lack of detailing the so called credible claims, the government has naturally rejected them out of hand and of course questioned the motives of those who make them, whether it is the UN Secretary General who went out of his way to appoint a panel to advise him and then called it a UN report which is unprincipled in the extreme. Of course we doubt the integrity of the man because he was looking for a second term and canvassing support from the West. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, yes, we are wary of her motives because she has not abided by the conflict of interest principle, as well as some western governments, the media groups, and human rights organizations for their selectivity and biases. Yes we have exhausted our patience. The luster of the so called civil societies is gone because human rights violators have got to them through the financial donations that they receive. Did Ms Rivera not know of the 50,000 donation that the Tamil Forum made to Amnesty International? Is that not good enough reason to doubt the sincerity of these human rights groups?

She also states that the Sri Lankan government’s claims of progress on human rights flies in the face of realities on the ground and civil society, human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government in Sri Lanka continue to operate in a climate of fear and repression. Has this “ƒ”¹…”expert’ not seen the Patriots Act and other legislations in the developed countries? Now that is repression. Sri Lanka has made so much progress in the last few years which is salt to the eyes of human rights employees. She hurls the usual charge that human rights defenders and journalists who have international contacts are often accused of being Tamil Tiger supporters. Yes if these accusations are not true they should test them in courts of law in the country. We know that it is easy for these media persons to run to you. There are umpteen financial benefits to them.  Let these allegations be taken up in courts of law and then justice will prevail without you parroting out these inanities lacking in substance. Some of these missing persons that you are referring to may be now seen in Geneva if you care to take a stroll in the rose garden by the lake. 

Fears felt by civil society groups extend beyond Sri Lanka she says. In September 2011, activist Sunanda Deshapriya was sharply criticized in the state media for his attendance at an informal meeting during the HRC sessions in Geneva. So what is wrong with it? Is not the freedom that you cherish? We are never the thought police that you are portraying us. Please get to the bottom of these allegations. You are incorrect when you say that several Sri Lankan human rights groups and victims of abuses who had planned to travel to Geneva for the HRC sessions have decided not to attend out of fear. Are you talking about the TNA who condoned the atrocities of the LTTE for twenty long years?  No one prevented them from going to Geneva. Please go and get a real job lady.

We are not unaware of the intentions of the super powers with regard to Sri Lanka. Our Ambassador in Geneva Ms Kunanayakam did reiterate that, the West has been developing the regime change objective to legitimize interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. She stated that over the past 10 years, the US has sought to impose the concept “ƒ”¹…”Responsibility to Protect’ or “ƒ”¹…”R2P’ to justify military interventions in countries where, according to them, the Government is unable to protect its own citizens! She put it eloquently that both Mr Browne and Ms Navi Pillay’s comments reflect “ƒ”¹…”the singular eloquently that both Mr Jeremy Browne and Ms Navi Pillay’s comments at the UNHRC reflect the reasoning of John Stuart Mills who once said that the British invasion of India and China was-“ƒ”¹…”in the service of other’ with “no benefit to itself “¦ blameless and laudable” in everything it did!’

The Anglo Saxon alliance in Geneva includes some of the largest contributors to the voluntary fund of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which pays for the salaries of the majority of its staff and its human rights programme. The atmosphere in the Human Rights Council is such that our friends in the developing world are beginning to associate the onslaught against a small country like ours with a witch hunt, which has nothing to do with actual guilt or innocence! The reason may perhaps be, that the West never forgave us for the defeat at the UNHRC in 2009 at the hands of Sri “ƒ”¹…”Lanka and like-minded countries, which, together, succeeded in defeating the might of the West! That victory also won us the admiration of other developing countries that realized that a small country can, if united on principles, defeat even the most powerful!’ says our Ambassador in Geneva.

Rivera callously remarked that Human Rights Watch recently documented the torture of several ethnic Tamil asylum seekers who had been returned to Sri Lanka. These are untrue allegations, unproven and unreported to the authorities. And mind you Sri Lanka is not keen on these trivial pursuits and to tell you the truth the government has better things to do rather than go after the failed asylum seekers and even the British High Commissioner pointed out recently that no such events have ever taken place. She also says that contrary to the hopes of many, the end of the long armed conflict has not brought an end to abuses against ethnic minorities. We ask you whether you have been to Sri Lanka and especially to the North recently. Why don’t you ask the HRW to fund another trip. Please go and see for yourself before you cough up for the HRW pay packet. Human Rights Watch, she contends, has also received credible information that Tamil communities in Jaffna and elsewhere were forced to participate in the government-staged protests over the possible HRC resolution. What nonsense are you talking, and who says so. You better get your act together lady. Do not speak falsehoods. You have politicized the concept of human rights to such an extent that it has little respect in the eyes of law abiding people. You all are in the same category as mercenary armies whose cries are not worth bothering about.

The law abiding Sri Lankans believe that unlike the Human Rights Watch steadfastly assert that real progress on accountability and justice for victims of abuses by all sides in Sri Lanka can only come through a pure and pristine Sri Lankan mechanism and never by the so called independent international group which ultimately will include incompetent people like you. You must note that we as a nation will never barter our sovereignty away. If at all you will have to take it by force which I doubt you ever will.

We whole heartedly agree with our delegation in Geneva that under no circumstances will we accept such intervention in our internal affairs. “ƒ”¹…”That would be tantamount to surrendering our sovereignty and our independence. The right of peoples and States to protect their own citizens, without foreign intervention, is entrenched in the Charter of the United Nations and in every single international instrument that has been adopted ever since ! Article 56 of the UN Charter clearly stipulates international cooperation as the means by which there is international engagement in the promotion of human rights.’

 The best that the West can do for us at this juncture is just to lay off

3 Responses to “A Sri Lankan Response to Ms. Julie de Rivera, Human Rights Watch, Item 2: General Debate – Thematic reports of the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights, 15th meeting 19th Session of the Human Rights Council”

  1. sumadha Says:

    “HUMAN RIGHT” this the weapon thy used for ragim change bankrupt USA,(egypt,Syria,Lebya) there is more countries to come,in future,

  2. sumadha Says:

    Why Sri lanka is not protest against this HR chairperson who is Tamil Origen, who supporting to there Tamils,(HORRAGAY AMMAGAEN PENA HANWA WAGEY)

  3. Christie Says:

    The problem we Sinhalese have is we do not have our own organisation to fight Indian imperialism and Indian colonial parasites.

    There is no question West and other Western organisations are hel bent on destroying the Sinhalese people. But then my question to people like the writer is where is India?

    How come we do not see Indians’ hands in this operation?

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