USLA Ranaviru Commemoration Meeting 19th May 2021 , Lak Madura, Tawa, Wellington NZ Dr.Chula Rajapakse MNZM USLA Spokespersons Address
Posted on May 19th, 2021

Dr, Chula Rajapakse MNZM Spokesperson, USLA

I am deeply grateful to have been offered this opportunity to contribute to this years USLA commemoration , as I have done in the previous 10 years since 2010.

As before , we remember the Ranaviru, every single one of them that contributed to liberating Sri lanka from three decades of Tiger Terror, especially the ones who paid the price with life and limb to achieve this. We remember them starting from the 13 soldiers who were ambushed by the tigers in July 1983 to the ones who contributed to the many campaigns of the war, from Vadamarachi, to the rescue of Jaffna fort , to the elephant pass campaign, to the campaign in the Eastern province an Thoppigala, thence to Mannar, to Vanni to the final campaign Mulaltivu that ended on the shores of Nandikadal.

We remember the combatants, those that directed the different campaigns, the civilian leadership that made this possible. We also remember the over one hundred thousand civilian victims of all races of the war. We also remember that it was the sacrifices of the Ranaviru that made it possible for Sri Lankans to travel freely without fear of being bombed out, that enabled parents going to the same destination to travel in the same public transport without having to split lest a single Tiger bomb would deprive their children of both parents in one blast.

We remember that it was because of the ranaviru that it became possible for those of us living overseas to travel freely to sri lanka without being a victim of a blast.

We are grateful to USA for having a ranaviru fund, so we could all contribute to the welfare of the maimed ranaviru in the different Abimansala’s they reside in and contribute to the welfare of the families of the Ranaviru as USLA is doing this year providing computer tablets of the ranaviru children needing them.

However Ladies and gentlemen, I must also remind that our obligations do not end there. An equally important obligation is to protect the dignity and honour of their sacrifices and achievements by preventing them from being tarnished & desecrated by false allegations .

Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened , when within days after the SL’s liberation from Tiger Terror, the Tiger backers, their international diaspora came out with the allegation that this liberation was achieved through a disproportionately high loss of civilian lives in the last few weeks , with figures of anything from 40,000 to 120,000 being claimed as this number of civilian victims .

They therefore equated it to serious HR violations and s Genocide. They claimed the UN supported this number , quoting a reference made by the Darusman commission. This was not a UN commission but a panel of experts” appointed by the UNSG Bank Moon , against the wishes of the UNSC to advice him on accountability provisions in SL .

Any credibility to their findings is lost as, all these three had in the immediately preceding period had adverse interactions with with SL, they issued their report receiving submissions only from the Tigers but not the SL govt and the sources of their information was not revealed and would not be for a further three decades. . On the other hand over the years, a mountain of evidence has accumulated that would make this claim of large civilian loss of life and Genocide, untenable.

The most prominent of these would come from Lord Naseby of the UK hose of lords who in October 2017 tabled 39 dispatches from Lt Colonel Anton Gash, Defence attache at the UK HC in Colombo in May ’09 that clearly showed that the SL security forces had exercised extreme care with civilians and the casualty numbers were of the order of 7000 . this information and numbers were corroborated by the defence attaches of the US embassy, by Sir John Holmes the UN resident representative at that time, and the census carried out by the Jaffna university teachers, a few months later.

Additionally , it is recognised in war that the casualty numbers would be accompanied by at least twice that number being injured making it anything from 80 to 240 thousand. The injured found post war was no where near that number not to mention no trace of burials or dead bodies of the order of 40 to 120 thousand as claimed. Considering all this information, Sir Desmond De Silva UK based QC, a former UN Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leon, presented with all this information advised that the regrettable civilian loss in the final stages of the war was permissible collateral damage” It is for all these reasons that the allegation of HR violations and Genocide is no longer tenable.

Despite all these, in one of the saddest moments in modern SL history, in March 2015 at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, the then SL govt joined US to co sponsor a resolution that tacitly acknowledged HR violations and Genocide” by the Ranaviru as a credible possibility and continued to reinforce it annually till March 2020 when the present administration withdrew the sponsorship when the resolution lapsed as the other sponsor US had , under Donald Trump withdrawn for the UNHCR calling it a cess pool of intrigue”.

Unfortunately in March 2021 at the UNHCR the UK sponsored a resolution similar to the lapsed one which once again reintroduced the dark cloud over the honour and dignity of our war heroes sacrifices. Though the government fought against it the resolution was carried with a simple majority.

However , much of the information I just enumerated , especially Lord Naseby’s revelations and those of Sir Desmond did not get the airing at the UNHCR that it deserved . The Tamil Genocide cry reached a new height in Ontario Canada two weeks ago when Bill 104 naming the week leading to the 18th of May , the Tamil Genocide Education week” opening up funds to orchestrate this falsehood to schools and public in Ontario annually.

This campaign of well organised misinformation is being carried out by some vociferous members of Tiger Diaspora in Ontario, led by prominent LTTE cadres there .

When I first learnt of the last August 2020 after the passage of the second reading of the bill I wrote to every one of the 140 members of the state legislature explaining the lack of legitimacy of this claim along the lines I have just enumerated and also wrote to the President, PM and FM of SL urging action to prevent completion of the third reading , but to no avail.

Since its third reading however, the FM of SL has advised the Canadian High Commissioner of SL’s objection to this bill and requested central government to over ride of it while SL groups in Onatario are challenging the legality of the Bill in it’s courts. Time will tell whether it is a another case of too little too late.

Closer to home , on learning two weeks ago of a planned Tamil Genocide Remembrance Meeting” on the 18th in Auckland, I wrote to the NZ PM , FM, Ethnic affairs Minister, MP’s Anushi Wolters and Greg O’Connor indicating our frustration at the planned event in view of the lack of legitimacy to the Tamil Genocide” claim siting the the evidence just enumerated and sought their support to prevent this claim being perpetuated.

However, the detailed responses I received so far from Anushi Wolters and Greg O’Conner, while not offering patronage to the meeting or claim indicated the right in NZ for groups to have freedom of expression”.

I have responded asking them of what protection the likes of us have, consequent to such expression, when we are accused of Tamil Genocide” , when clearly the evidence suggest that, Tamil Genocide did not happen.

I have also asked if there was room to protect against such serious accusations when they are clearly false, along the lines that the NZ PM along with the French President , have called for restricting the freedom of expression in social media when such freedom is used to incite violence & terrorism, to protect potential victims.

This is a call that all of you too may choose to orchestrate to your local MP’s, as a part of protecting the honour and dignity of the sacrifices of our Ranaviru.

Dr, Chula Rajapakse MNZM Spokesperson, USLA 19.5.21

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