Sri Lanka’s Withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement and Alleged HR Violations

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MEDIA RELEASE March 24, 2008

We are puzzled by the lack of understanding among key members of the international community that has a history of flouting accepted conventions and rules to carry out their interventionist agendas, about a failed ceasefire agreement from which Sri Lanka formally withdrew effective January 16, 2008, in order to defend her territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of flagrant violations on the part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), recognized as a terrorist organization. The LTTE violated the CFA from its very inception, and used it to build up their weapons stockpile and fighting forces to pursue their end goal of dismembering Sri Lanka by force of arms and establishing a separate mono-ethnic Tamil fascist state comprising over 1/3rd of the land and 2/3rd of the coastal belt and adjacent ocean for resident Tamils numbering less than 4 percent of the island’s population.

The CFA was flawed to begin with, as it provided undue concessions to the armed LTTE terrorists to have their cadres enter areas controlled by the government whilst barring all others entry into territory usurped by the illegal army of the LTTE. The A9 highway traversing through the illegally usurped territory which was to remain open for the free flow of traffic was obstructed with a barrier set up by the LTTE for levying unauthorized taxes or extortion of funds especially from members of the Tamil community proceeding to visit their family members in the Vanni region and the Jaffna peninsula, and trucks carrying essential merchandise for the civilians trapped within. The Norwegian facilitator obtained the signature of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on this flawed document in advance, and thereafter had Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe who was the Prime Minister in the UNP led government at the time, to sign it, bypassing the country’s President who was the head of state, and the nation’s parliament, which was most unconventional and highly irregular on their part.

The Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission ( has ruled that the Tamil Tigers violated the Ceasefire Agreement on 3830 occasions including the murder of dissident Tamils, other Sinhalese and Muslim civilians, members of the security forces and political leaders of the calibre of the Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, using violent means including suicide bombers, smuggling in 11 shiploads of weapons, forcibly conscripting adults and children, torturing, extorting and denying democratic and fundamental rights to the trapped civilians within the illegally usurped territory, as against 351 minor violations on the part of the GOSL mainly relating to harassment at security checkpoints. The Human Rights Watch report of March 2006 spoke of Tamil Tiger extortion of members of the diaspora for launching their final war of liberation which they commenced earlier in December 2005, just one month after the election of Mahinda Rajapakse as the new President of Sri Lanka. The President overlooked the numerous attacks carried out by the LTTE leading to the deaths of nearly 200 security forces personnel and serious injury to almost 400, and sought fresh talks with the Tigers to negotiate a peace deal to which they agreed, but immediately boycotted the sessions in Geneva in April 2006 to resume hostilities. It was only after the LTTE cut off water from the Mavil Aru (Mahavila) reservoir in mid-2006 depriving 30,000 families of their living source, that the government withdrew from a meaningless CFA and took steps to stop the haemorrhaging of the nation.

The human rights situation degenerated following the split within the ranks of the LTTE when the Karuna group broke away with 6000 cadres in 2004, causing immense bitterness giving rise to internecine warfare bringing with it a climate of fear, abductions, disappearances and murder of mainly Tamil civilians who were identified as supporters of the splinter groups. Amnesty International’s report dated February 1, 2006 blames mainly the LTTE and the Karuna group for the human rights crisis in the east, which sometimes spilt over to the capital city of Colombo where they abducted and gunned down each others supporters. The level of rivalry and bitterness could be ascertained from the fact that one of Karuna’s brother’s was done to death with hammer blows to his body. The government had its hands full battling the marauding LTTE and attempting to keep law and order in the eastern province with some areas being barred to them under the CFA, preventing them from pursuing the perpetrators who slid behind the LTTE’s iron curtain. Given below are quotes from a report released by Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat:

“The issue of human rights deserves more objective treatment than HRW with its current agenda seems able to offer. Its categorical assertion of state responsibility for the abductions in general is not borne out by the evidence it presents. The press release does in passing refer to paramilitaries, but makes no mention of the internecine warfare that the LTTE engaged in with former Tamil militant groups during the principal period under review. This was the latter part of 2006, when they (these groups) were able to reassert themselves following the ruthless decimation of them, that the LTTE had engaged in during its period of domination following the Ceasefire. It is no coincidence that, in claiming that there were over 1500 disappearances in the two years that ended in December 2007, HRW records 1300 of them as having occurred in 2006 or the first four months of 2007. Certainly any abduction must be registered and investigated, but HRW releases are mainly for the purpose of finger pointing. It must be pointed out that statistics make it clear that the situation has improved from those days. But HRW is not really concerned about facts or human suffering, as compared with its heavily financed agenda of trying to embarrass the Sri Lankan government. It is not alone in this practice. Very recently, an arrest by the security forces of a close associate of the LTTE leadership was presented in the HRW “quoting and quoted from media” as being an abduction. No apology has yet been issued about this error, just as HRW avoided any apology for the blatant falsehoods in its last detailed report on Sri Lanka.”

The human rights situation has vastly improved since the defeat of the LTTE in the eastern province, enabling the government to hold elections to local councils with over a 60 percent voter turn out. Elections are also scheduled to take place in May 2008 to establish the Provincial Council for the Eastern Province, which will empower the people in managing their day to day affairs. Whilst prosecuting the war against the LTTE in the remaining areas that they illegally hold in parts of the Vanni aimed at neutralizing the military capabilities of the Tamil Tigers and eliminating its capacity to engage in terrorist acts, the government has met with all of the 14 recognized political parties including Tamil and Muslim groups within the democratic stream on 64 occasions, and come up with a recommendation to resolve the conflicting issues in a manner acceptable to all of the different communities by taking steps to fully implement the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The final elimination of the LTTE’s terrorist forces operating in the north, and disarming of its armed cadres will usher in an era where the writ of the democratically and legally elected government could be enforced throughout the entirety of Sri Lanka’s sovereign territory, bringing with it law and order, and a climate amenable to the upholding of human rights and other fundamental rights guaranteed by the nation’s constitution.

Yours very truly,

Mahinda Gunasekera
Honorary President

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