UNHCR action impedes reconciliation in Lanka
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's recent remarks on Sri Lanka,
especially on the progress of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Committee (LLRC), should be an eye-opener for the West.
Farmers in the North harvesting onions.
The Australian leader, in a recent meeting with President Mahinda
Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New
York, has commended Sri Lanka for its successful implementation of the
LLRC recommendations and the country's ability to maintain a 7.8 percent
"The fact that the LLRC is going so well is a credit to you," Prime
Minister Abbott was quoted as telling President Rajapaksa when the two
leaders met in New York. Abbot has said that it was a remarkable
achievement of Sri Lanka to maintain a 7.8 per cent GDP growth with the
potential of it increasing further before the end of the year.
At a cordial discussion, the two leaders caught up on a range of
matters of bilateral interests. President Rajapaksa has briefed the
Australian Prime Minister on recent developments in Sri Lanka in the
economic and development sectors as well as ongoing reconciliation work.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation between the two
countries. Australia has thanked Sri Lanka for its assistance to curb
people smuggling issues.
The Australian Prime Minister has said the credit for the smooth
functioning of the LLRC to strengthen national reconciliation should go
to the Lankan leader.
When certain Western leaders continue to harp on the human rights of
the LTTE terrorists killed during the Security Forces relentless battle
against terrorism to save 21 million Sri Lankans, the views expressed by
the Australian Prime Minister are food for thought. Especially the
countries which use the UNHRC as a platform to use human rights as a
tool to meddle in internal matters of Sri Lanka should open their eyes
and have a closer look at what Abort says.
Ever since the LTTE leadership was vanquished at the Nandikadal
lagoon little over five years ago, the LTTE rum and a section of the
Tamil Diaspora said that some LTTE leters who came to surrender waving
white flags had been shot dead by the Security Forces. This was a
large-scale lie masterminded by the LTTE rump to discredit the Security
Forces which had conducted themselves in an exemplary manner.
But all those wild allegations should now come to an end after what a
widow of the senior most LTTE leader had disclosed.
Even Shashirekha, the widow of former LTTE Political Wing leader S.
P. Thamilselvam, has said that the white flag drama was a total
fabrication. Paris-based Shsashirekha has said that none of the LTTE
leaders came to surrender to the Security Forces waving white flags and
those claims are far from the truth.
Shashirekha had further said that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran,
under no circumstances, had given permission to any of the sectional
leaders to surrender to the advancing Security Forces by waving white
flags. Her stunning disclosure has greatly perturbed the LTTE rump and
the Tamil Diaspora in the West.
Thamilselvam's wife's bold statement is an eye-opener to the West and
all those who try to level war crimes allegation against Sri Lanka's
valiant Security Forces. The white flag incident is a concocted story
initiated by the LTTE rump with a clear motive of levelling war crimes
charges against the Security Forces. But the then Army Commander Sarath
Fonseka has constantly denied such allegations, claiming that none of
the LTTE leaders came to surrender waving white flags during the final
phase of the humanitarian operation at Nandikadal lagoon.
The UN and the UNHRC has been used more often than not to discredit
Sri Lanka and exert undue pressure for the 'sin' of becoming the first
and the only country to eradicate terrorism. If the godfathers of the
world peace are since with what they preach, they should grab Sri
Lanka's expertise and the first-hand experience to crush international
Instead, certain Western countries continue to make a big hue and cry
over the so-called human rights violations. They do not utter a word on
the numerous instances of human rights violations committed by the LTTE,
especially showing no mercy whatsoever to the lives of 21 million
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has once again opened the eyes of the
international community with a bold speech at last week's United Nations
Although the role of the UN in advancing international peace,
security and prosperity is crucial in the contemporary world, in order
to gain the confidence and goodwill of the international community as a
whole, one of the essential requirements is consistency of standards
across the board without any perception of selectivity or
He has further stated that in this context, the current functioning
of the system needs fresh examination in order to enhance its
To be successful, this process must involve de-politicisation of the
UN systems and mechanisms and they must stop being hostage to different
forms of funding.
Human rights are being used as a tool to implement motivated agendas
with no understanding or appreciation of the complexity of issues in the
countries concerned. Human rights should be recognised by all as a moral
and ethical concept rather than as a political tool.
External intervention without adequate consideration of the
structures in a society and cultural traditions of the countries where
such intervention takes place, inevitably results in destabilisation,
which is very much in evidence today, in most parts of the world, as the
President has quite rightly pointed out.
Sri Lanka has also become an unfortunate victim of ill-conceived
agendas of some in the UNHRC, who pay scant regard to the substantial
progress achieved by Sri Lanka, in reconstruction, rehabilitation and
reconciliation within a short span of five years.
No other country has bounced back so quickly after such a bitter
battlefield experience and the advancement made by Sri Lanka on the
areas of development of the battle-hit areas and national reconciliation
has set new world standards.
However, it is sad to not that certain Western countries conveniently
ignore all these and only talk of the human rights of the LTTE
terrorists killed in action.
There is an obvious lack of balance and proportion in the manner in
which Sri Lanka is being targeted today, disregarding these significant
achievements. This approach is in sharp contrast with the approach to
deeply disturbing situations involving humanitarian emergencies
There are multiple challenges that still remain to be addressed - the
moral and practical importance of creating an equitable world and a
sustainable planet for this purpose cannot be ignored.
The Commonwealth, of which Sri Lanka is the current Chair in Office,
accounts for over one quarter of the UN membership.
They have endorsed the central focus on the eradication of extreme
poverty and re-affirmed commitment to sustainable development. Reducing
inequality within and among countries is one of the most transformative
goals that have been proposed by the Working Group on Sustainable
We earnestly hope that this goal will serve to enhance the voice and
representation of developing countries in decision making. When there
are critical world issues should be addressed on a priority basis, a
section of the international community only talk about human rights to
exert pressure on the countries which do not dance to their melody.
Sri Lanka does not wish to help legitimize a flawed process and have
a detrimental precedents established. Hence, it has to respectfully
refuse those who urge that Sri Lanka cooperate with the OHCHR
The Government has taken this position after much consideration and
represents not only the will of the Sri Lankan people as reflected in
the motion recently adopted in the Parliament with an overwhelming
majority, but also the majority within the Human Rights Council, who
refused to support Operational Paragraph 10 of HRC resolution 25/1 which
created an OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka in March this year.
The international community has a greater responsibility to look into
urgent world issues, rather than poking their fingers in Sri Lanka. With
all the calamities and afflictions around us today, Sri Lanka is clearly
not in a situation that needs the urgent and immediate attention of the
Obviously, there are greater issues and grave conditions that need
the urgent attention of the UNHRC.
Sri Lanka is continuing on a transformative journey in the interest
of all the people of Sri Lanka.
What Sri Lanka needs at this juncture is to be encouraged, and not
impeded. Sri Lanka does not need self-appointed arbitrators or judges
but sincere partners in its reconciliation drive.
The Government's principled opposition to the OHCHR investigation
stems from several well founded concerns - it's politically motivated
agenda, it challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state
of the UN, it violates a fundamental principle of international law,
which requires that national remedies have to be exhausted before
resorting to international mechanisms.
Moreover, though the UNHRC has pretended that it is helping Sri
Lanka, its actions have in effect impeded the reconciliation in Sri
The UNHRC, even at this every late stage and under the leadership of
a new High Commissioner, should prove its transparency. We will never
allow the UNHRC to meddle in internal matters of our country or take
action against the country's sovereignty in the guise of investigating
human rights violations.