Geneva Resolutions – Sri Lanka, the West and India
Media Release – Sri Lanka Support Group, Canberra
There is enormous pressure on Sri Lanka currently in Geneva to implement the LLRC recommendations. There is no need for the international community to pass a Resolution in this regard. Of the 135 main recommendations made by the LLRC, the Government has already implemented closer to half of them.
The Government has stated it can implement majority of the recommendations (some recommendations by the LLRC were ultra-virus as they went beyond the terms of reference of the Commission, such as the recommendation to appoint a National Land Commission (NLC) to formalise appropriate land policy guidelines- this can only be done through legislation enacted by the Parliament).
There are some recommendations that the Government wants to implement (more than the West), but it does not have funds to implement them.
After end of the war the international community did not come forward to mount a Marshal Plan for Sri Lanka (this is what the US did for Europe after end of the World War 2, which enabled Europe to prosper). Note, at the 2002 Tokyo summit the international community pledged $4.5 billion to Sri Lanka, what happened to the pledges, only the pledgers would know.
Those who are going to vote against Sri Lanka in Geneva should contribute to a fund so that Sri Lanka can implement majority of the LRC recommendations. The fund should be in the tune of amount pledged in Tokyo, or more. The US, UK, Canada and India – the current main enemies of Sri Lanka in Geneva should contribute lavishly to the fund.
Asking Sri Lanka to implement all of the LLRC recommendations is something akin asking someone with no bread to eat cake.
If the do-gooders can contribute to a fund, the Government will be able to implement most of the LLRC recommendations, such as the following, which require huge funds:
• A proactive policy should be implemented to encourage mixed schools serving children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
• Government should engage with the so-called ‘hostile diaspora groups’ constructively and address their concerns
. Institute an independent investigation into Channel 4 videos.
• A special commissioner should be appointed to investigate alleged disappearances and provide material to the Attorney general to initiate criminal proceedings as appropriate.
• Death certificates should be issued and monetary compensation should be provided where necessary. Steps should be taken to effectively implement the amendment to the Registration of Deaths Act (2006).
• Instances where there is prima facie evidence of conscription of children as combatants (by both LTTE and TMVP), any such alleged cases should be investigated and offenders must be brought to justice.
• Increased employment opportunities should be provided to those in the former conflict affected areas.
• An inter-agency task force mandated to addressing the needs of vulnerable groups like women, children, elderly and disabled, must be established.
Some say the LLRC has without authority recommended giving land rights and police powers to provincial governments, but, nothing of that sort is found in the LLRC recommendations. The LLRC recommended toning down of the military in the North, the Government has already implemented it.
But, the US led draft Resolution that was released recently (under the able advise of India) demands the withdrawal of entire military from the north (note the wording – demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka), release of detainees, decentralising power to the north and eastern provincial governments, international investigation into the alleged war crimes etc. None of these were in the LLRC recommendations. The West went to Geneva asking the Government to implement the LLRC recommendations; they cannot now put totally new demands of their own, that were not in the LLRC report. Needless to say if these new US demands are implemented they will lead to formation of the Tamil Elam in the north and east – something that the LTTE failed to achieve by gun, the Tamil Diaspora and the TNA now desperately try to achieve by pen, with the help of their allies – the US, UK, Canada and India.
Sri Lanka Support Group, Canberra