GSLF’s purpose is to prove that the OISL report is false
By Kelum Bandara
Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) President Sunil Chandrakumara in an interview with the Dailymirror spoke about the UNHRC process. GSLF is a front organized by Sri Lankans to counter the pro-LTTE propaganda.
Q How do you counter the pro-LTTE propaganda during the process of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva normally?
Usually LTTE supporters arrive in groups and conduct awareness meetings called ‘side events’ within the HRC premises. In these events they propagate a very dark picture about Sri Lanka with lots of false information and lies. They resort to a very effective tactic which is holding these sessions by collaborating with other NGOs who are active against injustices taking place in their respective countries such as Palestine to convince the audience that the scenario in SL is similar to those well-known injustices. Further, delivering short speeches within the main assembly under the provision given for NGOs is another opportunity they use extensively to spread false information about Sri Lanka. All these years there was no representation from the patriotic side to present the ground reality of our motherland. This time we countered their allegations in the same front such as side events and in the main assembly by delivering short speeches which exposed and rebutted their lies.
Q The GSLF lobbied for Sri Lanka during the last couple of years in Geneva. How do you see the results?
Our presence in the HRC commenced from March 2017 and prior to that Geneva was very little known for patriotic originations in Sri Lanka. We participated in the past four sessions with increased activities in a steady manner. Thanks to the courtesy of Ven. Kassapa Thera, the chief incumbent of the Birmingham Maha Viharya in UK, we have been given an opportunity to have access to NGOs at the HRC to carry our activities. We started with three speeches during the first session and exactly after one year in March 2018, we could deliver nearly 20 speeches and have three side events. Now our patriotic front has been made visible not only in the HRC, but globally.
We could witness a paradigm shift of the general audience within the HRC through the feedback received during our side events. The Gobbles Theory practiced by the Eelamists (rebels), which they successfully executed at the global level to transform the world opinion against the truth, has now been challenged with the presence of GSLF. While we have to accept that, what we have done so far is not strong enough to turn the tide, I am very confident with the progress we have achieved so far within a short period and the awareness we could make in all our people. This can elevate us as a formidable force to defeat the menace of separatism in the international arena.
Q Sri Lanka has already cosponsored the resolution. Therefore, the Government is bound to implement them. In that context, how do you withstand the pressure from the international community in the UNHRC?
The anti-national position maintained by the Yahapaalana Government by co-sponsoring the resolution 30/1 that was proposed by USA against Sri Lanka, has sealed our fate, acknowledging all false allegations. A two-year term has been given to Sri Lanka to implement all the recommendations and send Special Rapporteurs to monitor the progress and submit reports to the council. The road map showing the way towards a separate state is very clear, but still we can escape from the trap which the Yahapalana Government has willingly stepped on. Our whole purpose is to prove that the OISL report which was the basis of the resolution 30/1 is full of false evidences, biased assumptions and has followed non-standard practices. No verifications of evidences and witness testimonies were done before jumping to conclusions and making recommendations. The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL)can move another resolution with the backing of the minimum of 17 member states to negate the 30/1 resolution and obtain the approval of the majority for a favourable result. The GOSL has to work very hard to convince other states to overturn the unfavourable situation. We (GSLF) have done the initial work and have prepared the platform for GOSL to launch the rest of the assault to win the battle.
Usually LTTE supporters arrive in groups and conduct awareness meetings called ‘side events’ within the HRC premises. In these events they propagate a very dark picture about Sri Lanka with lots of false information
Q There are reports that a complaint would be made against the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. How effective is such a move?
HRC charter possesses a provision in-built in the system where any individual, organization can bring up any injustice or human right violation to the council that takes place anywhere in the world. The HRC’s advisory committee will review it before accepting to proceed further or not. Since the HRC has not taken any action regarding the report (A factual appraisal of the OISL report; a rebuttal to the allegation against the armed forces) we submitted to the council we were compelled to follow it up with counter-actions seeking justice from the council through the complaint procedure.This special provision was followed after due consultation with QC Sir Geoffrey Nice, an expert on Human rights Law and the petition was lodged by Lawyer Dharshan Weerasekara. We could challenge the resolution 30/1 with the framework of the HRC system and question their mandate. Further, the very basis of the resolution which was built upon using the OISL report consists of lies, assumptions and false testimonies. As we could build our report based on reliable evidences and facts certified by legitimate bodies functioning at that time, we are confident to establish the truth.
Q The Government has already enacted the bill on enforced disappearances ahead of the UNHRC session. How do you view it?
This is how the current Government won the international community. The difference between the previous Government and the present regime in handling such issues, is all about protecting national interests in the face of the ambitions of the LTTE diaspora. Our national pride and the self-respect as a sovereign nation have been totally forgotten. The present regime is determined to fulfil all its promises made to the LTTE diaspora at the so-called SINGAPORE agreement in order to assume power. The ulterior motive of the Enforced Disappearances Bill is to punish the political leadership including the defense secretary who backed the military to win the humanitarian war and its leadership. Appointing pro -LTTE supporters as commissioners is another proof of the claim above. This act is totally against the will of the people of this country and there is no mandate to do so due to the rejection of these treacherous acts which were illustrated during the recent elections.
Q The Office of Missing Persons has already undertaken its tasks. All these have become part of Sri Lanka’s law. How are you going to counter it now?
The intention is very clear; this special office has been established to investigate complaints received from the Northern and the eastern provinces. Commissioners exercise power to decide what cases they wish to take up. We should understand that this law is not for the justice of thousands who disappeared during 1988/89 period or to investigate how Rohana Wijeweera was killed, while under arrest. As people have given a very clear message disapproving of the good governance regime, all patriotic Sri Lankans living in the country and outside have a great responsibility to defeat this conspiracy. The Joint opposition has to act with constrain and perform its national duty by gathering all patriotic resources against its functioning as expected by the LTTE diaspora. It is the people’s power that can overturn this ill-fated anti-national law. The ultimate target should be to bring another legislation in Parliament to make this particular bill null and void.
Q There is a new international order now with the United States not stressing too much on Human Rights issues. In that context, how advantageous is it for Sri Lanka in your view?
It is a fact that this Yahapalana regime does not want to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the country. Instead, they have chosen to satisfy the few who took part in the so-called regime change conspiracy. Nationalistic views of President Trump and their influence vested upon the global political horizon were not considered favourable at all in a manner which would be advantageous to Sri Lanka. Further there was another attitude change when the Prime minister of UK said that she will ignore human right laws to protect her law enforcement officials who engaged in counter terrorism operations. Another opportunity arose when Lord Naseby refuted the Darusman Report, which mentioned that the civilian death toll as 40,000, based upon the classified reports that stated as 7000 which was dispatched by the defense attaché of the British high commission office in Sri Lanka. The GSLF submitted a comprehensive document which stated, “A rebuttal to the allegation against the armed forces”. This was submitted to the HRC and can be used to challenge all charges at the Council. Unfortunately, none of these opportunities was positively considered to save the country. This Government pretends to be asleep.
GSLF has a clear vision to defeat LTTE’s agenda by exposing them in front of the International community. A petition with 15,000 signatures, which we prepared, requesting the British Government to ban the LTTE supporters displaying the Eelam flag and photos of Prabhakaran, will be handed over to the Prime-minster – UK, once the appointment is secured.
As a follow up action to the meeting held with Lord Naseby at the British parliament in February 2018, we have prepared a comprehensive report to show the death toll that appeared in the official web site of the LTTE: Tamil net. This will be utilized by Lord Naseby to press the UK Government to honour the truth.
Finally, the head office of the GSLF is already established as a NGO and we hope to manage all affairs from Sri Lanka. The main advantage of functioning from Sri Lanka is that anyone who lives abroad with access to the his or her motherland can become not only a member, but move up in the hierarchy and even become its president.