Senator Christine Milne- Your speech in the Senate on Feb 12, 2014 re HR in Sri Lanka
Posted on February 23rd, 2014

Layananda Alles Montreal Canada

Senator Christine Milne
Leader of the Greens Party
Canberra, Australia

 Dear Senator Christine Milne,

Your speech on accountability for violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian law in Sri Lanka on February 12, 2014

Mr. Mahinda Gunasekara of Canada has already commended on the very upright position that you had taken on this issue. 

Human rights is a very important element that affects the entire human civilization. Using political advantage of such a fundamental issue is a despicable act as demonstrated by some of the major players in the international platform, Canada, USA and UK included.

It is important to look at the situation in its entirety and not in isolation, in order to score more political points.

What is most important at the present moment, is that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken positive steps to rehabilitate and assimilate those who were misled by the Tamil Tigers in the past. While fighting they were ruthless terrorists; all because they had been brainwashed by the Tamil Tigers and their sympathizers. Yet the Government of Sri Lanka has been very successful in bringing these people, once upon a time ruthless terrorists, back into the fold to make them contributing citizens of Sri Lanka. This was possible all because  of the education these people had received as children, and because of their intelligence. If they were intrinsically and emotionally motivated because of specific conditions that they had to endure, this would not have been possible. That did not happen because such conditions never existed in the first place, contrary to the pictures painted by many across the world. Also free education and health service in Sri Lanka were the painful efforts of many over the past 66 years. One time fighters did benefit from these efforts sometime in the past. Even during the war times, these services were maintained. No one talks about such facts.

There is not a single country in the world, where a large number of cadre from a terrorist group has been successfully rehabilitated and assimilated into the society at large as fully contributing individuals. The present Government of Sri Lanka, with all the problems and the difficulties it faces, has taken up that challenge and has succeed. One can always find shortcomings, that is easy; yet no one seems to give credit where it is due. 

Human lives would be lost and at time violated during war times. It is inaccurate to state that always knowingly and with compulsion people would do such things. If that was the mentality at the time of the war, it may be said that the rehabilitation efforts would not have been successful, because it is difficult to get rid of such notions overnight. The fact that it was a success suggests that while there might have been some isolated incidences, any abuse or violation of human rights by the forces fighting a ruthless terrorist organization was never systemic or endemic. 

On the other hand, the motivation of the Tamil Tigers and their sympathizers were nothing but taking revenge from the Sinhala people and the government, at all cost. They did not care of human lives. They did precipitate human rights abuse and violations over the last 33 years, purely from this motivation. These are well documented. However, no one seems to be focussing on this side of the coin. 

 The self same people who were compelled to carry out such human right abuses and despicable tasks has been forgiven by the Sinhala people and the Government of Sri Lanka in rehabilitating the once fighting cadre of Tamil Tigers. This was possible because people of Sri Lanka recognized early enough that these child soldiers were forced to do what they had to do, by people in the higher echelons in the Tamil Tiger Organization who engineered the atrocities. The child soldiers did what they were told to do. The people in the organization, who actually engineered the human right abuses and violations, who should really be brought to justice, live quite comfortably in various countries in the world with impunity. Should not someone do something about these people? Why just focus on the Government of Sri Lanka? 

As Mahinda pointed out, it is important to look at the bigger picture over a larger time horizon than focussing on several selected months in looking at this situation. While systemic and deeply ingrained motivated, human right abusers and violators should be brought to justice, the world system, however, should be careful not to make the mistake of looking at the trees instead of the forest. 

 Also, at this juncture what is more important is the future. A government, doing its best under trying circumstances to build a better future for everyone, including once upon a time terrorists, should be supported in their endeavours. Once upon a time terrorists, are educated youth who have the potential to contribute to the well being of the human civilization world over. They have experiences no one else in the world has ever experienced.

With this letter, I would like to suggest that your up right position is taken with a more global view and not a narrow view based on the happening within a very short time window.

Thanking you very much

Layananda Alles

3 Responses to “Senator Christine Milne- Your speech in the Senate on Feb 12, 2014 re HR in Sri Lanka”

  1. gdesilva Says:

    Hi Layananda, Things happens slightly differently in down under. Both major parties, Labor and Liberals have always taken a ‘sitting on the fence’ approach to Sri Lanka where some members from both parties have been supportive of Sri Lanka and some against Sri Lanka. The only change has been with the current Liberal Govt which has been supportive of Sri Lanka no dobut because of the strong support given by Sri Lanka to implement their ‘anti-boat people’ policy – whether this support will continue in other matters is yet to be seen.

    However, The Greens have been the tool used by the US to express the ‘Australian’ view about Sri Lanka in the internationa arena. The Greens have consistently and strongly criticised Sri Lanka in the past and continuing to do so as if they are been paid by the anti-Sri Lanka forces to do this job – facts do not seem to matter to these psuedo noble creatures.

    It is interesting to note that the former Greens boss, Bob Brown, was a strong anti US person and in fact heckled George Bush when he gave a speech in the Australian Parliament. After this incident something changed and from then on the Greens always, at least in the case of Sri Lanka, towed the US policies – perhaps, the CIA had a heart to heart discussion with Bob – who knows :-)

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    Christine Milne seems quite ignorant about the origin of the conflict with Tamil separatist terrorists, probably due to her goal is to win elections in Australia but not the least bothered about the welfare of Sri Lanka, a country that just emerged from the grip of LTTE terrorism, sponsored mainly from overseas residents and the usual global reactionary forces. Her sources could even be die hard LTTE terrorists who may have got refuge in Australia but presenting themselves as respectable individuals, attired in western suits etc.

    In a nut shell what she should know are:
    Sri Lankan security forces defeated two terrorist movements -the JVP (mainly Sinhalese Marxist youth university graduates) fighting for a Marxist state and LTTE (mainly Tamils of all ages, most of them forcefully recruited) fighting to carve out a separate state for 3 million Tamils in Sri Lanka, whilst already having Tamilnadu in India with 60million Tamils. Also, the fact that JVP was predominantly Sinhalese and the LTTE predominantly Tamil, should prove to the world that the security forces are not racists, nor did they commit genocide but instead ready to protect the nation from any enemy force.

    The Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial masters, imported millions of Tamils from India and gave them more privileges than that given to the Sinhalese (They even enacted a law to prevent Tamils from selling land to non-Tamils in the North). Some Tamils wanted to retain such extra privileges, which contributed to this conflict and not any discrimination or oppression (the only discrimination is caste based within the Tamil community itself). In fact all Sri Lankan citizens for the past 60 or more years, have been receiving free health care and free education in their mother tongue, from pre-school to university degree, again proving equal treatment of all communities.

    During the 30 year conflict the LTTE committed heinous crimes against all humans and they committed genocide of Sinhalese and Muslims in the North and East. Each time the LTTE were losing the battle, they initiated peace talks with the help of India or Norway, but broke such agreements with surprise attacks, the moment they sufficiently regrouped and received arms from the diaspora. Even at the last stage in 2009 they tried this trick but failed and as they refused to surrender but fight to the end, the security forces had no other option but to militarily defeat them.

    The result was (a) over 300,000 Tamil hostages were rescued from the LTTE; (b) around 2000 civilians died along with many more LTTE combatants and Sri Lankan army personnel; (c) entire country of 21 million people were liberated from the scourge of terrorism; (d) nearly 300,000 rescued were provided for months with accommodation, cooked meals and other facilities, pending the clearing of mines from their residential areas and then, finally settled with funds given to start a new life; (e) over 10,000 LTTE combatants rehabilitated and released; (f) North and East infrastructure rapidly developed, much faster than the rest of the country, with many billions of dollars spent on North alone; (g) since the defeat of the terrorists in 2009, there have not been a single suicide bombing, truck bombing, road mine or any other form of death committed by the terrorists; (h) today even foreign tourists could travel to any part of the country, without worrying about terrorists, which was only a dream, before 2009..
    These are only a few of the positives the senator should know and therefore, engage with Sri Lanka to support it to catch up the 30 years lost.

  3. Sarath W Says:

    The Australian Greens are a spent force and like the LTTE they too are an endangered species. They make a lot of unpleasant noises and the Australian public are fed up with them. At the last elections they lost ground and like the Democrats, soon they will be extinct too. And so will be the LTTE remnants. They hardly talk about the aborigines. If they do not care about their fellow Australians how can any one believe they care about a bunch of terrorist. Obviously it is the LTTE dirty money that talks.

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