26 September, 2020

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21st Century UN Human Rights Mechanisms And The Tamils In Ceylon (Island of Sri Lanka)

By Deirdre McConnell –

Deirdre McConnell

During my University time, I supported the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, which was an important issue during the 70s and 80s. My involvement on human rights in Sri Lanka started during the time of widespread disappearances in the South, of Singhalese youth summarily executed in their tens of thousands in the late 80s. Through this, I learnt about the discrimination and oppression of the Tamil people and the long struggle in exercise of their right to self-determination and the approach throughout of the ruling Sinhala political leaders.

Concerning the Tamils’ perspective and hopes for peace, some years back I spoke at a conference in Ottawa, in this beautiful country. Three of those speakers, all human rights defenders, are no more with us. They were killed in Sri Lanka, in cold blood, in broad daylight, within a few years.

Kumar Ponnambalam, an eminent barrister and Joseph Pararajasingham, Member of Sri Lankan Parliament and Taraki Sivaram, well-known senior journalist, all advocated for the rights of Tamils.

I dedicate my talk to these people with whom we worked, and to all those who have died because they chose to defend the human rights of others.

To start, I would like to read you a paragraph from a letter written by Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, University professor and tutor of Queen Elizabeth II, C. Suntharalingam. He writes to then Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, in May 1957:

“I have just studied the press report of your statement to the House on the ‘reasonable use of Tamil’. That statement reminded me of a case of a peculiar criminal. He had inflicted a serious injury on his enemy with a view to murdering him. The victim, fortunately, survived. The criminal, thereupon, invited his victim for a conference to devise a formula about reasonable terms on which the victim should be permitted to live! You have done, and are doing to the Tamils precisely what the criminal sought to do and did with his victim!”

“I have just studied the press report of your statement to the House on the ‘reasonable use of Tamil’. That statement reminded me of a case of a peculiar criminal. He had inflicted a serious injury on his enemy with a view to murdering him. The victim, fortunately, survived. The criminal, thereupon, invited his victim for a conference to devise a formula about reasonable terms on which the victim should be permitted to live! You have done, and are doing to the Tamils precisely what the criminal sought to do and did with his victim!”

This speaks for itself. It tells us what is happening now, and has been happening for more than six decades. The realities have become more and more harrowing – an accumulation of horrors lived by the Tamil people.

The UN human rights mechanisms came into being in the hope of preventing the reoccurrence of the horrors of the two world wars. Since the birth of the UN there have been no more world wars – but there have been many wars between countries, coalitions and also there have been births of new states.

These last, fall into a few different categories – some came into being through the help of the UN; some even though there was a armed struggle, were eventually born through UN processes and assistance, as was the case of East Timor. The oppression against the East Timorese eventually led to an armed struggle in exercise of the right to self-determination and finally, after years of building international solidarity, a UN process resulted in the birth of a new country. New states in Eastern Europe and the USSR cannot be categorised in the same way, but the causes are well-known.

Do these realities shed any light on the situation in the island of Sri Lanka, where individual and collective human rights have been violated for decades?

Tamil activists and international human rights activists report the human rights violations taking place in Sri Lanka, and have done so at least from 1983 regularly to UN human rights mechanisms and forums for over twenty years. These bodies are therefore well aware of the true situation are mostly situated in Geneva, but there are other locations too, including world conferences on human rights.

The birth of the 21st century has changed the human rights mechanisms within the UN. The earlier Human Rights Commission and Sub-Commission have now taken new form in the Human Rights Council and Advisory Committee. This last doesn’t have any teeth when it comes to taking action on any country – whereas the Human Rights Council has a more sophisticated system to scrutinise violating countries.

Whereas the Commission only met annually, the Council meets several times a year in Geneva, which helps keeps the pressure up. The Universal Periodic Review – UPR, is a new mechanism where each country is scrutinised in turn, to verifywhether their obligations under the conventions and covenants the country has ratified, have been met. But the UPR does not deal with war crimes. The treaty bodies of course continue to monitor obligations under the relevant conventions, for instance the Convention against Torture.

The crucial question is, “Why have the international human rights promotion and protection systems failed when it comes to Sri Lanka? If we consider the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, we see that the Human Rights Council is the only place where there can reasonably easily be a resolution passed against a violating country. So this is the right place for human rights activists to work hard on bringing a resolution – on crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The contempt for international human rights and humanitarian law displayed by the Sri Lanka government has been breath-taking -literally. The worst is the snuffing out of precious life with absolute impunity – far more than 100,000 Tamil people over the decades. Then the systematic and horrific disappearances including by means of the notorious “white vans”, still continue today; the gruesome torture and collective punishment methods; rape used as a weapon of war; arbitrary arrest and detention. All this is done legally under for example the PTA (Prevention of terrorism Act), that protect the perpetrators and permit confessions made under torture as admissible evidence in court.

The catalogue of human rights violations is far too long. Waves of violations sprang from a range of repressive legislations over the decades. Colonisation of the Tamil hereditary land started even before independence, and grew steadily with calculated and methodical precision – the taking of land was not for farming or production – but for power. The changing of the demographics, to give successive governments increased electoral advantage was managed by settling Sinhala armed communities.

Add to this colonisation process, racist legislation introduced piece by piece to throttle the necks of Tamils people in economic, social and cultural matters as well as civil and political – and you have the relentless background to the history of human rights violations.

For thirty five years the Tamils used peaceful and non-violent means to protest – history shows that they were mercilessly repressed with military means. Pogroms against the Tamils were frequent and even the whole library in Jaffna was burned down in an act of memoricide – an attempt to kill the collective memory of a people.

The fact of genocide has been recognised, in 1983 by the International Commission of Jurists, based on the fact that Tamils represent a clearly defined group and those killing them, did so  with the intent to wipe them out as a group – in whole or in part; that the killers encouraged or implicitly supported by state authorities and that the acts of violence and mass killings of Tamils were criminal and systematic.

To understand the ideology that fuels the calculated will to destroy a people in whole or in part (Article 2 of the Genocide Convention) is important. The distorted interpretation of a Buddhist text legitimises violence against Tamils “The myth of reconquest” (Mahavamsa). The legitimization of violence dehumanises the “Other” who are rendered disposable, being an obstacle to an ideological vision of mono-ethnic “purity”. This reality needs to be grasped.

I have written in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, published in March 2008, on the Right to Self Determination of the Tamil people, a right enshrined in the UN major covenants and the UN Charter. There I have examined the links between the definition of the Tamils as a distinct people, and the political and ethnic violence meted out to them as falling within the definition of genocide according to precedents in international criminal law. The first international genocide trial in history, the Rwandan Akeyesu case, considered the scope and elements of genocide, defined what constitutes a protected group (shared language culture and stable existence) and recognized individual criminal responsibility for acts committed by subordinates. The trial chamber concluded that the victim ‘is the group itself and not only the individual’. It established crimes against humanity as inhumane acts part of a widespread or systematic attack, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part an ethnic group. These acts include extermination, murder, torture and rape.

In 1977 that the Tamil people backed the collective Tamil political parties in their election manifesto exercising the right to self-determination. It is the flagrant breaching of this collective right that encompasses the whole range of rights mentioned previously. Ironically, there is no mechanism for the protection of this right in the human rights mechanisms. Recognition becomes a political matter as invariably self-determination struggles occur where the powers over them, UN member states, are resistant to respecting those rights, and will go to extraordinary lengths sometimes to crush the people.

It is high time for the international community to recognise and understand these dynamics, and ensure that Tamils rights are protected, after all there is even a Responsibility to Protect.

When perpetrators of violations are not brought to book, then impunity becomes the next horror, leaving violators to commit increasingly horrendous crimes. Mr Bacre Ndiaye (UN Special Rapporteur for extra-judicial killings) said in his 1998 report after visiting Sri Lanka: “The culture of impunity has led to arbitrary killings and has contributed to the uncontrollable spiralling of violence”.

During the nineties there were many peace conferences and seminars on the situation in Sri Lanka. Tamil intellectuals and others called for a paradigm shift. The situation needed to be understood differently from the usual cursory, superficial sound-bites emanating from Colombo news rooms and by-lines, and organisations mimicking the government’s standpoint or paid vast sums to make clever deceitful propaganda for the government.

If analysis is based on erroneous thinking, the problem appears a complete riddle. A puzzle that is impossible to figure out. For instance there are people who hold that the conflict is the Tamils’ fault in the first place. Fallacious arguments are sometimes used such as, “Tamils only came in the early 19th Century to Sri Lanka to work on the tea plantations”, or “Tamils want to carve out a state” – as if the land was not theirs all along, especially the North and East. Contrary to these popular misunderstandings, promulgated for political reasons, as you know, there is evidence that Tamils lived on the island for more than 2,500 years.

In 2001, when I was in South Africa attending the World Conference Against Racism, TCHR had a stall with various photographs and leaflets explaining about racism in Sri Lanka. South Africans who visited the TCHR stall remarked that in South Africa they had had ‘Apartheid’ but never the type and extent of massacres that were happening in Sri Lanka.

Also I met Tamils living in South Africa, whose families had lived there for more than 140 years. In fact, these Tamils from South India had been brought by the British to South Africa as indentured Labourers to work in the sugar cane estates. It was during the same period, that the plantation Tamils were brought from South India to work in the tea plantations in then Ceylon (Sri Lanka), where they are still plucking tea leaves whereas in South Africa not a single Tamil is today in the sugar cane plantations, but they have senior positions in the Ministerial cabinet, business and entrepreneur community as well as academia. This shows how the racism in Sri Lanka is worse than Apartheid was in South Africa.

It is interesting that a writer in The Economist tried to understand what was happening, and wrote in 2007 that the war in Sri Lanka was a “War strange as fiction”. Without understanding the fact of an ongoing genocide it is difficult to comprehend. The real facts are kept away from the light of day, by suppressing journalism and not permitting witnesses to be present, whether as media or humanitarian NGOs, a known tactic of perpetrators of genocide. The non-“interference” of other countries is an absolute necessity for the continuation of the genocide. If others smelt the true stench of reality they would not stand for it.

One of many striking examples of the abuse of power was in 2003 the then President Kumaratunga, while her Prime Minister from another political party was out of the country, all of a sudden sacked the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Media and dissolved parliament with no valid reason. Three days prior to this, a proposal for a political solution known as the Interim Self-Governing Authority – ISGA had been presented by the Tamils to the government. Media personnel in Britain and other countries were stunned for twenty four hours wondering how these sackings could possibly happen in a “democratic” country. Soon international news moved its focus from Sri Lanka, and the questions died away.

So the paradigm shift is to see the situation as one where there has been a massive abuse of power, leading to violations reaching eventually genocidal proportions, the culmination being the unspeakable brutality we saw unfolding in early 2009 and ending in May of that year.

Clever and sophisticated eye-washes were carried out in the form of lip-service commissions into human rights, with narrow terms of reference that never addressed the root causes. Talk of commissions, investigations, even peace talks and even more absurdly war for peace were all mechanisms used by Sri Lanka to avoid scrutiny, to dodge accountability. Negotiating stances were a charade for public consumption rather than serious engagement in conflict resolution.

Sri Lanka managed to avoid scrutiny for a long time. But it cannot do so forever. In fact now the tables are turning slowly, but surely. The mills of the United Nations grind slow but sure. The genocide of the Chemmani mass graves in 1996, though taken up by international human rights organisations, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, did not attract any major action in the Human Rights international forums, the genocidal annihilation in 2009 is being viewed with horror and outrage. Sri Lanka is the first country for which the UN Secretary General, using article 100 under the UN Charter, has appointed a panel to investigate war crimes. The resultant Panel report, is a serious initiative, not to be underestimated. It challenges the resolution in favour of Sri Lanka passed at the Human Rights Council – HRC in May 2009, calling for this to be reviewed. It says “the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace”.

I would advise everyone to find ways to take up this issue in the forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka is not responding to the UN Secretary General’s report and international human rights organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group are consistently maintaining that Sri Lanka has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Whereas Sri Lanka always maintains it is a matter of internal affairs and denies the need for an independent investigation.

There is a recent precedent to take hope from. Belarus was strongly criticised for its abuse of Presidential powers, which led to violations of trade union rights and the serious assaulting of protesters. Belarus insisted this was an “internal affair”, that the government had itself established who was responsible, and that it was confident it could rely on influential countries to block a resolution in the Human Rights Council. However a resolution was successful, in June 2011, strongly condemning Belarus’  human rights violations. This could happen because 21 countries voted in favour, 5 against and 19 abstained.

Therefore we must call on all people who love freedom, justice and human rights, who uphold international human rights law and international humanitarian law, to work hard on this issue – so a next step can be taken to find justice for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.

Toronto,  Canada.

18 February 2012

*Deirdre McConnell:Director – International Programme –Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR

Above paper given by Deirdre McConnell of the Tamil Centre for Human Rights. She is also author of “The Tamil People’s Right to Self Determination”, published in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, March 2008.

On 18th February 2012, a conference organised by the Centre for War Victims and Human Rights (CWVHR) took place in Toronto, Canada. It was attended by 400 participants. The conference title was: “International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century and its challenges – Case Study on Sri Lanka”. Papers were presented by professionals, lawyers and intellectuals, followed by questions to the panel and discussion. Five Canadian Members of Parliament, from three political parties participated in the conference.

The speakers were: Ali Beydoun (Director of UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, working on a lawsuit against Major General Shavendra Silva in USA), Theodore Orlin (International Human Rights Lawyer, who has worked in many parts of the world, including the Balkans), John Argue (Amnesty International), Deirdre McConnell (Director – International Programme, TCHR -Tamil Centre for Human Rights), Rev. Dr S J Emmanuel (Priest, Author and President of the Global Tamil Forum), Danilo Reyes (Asian Human Rights Commission), David Matas (International Human Rights lawyer and specialist in Refugee Law) and Professor R. Sri Ranjan.

Mr. Anton Philip, founder-President of CWVHR, chaired the conference.

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    most telling is the absolute silence on the ltte. someone’s bread is buttered and someone knows which side has the butter. i wonder if ANYONE heard of this woman back in the late eighties.

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      As long as people like you exists in Sri Lanka, Tamil cannot expects any reconcilation.

      Continue to talk about LTTE and ignore the Tamil grieviences.

    • 2
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      You are spot on Malinda. I think its an open secret that loads of money is been spent my ‘interested’ parties to discredit Sri Lanka with the ultimate aim of achieving Eelam. Who is this Deirdre McConnell?

      • 0
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        You …… Chuvanists are trained from your child-hood to target Messangers rather than the message.

        Padraigcolman, Malinda Seneviratne, Gal Dharamapala should write counter points and argue on the matters raised rather than showing your 1956 to July 1983 civilisation.

        Reconcilation in Sri Lanka. It is a day dream. You people have the blood of …..Dharmapala.

        It is a waste of time

        • 1
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          Stanley what do you mean by this?

          “Padraigcolman, Malinda Seneviratne, Gal Dharamapala should write counter points and argue on the matters raised rather than showing your 1956 to July 1983 civilisation.”

          What is my 1956 to 1983 civilsation. To me 1956 means Elvis Presley, Sergeant Bilko, Manchester City won the FA cup, during the course of which their German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann broke his neck.Trautmann attended the evening’s post-match banquet (where Alma Cogan sang to the players). In 1983 I went to live in Wimbledon.

          What is a “chuvanist”?

      • 0
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        Hi De Mel

        There is nothing to discredit Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka ourselves discrite us.

        The way things are moving in Sri Lanka, we will give Eelam in a silver plate to the Tamils.

        • 1
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          “Hi De Mel There is nothing to discredit Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka ourselves discrite us.”

          There is an example Stanley. What does discrite us mean?

    • 0
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      Sorry to hear this gentleman is the Editor of a news paper in Sri Lanka.

      Sad to see the quality of journalism in Sri Lanka.

      No wonder, the people in the South will ask ‘who are these people called TAMILS’.

      I am really shame of what Malinda has written here.

      Can’t we manage anything without talking about disappeared group LTTE. If we should continue to talk about LTTE, what about talking about ANGARIYA DHARMAPALA

  • 1
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    “The fact of genocide has been recognised, in 1983 by the International Commission of Jurists, based on the fact that Tamils represent a clearly defined group and those killing them, did so with the intent to wipe them out as a group – in whole or in part; that the killers encouraged or implicitly supported by state authorities and that the acts of violence and mass killings of Tamils were criminal and systematic.”

    A strange kind of genocide which can encompass feeding 300,000 Tamil refugees, rehabilitating LTTE cadres, giving government ministries to Tamils and negotiating with the TNA. If the government had wanted to exterminate the Tamil race, they have gone about it in an inefficient manner.

    • 0
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      In a previous life, he was paid to lie for the British government and then left to shovel shit in a more literal sense in rural County Cork. He has a gentleman’s degree in American Studies from Manchester University.

      He has lived in Sri Lanka since 2002 and intends to stay.

      IT LOOKS NOW Sri Lankan Government has been paying him to lie for GSL

      • 1
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        Great stuff Gal!! Top man yerself! I should point out to readers that the words that Gal quotes are not the result of some ground-breaking investigation by his good self. I ACTUALLY WROTE THOSE WORDS MYSELF in a spirit of self-deprecating humour.

        For the record, the Sri Lankan government have never paid me a single rupee. I write the truth without expecting any recompense.

        Perhaps you could now turn your attention to the more substantive issue, Gal, old chap. How would you define “genocide”. Ms McConnell does not adhere to the normal use of the word. Whatever awful things happened during the conflict, they do not meet the normally accepted definition of genocide.

      • 0
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        Sir, everyone in this earth can do, what ever only within their capacity. We can see this in your writings. Dont allow others to vomit on you.

        • 1
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          What does that mean, Stanley?

      • 0
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        Gal, you’re spot on. The true colours do surface one day. A paid agent is always a paid agent . Dirty money speaks. Somehow to find a paymaster in the name of GOSL. Well done for screwing our GOSL.

      • 1
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        Hey Gal, don’t bother me…whatever else one may say or speculate about Padraig Colman, what is incontrovertible is that his articles were carried many times by one of the world’s most respected and highbrow publications, Le Monde Diplomatique.

        • 1
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          Thank you Dr DJ.

          To blow my own trumpet – those articles were also syndicated by Agence Gobale in many outlets including the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Scotsman. I’m not just anybody, you know!

          It is interesting to note that my articles drew many comments, including the accusation that I was regurgitating LTTE propaganda. Someone once sent me a nasty e-mail threatening to report me to the authorities for supporting the LTTE. Can’t do right for doing wrong!

      • 1
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        Another point worth making is that the bio I wrote, which Gal so geleefully quotes against me, accompanies an article strongly crtiical of the influence of Buddhism in Sri Lankan politics.

    • 0
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      PADRAIGCOLMAN : “What is my 1956 to 1983 civilsation. To me 1956 means…….”

      Here you admit that you know nothing about politics in Sri Lanka.

      Thank you very much showing in black and white that you have no knowldge in neither politics nor in common-sense.

      Please continue with your silly comments.

      • 1
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        Stanley, with more respect than you are entitled to, I will tell you that I know a great deal about Sri Lankan politics. My difficulty is understanding you gnomic and ill-expressed comments. I know what fine well happened in 1956 and in 1983 and have written extensively about it. If you have anything to say please to me say it clearly.

      • 1
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        Dear Stanley,

        Forgive me for goading you in a frivolous manner. You are eminently goadable.

        A few years ago I wrote an article about 1956 and 1983 for an American audience. Here is an extract. Forgive me if it seems over-simplified to you. You must bear in mind that Americans have a notoriously brief attention span when they are reading about other countries.

        You will no doubt find fault with this. I would welcome any corrections.

        “The pressure for violent Tamil separatism had long been building, increasing from 1956. Sinhalese-Buddhist activists helped Solomon Bandaranaike and the SLFP win the elections of 1956 and were determined to claim their reward by making the new government honour its pledges to elevate Sinhala to the status of the sole national language. Bandaranaike was not untypical of a tradition in Sri Lankan politics of employing high-flown rhetoric in the pursuit of electoral success without necessarily intending to do much to fulfil promises once in power. The SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem said in 2007 ‘The subject of political morality is a relative thing. The current electoral system does not give any government the confidence to try and deliver upon the commitments made during the polls.’

        Bandaranaike tried to extricate himself, through the Tamil Language Act which made provision for Tamil to be used for administrative purposes in the north east. The government ham-fistedly tried to appease Tamils by modifying the language policy, only to arouse the wrath of the Sinhala activists. In the riots of April 1958, the death toll was around 600. The government was persuaded to back down from the compromise it had agreed with the leader of the Tamil Federal Party, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, whereby concessions should have been made on language, on devolution and on colonisation of Tamil areas by Sinhalese.

        At around 9.30 a.m. on September 25 1959, Bandaranaike finished a meeting with the American ambassador and walked with him to the veranda of his home where a crowd of petitioners was waiting. In the crowd was the Venerable Talduwe Sonorama a Buddhist priest and Ayurvedic practitioner. The prime minister bent towards the saffron robed priest, hands clasped in a gesture of greeting and respect. Sonomara fired four shots into him. He died 24 hours later.

        Somarama was recruited to do the killing by Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, chief priest of the temple at Kelaniya. Buddharakkitha’s real motive was the Prime Minister’s refusal to award business deals to a company he had floated. Bandaranaike had referred to Buddharakkitha as ‘that buddy Racketeer”. Buddharakkitha was very rich and had a sexual relationship with Wimala Wijewardene (then Minister of Health and promoter of Ayurvedic medicine; she was the aunt of current opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe).

        SRWD Bandaranaike’s wife Sirimavo took over the premiership, becoming the world’s first female prime minister. She ignored her late husband’s vacillating attempts at reconciliation and pressed ahead with implementing the Sinhala only policy to the full. The SLFP was strong enough to be complacent about the grievances of Tamils and even to take actions which widened the breach.

        The first Republican constitution which was adopted on May 22 1972 marked the beginning of a new phase of ethnic conflict because it consolidated the triumphalist status of the Sinhala language and elevated Buddhism to the status of ‘foremost among religions’.

        Section 29 of the Soulbury constitution which gave some protection to minorities was abolished. State policies were decided in a cabinet where Tamils were not represented and so Tamil parties could not influence change.
        Sri Lankan Tamils saw the new constitution for what it was – a legalistic mechanism for excluding them from full recognition within the nation of Sri Lanka – and began to move away from campaigning for protection of their minority rights, towards assertion of the right to self-determination.

        Although there had been many events leading up to it, the immediate trigger for the long and bloody civil war occurred in July 1983, Black July. Over many years, there had been incidents where ill-disciplined police or military had carried out savage reprisals, rather in the manner of the Black and Tans in Ireland, on innocent Tamils. Thirteen soldiers were killed by the LTTE. Anti-Tamil riots ensued and lasted for ten days with property being destroyed and up to 3,000 people being killed and 200,000 displaced.

        A Norwegian woman tourist recalled seeing a mob setting fire to a bus with about 20 Tamils inside it. Those who climbed out the windows were pushed back in and the doors were sealed while they burned alive, screaming horribly. In another incident, a mob chopped two Tamil girls aged 18 and 11 with knives; the younger girl was beheaded with an axe, the older one raped by 20 men and then doused in petrol.

        These horrific events left an indelible mark on the Tamil psyche. Atrocities were perpetrated on innocent Tamils all over the country and many fled to the north for refuge. Those who could afford to, fled abroad, whence they provided ongoing financial support for the LTTE.

        There were also reports of incredible courage shown by selfless Sinhalese people trying to protect their Tamil friends and neighbours.”

  • 0
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    All types of terminal Sinhala Chauvinists react with vile, bilious vengeance when the crime of genocide is leveled against the Sri Lankan State and the current Regime. They always raise the question, ” What about the crimes and atrocities of the LTTE”. No doubt the LTTE engaged in a form of barbaric terrorism that has no place in a liberation movement. Yet, this form of terrorism was bred by the systemic, systematic genocidal barbaric terror meted out by the State against the Tamil nation and its people. Do we need to account for repeated state-sponsored pogroms where innocent Tamil civilians were slaughtered, women raped, houses burnt and looted, for the constitutional suppression of their fundamental rights and denial of nationhood, and the cultural genocide in acts such a burning of the Jaffna library and desecration of graves and memorials, destruction of kovils and churches and alleged atrocities committed against prisoners of war, shelling of hospitals and civilians with heavy artillery in No-Fire Zones, the robbing of their lands and so on. If not guilty of these crimes against humanity, then, by all means, conduct a crdebile and independent investigation – independent of both Regime and foreign powers! Even the LLRC Report recommends as such. Or, are we to beleive that the war was conducted with ‘ zero civilian casualties’ and that it was a’ humanitarian operation”. The war was waged not only to liquidate the LTTE militarily, but also to delete the political status of the Tamil nation. Retd. General Fonseka declared in the heat of the war that he “strongly believes that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese. Others can live here. But they should not make too many demands”. This was the ideology that drove the war. If any one cares, or dares, to argue that the Regime does not intend to eliminate the political status of the Tamil nation, then let them explain how the entire North is now under military occupation and the Tamil people subjected to an even more degrading form of national subjugation as never before? Let all arguments be put aside by asking the Regime to produce a timed schedule for implementing the Recommendations of the Report of the LLRC and for providing the principles of a political solution to the Tamil national question. This will pave the path to national unity and reconciliation.

    Com. Surendra

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      “All types of terminal Sinhala Chauvinists react with vile, bilious (sic) vengeance when the crime of genocide is leveled against the Sri Lankan State and the current Regime.”

      “They always raise the question, ‘ What about the crimes and atrocities of the LTTE’.”

      I am not raising (here) the crimes and atrocities of the LTTE. I am not a Sinhala chauvinist. I am an atheist with an Irish passport. I am a defender of the English language. Sloppy language means sloppy thought. The “crime of genocide” can be strictly defined. It does not depend on any one individual’s back ground or beliefs. Genocide has not occurred in Sri Lanka.

      • 0
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        Hello, atheist with an Irish passport,
        Mind your elitism with the English Language. You parrot the same verbiage as Sinhala Chauvinists. Why not respond to the arguments raised, instead of picking up on a spelling error. The defintion of genocide is a deliberate and wilful effort to decimtae the existence or political identity of a stable group of people – be it a nation, nationality or ethnic-religious community, through physical or cultural violence. How’s that for a working definition? You may choose to burrow like a mole in your Oxford dictionary, but language and actions defined in political struggle are what makes history. Sorry for any linguistic errors that may offend your cultivated bourgeois sensibilities. Try to be relevant, dear atheist with an Irish passport.

        Surendra

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          “The defintion of genocide is a deliberate and wilful effort to decimtae the existence or political identity of a stable group of people – be it a nation, nationality or ethnic-religious community, through physical or cultural violence.”

          What does “decimtae” mean?

    • 1
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      A question for Comrade Rupasinghe (of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka – Maoist wing).

      Comrade, were the deaths of millions of Chinese under the enlightened and benevolent rule of Chairman Mao, a price worth paying to establish socialism/communism? Or was it merely Communism being established with zero civilian casualties?

      • 1
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        @ Ajit

        “Try to be relevant, dear atheist with an Irish passport.”

        How about giving a defence for the millions that Mao killed? That seems pretty relevant to me.How do you justify being a follower of one of the worst psychopathic killers in recorded human history?

  • 1
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    More tedious drivel from an Eelam-supporting ‘human rights’ organisation. I’m unsurprised to see that Amnesty International is also involved in this charade. AI have now firmly hitched their wagon to the Eelam cause. What a shame, that Amnesty is now reduced to taking donations from the pro-LTTE Canadian Tamil Congress. Even better (or worse), they deny that this LTTE funding was “not earmarked to support our programming on Sri Lanka”. http://tinyurl.com/6udpcdp

    But after covering Sri Lanka for so long, Amnesty has finally become like GoSL. They simply lie. : ) :)

    Alex Neve of AI at the CTC Walkathon says: (on the video)
    “Every dollar you raise… is all going to go to support our ongoing crucial human rights work. Our human rights work with respect to Sri Lanka where we’ve worked for years, for decades to ensure that human rights violations against the Tamil community come to an end and that the rights of all Sri Lankans be equally upheld and protected.”

    Eelamish person at the CTC Walkathon says: (on the video)
    “… and I just came back from Geneva … one thing I want to tell you is that it is the ONLY friend we have at times. Amnesty International has been the ONLY voice of reason in the international community.”

    “When countries [sic] and after countries [sic] after countries [sic] turned down the plight of Tamils in 2009, Amnesty International spoke again and again and again. And today in Geneva, in New York, when countries again are turning down the report of the Secretary General and are saying ‘this is not acceptable, we will not consider the Secretary General’s panel’s report on Sri Lanka’, it is Amnesty International which is standing firm with the Tamil community and calling for justice in Sri Lanka. So, I’m not going to leave here until we raise another $10,000 to get to the [$]50,000 goal. blah blah blah blah.. …. “

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    PADRAIG When you see an attack against your versions you immediately crawl into your Irish origins sobbing. come on be a brave man speak for real truths rather than speaking for your paid masters.

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      DR says: “PADRAIG When you see an attack against your versions you immediately crawl into your Irish origins sobbing. come on be a brave man speak for real truths rather than speaking for your paid masters.”

      DR you are a fine one to talk about being a brave man! Why don’t you man up and discuss the issues like an adult rather than making personal attacks on me while you hide behind a false name?

      “Crawl into your Irish origins sobbing”. WTF is that supposed to mean?

      I am not sobbing. I am laughing. I am quite prepared to defend my arguments in a rational fashion, if you are prepared to join in and discuss substantive issues. I have no paid masters. I had no choice about my Irish origins. It is a matter for neither pride nor shame. I have mentioned my Irishness only to counter the absurd claim that I am a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist.

      You are one hell of a tough guy behind your anonymity DR!

      Grow up!

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        If you were serious about cngnlelaihg human rights abuses around the world you would promote a publicity campaign (possibly in conjunction with the BBC) designed to bring such abuses to the forefront of public consciousness. In this way the power of UK public opinion, at least, would be brought to bear against the ‘countries of concern’ exposed on your website. Like all criminal organisations, regimes that participate in the abuse of human rights seek to ‘hide in the shadows’ and so the ‘spotlight’ of publicity is an anathema to them. In this respect the first target of such a campaign should be China and its bestial treatment of the practitioners of the ‘Falun Gong’ religion which attracts to the Chinese Government only opprobrium, ignominy, shame and disgrace. This treatment which is deliberate and systematic is carried out by the Chinese ‘Gestapo’ as an instrument of state repression. It involves extreme torture of a physical, sexual and psychological nature and is meted out in ‘re-education’ centres in China to many thousands of innocent men and women. It is not at all surprising that China is a supporter of those other criminal regimes namely Burma and North Korea. I suspect, however, that the British Government is too afraid of the financial consequences of promoting serious criticism of widespread Chinese human rights abuses, no matter how offensive they are to those with an iota of humanity and compassion

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        @ Kaia

        “If you were serious about cngnlelaihg human rights abuses around the world you would promote a publicity campaign (possibly in conjunction with the BBC) designed to bring such abuses to the forefront of public consciousness.”

        I am not sure what “cngnlelaihg human rights abuses” but I suspect you are overestimating my influence. I am just an elderly gent pottering about in the mountains of Sri Lanka. I do not have the power to take on China or to influence the UK public. I write about Sri Lanka because that is my home. I do not have the responsibility to be serious about human rights abuses around the world.

        I do not know what you mean by “ ‘countries of concern’ exposed on your website”.

        Are you confusing me with someone else?

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      Indeed; this Padraig Colman is a great hypocrite. He forgets that half of Ireland was supporting the Nazis/Germans not only during WW2, but WW1 as well.

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        Heshan/Nihal yet again exposing his utterly shallow, child-like and cretinous grasp of history. Whilst Ireland was officially neutral, in practice De Valera’s govt helped the Allies. MI6 and G2 (Irish Mil Intel) co-operated very closely to disrupt the IRA’s efforts at helping Germany’s war aims.

        From Dr Michael Kennedy, Executive Editor, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, National Archives,Dublin.

        “It is generally recognized in the historiography of the period that Irish neutrality was effectively non-belligerence supporting the Allies. The evidence from official files released since 1990 shows the continual high level of contact that existed in military and civilian affairs between Dublin and London through the war years.

        Overflights, use of Foynes sea-plane base, a corridor from the seaplane base on the river Erne across Irish territory to the North Atlantic, intelligence and weather co-operation, allowing Irish civilians to join the allied services, interning captured German airmen and agents whilst allowing allied airmen to enter Northern Ireland, refuelling allied planes that landed in Irish territory whilst interning German crews, high-level contact at general staff level, reports of submarines in Irish coastal waters being passed to the Allies, this list is long and these are only a few examples you could cite!”

        http://tinyurl.com/83eacol

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        Why is that my fault? Why do actions taken by Irishmen before I was born make me a hypocrite? Explain yourself do!

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        @ Nihal

        Another bizarre example of Nihal’s peculiar thought processes.

        I do not know what my Irish connections have to do with MS McConnell’s article but here is an Irish history lesson anyway.

        I was born in 1946 in England. My father was Irish and my mother English. Contaminated gene pool, Nihal. I had extended families on both sides of St George’s Channel and spent a lot of time in County Cork. I am now an Irish citizen because I was living in Ireland when my British passport expired. It was easier to get an Irish passport rather than applying to Petty France. Many people have said that they feel more comfortable and safe travelling the world with a an Irish passport than with a British one, because of Britain’s imperial adventures and poor human rights record.

        The delightful ladies at the Irish consulate in Colombo are always friendly and helpful. They phoned me only yesterday to check on my welfare. I get invited to parties. British citizens living in Sri Lanka have complained at the service they get from the High Commission.

        Does this make me a hypocrite?

        “Indeed; this Padraig Colman is a great hypocrite. He forgets that half of Ireland was supporting the Nazis/Germans not only during WW2, but WW1 as well”.

        I am sorry to report that, ancient though I may be, Hitler had already been defeated when I was born and Kaiser Bill was long gone. Daniel O’Connell coined the phrase: “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity”. Germany was seen by Irish rebels as their enemy’s enemy, therefore possibly their friend. Didn’t work out too well.

        Sir Roger Casement was executed after being caught running guns from Germany for the Easter Rising in 1916 (the year my father was born, so you can’t blame him!) Prior to that Casement had unsuccessfully tried to recruit Irish POWs from the British army in Germany. Only 56 Irishmen volunteered for Casement’s Irish Brigade- the fact that a brigade usually has over 3,000 members, showed the scale of Casement’s failure.

        See:

        http://pcolman.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/143/

        My partner in crime Mango has explained how the Irish government favoured the Allies during WWII. Irish neutrality tended to benefit the Allies more than Germany. For example, British servicemen who crashed over the Irish Republic were allowed to go free if they could claim not to have been on a combat mission. Allied mechanics were allowed to retrieve crash-landed Allied aircraft. There was extensive cooperation between British and Irish intelligence and the exchange of information such as detailed weather reports of the Atlantic Ocean; the decision to go ahead with D-Day was decided by a weather report from Mayo. Against that needs to be weighed De Valera’s personal animosity against Churchill which counted against Churchill’s desire to use Irish ports such as Cobh, my father’s birthplace.

        Individual Irishmen, particularly those unborn, cannot be answerable for the foibles of “the Long Fellow”. My feeling is that De Valera is not held in much affection. One might be tempted to stray into counterfactual history and speculate that Ireland would have been a better place if Michael Collins had not been assassinated and he had ruled in the formative years rather than the grim Dev. Collins was only 32 when he died.

        Individual Irishmen, including my father, flocked to enlist for the Allied cause. As recently as January 25 2012, the Irish government announced a pardon for 5,000 men who deserted from the Irish Defence Force to join the British Army. Justice Minister Shatter acknowledged that soldiers who died have been honoured in Ireland for the past decade for their War efforts despite their lack of state recognition. He said: “Many who fought in British uniforms during that war returned to Ireland. For too many years, their contribution in preserving European and Irish democracy was ignored. Many of those who returned home were refused military pensions and were debarred from a range of State employment on the basis of an Emergency Powers Order passed by the Irish parliament in 1945. Incidentally, the Irish government never referred to the War. Officially it was “The Emergency” An Éigeandáil. This gave sweeping new powers to the government for the duration of the Emergency, such as internment, censorship of the press and correspondence, and the government control of the economy. The term has remained in use, for example, as a cultural and historic context in school books. The emergency was not rescinded until 1976.

        The IRA during WWII again saw England’s difficulty as its opportunity and looked to Germany for mutual assistance. I recall graffiti on walls in Ireland demanding release of political prisoners. From 1935, De Valera’s government increasingly followed a strict anti-IRA policy. The IRA leadership hoped for support from Germany to strike against Britain during the war, and Seán Russell travelled to Germany in 1940 to canvass for arms. It has been rumoured that during the war period, IRA members may have attempted to aid the German aerial bombing of industrial targets in Northern Ireland. It seems likely that the Luftwaffe managed without the IRA. The IRA was severely damaged by the measures taken against it by the governments on both sides of the border during the Second World War. IRA members were interned both north and south of the border, and a number of IRA men, were executed for criminal offences by the Irish government during the war.

        De Valera had to keep national unity, which meant accommodating the large swathe of Irish society, including Dev himself, that rejected anything to do with the British, some of whom admired Germany. The Irish state hardly covered itself in glory in relation to Jews. Shatter said “In the 1930s practically all visa requests from German Jews were refused by the Irish authorities. This position was maintained from 1939 to 1945 and we should no longer be in denial that, in the context of the Holocaust, Irish neutrality was a principle of moral bankruptcy. This moral bankruptcy was compounded by the then Irish government who, after the war, only allowed an indefensibly small number who survived the concentration camps to settle permanently in Ireland and also by the visit of President de Valera to then German ambassador Edouard Hempel in 1945 to express his condolences on the death of Hitler.”

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    What this tamils think about them selves? They are more ape like close to Darwin monkey we have evolved same monkey I think Sinhla, Muslims, Burgers, Jews , Arabs , Africakn Negors , all from one monkey.

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    BTW why does McConnell use the term “Ceylon”?

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    No need to go into all these lengths. If you are astute, by now you would have figured that the trend is to get all kinds of white trash and Euro trash to hem and haw and write reports about Sri Lanka, little realizing that they will only go in the opposite direction of the intended street.

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    I’m gone to say to my little brother, that he should also go to see this website on regular basis to obtain updated from hottest news.

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