Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella.

Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing held in Colombo a short while ago (16), he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism.

India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister.

The Minister mentioned this commenting on the very recent reports on LTTE attempts to take the lives of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and TamilNadu Chief Minister M Karunanidi. These details were revealed by the intelligence units of the country.

Foreign Affairs

Spanish-Thai forgery probe reveals new links to LTTE

Spanish and Thai police investigating a gang that supplied forged passports to al-Qaeda linked groups have found new evidence of links to Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, Spanish authorities said today.

Spanish and Thai police are analysing material seized late on Tuesday in a joint operation in which 10 people -eight Pakistanis, a Nigerian and a Thai national – were arrested in the two countries, Spain’s interior ministry said in a statement.

The 10 are suspected of providing forged passports to organisations linked to Al-Qaeda, including the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of plotting the attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people in November 2008, as well as to the Tamil Tigers.

Police seized forged passports, immigration documents, faked rubber stamps, computers, mobile phones, passport photos, British driving licences and sophisticated counterfeiting equipment in the swoop named Operation Kampai.

Spanish police experts “have travelled to Thailand and are working with Thailand’s department of special investigations to analyse the numerous documents seized from the cell,” the interior ministry said Friday.

“An initial examination of photographs seized has turned up evidence of the membership of some members of the terrorist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”

The LTTE “has perpetrated bloody attacks, many of them by suicides, such as that which killed the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

“Many of its members were based in Western countries, where they obtained financial assistance for the organisation through extortion and drug trafficking,” it said.

The LTTE fought a violent 37-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka before being crushed by government forces last year.

Thai police said yesterday that the three arrested in Thailand – two Pakistani men and a Thai woman – were part of criminal networks tied to “many terrorist attacks”.

These included the 2004 Madrid bombings, when blasts on packed commuter trains in a city suburb killed 191 people and wounded 1,841 others. However, Spanish authorities have not confirmed any such link to those arrested.

Spanish police detained seven suspects – six Pakistanis and a Nigerian – in the northeastern city of Barcelona during the operation.

Foreign Affairs

Desi Journalist Abused, Thrown Out of pro-Eelam Meeting in NJ

A veteran Indian-American journalist was forcibly thrown out of a pro-Eelam meeting organized by Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA and Ilankai Tamil Sangam when he went to cover the event at Rasoi restaurant in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey on Saturday noon.

Dr Prakash M Swamy, a senior journalist of New York and a United Nations accredited correspondent, was manhandled and pushed out of the venue after being invited to cover the event by the organizers. The organizers also abused him as “an agent of Government of India and Sri Lanka” while forcibly pushed him out of the door in the cold when he pleaded that he had come all the way from New York traveling over two hours to cover the event at their invitation.

According to Dr Swamy, Palani Sundaram, president of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (Fetna) was heard shouting and giving directions to the volunteers to throw him out saying that the writer could bring disrepute to the organizations with his “negative reporting.”

Dr. Swamy is a Tamil-speaking English journalist who specializes in South Asian affairs and has written several articles and scoops on the formation of Trans-national Government of Tamil Eeelam (TGTE) headquartered in New York and led by attorney Visuvanathan Ruthrakumaran in the Indian media especially for popular Tamil magazines such as Junior Vikatan.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka Gains from Indo-Chinese Supremacy Battle

As India and China jostle for influence in the Indian Ocean region, the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be getting unintended economic benefits.
China has pledged more financial assistance as Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Shanghai Expo exhibition earlier this month.

China is already the biggest lender for the Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene says that China has, so far, pledged more than $3bn (£1.9bn) for infrastructure development, maintenance and other projects.

“China has been investing in Sri Lanka when many other countries were reluctant to invest during the war,” he tells BBC Sinhala service.

China has finished the first phase of the major sea port of Hambantota on the southern Sri Lankan coast – Mr Rajapaksa’s hometown – and is funding a new airport in the south. Chinese firms are also rebuilding roads in the north.

Many other projects are already in the pipeline, including handling a Special Economic Zone, a 900 megawatt coal-fired power plant and the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, the road connecting the capital with the island’s only international airport.

China is also funding port projects in Chitagong in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and Burma.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lankan Media Breaks Silence On Sirisena Brat

The Day-to-day Mirror website in a surprising twist decided to break the censorship of all other Sri Lankan mainstream media homes, when they carried a story titled &#8220Daham Sirisena Justifies His Trip To UN&#8221 regarding the first son junket Daham Sirisena&#8216s trip to the United Nations which is at the moment being funded by tax payers cash.

Daham Sirisena - Pasikudah | File photo

Daham Sirisena &#8211 Pasikudah | File photo

Not a single mainstream media property reported Daham Sirisena&#8217s pay a visit to to the UN up till this point as of yesterday, as hundreds of Sirisena supporters started to criticize Colombo Telegraph internet site for breaking and following up the news concerning his pay a visit to propped up by a sense of pure nepotism that went wild on social media.

An avid reader of Colombo Telegraph sent in an e mail citing &#8220friend of mine who operates for the Daily Mirror mentioned she had been reading the Daily Mirror website routinely, but in no way knew that Daham Sirisena was in the US attending the current UN conference. How can she know anything of this sort as Day-to-day Mirror by no means carried something relating to the Daham saga has designed hence far&#8221 concluded the Colombo Telegraph reader.

&#8220The principal stream media failed to raise this distinct nepotism situation, as it focused on mostly raising troubles that blamed the the former Rajapksa regime as an alternative&#8221 stated our reader.

Writing to Colombo Telegraph media researcher Nalaka Gunawardene stated&#8221The [email protected] episode has shown up our mainstream media as properly. None of them had the courage to comment on this matter, or at least report the widespread social media condemnation of it. For some, the first time they ever described it was when they carried Daham’s ‘explanation’ on Facebook.&#8221

&#8220Is it since our media has been suppressed for also extended that, even now, they cover the President, his household and other political leaders with as well much deference? Why do most of our media treat the head of state as a feudal lord &#8212 when the incumbent has said he does not want to be treated as such?&#8221 he questioned.

&#8220Is it that parrots who have been caged for a decade do not want to fly away when released, so they just hover about repeating what the former master/captor taught?&#8221 he further asked.

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Foreign Affairs

Taking Reconciliation Method Forward Right after Co-Sponsored Resolution 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The government took a key step forward in rejoining the international community on equal terms when it reached agreement with the United States and other Western countries in the UN Human Rights Council to co-sponsor the resolution on the future its post-war accountability procedure. For the past six years Sri Lanka was on the defensive internationally for its conduct of the final phase of the war. From 2012 onwards it was at the getting end of increasingly adverse resolutions by the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution in 2014 mandated an international investigation into the previous. Every year the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva became the occasion of confrontation abroad and for political mobilization inside the country in which ethnic nationalism took the centre stage.

The new government’s agreement with the United States to co-sponsor the draft resolution that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday is an indication that each sides sat collectively to sort out the difficulty. Unlike its predecessor the present government has acted on the rational basis that a policy of confrontation would not resolve the problem but only aggravate it. Though the confrontational approach of the preceding government was common at home it was major to an internationally imposed outcome which would have produced a bad predicament worse. The government’s issue solving method enabled it to convince the United States, and other Western countries, to drop the particular reference to a hybrid judicial mechanism. This was the most controversial function of the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s report on Advertising Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.

Kerry and Mangala 02 05 2015 Colombo TelegraphThe latest draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on advertising reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka affirms “the significance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, such as the Unique Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.” This was in contrast to the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s Report that named for a hybrid judicial mechanism with the participation of international judges, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to guarantee the credibility of the accountability approach. The replacement of the emphasis provided to the hybrid judicial mechanism and its replacement with a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism would give the Sri Lankan government a greater measure of credibility in dealing with the nationalist sentiment within the nation.

Political Challenge 

The government is preparing to meet the political challenge that it expects from the opposition with regard to the compromises it is creating in Geneva. Getting dealt with the dilemma in Geneva, the government is now moving towards guarding itself politically within the nation. It is conscious that it is sitting on best of a volcano of ethnic nationalism. This is the identical volcano that developed the background for the assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike in 1957 when he tried to allay Tamil nationalism by conceding language and devolution rights to the men and women of the Northern and Eastern provinces, to the uprising of the JVP in 1987 when President JR Jayewardene signed the Indo Lanka Peace Accord to bring an finish to the Tamil uprising by conceding devolution of energy, and to the downfall of the UNP government in 2004 headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he attempted to have a negotiated political settlement with the LTTE via the Norwegian facilitated ceasefire.

More than the weekend the newly appointed Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan referred to as two meetings, a single each with heads of media organizations and yet another with civil society activists to discuss the forthcoming Geneva resolution and how very best to take its message to the general population. The meetings have been chaired by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who pointed out that the Geneva resolution that the government was co-sponsoring was not only about a probe into war crimes allegations, but was also about restoring democracy and bringing national reconciliation. He explained that the judicial mechanism for accountability would be one that was Sri Lankan and approved by Parliament.

At the civil society meeting, he indicated that the presence of international legal personnel in this judicial mechanism would not be as mere tokens. He pointed out that Sri Lankan judges held high positions in courts in foreign nations and it could be the other way round also, specifically in instances exactly where the neighborhood knowledge was either lacking or required to be supplemented. Such an international presence is anticipated by the Tamil polity which has no faith in the Sri Lankan judicial approach in relation to concerns of the war and the conduct of the Sri Lankan military during the war and its aftermath. This would also be the position of international human rights groups and numerous foreign governments.

Even so, the involvement of international judges and legal personnel in the judicial accountability approach in which the leaders of the former government and military are implicated will supply a political rallying point to Sinhalese nationalist leaders. The former leaders of the government who gave leadership to the war effort that saw the final victory over the LTTE and the military that created it achievable have been broadly perceived by the Sinhalese polity to be war heroes. There is tiny or no want on the part of the ethnic majority Sinhalese population to see them differently. So far the news media seems to be cooperating with the government in downplaying the compromises produced in Geneva and the implications for the country. The voice of the nationalists within the opposition has not been receiving the higher levels of publicity that they received during the period of the prior government. But this is probably to alter soon after the resolution in Geneva is passed with the Sri Lankan government co-sponsoring it, and the time for implementation begins.

All Inclusive 

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe seems to have taken note of the lessons of the previous. In the course of the abortive 2002-2004 peace process he and his government confronted the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga who undermined him. On this occasion the Prime Minister is operating closely with President Maithripala Sirisena who has the credibility to give him covering assistance against Sinhalese nationalism. During the 2002-2004 peace process, the government did not actively engage with civil society in taking optimistic messages of the peace method to the individuals. The early meeting that the Prime Minister chaired with civil society groups indicates that he appreciates the function that civil society played in advocating the lead to of very good governance in the course of the presidential and common elections earlier in the year. In a democracy unless there is well-known understanding and acceptance of the need to have for reform it is unlikely to be effective. Sri Lankan civil society organizations have a track record in taking advocacy and educational messages to the common population.

It is significant that the draft resolution recognizes the need to have for a method of accountability and reconciliation for violations and abuses, including those committed by the LTTE as highlighted in the UN report. The Sinhalese folks need to know that the accountability process is meant for all who violated human rights and committed war crimes, and is not targeted only against the government. Action against financiers and other international operatives and agencies will be an integral element of the criminal investigation that the UN Higher Commissioner’s report has proposed by way of the recommended involvement of international personnel in the accountability procedure. At the identical time, it is also essential for the government not to lose sight of the concerns of the Tamil population on the ground. They could not require to be convinced of the merits of possessing an international component in the Sri Lankan judicial mechanism to ensure accountability. However, their interest in a swift return to normalcy requirements to be taken into account. The requirements of the war-affected folks of the North and East are urgent ones. The government has announced a mechanism to deal with the past that will be based on a fourfold system which will include a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, an Office of Missing Persons, a judicial mechanism with special counsel to be set up by statute and an Office of Reparations.

As initial self-confidence developing gestures, the government can have a prison census and folks uncover their missing ones so that no one particular gets lost in the program, either deliberately or inadvertently. It can also speed up release of persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with no charge and also the release of land taken more than throughout the war back to the individuals. There is also a want to help displaced persons who nevertheless number in the tens of thousands to resettle in their original areas if that is what they want. This is a difficulty that continues to have an effect on a massive proportion of the 90,000 strong Northern Muslim neighborhood who had been forcibly evicted from their homes in the North by the LTTE in a single of the war crimes that took location in the course of the course of the war. The benefits of the transitional justice approach will be applicable to all communities, as will accountability. Many of the required actions do not need to have any new mechanism but the political will of the government.

Foreign Affairs

5 Lies In Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement On OHCHR Report

By Niranjan Rambukwella

The Member of Parliament from Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, not too long ago released a statement explaining his position on the lately released United Nations investigation into allegations of human rights abuses and crimes that occurred in the course of and after the war in Sri Lanka. His statement contained five main factual inaccuracies.

Mahinda1. “The investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the really initial time, by the OHCHR.”

This was not the very first time the OHCHR has carried out an investigation. Other investigations contain the OHCHR investigations into Darfur in 2004, and the investigations on Afghanistan and Kyrgystan. These have been all carried out by the OHCHR.

two. “Similarly, I as well had to go against the wishes of certain strong nations to defeat terrorism and bring peace to this country.”

The LTTE is banned in the United States, EU and India. The US and India both supplied vital intelligence, instruction and military gear that played a crucial role in the defeat of the LTTE. EU nations also assisted with coaching and gear. There is no basis for saying that these nations did not want the LTTE defeated.

three. “Some politicians have been telling the individuals that all these international initiatives are based on my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Basic of 23 May possibly 2009. I see that as a deliberate try to mislead the individuals and seek justification for their own cooperation with interventionist foreign forces.”

These are the words of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-Ban Ki-moon Joint Communique, “The Secretary General underlined the value of an accountability method for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances .” Dayan’s renowned congratulatory but self-defeating resolution in 2009, created this guarantee to the complete world, it “welcomes the check out to Sri Lanka of the Secretary-Common of the United Nations at the invitation extended by the President of Sri Lanka, and endorses the joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of the check out as properly as the understandings contained therein”

4. “The most that can be accomplished with a report of this nature is to suggest the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been done.”

The report could have completed a great deal a lot more than advocate a tribunal. It could have advised referral to the Safety Council, it could have named men and women and it could have advised an international tribunal. It could even have advised financial sanctions.

five. “Some seem to believe that had my government still been in energy, this report may possibly have led to financial sanctions becoming imposed on Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, neither the UNHRC nor the OHCHR can impose financial sanctions on a country.”

As these are UN reports and taken extremely seriously by the whole world, if the OHCHR recommended sanctions, it is very likely that the economy would have been in tatters. The OHCHR report would have led to numerous governments thinking about sanctions. The little investment Sri Lanka received would have dried up, tourist arrivals would decline, the interest prices Sri Lanka pays would rise and access to concessionary finance would be even a lot more difficult. Furthermore, it would make it extremely challenging for the US and EU, which account for more than half our exports, to not have targeted sanctions and travel bans. In a couple of years the Rajapaksas lost GSP+, with a damning report recommending economic sanctions, the Sri Lankan economy would have been in free of charge fall.

The query we want to ask is, why does Mahinda keeping lying to us?

Foreign Affairs

Rajapaksa’s Comments On UN Report Does Not Portray The Party Position: SLFP Media Spokesman

The Sri Lanka Freedom Celebration (SLFP) has criticized the stand taken by their former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka.

Releasing a statement a couple of days back former President Rajapaksa called upon the government to reject the Report of the UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka.

SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera

SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera

Nonetheless, his colleagues in the SLFP who blindly backed any stand taken by Rajapaksa, when he was in charge, has refused to stand by their former leader who is now relegated to an opposition MP’s post.

Speaking to the media in Colombo nowadays SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera mentioned today that Rajapaksa’s comments does not portray the party position and the statement on UN report by Rajapaksa was totally personal views of the former leader.

Perera noted that the SLFP has taken a neutral stand on the matter.

Perera went on to say that the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee to seek opinions of the SLFP members on the UNHRC report and the proposals contained in it.

The SLFP media spokesman stated that Rajapaksa was most welcome to submit his views to this committee.

In a statement to media, the former President Rajapaksa and current Kurunegala district parliamentarian said his government did not cooperate with the OHCHR investigation for a lot of reasons, mostly due to the fact it was instituted outside the established process of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Rajapaksa went on to say that the usual procedure was for the President of the UNHRC to appoint a three-member independent panel to carry out the investigation after the relevant resolution is passed in the Council but the investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the really initial time, by the OHCHR.

The report of the OHCHR investigation was presented to the UNHRC in Geneva by UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra&#8217ad al Hussein on September 16th.

Foreign Affairs

Reject The UN War Crimes Report: Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Govt.

Issuing a statement former President Mahinda Rajapaksa these days urged the new Government to reject the report by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on war crimes allegations.

The full statement issued by Rajapaksa

As the former head of state, I feel it would be suitable to make known to the public my observations on the recently released report on Sri Lanka by the OHCHR. My government did not cooperate with this investigation for several motives, foremost of which was that it was instituted outdoors the established procedure of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The usual process was for the President of the UNHRC to appoint a 3 member independent panel to carry out the investigation after the relevant resolution is passed in the Council. Nonetheless the investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the extremely 1st time, by the OHCHR.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The OHCHR’s independence is questionable simply because it is funded for the most portion not by way of the normal spending budget of the UN but by means of ‘voluntary contributions’ from the quite Western states that sponsored the resolution against Sri Lanka. Additionally all the essential staff positions in this body are held by Westerners who make up half the cadre of the OHCHR. Resolutions are passed with overwhelming majorities at practically each session of the UNHRC calling for an ‘equitable regional distribution’ in staffing at the OHCHR to no avail. Given the composition of the OHCHR, it would not be possible to anticipate an impartial inquiry from them.

The Pakistani Ambassador to the UNHRC, HE ZamirAkram observed for the duration of the debate on the resolution that set up this OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka, that “No self-respecting nation would agree to the intrusive measures advocated in this resolution.” He also wanted to know how this investigation was going to be funded, and stated that if the ‘donors’ providing the funding were also the sponsors of this resolution, the complete approach would be seen to be tainted. In spite of persistent questioning, he did not obtain a satisfactory answer to his query.

The Indian Ambassador HE Dilip Sinha warned that “an intrusive strategy that undermines national sovereignty” is counterproductive and that what is needed is a “constructive approach for dialogue and cooperation.” India also refused to support the setting up of this OHCHR investigation. The final resolution had the assistance of only 23 members of the 47 member UNHRC despite all the pressure that its strong sponsors brought to bear on the member states. That in short, is the background to the OHCHR investigation that has led to this Report.

Some speculate that this report could have been watered down due to the fact a new government has been elected to energy. If that is correct, then the Pakistani Ambassador HE Akram would have been correct in telling the UNHRC on 27 March 2014, that this resolution is “All about politics and not about human rights.” Be that as it might, I don’t see this report as possessing been watered down. The most that can be carried out with a report of this nature is to recommend the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been accomplished.

Neither the OHCHR nor the UNHRC has the authority to set up an international war crimes tribunal. The only body with the authority to do so is the UN Security Council exactly where the veto power of China and Russia will be a element to contend with. Sri Lanka can not be taken before the International Criminal Court (ICC), due to the fact we are not a signatory to the Rome Statute below which the ICC functions. The other way is for the government of the nation concerned to cooperate voluntarily with the UN to set up a hybrid war crimes tribunal. What has been recommended in the OHCHR report is the only sensible way in which a war crimes tribunal can be instituted in relation to Sri Lanka. So it is incorrect to think that this report has been watered down in any way.

Some claim that this report has been watered down simply because no names have been pointed out in relation to any alleged incidents. That is obviously due to the reality that the OHCHR has no way of justifying such a linkage. But a prominent journalist D.B.S.Jeyaraj has pointed out that the names of crucial military personnel and units have in reality been described in the report in a manner created to incriminate and direct investigations even although those names have not been linked to particular incidents. Although some think that the report is not as negative as was anticipated, I do not share that view.

Even though some politicians claim that the threat of our war heroes getting arrested in foreign nations for alleged human rights violations under universal jurisdiction has receded simply because of this purportedly watered down report, the quite opposite is true in truth. There is a certain request made in this OHCHR  report on web page 252 to member states of the UN to investigate and prosecute those allegedly accountable for war crimes. This is in addition to the proposed hybrid war crimes tribunal they have advised. It is essential that the common public be informed about the genuine nature of this report.

Some appear to believe that had my government nonetheless been in power, this report could have led to economic sanctions getting imposed on Sri Lanka. However, neither the UNHRC nor the OHCHR can impose financial sanctions on a nation. Only the UN Safety Council has that authority and they will not impose financial sanctions except in the most serious conditions associated to a threat to worldwide safety. The USA and the EU could if they so wished, have imposed unilateral sanctions on Sri Lanka as it is their sovereign proper to refuse to trade with any nation. But such measures are extremely seldom implemented because the nation imposing sanctions ends up generating a permanent enemy of the folks of the country at the receiving end. Unilateral sanctions against Sri Lanka was never on the cards for the duration of my tenure.

Whilst there may have been tensions in between my government and some Western nations at particular times, there were Western leaders who understood our point of view as properly. John Kerry when he was the head of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wrote in his December 2009 report titled ‘Sri Lanka: Re-charting US Strategy soon after the War’ that the Obama administration need to take a broader multi-dimensional strategy to Sri Lanka not driven solely by brief-term humanitarian issues but involving political, financial, and security dimensions.

In the course of the war, Sri Lanka and the USA had a mutually useful exchange of information on safety matters. Republican administrations in the USA typically took a much less intrusive strategy to Sri Lanka. There is much more to international relations than just human rights. The purchases produced, contracts awarded and possibilities offered for investors all play an even far more  important part in international relations. So I do not think that the OHCHR report would have led to sanctions getting imposed on Sri Lanka if my government had nonetheless been in power. Throughout my tenure, the main foreign investors in the Sri Lankan long term sovereign bond market and the securities exchange have been from America and Europe. It is only soon after I was voted out of office that these investors started withdrawing their funds from Sri Lanka.
In ruling a nation, there are occasions when one has to go against the wishes of strong nations in order to serve the interests of the individuals. In 1952, when Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake signed the Rubber-Rice Pact with China, the USA had imposed financial sanctions on the new Communist government of China and rubber was on the prohibited list. But Prime Minister Senanayake exported rubber to China even at the risk of antagonizing the USA since the folks of Sri Lanka needed rice. Similarly, I also had to go against the wishes of specific strong nations to defeat terrorism and bring peace to this nation.
Had unilateral sanctions in fact been imposed on Sri Lanka by Europe and the USA throughout my tenure, we would undoubtedly have taken remedial measures. When the EU withdrew the GSP+ trade concession from Sri Lanka in 2010 below stress from the potent Eelamist lobby in Europe, my government saw to it that exports of apparel to Europe continued to develop year after year. In 2008-2009 when the whole world was reeling beneath the worst worldwide depression because the 1930s, the folks of this nation had been not even conscious of the worldwide recession because of the measures that my government took to contain the crisis. My government had an financial track record of which I am justifiably proud.

Several of the suggestions in the OHCHR report give result in for concern. In my view, establishing a hybrid special court to try war crimes integrating foreign judges, lawyers and investigators, and prosecutors is not feasible. If there are allegations of wrongdoing against any member of the armed forces, I strongly think that those must be tried below the existing Sri Lankan law, beneath our present courts system and by our judges and our Lawyer-General’s department. Our armed forces risked almost everything and produced huge sacrifices to save the nation from the scourge of terrorism.

The recommendation that the OHCHR be permitted to establish a permanent presence in this country to monitor the human rights situation makes no sense since the country has been at peace for over 6 years with no allegations of ongoing human rights violations.
The OHCHR has also advised that the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka must retract its refusal to accept the competence of the UN Human Rights Committee to consider person complaints from Sri Lanka. We had a equivalent arrangement with the Privy Council when we were a dominion of the British Crown. In my view, such an arrangement would not be of any advantage to Sri Lanka.

It has also been recommended by the OHCHR report on web page 250 that the Sri Lankan government develop a vetting process to ‘remove from office’ safety force personnel who are believed to have been involved in human rights violations. Nobody can, or should be removed from workplace on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations or on mere suspicions. The government must be mindful of the fact that these recommendations are becoming made by forces that attempted their greatest to quit the final offensive against the LTTE but failed.

The OHCHR has also advisable the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the Public Security Ordinance and the formulation of a new national security framework. Sri Lanka would not have survived as a state if not for these laws. The public security laws of a sovereign nation ought to be primarily based on an assessment of threats and other such factors and not according to the dictates of an international organization which does not specialize in public security.

I want to request the government to study the legal opinions on the law of armed conflict and humanitarian law given to the Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances by Sir Desmond De Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Rodney Dixon, David Crane and Paul Newton and contemplate circulating these to UNHRC member states –in certain the detailed report on the law of armed conflict in relation to the allegations produced against Sri Lanka which was submitted to the Commission on Disappearances by Sir Desmond De Silva recently. The views of these international lawyers should in my view, be incorporated in any detailed response to the OHCHR report.

Some politicians have been telling the individuals that all these international initiatives are based on my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Common of 23 Might 2009. I see that as a deliberate try to mislead the men and women and seek justification for their personal cooperation with interventionist foreign forces. There was practically nothing in my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Basic about war crimes investigations and hybrid or nearby war crimes courts. All that the Sri Lankan government undertook in that joint communiqué was to address ‘grievances’. The accelerated improvement of the north, the holding of the Eastern and Northern provincial council elections, the setting up of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances have been all measures taken in that spirit.

In reality in the course of the debate on the resolution that set up the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka in March 2014, the Indian, Cuban and Pakistani Ambassadors to the UNHRC taking the floor 1 after the other said in a single voice that the US backed resolution had not taken into account the wide ranging measures taken by the government to address outstanding issues, which includes the setting up of the LLRC. That was one particular of the factors they decided not to support the proposal for an OHCHR investigation against Sri Lanka.

Foreign Affairs

Lengthy Distance Nationalism – Dangerous For Sri Lanka

By Niranjan Canagasooryam &#8211

Niranjan Canagasooryam

Niranjan Canagasooryam

Long Distance Nationalism &#8211 Dangerous For Sri Lanka Reasoning behind the behaviour of the Sri Lankan diaspora

For the objective of this post, I refer to the Sri Lankan diaspora as these Sri Lankans who have migrated to a foreign country permanently and not these who are temporarily working or residing in foreign nations. Estimates suggest that the total Sri Lankan diaspora amounts to roughly two million, of which, it is estimated about 1.two million are of Tamil ethnicity and 800,000 of Sinhalese ethnicity.

A sizeable proportion of the Tamil diaspora migrated following the black July riots in 1983 exactly where they fled in worry for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The ensuing migration was the result of the ongoing civil war that posed poor living conditions and a continuous fear for security. This group of the Tamil diaspora are scarred with tragic tales and horrific memories of the darker side of Sri Lanka’s previous resulting in mixed emotions. Externally they bear deep hatred and open anger towards the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) for being the sole explanation that they fled their motherland. Internally, they feel what I refer to as “survivor’s guilt” when feeling privileged for achieving material accomplishment in their adoptive nations, they are also faced with the guilt for the fate of the much less fortunate loved ones members, community and homeland that they had left behind. In wrestling with this guilt, this section of the Tamil diaspora strongly voice out on GOSL who are overly nationalistic and a single that still fails to pay heed to the plight of the Tamils living in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

DiasporaThe majority of the Sinhalese diaspora migrated to seek economic accomplishment and upon reaching material good results, they feel something which I refer to as “wealth seeker’s guilt” exactly where they really feel the enduring guilt for leaving behind their motherland in order to accomplish material success and even unfairly lampooned as shallow wealth seekers. In wrestling with their personal demons, they support governments that strongly toe on nationalistic lines with anti-west sentiments.

The frequent complex faced by both ethnicities of the diaspora, is that they endure getting the perpetual outsider in white-dominated Christian societies, even though, the tide is turning with some moving into mainstream political life in their adoptive countries.

Dangers of Extended Distance Nationalism

While nationalism is an adored patriotic emotion, extended distance nationalism can pose numerous threats as it eludes reality at the grass-root level. Nowadays, the web creates a sense of immediacy for an idealised ‘homeland’ with no the wisdom of real lived expertise. This means that passions of expatriate communities can be very easily inflamed as the diaspora wrestle with their personal alienation and demons. Person nationalistic values are rooted from an individual’s own experiences as such, it is apparent that there will be conflicting values or sentiments for each and every group. This is perhaps why George Orwell commented that nationalism is ‘the worst enemy of peace’.

The Sri Lankan diasporas do not vote in Sri Lanka, and rightly so, as all politics are eventually regional. Democratic politics is rooted in the ground realities of municipality and townships and not in imaginary suggestions and hankering for an idyllic Sri Lankan from thousands of miles away. GOSL fortunes are not going to be decided in Toronto or London, so why it is important for GOSL to toil for excellent relations with the diaspora community?

Expatriate communities usually tend to be far far more conservative than domestic ones, precisely since the assaults on self-esteem are so wonderful in adoptive nations. The Zionist cause was, and is, championed by American Jews the Khalistan demand was run by expatriate Sikhs in Canada several Irish Americans supported these in Ireland waging war for the Irish identity and similarly at house, the LTTE received path, leadership and funding from Tamils residing in western societies. This distinctively demonstrates the danger of the pertaining strength of nationalism from the diaspora who frequently confuse the values of self to these of the nation.


The GOSL requirements to engage with the diaspora and continuing to ignore their existence or failing to be far more inclusive, can grow to be an exercising in polarising society rather than uniting it. In essence, it is pertinent that the GOSL ensures that the sentiments of Sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka is also migrated to the diaspora. In reality, long distance nationalism is unsafe for Sri Lanka and it is in this context the GOSL ought to have an inclusive method exactly where it embraces all stakeholders of Sri Lanka even the diaspora and in return these stakeholders ought to cease putting an “I just before Sri Lanka”.