UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Launches a Major Assault on Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty and targets the Defence Forces that defeated the LTTE, the World’s Most Brutal Terrorist Organisation.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has released his report dated 16h September 2015 on the investigations into the incidents which took place between February 2002 and November 2011 plus ‘on going violations’ . His briefing on the report and his suggested hybrid mechanism to investigate into the said incidents and his comments such as some issues are of grave nature and country’s legal system do constitute an assault on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the defence forces.
The investigation of the OHCHR was based on THREE sources. (1) The report of the Panel of Experts appointed to advise the Secretary General of the UN. (2) The Channel 4 presentations of Callum Macrae and his team and (3) The petitions received by the OHCHR with regard to the purported incidents relating to war in Sri Lanka.
The report of the Panel of Experts was originally for the purpose advising the UN Secretary General and was never placed at the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly enabling Sri Lanka and other members of the UN to comprehend the contents and consequently to respond to the ‘Allegations’ collated by the Panel of Experts from ‘witnesses’ whose identity will not be known for many more years. Therefore, the conclusions or the issues discussed in the report of the Panel of Experts cannot be considered on any reasonable grounds as fair or sensible source to find fault with Sri Lanka.
The Ch 4 films, comments of Callum Mackray and his team are mainly based on the films produced to depict allegations of violations of human rights by Sri Lankan forces. According to a well- known British journalist, A.A.Gill writing on the Ch 4 video ‘killing fields’, ‘the Channel has accumulated a large number of samizdat amateur footage from mobile phones video cameras –mostly UN-ATRRIBUTED AND UNCORROBORATED. It mixes that footage with comments from unnamed sources with distorted voices and shadowed faces. It was brutal and shocking BUT IT WASN’T JOURNALISM. Not a second of this has been shot by Ch 4 : None of the eye witnesses accounts come from journalists.” Further, according to another expert there is no fool proof method to prove that the protagonists were members of the Sri Lankan defence forces.
The petition received by the OHCHR is the 3rd source which are not made available to the Council members for their study or comments. As anyone interested in the matters concerning Sri Lanka’s foreign issues, the existence of a strong and a vocal anti-Sri Lankan Lobby is a well- known factor. The highly orchestrated fronts have been actively lobbying the foreign governments and even the OHCHR to pressurize them to impose ‘punishments’ on Sri Lanka and therefore, the petitions received by the OHCHR and which were not made available to Sri Lanka or the other members of the OHCHR for verification and comments CANNOT be considered as a reliable source of evidence. Furthermore, the submissions made by several other Sri Lankan organisations, including our own, were not even acknowledged by the OHRCR.
The High Commissioner’s recommendation for a hybrid investigation based on above 3 sources more than confirms the fact that he is interested in another mechanism to fulfil the objective of influencing the final outcome by dictating the type of investigation. But, he fails to mention that Sri Lanka has already proceeded with a complete domestic investigation through its LLRC which has put out a report. There was a further report of the Commissioner for Missing Persons. The LLRC produced an exhaustive analysis plus the evidence on which the report was based including the testimony of the witnesses interviewed by the panel and it is available as a public document. Both reports confirmed that the civilian casualties should be considered as collateral damage rather that deliberate killings.
The High Commissioner and OHCHR should be bound by the UN practices to comment and if necessary to reject these reports giving reasons before recommending a further hybrid investigation.
The High Commissioner’s report has also failed to highlight the consequences of unmitigated violence and HR violations carried out by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) including the repercussions of child conscription, ethnic cleansing of Sinhala and Muslims civilians, blowing up of civilian aircraft, vessels & buses and the assassination of political rivals including non-compliant Tamils. Other than the relatively mild criticism of the LTTE and the occasional reference to both parties, there is no attempt to assign any culpability to those (including the expatriate LTTE Diaspora) who funded its campaign of terror and the servile Tamil politicians who accepted the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils and provided both overt and covert support.
The report also fails to acknowledge how the Sri Lankan forces rescued nearly 300,000 Tamil citizens who were used as human barriers, how more than 10,000 child soldiers were rescued and rehabilitated, how the IDPs were accommodated and resettled in an exemplary manner and how that the land was cleared as quickly as possible for resettlement of Tamil civilians. In many of these tasks the members of the defence forces played a key role and the High Commissioner should have posted his comments whereas he has opted to cast an aspersion on some members of the defence forces based on the unverified evidence submitted by three highly questionable and hardly reliable sources.
The Members of the OHCHR, the Sri Lankan Government including the patriotic members of the Parliament, the members of the Maha Sanga and other clergymen, the members of the civil society must reject the High Commissioners report which is a clear assault on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, a member nation of the UN, and its defence forces who sacrificed a great deal to safeguard the nation.
A hybrid investigation based both on erroneous procedural as well as substantive grounds is only a mechanism for foreign intervention and should not be agreed to, especially when the reports of several Sri Lankan investigation and the Paranagama Commission reports are available for the information of the OCHR and the UN.
Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka (Victoria)
Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka (NSW)
Western Australia Society for Peace, Unity and Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka (WA)
Veera Parakramabahu Foundation Inc. (NSW)
Sri Lankans Against Terrorism (NSW).
Sinhala Cultural Association (ACT)
Viru Daru Diriya Fund (Victoria)