Let’s go back to the 1st UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka in May 2009
Posted on September 2nd, 2015

Shenali D Waduge

3 decades of terrorism in Sri Lanka ended in May 2009 following a military defeat of the LTTE. The Human Rights Council announced on 22 May 2009 that it would hold a special session to address the human rights situation in Sri Lanka on 26 May 2009. It was being convened at the request of Germany on behalf of 17 members of the HRC: Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mauritius, Chile, Uruguay and the UK. General Assembly Resolution 60/251 which created the Human Rights Council states in its operative paragraph 10 that the Council shall be able to hold Special Sessions when needed at the request of a member of the Council with the support of one-third of the membership of the Council”. To convene a special session 1/3 of the HRC members were required. The magical 16 number was achieved. Arguably if the members of the UN/HRC had shown this much of passion during the terrorist conflict about human rights et al we may have not had to endure 3 decades of terror.


Thus on 27th May 2009, less than 10 days following the military defeat of the LTTE, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution. It was called a ‘resolution of assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights’. The resolution went to vote. 29 voted in favour, 12 against and 6 abstained.

Voted in favour (29): Voted against (12): Abstained (6) :
Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, and Zambia.


Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and United Kingdom


(the highlighted 4 originally supported Germany’s call for a special session)

Argentina, Gabon, Japan, Mauritius, Republic of Korea, and Ukraine


Little is said about the counter resolution (no-action motion) L.1/Rev.2 brought by Cuba submitted before taking action on the draft resolution. Germany in fact wished to make 9 amendments to the L.1/Rev.2 forcing Cuba to invoke rule 117 of the Rules of Procedure and block discussions.

Voted in favour (22): Voted against (17): Abstained (7) :
Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Uruguay Azerbaijan, Brazil, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal, Ukraine, and Zambia.

It was interesting that after 3 decades throughout which so many civilians were targets of LTTE terror was ignored the very same nations are suddenly piqued about violations of rights that they jumped to sponsor a Special Session which however led to no consensus for a follow-up against Sri Lanka despite the chirping by them of violations devoid of evidence! What were these nations doing all these years when LTTE were sending suicide missions and placing bombs in public places or cutting up villagers to pieces?

The very countries that had been shouting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (a mere publicity stunt to invade & occupy Iraq) were now screaming ‘war crimes’ against Sri Lanka without an iota of evidence. The statements issued by the envoys of the members clearly established that even after 3 decades member nations were clueless about the terrorist situation in Sri Lanka, the type of terror LTTE unleashed, how and who created and funded LTTE and the other entities linked to LTTE over the years some of them being the very countries who were pretending to be paragons of virtue.


Be that as it may the Human Rights Council resolution of 26 May 2009 S-11/1 Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights

If in 2009 the Human Rights Council reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s sovereign rights to protect its citizens and to combat terrorism, the HRC must be fully aware that the decision to militarily defeat the LTTE came after 3 decades of suffering terror at the hands of the LTTE and after ceasefires, peace talks, negotiations, foreign-monitoring missions, foreign-mediated talks all failed to stop LTTE from murdering people and causing mayhem across the country. 

While the 2009 HRC Resolution condemned LTTE for ‘launching attacks on civilian populations’ and ‘using civilians as human shields’ and kept ‘against their will as hostages’ what riot act is the HRC reading out to the LTTE and against whom will the HRC take action?

When the 2009 HRC Resolution welcomed the conclusion of hostilities and efforts by the GOSL to ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans on what grounds were the parallel accusations being brought?

If the HRC is upholding Sri Lanka’s rights to its sovereignty why did the HRC include the need to implement the 13th amendment and refer to a political solution when Sri Lanka has been all the time saying that we suffered a terrorist problem which even the Tamils were victims of.

It is also interesting to note that following the liberation of the East in 2008 none of the present pressures about IDPs, relief, rehabilitation, human rights was shown by any of the countries delivering heart rendering speeches about Sri Lanka’s duties towards its citizens!

 The highlights of the 2009 resolution

  • HRC’s acknowledgement of the continued engagement by GOSL in regularly and transparently briefing and updating the council on the human rights situation on the ground in Sri Lanka and the measures taken (if Sri Lanka has been regular, transparent and updating the Council why is the Council and its High Commissioner going on a tangent against Sri Lanka via OHCHR reports)
  1. Commended the measures taken by the GOSL to address needs of the IDPs
  2. Welcomed the continued commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion & protection of all human rights and encouraged Sri Lanka to continue to uphold its human rights obligations and norms of international human rights law.
  3. Encouraged the GOSL to continue to pursue its existing cooperation with UN organizations.
  4. Welcomed the proposal to safely resettle IDPs in 6 months (did the HRC give such timelines to the US/UK & NATO in all the nations they invaded and occupied leaving millions of IDPs?)
  5. Acknowledged the commitment of the GOSL to provide access to international humanitarian agencies to ensure humanitarian assistance
  6. Encouraged the GOSL to persevere in efforts to disarm, demobilize and rehabilitate former child soldiers recruited by non-state actors and reintegrate them into society (in fact a very successful rehabilitation and reintegration program was created by Sri Lanka).
  7. Urged the GOSL to continue strengthening its activities to ensure there was no discrimination against ethnic minorities
  8. Welcomed the cooperation between the GOSL and UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to provide humanitarian assistance
  9. Welcomed the recent visits to Sri Lanka by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of the internally displaced persons and encouraged them to continue to cooperate in mobilization and provision of humanitarian assistance
  10. Welcomed the visit of the Secretary General at the invitation of the President of Sri Lanka and endorsed the joint statement (though this statement did not have any line to say Sri Lanka was going to investigate the conflict)
  11. Welcomed the resolve of the Sri Lankan authorities to begin broader dialogue with all parties to enhance the political settlement (again this has nothing to do with the terrorist problem and is very much within the internal affairs of a sovereign country)
  12. Urged the international community to cooperate with the GOSL in reconstruction efforts including financial assistance.

Adopted by a recorded vote of 29 to 12, with 6 abstentions

Let us remind again that apart from the commonly expected to be used statements issued by member nations and use of words/phrases simply because envoys are expected to use them there was nothing substantial in any of the comments made by either the HRC or the member envoys.

The numbers game

 As you can see from 2009 other than less than 10,000 figure there was no mention whatsoever of a 40,000 figure. Gordon Weiss was the first culprit to start the ball rolling hoping to kickstart his career as an author and similar others took their cue. Soon the 40,000 reached bizarre heights of imagination going up to 200,000 at times forgetting that 300,000 had actually been saved.

What was hilarious about these inflated figures was that it only enabled to showcase the lies being played. While the sick and injured could be counted the media coverage about ‘hundreds of thousands dead’ had a big piece missing – there was no physical body and no signs of bodies being buried either. The dead must have bodies!!!

As this photo of 2500 dead Iraqi’s show, someone should have been able to take a picture of 40,000 dead bodies in a small stretch of land that they were confined to…. And while Channel 4 became famous for funded documentaries about isolated acts of soldiers which cannot be argued as war crimes by a State on orders of command, where are their footage on the 40,000 dead??? We have been waiting 6 years now and only one or two isolated cases are being repeatedly shown which hardly account for a nation to be accused of war crimes. Individual soldiers responsible for not keeping to military discipline should certainly be punished via a Sri Lankan military tribunal per SL military laws.


  • 13 March 2009 – Navi Pillay quoted 2800 deaths
  • 24 April 2009 – UN gave 6432 deaths
  • UK Guardian on 24 April 2009 quoted UN officials unofficially confirming 6500 dead from January to April 2009
  • UK Times placed the figure of dead at 20,000 on 29 May 2009.
  • Tamilnet – pro-LTTE website gave death total as 7,398
  • A UN document estimated that 7,721 civilians were killed between August 2008 and 13 May 2009 (Ban Ki Moon’s panel thought the number too low a ridiculous reason to not accept the UN figure)
  • In February 2010 he appeared on an ABC television programme where he cited anything between 10,000 and 40,000” civilian deaths in the ‘seige zone.’
  • Gordon Weiss initially quoted 7000 figure which was quoted by the UN New York office. After leaving the UN and starting his book the civilian figures conveniently got elevated to 15,000 and then that figure became 40,000 and media as expected quoted Weiss’s inflated figures as being quoted by the UN instead of saying these were personal views of a former UN spokesman!
  • When Weiss quoted 7000 Sir John Holmes, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator on 24 March 2009 said the figure could not be verified.

Ban Ki Moon the UN Secretary General arrived in Sri Lanka on 23 May 2009 for a 3 day visit. A joint statement was issued but nothing that committed Sri Lanka to assuring to hold any investigation. Following much diplomatic pressure the Lessons Learnt and Reconcilation Commission was appointed on 15 May 2010 with a mandate covering 2002 to May 2009. Hardly a month passed for UNSG to appoint a 3 member panel on 22nd June 2010 with a mandate to appraise the UNSG on the last 3 months of the conflict. UNSG’s spokesman Martin Nesirky declares that the panel is “not a fact-finding mission…not an investigation…not an inquiry…not a probe….only a panel to advise the UNSG”.

In the words of Ban Ki Moon’s panel if there is no authoritative figure for civilian deaths or injuries in the Vanni in the final phases of the war.” Why is there a tendency to be selectively choosing which numbers are more appropriate to be held against Sri Lanka?

Recalling the words of Abdel Wahab Hani of Arab Commission for Human Rights human suffering had no color, race, language or gender’ why is it that the UN/HRC and foreign envoys insist on investigating only the last 3 months when they are well aware that terrorism lasted 3 decades?

As you can see the first resolution had none of the frills that has accompanied the rest of the resolutions against Sri Lanka which have become confused by putting anything and everything the drafters could cook up in their vengeance to somehow press charges hoping at least one of these charges would work.

In such a scenario of ungentlemanly action, lies and hype over 6 years it is time the witch-hunt stops and the Sri Lankan military, the former President and all those that eliminated terror are absolved from the lies that have been promoted.

Shenali D Waduge


16 Responses to “Let’s go back to the 1st UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka in May 2009”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    Shenali D Waduge

    all ok but GOSL figure is ZERO casualty !!!

    is that We-Demil Sakkiliya call you Sinhala Modaya last 2.,500 years or more ???

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Ukraine is paying for the nasty action on SL.

    Argentine is crazy to vote against SL. When nations vote they should consider WHAT IF.

  3. Christie Says:

    It is Indian Empire, Indian colonial parasites and vermin. Mauritius is a State of the Indian Empire. Navianathum Pillain is an Indian colonial parasite from South Africa and Biswal is an Indian vermin from the US.

  4. vyasan Says:

    Also note that, if the LTTE had not used the people (who had been forced to follow wherever the LTTE fled from the onslaught of the SLA ) as human shield, the death toll would have been limited to the LTTE fighters only, with a very minimal number of civilian deaths in the cross-fire.

    According to eye witnesses, the LTTE would fire at the SLA from the areas which supposed to be no fire zones where civilians gathered, and the SLA would in return direct their attacks, resulting in civilian casualties. There were also many incidents that the LTTE killed people who were escaping from their control (These are all known facts)

    My brother’s seven year old only child who was not critically injured died because the the Tamil doctors who were stationed in Wanni at that time did not provide any medical care, but busy treating the injured LTTE cadres instead when my brother took his child for treatment. If she had been taken care of at the right time, the girl would be living now. This was one example among many like that.

    Please stop blaming only one side in a war. Instead go and blame who were the real cause for such wars, which would include politicians on both sides, big foreign powers who manipulate the concerned governments as well as the terrorist organizations providing assistance – (secretly though) and promote terrorism in foreign soils for their own interests, their local and foreign agents who are mostly the NGOs in various forms and names, and the local and diaspora people who provide vital information for such powers for money, position and and other material benefits, or out of fear of being punished for some of their past crimes!

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    he LTTE would fire at the SLA from the areas which supposed to be no fire zones where civilians gathered, and the SLA would in return direct their attacks, resulting in civilian casualties. !!! Well said vyasan but can any other Govt in the world do this ???

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    SA Kumar,

    Maybe as you say “We-Demila Sakkiliya” called “you Sinhalayas” Modayas for the last 2.,500 years or more, but where has that gotten the “Demila Sakkiliyas”??

    The last smart-ass Demila-Sakilliyas who called us that are pushing up daisies through the MUD along the BANKS of the Nanthikandal lagoon are they not??

    So, Pray Tell Me, Who are the REAL MODAYAS??

    Those who sacrificed their brainwashed youth to be mowed down by machine gun fire in “Unceasing Waves” at the whim of an MURDEROUS SunGod school dropout who cared only for his own family, or those who survived to tell the tale and are now posing as wailing innocent victims of the Sinhala “Modayas”??

    Who is the GREATER FOOL? Those WHO have STILL not learned the LESSON that those TRICKS don’t work against the “Sinhala Modayas” and that PERSISTENCE only BEGETS an early DEATH??

    Do you see the INCONSISTENCY & FUTILITY of it ALL???

  7. anura seneviratna Says:

    “Arguably if the members of the UN/HRC had shown this much of passion during the terrorist conflict about human rights et al we may have not had to endure 3 decades of terror.”

    It is time to question the so called “human rights”. Human rights should be an entitlement ONLY to those human creatures who behave and act with human refinement.

  8. vyasan Says:

    S.A. Kumar,

    As far as I know, the LTTE purposely wanted /needed more civilian casualties to take place hoping that then only other countries would intervene to stop the war thus saving the LTTE from being perished and acted accordingly, whereas, the SLA literally saved more than 350000 people who were trapped by the LTTE. If the LTTE were not finished at that time, the war would have continued unabated for another 20 YEARS, and 60 percent of young Tamils would have been killed being used as gun fodders by the LTTE, along with more civilian deaths on both sides and another 20 percent(of Tamils) would have found their way to foreign countries as refugees, leaving just over 15 percent of original Tamil population and thus making them the third minority community after the Muslims in Sri Lanka.

    Therefore, the people of Sri Lanka – Tamils, Muslims and Singhalese alike – have to be ever grateful the the one and only leader Mahinda Rajapakse for that achievement, if not for the development works done by his government in Sri Lanka after the war ended.

  9. SA Kumar Says:

    So, Pray Tell Me, Who are the REAL MODAYAS??-
    1956 TO 1983 What you have done to us We both know very well ( Kari pray Demilaya yanavavo yanda Yapanaya ).
    1983 to 2009 – We both know what We (I do not want to put blame only to VP because with our support he done it) have done to you.
    now time to forget & forgive !!! live & let’s live !!!
    no Modaya , no Sakkiliya be Mother Lankan .

  10. SA Kumar Says:

    I agreed with you , but my question is any other Govt in this world use similar war method ??? ZERO casualty .

  11. SA Kumar Says:

    say if VP&co is JVP holding Sinhala civilians than SL Govt would have used similar war method ? NO

  12. SA Kumar Says:

    Hon Sampanthan is opposition leader of Mother Lanka Today , not sure about Tomorrow.

    Who are the REAL MODAYAS? I am real confused now !!!! now I have to accept We-Hela Demila .

    My Sinhala Sakodaraya Ananda-USA !!!

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    SA Kumar,

    You have to accept that DEMANDS for SEPARATION were at the root of the Riots from 1956 to 1983. When the survival of Sri Lanka as a SINGLE NATION is threatened the Sinhala people see RED, as they are seeing RIGHT NOW … even as we speak!

    The 1983 Riots which were the worst, came because during the preceding 4 years Tamil separatists made hit-and-run guerilla attacks against government and Sinhala people, culminating in the killing of 12 Sinhala soldiers who were ambushed on the road and their bodies were brought to the Kanatta in Colombo. It didn’t spring up spontaneously because of prejudice against Tamils for no reason. As it happens, that was the goal of the LTTE who used it to alienate the Tamils from the Sinhalese.

    Therefore, PLEASE get RID OF this ATTITUDE TYPICAL of ALL TAMILS that somehow Tamils are INNOCENT PEOPLE who are being attacked by the majority Sinhala people for NO REASON.

    It was ALWAYS the Tamils who ENGINEERED these events (Chelvanayakam’s Federal state demand, Anti-Shri License plate agitation, attacks on government offices, police, and Sinhala people, killing of soldiers … to name but a few) geared to their RACIST COMMUNAL DEMANDS for a separate state in Sri Lanka. When they do that, they REAP the VIOLENT RESPONSE they INVITED from the Sinhala people that ULTIMATELY resulted in the EELAM War!

    So, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for these EVENTS and if you LOVE your people, RESOLVE to never make the same mistake again and play with FIRE for you will get BURNED!

    Now, the TNA is again playing with FIRE in the same way as the pprevious Communal Leaders of the Tamil did. I PREDICT that this will only CREATE MORE VIOLENCE and BACKLASH that will DESTROY ALL GOODWILL the Sinhala people have towards the Tamils.

    Play with FIRE, EXPECT to get BURNED! But you will not ACHIEVE EELAM …. EVER ….. in Sri Lanka … notwithstanding terrorists of the PAST, the PRESENT and the FUTURE now WAILING as VICTIMS to gain International Sympathy!

  14. Ananda-USA Says:

    I want to MAKE CLEAR that my OPPOSITION to the TNA/Sampathan being named to the Leadership of the Opposition, is NOT because they/he are Tamils ….

    ……but because the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA is the former PROXY of the LTTE, with its avowed goal (vide its current Party Constitution and rrecent Election Manifesto) of creating a Separate Tamil State of Eelam in Sri Lanka, its Anti-National Collusion with the Eelamists of the Tamil Diaspora, of Tamil Nadu, and the Neocolonialist enemies of Sri Lanka at the United Nations to convict Sri Lanka of War Crimes!

    ALL of these ACTIVITIES of the TNA makes it TOTALLY UNSUITABLE as the Leader of the Opposition, and INHERENTLY UNABLE to function as a LOYAL OPPOSITION in the National Parliament!

    But DESPITE these HORRIFIC DANGERS to the nation, those INFAMOUS TREACHEROUS JUNTA of Somarama Sirisena, Ruinous Ranil and the Choura Ragina Chandrika have PERMITTED and ENABLED it!!

    Magey Budu Ammey …. How LOW Sri Lanka’s Governing Leadership has FALLEN!

  15. SA Kumar Says:

    You have to accept that DEMANDS for SEPARATION were at the root of the Riots from 1956 to 1983- NO and YES ( not YES and NO)
    We both community have EQUAL responsible for our mess up , You know as well as I know .

    EELAM – 1987 finished when 13A ( Indian & Lanka agreement) become law of the land .

    live & let’s live in United Mother Lanka for ever.

  16. SA Kumar Says:

    but because the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA is the former PROXY of the LTTE- Nor agreed .

    Hope & Pray Hon Sampathan use this a Tamil mother Lanka got golden second chance( first A Amirthalingam) to use United Mother Lanka forever

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