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Sunday, 24 February 2013

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UNHRC must prove its sincerity

The LTTE rump has resorted to various tactics to mislead the international community ahead of every United Nations Human Rights Council session (UNHRC), UN General Assembly (UNGA) or any other international platform such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). From the day the LTTE was crushed militarily in May 2009, the Tiger cohorts, LTTE poltergeists and a section of the Tamil Diaspora have conducted similar campaigns. There is no exception this time around as the UNHRC is due to meet in Geneva shortly.

The LTTE rump is adept at trotting out concocted stories whenever such an international session is round the corner. Moreover, they dish out various fabricated stories on the eve of international summits, such as the UNHRC.

It is now customary for Tiger cohorts to indulge in a variety of media gimmicks through their worldwide contacts to woo international sympathy. They expend millions of rupees to conduct such international campaigns with their well-established contacts in the international media. For example, Channel Four is notorious for its doctored videos to discredit Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces and undermine their Herculean Morale.

Millions of dollars are channelled annually to fund such international media campaigns before the UNHRC, UNGA, CHOGM or any similar event. Photographs of terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's second son are splashed in yet another well-orchestrated move by the LTTE rump to exert pressure on Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHRC Sessions.

Most Western countries don't seem to still understand Sri Lanka's true ground situation as the Tiger cohorts adopt various tactics to discredit Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world. At the same time, some Western politicians who depend heavily on the Tamil Diaspora vote for their political survival in their adopted countries, also operate behind the scenes.

Hence, human rights issues have now turned out to be an effective tool for the so-called big countries to intimidate small countries to suit their hidden agendas. Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have more often than not exploited this tool to fall in line with Western conspiracies and tame countries which the so-called big nations identify as 'threats' or challenges.

When powerful Western nations turned a Nelsonian eye to Tiger terrorists exploding bombs targeting civilians, Sri Lanka had little or no choice, but to launch its own battle against seething terrorism with the help of friendly countries. It is now crystal clear that some organisations and certain countries with vested interests are trying to exploit the UNHRC to achieve their ulterior motives.

LTTE cohorts, shadow organisations and a section of the Tamil diaspora are hell-bent on going hammer and tongs with their action plan for the forthcoming UNHRC sessions through their influential governments in the West.

Although the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UNHRC project a keenness to protect international human rights, in actual practice, the conduct of these international human rights watchdogs has become highly questionable. AI and HRW are biased and employ double standards in their operations. Their observations woefully lack political neutrality and their research methods, to say the least, are ambiguous.

What is more baffling is that they turn a blind eye to human rights issues in some countries while they take others to task. The United States, which is trying to bring in another Resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, must weigh the pros and cons and clear the garbage in its own backyard before pointing an accusing finger at Sri Lanka.

The US government has time and again over-emphasised its so-called diplomacy values, by playing the human rights record ad nauseum against those countries and regimes which it doesn't favour. In this backdrop, the HRW and AI interests come within the ambit of the US diplomatic strategy, despite its INGO status. The US should first and foremost make its own evaluation and take stock of the human rights violations of the US-led NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, apart from the drone attacks in Pakistan. What action has the US taken against such indiscriminate aerial attacks which killed thousands of hapless civilians?

When countries such as Sri Lanka were invaded by Western powers, their armies killed tens of thousands of helpless civilians. It is an open secret how the invading forces killed thousands of Sri Lankans from 1505, until the country gained independence from the British in 1948. The jackpot question is whether any of these Western countries had taken accountability seriously. Instead, they are now pontificating to Sri Lanka on human rights and accountability.

Rather than putting their own house in order or acknowledging their past demeanour, these self-same countries weep buckets of tears over the human rights of LTTE terrorists who went on the rampage in a relentless war against a legitimate government. It is in this context, that we believe, that human rights have now turned out to be an effective tool for powerful nations to intimidate small countries to suit their hidden agendas.

Sri Lanka to all intents and purposes acted in a highly responsible and transparent manner when it conducted its humanitarian operation, having maintained a zero civilian casualty rate at all times. Sri Lanka's democratically elected Government has a sacred duty to protect its people and safeguard the country's unity and territorial integrity at all costs. Western countries must stop their grave-digging campaigns and extend a hand of solidarity and goodwill to Sri Lanka in its reconciliation drive.

Is there any justification or urgency to float a resolution calling for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations and engage the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights when this has already been effectively undertaken by the Government? The international community must give Sri Lanka some breathing space to implement its own mechanism, instead of compelling her to implement their agendas. It is deplorable that these Western countries fail to perceive the excellent harmony that exists among all communities in Sri Lanka.

The capital, Colombo, is the best example of ethnic harmony and coexistence. Some countries and certain international organisations, which are blind to these stark facts, continue to exert undue pressure on Sri Lanka to 'protect' the human rights of terrorists who had butchered thousands, including women, children and religious and world leaders. Is this because Sri Lanka scored a first in eradicating terrorism?

The LTTE, for over two decades, had indiscriminately massacred thousands of civilians in massive bomb explosions targeting the public. The Tigers brutally assassinated hapless civilians belonging to all three communities - Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese. Property worth billions of rupees was destroyed as the LTTE targeted key economic hubs such as the country's only international airport and the Central Bank headquarters.

The so-called godfathers of human rights and those who project themselves as leaders of the global battle against terrorism remained silent when Sri Lanka was at the receiving end. Nevertheless, thanks to the few friendly countries which stood firmly by Sri Lanka, the LTTE was vanquished on May 18, 2009. Had it not been for President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political sagacity and dauntless leadership, Sri Lanka would never have defeated terrorism. The elected leaders and the Government are accountable only to the masses and certainly not to the Western politicians who dance the fandango round the LTTE rump.

What President Rajapaksa had told the UN General Assembly five years ago is well worth repeating - "there can't be two types of terrorism, one for the West and another for this part of the world". He emblazoned the fact that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists and terrorism in any part of the world should be eradicated in like manner.

It is needless to state that no other Army in the world has acquired such tremendous experience in guerrilla warfare and anti-terrorist strategies. If the UN and other world organisations which scream to the high heavens against terrorism are really sincere, they should by all means grab Sri Lanka's expertise to crush global terrorism. It behoves the UNHRC members to assess Sri Lanka's position with utmost care before bringing in another resolution against it. Any untoward action would seriously hamper the peaceful environment now prevailing. Colombo stands out as a shining example of ethnic harmony and peaceful coexistence. The UNHRC should consider these stark facts objectively and prove its sincerity.

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