NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS AND SRI LANKA Part 2
Posted on June 7th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

In Sri Lanka too, the GONGOs, QUANGOs and INGOs are engaged in meddling with political matters. This essay looks briefly at some of these NGOs.

 The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. non-profit organization for promoting democracy abroad. It is funded by the US Congress. It is supposed to be a tool of the CIA as well. The ‘umbrella protests’ in Hong Kong were funded by the NED. In Sri Lanka Bar Association of Sri Lanka was accused of being funded by the NED which was a CIA arm”. The National Peace Council, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Centre for Monitoring election violence, Campaign for free and fair elections (Caffe), and People action for Free and fair Elections (PAFFREL) were also  said to have received funds from NED.

NED is today funding several projects in Sri Lanka. They are listed in the NED website. The focus of these projects is very clear. Local NGOs are paid to indoctrinate the public about ‘democracy’, ‘human rights,’ ‘good governance’. They are also paid to encourage citizen participation in politics, and train youth ‘to assume leadership roles in their communities.’

Here is one example.

  • Viluthu, Ltd was given $70,000 for  Strengthening Civil Society Networks for Active Political Participation”organize a series of community discussions and learning workshops aimed at engaging youth, including university students, and women’s network leaders on democracy, good governance, and transitional justice.

Here are two other grants.

  • Law and Society Trust was given  $50,000T  for Improving Legal Literacy on Land Rights”The organization will manage a nationwide network of organizations focused on land rights, convene government officials and citizens on land laws and policies, document land disputes, and advocate for new, equitable laws.
  • Verite Research was given $65,000 for Parliamentary Tracking Tool for Accountability and Good Governance”. The organization will, inter alia, maintain and refine an online platform that documents the biographical information and political activities of Members of Parliament and conduct outreach to promote its usage by the media and civil society.

Amnesty International (est. 1961) is a London-based non-governmental organization focusing on human rights. It has branches in dozens of countries including India, but not in Sri Lanka. . It has a high profile and is well known, but it is no longer highly regarded.

Amnesty International has been described by one of its former officials as ‘highly political, highly coercive. If you get out of line, they get rid of you. You can’t trust them”.  Amnesty International’s founder resigned in 1967, saying Amnesty International   had been infiltrated by British intelligence agents. Others said the Central Intelligence Agency was also inside it.

Amnesty International’s agenda fits nicely with the political needs of the United States and Great Britain, said critics, contemptuously. AI draws attention to Human rights violations in countries that are not allied to USA or UK. But it is extremely reluctant to draw attention to Human rights violations by USA or UK.

Amnesty International is the only human rights organization in the entire world to have refused to condemn apartheid in South Africa, said critics. Amnesty International has not supported Palestine and has not charged Israel with war crimes.

Amnesty International regularly issued adverse statements on Sri Lanka. The most serious critique of Sri Lanka at the 6th session of UN HR Council session at Geneva in 2007 was by Amnesty International. Amnesty launched its “Sri Lanka, Play by the Rules” campaign, timed to coincide with the 2007 cricket World Cup held in the Caribbean islands, to focus on Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations.  In 2006 and 2007 it said that human rights were affected, the government was attacking civilians, there was no mention of LTTE.

 Amnesty International has openly supported the LTTE.  A delegation of Amnesty International   came to Sri Lanka on invitation from LTTE for a two week visit in 2002 government of Sri Lanka facilitated the meeting.    They met in the Vanni.LTTE and Amnesty International   had discussed training for ‘Thamil Eelam police’, and ‘Thamil Eelam judiciary’. Amnesty International said that LTTE must be ready to take over law and order operation as soon as the ISGA came in.

Transparency International is an international non-governmental organization  focusing on corruption. It has local chapters to carry out this work. In USA, Transparency International funded by multinational corporations, such as Citigroup, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Lockheed Martin. Transparency International gave its Integrity Award to Hillary Clinton in 2012. Transparency International has its own transparency issues with respect to donor funds. It accepted money from Siemens, while Siemens was under investigation for corruption.

Transparency International, Sri Lanka,   received USD 79,000 from NORAD to look into the work of the Sri Lanka Police. It thereafter issued a report titled ‘The Police of Sri Lanka, which critics charged, affected national security.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, dealing with Human rights around the world. HRW was formed from the earlier America Watch, Asia Watch, Africa Watch and Middle East Watch. HRW is seen and heard ever where, but it is not highly regarded.   HRW has carried out information and propaganda work for USA and NATO, charged critics.  It helped to break up Yugoslavia.  Milosevic was brought before Hague on the uncorroborated evidence of HRW. HRW has sanitized Israel war crimes.

HRW has loudly supported Eelam in Sri Lanka. HRW supported the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka and in March 2019 wanted a time-bound plan for implementing it. HRW Annual Report of 2008 was critical of Sri Lanka.

 Government of Sri Lanka responding observed that the HRW had failed to distinguish between a democratically elected government and the LTTE. Further that it is the government that is running the schools in north and east, paying salaries of teachers, there are no private schools in the area. State hospitals are run by the state that funds them.  Sri Lanka armed forces are fully trained to take every precaution against harming civilians. The government is actively delivering all essential services in the LTTE controlled areas even today the GA of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are actively deliver in all essential services. The salaries and pensions are fully met with by government .

The International Crisis Group is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995 by George Soros. It is supported by the governments of UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and Australia as well as Ford and Carnegie. 23% of the ICG’s budget comes from the government of Qatar in 2019.  

International Crisis Group   sent a petition to the UN Secretary General in September 2008 that was deeply critical of the Sri Lanka government.  In May 17 2010, it published a monograph on ‘war crimes in Sri Lanka.’

Solidar is a European network of NGOs working to advance social justice in the    world.  The three SOLIDAR NGOs in Sri Lanka were the German organization known as ASB, a Swiss one called SAH and Norwegian People’s Aid. Norwegian Peoples Aid had allowed the LTTE to use 38 of their vehicles including heavy earth moving machines that were used to build up the wall that cost so many lives in the final assault.

Solidar’s Country Representative for Sri Lanka, Guy Rhodes  had compiled reports from various  NGOs which had maintain a presence on the  ground in the conflict zone, such as Oxfam, care, Danish refugee Council, Forut, ZOA refugee care, World University Service of Canada and Save the children Fund.  Rhodes had challenged the government order to leave the Wanni at the start of the final offensive.

Rajiva Wijesinha has spoken of a Coffee club of international NGO personnel” who attended gatherings designed to subvert government policy. In August 2008 they were busy drafting allegations to be sent to the UN by local NGOs, said Rajiva. The Head of Solidar had taken a lead role in this activity.   Benjamin Dix who was working for Solidar was featured in the Channel 4 film on the Eelam war.

FORUT is a   Norwegian aid organization    for social work. FORUT has project activities in Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia. FORUT has a framework agreement with NORAD, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, which ensures long-term financing of the programmes and projects in each country. The work and commitment to Sri Lanka’s development has always been the largest part of FORUT’s portfolio.

Until 2012, FORUT had its own organization called FORUT-Sri Lanka.  FORUT Sri Lanka has   helped create several smaller local organizations in all parts of the country. These organizations have since become independent ‘and fully dedicated to the development of Sri Lanka’. Some of these organizations have signed partnership agreements with FORUT-Norway. Wikileaks has established the link between the FORUT and Solidar. These two organizations seem to have been engaged in plotting against the Sri Lanka government, said critics.

Rajiva Wijesinha reported that R.Tveitnes, former country director for FORUT had told the American ambassador that FORUT and a number of other INGOs had local staff on the ground [in the war   zone], with satellite telephones, providing brief but consistent situation reports. Tveitnes also would text specific questions to the contact and receive response.

In August 2008, three    FORUT vehicles    were detained   in Omanthai checkpoint by the LTTE till it was dark. Then they left, proceeding at high speed to Kilinochchi.  Soon after they left the checkpoint, the middle car was caught up in a claymore blast. Wijesinha thought that this was a trick to launch a massive attack on the military, using harm to NGOs as the cause.

The INGO officers were a sort of cabal, drifting between the US bureaucracy, UN agencies and the INGO circuit, observed analysts. Almost without exception INGOs recruits were   trained operatives who had earlier lived in a developing country under NGO, UN or journalist cover. Human Rights Watch officers often had a previous UN involvement, usually in Cambodia and Indonesia. Charulata Hogg was a former HRW staffer. She had worked in Sri Lanka as a foreign reporter for media organizations like BBC.  

 Gareth Evans,    and Charulata Hogg, knew each other. Louise Arbour has taken over from Evans at ICG. Suzanne Nossel was Deputy assistant Secretary for international organization s at the US Department of State before she became Executive Director of Amnesty International. Attitudes and values are also relevant. Gareth Evans, CEO International Crisis Group had earlier supported Suharto,   downplayed Jemmah Isalamiyah   and backed immunity for Khmer Rouge. He signed the Timor Gap Treaty which allowed international oil companies to exploit the seabed off East Timor.

INGOs and NGOs clearly supported the Eelam War. That is why they were there in Sri Lanka in the first place. NGOs were functioning in the Wanni along with UN agencies during the Eelam war.  Most of them worked primarily through local staff, reported the media. INGOs   played a role   during the Vanni offensives in 2009.  INGOs thought that the government should not and could not interfere with its operations, said Shamindra Ferdinando. 

In 2008 a Select committee of Parliament for investigation of the operations of NGOs and their impact was   set up. This committee said in its interim report that many NGO were working for Tamil Separatism and the LTTE. They said that International Alert had published a map which shows half the country as belong to Tamils. In this map they have marked a large are of land in the central hills and in the south as Tamil areas. This extent is even larger than in the map prepare by the LTTE.

ZOA and World Vision had in 2005 built400 houses and these had been distributed to the elite cadres of the LTTE.  Ministry of Defence had received credible intelligence reports that Medicine Sans Frontiers, Medicine du Monde, and Doctors of the world (U.S.A.) carried out acts which have threatened National Security and state policies.A certificate issued by MDM at a health education project, had the emblem of the government as well as LTTE.

The ‘UK Peace Building strategy’ operated , without consent of the GOSL,  a ‘monitoring centre’ in eastern province for intelligence gathering on a daily basis and a network of support to local level NGOs known to be infiltrated by the LTTE . UK based NGO ‘Act Now’ , working in the north and east during the Eelam wars, wanted the UN to push for a Sudan type referendum in Sri Lanka.

‘Sri Lanka Kolping Society’ , A Catholic society with    a parent  organization in Germany, a social commitment, had provided the LTTE with funds during 1996-1999.

 The Berghof Foundation for conflict studies was invited into the country by the government of Sri Lanka on a Memorandum of understanding between the governments of Sri Lanka, Germany and Switzerland.  It was signed by Ministry of Constitutional affairs and national integration, Sri Lanka . Swiss Federal department  of Foreign affairs and German Federal Ministry of Economic cooperation and development. Berghof Foundation had entered into MOUs with government in 2001 and 2006.  Berghof Foundation worked in Sri Lanka from 2001-2008. Berghof‘s work in security reform    was carried out from 2002-2004 with the knowledge of the Ministry of Defence. Berghof also wanted to assess the High Security Zones.

Berghof was also expected to facilitate workshops between the military and civil society ‘to help them understand each other’.  Former chief of Defense, Dennis Perera and the Defense secretary had invited BF to initiate a dialogue between security forces and civil society. This project met with hostile criticism. There was  a proposal for a workshop of air force personnel. This was shot down after the Defense authorities heard of it.

Concerned observers shouted that Berghof was engaged in ‘security reform’ of military, paramilitary and police forces. Berghof   wanted to ‘right size’ the armed forces, and bring it under foreign control. Berghof Foundation vehemently denied this charge. However,  SPUR (Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka) said that    Berghof Foundation had consistently interfered in the island’s national security affairs. It had promoted the unconditional dismantling or resizing of High Security Zones, and had also wanted the Sri Lanka Armed Forces to change its thinking. SPUR asked the government to send Berghof away. Berghof  terminated its work on security related issues in 2004 due to hostile criticism. In 2008 Berghof Foundation was asked to leave Sri Lanka.

The Select Committee of Parliament investigating into the operation of  NGOs set up in 2008,  (PSC) had made a deep, penetrating study into the work of the Berghof Foundation and found  that Berghof had links with the LTTE and the armed forces. This had serious implications for national security.  This well researched document has not received the public acclaim it deserves, said Chandraprema.

Berghof  had  resisted appearing before this Committee and   instead had attempted to exert international pressure   to   squash the Committee. This is a grave intervention, said the Committee. PSC noted that former Chief of staff Denis Perera had invited Dr Rophers to build bonds with the security officers in order to initiate a dialogue. PSC observed that this  enabled access to sensitive military matters. This was detrimental to national security.

Berghof had contact with both LTTE and army. Director  of Berghof, Norbert Rophers had  direct links with Balasingham in London and with Pulidevan in Kilinochchi. Berghof sent a delegation of  LTTEers to Europe on a study tour of federalism,    on the instruction of Eric Solheim.   Critics wanted to know whether Solheim had the authority to do this and whether Berghof had the authority to implement this.  This is outside the Memorandum of Understating that Berghof had signed with the government . LTTE is a designated terrorist outfit.

Berghof  had also  told PSC that Berghof  was there to introduce power sharing through various means. Berghof supported self determination  and has accepted the notion of Tamil homelands. The PSC objected to the fact that Berghof promoted only federalism. Also that Berghof had its own agenda. ( Continued)

One Response to “NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS AND SRI LANKA Part 2”

  1. Christie Says:

    Thanks Kamalika.

    If you look at people working for Amnesty International (Kumi Naidoo an Indian Colonial Parasite from South Africa), Transparency International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) (Meenakshika Gungulu an Indian Parasite) and International Crisis Group are all have Indians working for them. These Indian Parasites are Indian Agents.

    These Indians work for nothing and make huge contributions to their employees.

    Another NGO is Oxfam that is lead by Indian parasites or their honchos.

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