Western Powers and the UNHRC keep Hounding Sri Lanka based on Unsubstantiated Allegations
By Mahinda Gunasekera
Moves by western powers and their subservient UNHRC to harass Sri Lanka for defeating the Indian trained Tamil Tiger Terrorists whom they nourished by permitting the Tiger front organizations to raise funds within their jurisdictions, to arm and sustain the terror group and maintain them as a constant threat to tearing the island apart. It fitted in with the western objectives of destabilizing smaller countries leading to their division or break up, preparing the ground for exploiting available resources or strategic locations. It is the same western powers that have a long history of violating human rights that have been hounding Sri Lanka at the UNHRC bringing charges of transgressing international humanitarian laws and war crimes based on one sided information from prejudiced sources claiming indiscriminate shelling of civilian safe zones, hospitals, denial of food to IDPs ,etc., and pulling out numbers of casualties from thin air without a proper investigation and repeating the much hyped figure of 40,000 civilian deaths in the latter stages of the armed conflict in 2009. These western powers sought even to intervene towards the end stages of the armed conflict to remove the Tamil Tiger leaders who refused to surrender to the local forces, and take them to a client state willing to provide asylum, so that they may continue to keep stoking the fires and keep the armed separatist flames burning in Sri Lanka.
The number of genuine civilians killed is unknown as none of the published figures distinguish between combatants, LTTE Auxiliary Forces Personnel, and genuine non-combatant civilians. The UN Resident Representative’s office in Colombo reported that a total of 7,721 were killed between end August 2008 and May 13, 2009 which number the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, did not accept stating that it could not be verified as the UN was not on the ground other than lower rung Tamil employees whom the LTTE refused to release. Amnesty claimed a total of 10,000 being killed, the UK Sunday Times reporter who only overflew the last battle ground when he accompanied Ban ki Moon on his inspection tour on May 25, 2009 reported that 20,000 had been killed in the last stages (i.e. January 1 to May 19, 2009), while UNSG’s so called Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka sitting in New York claimed tens of thousands of persons being killed estimated at 40,000, the same number reported on by the Int’l Crisis Group. Gordon Weiss who was the UN Spokesperson in Colombo later inflated the number killed to 40,000 in his book “The Cage”, which number he lowered to 10,000 when he was being questioned by a Sri Lankan audience in Australia, probably with a view to profit from his book sales to members of the expat Tamil community numbering over a million. He has been described elsewhere as an Unreliable Witness. That pro-LTTE reporter Frances Harrison is still counting the dead, having stated that 70,000 to 140,000 may have been killed. Yasmin Sooka who was appointed by Ban ki-Moon as one of the three members of the Panel of Experts on Accountability on Sri Lanka, close friend of Navi Pillay, whom I believe is a South African Tamil just like Navi P, who attends all the propaganda meetings organized by the pro-LTTE groups is on the same page as Frances Harrison claiming over 110,000 persons being killed in the last stages. She certainly benefited by her openly partisan stand, receiving a grant of 25 million Euros from the EU for a South African NGO headed by her.
In 2012, the Sri Lankan authorities carried out a census among the residents of the north to determine the number of persons who had been killed in the final stages using Tamil school teachers and public servants as enumerators and arrived at a figure of 7,432 excluding those who had died of natural causes. Strangely, on adding up the monthly number of such casualties reported in the propaganda arm of the LTTE, namely the Tamilnet, the total killed for the period January 1, 2009 to May 19, 2009 was 7,398 which was below the GOSL census count.
The UNSG’s PoE which claimed 40,000 had been killed, also stated that a large proportion of the LTTE fighters did battle in civilian attire thereby blurring the distinction between combatants and civilians. Furthermore, they had based their conclusions mainly from one sided information provided to them by pro-LTTE elements, which material they recommended be locked away for a period of 20 years till 2031. Today, Sri Lanka is being hounded by the west and the UN on the basis of this report produced by the UNSG’s PoE, an internal document prepared purely for the guidance of the UNSG, which concluded there were ‘credible allegations‘, which was apparently leaked by the UNSG’s office to the UNHRC, which Navi Pillay sought to table at the UNHRC sessions although it was not a UN sanctioned document.
Another interesting statistic is the total number of injured persons among the Tamil IDPs according to the ICRC responsible for ferrying them by land and sea for medical attention was 18,439 which is lower than the 40,000 supposedly killed during the last stages. Normally, the injured (WIA) is between 2-3 times the number killed, which means that the number injured should have been 80,000 – 120,000.
Amnesty and HRW commissioned a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to determine the number killed after analysis of the high resolution satellite imagery of the final battleground. The latter were only able to come up with a total of 1,346 burial spots in three burial sites within the Civilian Safety Zone (CSW), which detailed report is carried in their website. As this report did not support the bogus numbers swirled around by LTTE propagandists, Amnesty and HRW did not proceed with their planned report to press for action against Sri Lanka. The AAAS report was also able to identify some 65 or so craters which they determined had been made by Mortar Shells (not artillery) along the perimeter of the CSZ close to the Nandikadal Lagoon where the LTTE fighters were concentrated, and close to the coast where the Sea Tigers operated. Even the buildings without roofs initially thought to have been targeted with artillery fire turned out to have been dismantled by the LTTE to cover their bunkers or hide their long range weapons, while the building walls remained undamaged.
The Sri Lankan forces abandoned air attacks and use of Artillery/MBRL in the latter part to prevent harm to the civilian population, while they faced a continuous barrage of artillery and mortar fire from the LTTE resulting in the loss of around 2,500 soldiers and a further 5,000 or more becoming injured. The LTTE too would have lost at least an equal number of combatants due to the intensive battles at the end stages. If one takes out 2,500 from the UN number of 7,721, one is left with 5,221. Of this number, several were killed by the LTTE which ordered their cadres to fire on escaping civilians, and even unleashed suicide bombers and artillery fire on the escaping civilians who earlier formed a human shield. Some others killed would have been members of the LTTE’s Auxiliary Forces that supplied ammo, removed injured and dead fighters, or were engaged in digging trenches or building defensive berms, and yet others from the Makkal Padai, their civilian fighters. Once you adjust for the LTTE’s own killings, auxiliary forces personnel, Makkal Padai forces that were killed, you will be able to ascertain the number of genuine civilians who were killed in the crossfire and ongoing battles.
The resolution brought by the western powers before the UNHRC is one aimed at bringing Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel before a hybrid court with the participation of foreign judges, investigators and prosecutors, whereas the LTTE which carried on a campaign of horrific atrocities over three decades including the detonation of 388 human bombs by brain washed suicide killers are being overlooked, as the focus is only on the latter stages from January 1, 2009 to May 19, 2009 when the LTTE leadership were eliminated in battle. The wrongdoings of the LTTE and the violations committed by the Indian Forces that operated in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990 too must be similarly investigated if the process is to be fair. The UNHRC should also not ignore the violations on the part of the western powers that unilaterally invaded or attacked sovereign countries in the Middle East and Africa, or resorted to Drone strikes in several countries to take out targeted individuals causing harm to innocent civilians in the vicinity.