The Sunday Leader

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

Last week several thousands of government supporters shouted “Hands off Lanka” protesting on the streets across the country against the US-sponsored Resolution. Protests were held throughout the island slamming the US move at the UN Human Rights Council as interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
The most ridiculous thing was the acting Minister of External Affairs himself took part in the protest with the people who shouted “US don’t support terrorism”, “International conspiracy against motherland”. Regardless of Sri Lanka’s street protests and those of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva, the United States submitted the draft Resolution against Sri Lanka, this week.
The Resolution states; Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and other relevant instruments, Reaffirming that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, as applicable, Noting the Report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation process, Welcoming the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances, de-militarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all, and enact rule of law reforms, Noting with concern that the LLRC report does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law,
1. Calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in the LLRC report and take all necessary additional steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans,
2. Requests that the Government of Sri Lanka present a comprehensive action plan as expeditiously as possible detailing the steps the Government has taken and will take to implement the LLRC recommendations and also to address alleged violations of international law,
3. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special procedures to provide, and the Government of Sri Lanka to accept, advice and technical assistance on implementing those steps and requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report to the Council on the provision of such assistance at its twenty-second session.

Does the Resolution sound like a conspiracy?

How on earth can anyone say this is against Sri Lanka? It asks only that the Sri Lankan government implements its own Commission’s report. It even asks the UN to help the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to implement it. The only additional issue is that it asks the GoSL to address alleged violations of international law. So what is wrong with that?
Forget about all NGO/ INGO/ UN Experts Panel / Paid and unpaid human rights activists/ Tamil Diaspora/ Channel 4/  Sarath Fonseka’s white flag claim/ exiled journalists and traitors’ claims with regard to war crimes and international law.
According to a leaked US diplomatic cable; In response to the ‘incident’s report,’ Basil  Rajapaksa candidly remarked, ‘I’m not saying we’re clean; we could not abide by international law’. The cable was written on December 1, 2009 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Patricia A. Butenis. In the same cable Butenis wrote; Gotabhaya Rajapaksa noted that in defeating the LTTE terrorists the war had ‘not been clean,’ but was still a success (see Colombo Telegraph for the full cable)
The Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate published a report on December 7, 2009 titled ‘Sri Lanka: Reaching U.S. Strategy After The War’ for their one hundred and eleventh Congress first session. Quoting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, reports say; He said he, ‘did not deny there have been cases of government abuse’.
On October 4, 2006 Ambassador Robert  Blake wrote; “Speaking with surprising candour, Basil Rajapaksa explained the GSL’s efforts to prove that members of the Security Task Force (STF) murdered five students in Trincomalee in January: ‘We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill someone. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can’t proceed in prosecuting them’.”
In the same cable Blake wrote; “He added that it ‘looked like’ EPDP cadres, along with the SLN, had perpetrated the mid-August burning of the pro-LTTE Uthayan newspaper office in Jaffna.”
“However, Ranga said that the current government, cash-strapped, has ended this arrangement. Instead, he alleged, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa has authorized EPDP and Karuna to collect the money from Tamil businessmen. This may account for the sharp rise in lawlessness, especially extortion and kidnapping, that many have documented in Vavuniya and Colombo.” Sri Ranga is a ruling party MP now.
“In the meantime, these paramilitary groups give the GSL a measure of deniability. Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh told us that some military commanders in Jaffna, including Major General Chandrasiri, want to clamp down on paramilitaries but have orders from Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa to not interfere with the paramilitaries on the grounds that they are doing ‘work’ that the military cannot do because of international scrutiny. On December 7, 2006, Chandrasiri confided to Ambassador Blake in Jaffna that the Defense Ministry had instructed him not to interfere with ‘military intelligence’ operations .” on May 18, 2007 Blake informed Washington.
On July 6, 2007 Chargé d’Affaires, James R. Moore wrote; “Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect), a political insider within the Rajapaksa administration, told us that the arrest on June 26 of the five alleged abductors working with Gajanayake was political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration. Samarasinghe further alleged that the GSL felt compelled to demonstrate concrete examples of progress on abductions to appease the international community.”
On October 7, 2011 Ambassador Butenis updated Secretary of State writing; “In an October 6 meeting with Ambassador, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the president “could” appoint a new commission to look at complaints or use some existing mechanism, such as an ombudsman. He also noted that, contrary to widely held impressions, the army had investigated and prosecuted individual soldiers for individual crimes (presumably stealing, rape, murder, etc.) committed during the war, and Major General Peiris heading the military legal department could provide more information. (NOTE: Embassy will be following up with the general as soon as possible. END NOTE) (See Colombo Telegraph for the cable).
The Resolution asks the GoSL to reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces. This is what President Rajapaksa said to Ambassador Blake, on May 26, 2009 – Chargé d’Affaires, James R. Moore wrote;
“In his farewell call on President Rajapaksa on May 20, Ambassador stressed that the reconciliation phase must include two vital components: the humanitarian side – providing the IDPs with what they need and resettling them expeditiously – and the political side – power-sharing arrangements to give Tamils assurance of a future with hope and dignity. This was the way to defeat terrorism for good. The Ambassador encouraged the GSL to think about how to engage with Tamil representatives. Ambassador said it was particularly important to reach out to the Tamil Diaspora so they would stop supporting the LTTE. The President said the basis of his devolution plan would be the ‘13th amendment plus 1’ – meaning implementation of the existing constitutional provisions for provincial councils, but adding an upper house to Parliament, modeled on the U.S. Senate.”
So the US Resolution only seeks what the Sri Lankan government has already assured. It is not a conspiracy against Sri Lanka.
Quoting JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe on January 15, 2010, US Ambassador Butenis wrote in a confidential cable; “Nevertheless, he went on to say that all countries had to surrender some of their sovereignty when they signed international agreements and that this gave other countries the right to interfere to some extent in other nations’ affairs. He also said that there was no international conspiracy against Sri Lanka, claiming instead that the President’s raising this issue was a sign of his election desperation”.

uvindu@journalist.com

11 Comments for “As You Sow, So Shall You Reap”

  1. ameerali

    Very logical points, Uvindu. I hope you have opened a wellspring of thoughtful reasoning in people who are simply enthused with a sense of pseudo-patriotism which clutters their own sense of logical thinking.

  2. John Kotelawela

    What government must high light is that we dont want this supervision by UN to be done as long as Pillai a person with Tamil decent is heading the committee related to in UN. It will be a conflict of interest and should not be practiced. If UN needs to be fair they must appoint a person who does not have any such relationships to relevant parties. Can UN do this?

    • Bandara Na Yakka

      So, you want some person of Sinhala descent like some Samarana Yakka to head the UN Committee. How do you see fairness in this equation? I think you need to see a dog-doctor.

    • Chanda

      John are talking through your hat???
      When Army & GoSL could conduct investigation on the murder they comitted during the eelam war4,but ms.Pillai who is not SL cannot head the inquiry team

    • Racial hatred is there another word for this comment?.

  3. APPUHAMY

    The decisions taken by the current US administration to harass Sri Lanka on the grounds of Human Rights violations for defeating the worlds most ruthless terrorist organization – the Tamil Tigers – has nothing to do with the opinion of the majority of US citizens. This is a decision made by just a handful of leading politicians of the Democratic party – who received huge sums of money as donations during the US Presidential election campaigns in 2008 – from the frontline organizations run by those very Tamil Terrorist Organizations pretending to be diaspora. These “leading Democrat politicians” are thereby obliged to listen to the lies spread by these Tamil terrorist organizations and are now returning the favors by harassing the Sri Lankan government. All patriotic Sri Lankans – especially those living in USA – must take a stand to support the Republican Party in USA henceforth – which during George W. Bush’s term in office – decided to ban the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization – which actually paved way for the Sri Lanka government to finally wipe out that barbaric terrorist organization.

    • LASANTHAV

      LTTE DID NOT SHELLING BOMB OF HOSPITAL S OR SCHOOLS. LTTE DID NOT STOP SEND FOOT OR
      MEDICEN . TO CIVILIAN . LTTE DID NOT KILLED WAR PRISINERS . LTTE DID NOT EVER NEVER RAPE
      WOMEN .

    • Ravi Daniel

      Why is it that you, and so many others here, so conveniently twist the reason for the UN resolution. The resolution is for committing WAR CRIMES, against civilians, during and at the last stages of the war. The resolution is NOT “…for defeating the most ruthless terrorist organization–….”

  4. Bruz

    Any Govt. has a moral authority to wipe out terrorism, but not to wipe out a whole nation of a particular section who were just happened to belong to a community where the Tigers came from. The massacre cannot be justified by any reason.If not for USA,UK & India’s help the so called victory wouldn’t have been possible. The SL Govt. was fighting the
    war for so many years without much success. The arms & logistics from China,Russia,Iran & Pakistan also helped to win the war.Sri Lanka couldn’t have done it alone.President gave promise to all the western nations that he will give devolution & solve the Tamil problem soon after the war if they helped him win. But the President never kept any promise and continued to cheat Tamils & the whole world by appointing fake commissions and dragging his feet, buying time & postponing solutions. The Zero casualty death number changed suddenly to 8,000 now.Every one knows the deaths alone were more than 40,000 or even more with many disabled men women & children who never fought with anyone but chased from their homes to jungles all over. Now the time has come for SL to answer the world & Tamils. Blaming west for asking SL to at least implement it’s own LLRC recommendations,even though inadequate are in no way unfair or interfering.Sri lanka must do it or face the wrath of the western nations who helped on agreed conditions.Tthe consequences will not be pleasant with all these mounting allegations of serious nature.You will reap only what you sow ! Do not pass the blame anywhere else.

  5. Meena M.

    The writer asks a good question. What conspiracy? The world is amazed at the over reaction of the Rajapaksa regime. What the resolution mostly addresses is for the Rajapaksa regime to promote rehabilitation and accountability. The regime has turned this simple matter into a western conspiracy, and the protests look ridiculous. It sounds like the brainwashed people do not want their leaders to be held accountable. The conspiracy right now looks like the Sri Lankan regime does not want to any investigation that will show the world who they really are, and what they have done. The Rajapaksa government has a reputation for being ruthless even if it comes to the Sinhalese people who dare stand up and disagree with them. They are uncooperative with the world community who constantly gives us aid, and refuse to comply to what they have initially proposed. Sri Lanka cannot have it both ways, stop taking foreign aid, then call the shots.

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