UNHCR’s visit to Sri Lanka: welcome to the Emerald Isle, if the lady comes with an open mind
Posted on August 26th, 2013

Asada M Erpini

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is to visit Sri Lanka from 25th of August. Sri Lanka had extended her an invitation to visit the country two years back, but she obviously had her reasons to accede to it only now. It has already been announced that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Civil SocietyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ representatives have arranged meetings on 26th and 27th with the lady, to brief her probably on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-how bad the country isƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. If the UN High Commissioner has sufficient time to listen to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Civil SocietyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ representatives, it is hoped that she also would have the time to read, or at least be briefed about, the views of a member of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Uncivil SocietyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will be looking into human rights issues during her stay in the country: after all, that is what she is being paid the enviable UN salary and other perks. Without entering the country with her anti-Sri Lanka and pro-terrorist attitudes that she has cultivated over many decades, and without going by the misinformation that had been dished out to her and the rest of the world by all manner of LTTE backers and propagandists,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  she needs to come with an open mind and see what Sri Lanka really is.

One of the main issues that every political pundit and human rights guardian from the affluent countries and the representatives of the international community ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the US, EU, the Nordic countries ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” seems to be concerned about is the human rights violations that are purported to have occurred in the final stages of the liberation war that culminated in May 2009.

The number of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”innocent (Tamil) civiliansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ killed by the armed forces of Sri Lanka keeps on increasing, and there are sudden spurts in the numbers whenever there is an important international event. When the UNHCR sessions were held in Geneva in March 2012 and March 2013, the alleged human rights violations by the insignificant Sri Lanka – insignificant in all other matters that concern the big powers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” were at the forefront in the agenda. India, with over 1.2 billion people and enough human rights issues pertaining to Pakistan, Punjab, Kashmir, Assam and Tamil Nadu Dalits, which would keep her busy for generations if she is genuine in solving the problems in her own country, found it proper to poke her unwelcome finger in the affairs that are the prerogative of a separate sovereign nation. Little does India do to admit the biggest human rights violators that Sri Lanka ever saw were the LTTE terrorists that India herself raised from a rag tag bunch of street thugs from Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s North.

During the time of the liberation war that vanquished the locally-based LTTE armed wing, the UN Office in Colombo estimated ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” yes, estimated, and not calculated ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the number dead in the confrontation at approximately 7100.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The UN did not release the figure as official, as the institution was not in a position to verify the figures. Gordon Weiss, at the time employed by the UN in Colombo, said that 20,000 had been killed, but as he landed in his native Australia ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” obviously his impending release of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-CageƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ would have had nothing to do with the figure dead ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” said that 40,000 were killed by the Sri Lanka armed forces. The Darusman Report, which was never a UN Report, gladly quoted the 40,000 for the number dead, and the so-called reputed BBC and the Times of the UK had no hesitation in regurgitating this figure. With time, the figure has got established as 40,000, and, surprisingly, has now ballooned to 125,000. The last figure is most likely the number that will be bandied about by the anti-Sri Lanka groups when the Commonwealth Summit gets going in Sri Lanka in November.

There are many reports that the UN failed to protect the civilians. But the sad state is that all these reports imply that it is only the Tamils of the North that suffered. Tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Muslims perished at the hands of the LTTE terrorists, but clearly these unfortunates were not humans and they obviously did not have human rights as far as the human rights merchants are concerned: Anuradhapura, Kebethigollewa, Dollar and Kent Farms, Colombo Central Bust Stand, Aranthalawa, Palliyagodella, Erawur and Kattankudy massacres (the list could go on and on) are a just a few of the despicable acts that the LTTE perpetrated on innocent civilians, to which the International Community opted to turn a blind eye. Yes, the UN has really failed in its duty, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has to answer for these lapses.

The world has witnessed horrendous killings of the innocent people, including many children. According to the latest media reports, the number killed from nerve gas attacks in Syria that happened a few days back was over 1300, while others quote figures of over 1700. There are grotesque images of dead children and corpses wrapped in white lined up in long rows. Such reports and images will enable anyone interested to count the dead and get an authentic figure of the number killed.

Sri Lanka is yet to see any images of the 7,000, 20,000, 40,000, or the 125,000 Tamil civilians killed by the armed forces of Sri Lanka. All that the whole world saw, instead, was how 300,000 Tamils ran to the armed forces to escape from the clutches of the LTTE in the final stages of the liberation war, when the images of the unprecedented rescue of civilians was relayed live. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will do a yeoman service to Sri Lanka and its peace-loving citizens if she contacts any of the parties concerned and releases tangible evidence of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”human rights violationsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by the Sri Lanka armed forces.

There is at least one redeeming feature in the long delayed visit by the UN High Commissioner: a Reuters report dated 23 August states, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”United Nations human rights chief said on Friday she has an “open mind” and will not be “pre-judging anything” ahead of her first trip to Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Peace-loving Sri Lankans, no doubt, will earnestly hope that the lady will do what she has professed to do.


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