17 July, 2019

Blog

Dual Intervention Can Lead To Reduced International Pressure 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights would give an indication of the forthcoming decision of the UN Human Rights Council with regards to its resolution on Sri Lanka. The report is primarily a fact based one. Almost every assertion made is backed by evidence. Particularly damning are the large number of cases given in which serious human rights violations and crimes took place, but which have got stalled somewhere or other in the legal system. Examples would be the murder of Wasim Thajudeen, Sri Lanka’s Rugby captain, and Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper. There are some assertions however that can be contested. One such is the assertion that the security forces, when they withdraw from land they have occupied, destroy the buildings of the people and leave behind only a flattened landscape for the people to return to.

Security forces personnel who were attending a university educational programme on peacebuilding denied this allegation when I brought it up before them. They said that the people’s houses would have either been destroyed in previous rounds of fighting or had fallen into disrepair than being purposely destroyed in an act of vindictiveness. They said that the soldiers who now are stationed in the North and East were not those who fought to gain or defend those pieces of land, and that they would much prefer to be stationed outside the North and East than within it. Therefore they do not have an interest in destroying the houses of the people when they vacate the land. The allegation that the security forces behave in this destructive way needs to be independently investigated.

On a previous visit to Jaffna to a new resettlement area, I too heard this allegation from the people who had just been resettled. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission such as the one proposed by the government, but still to be approved by President Maithripala Sirisena, would be indispensable in coming up with the factual situation. The UN Human Rights Commissiner’s report is a fair reflection of the divided thinking about the present reconciliation process in the country and it is not deliberately partisan or condemnatory. On the contrary it appreciates what the Sri Lankan government has done over the past four years especially with regard to the increase in democratic space and sense of security of citizens.

Strengthen States 

The High Commissioner’s report states that “Since 2015, the general situation has improved with regard to civil and political rights: there have been advances with respect to freedom of expression and assembly, incipient efforts made to consult representatives of civil society, a robust right to information framework has been established, and independent commissions, such as the Human Rights Commission, have been strengthened, and relations between security forces and civilians have improved. As noted above, commendable progress has also been witnessed in the State’s cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms. Certain parts within the administration, in particular in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation and the independent commissions, have been consistent in their commitment and determination to improve the human rights situation.”

From these statements it can be seen that the intention of the UN Human Rights Commissioner is not to undermine or weaken the Sri Lankan government as alleged by the political opposition as a matter of routine. The crude analysis of the opposition sees a conspiracy of international forces together with the Tamil Diaspora to weaken the Sri Lankan state and thereby to pave the way for a separate Tamil state. However, the reality in terms of present day geopolitics is that the international system does not wish to weaken states, which form the bulwark of international order. Weakened states are the ones that are seen as most likely to be penetrated by terror networks and anti-systemic forces that jeopardise the international order. Therefore the strengthening of potentially weak states, and not their further debilitation, is usually the priority of the international community.

In the present period there is a theory that the main threats to the international order come not only from aggressive states but also from failing or conflict-prone states, or even from non-state actors. Theories of conflict and instability increasingly point to the weakness of the state as a key factor in the onset of violent conflict – the ‘‘declining state’’. Amongst foreign policy elites, this is a paradigm shift in security thinking: challenges to security come not from rival global powers, but from weak states. As a result, greater efforts and resources have been forthcoming from powerful states to contain, resolve and to some extent prevent civil war. This is especially the case when the potentially weak state in one that supports the existing international order, which is the case with Sri Lanka under the present government.

Divided Government 

In the context of this analysis of the international community’s concerns about the vulnerability of weak states, President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to send a three member delegation to represent him and the government at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session can be seen as an aid to the government rather than as an obstacle. President Sirisena has said that his delegation will address the international community at the UN forums in Geneva with an intention to persuade them to leave Sri Lanka to resolve its problems by itself without continuing to interfere in its internal affairs. This is in opposition to the already articulated foreign ministry position that Sri Lanka will be a co-signatory to the new resolution that will be jointly produced by the two sides. The dual message from Sri Lanka will send a message to the international community that the Sri Lankan government is a beleaguered one that cannot be excessively pushed.

President Sirisena’s recent role in creating the political crisis that destabilised the country in October last year was specially noted in the High Commissioner’s report. “The High Commissioner joins the Secretary-General in welcoming the resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka through peaceful, constitutional means, and applauds the resilience of the country’s democratic institutions. Nonetheless, for seven weeks, the legitimacy and the legality of a number of authorities were in question, which led to further delays in the implementation of the recommendations made in Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, for instance owing to staff changes in key institutions and uncertainty with regard to reporting lines… The political crisis at the end of 2018 further obstructed progress owing not only to the temporary paralysis of institutions but also because it generated fears that another government might not embrace the reconciliation agenda.”

With regard to the UN High Commissioner’s report, the two issues that opposition politicians and the media have been most critical of, and using to mobilise opposition to the government, are the High Commissioner’s call for universal jurisdiction principles to be followed in regard to Sri Lankans traveling abroad to be arrested in foreign countries for crimes they may have committed in Sri Lanka, and for a hybrid court which will lead to foreign judges sitting on Sri Lankan courts to judge whether war crimes took place or not. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have said that they do not agree with the hybrid court in particular. A scenario in which Sri Lanka speaks in two voices at the UN Human Rights Council will send a message to the international community, especially those countries that have goodwill towards Sri Lanka, that the Sri Lankan government should not be further weakened by their demands.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4
    1

    *Looking at UN human rights from a monetary point of view*
    ,
    No organization can survive without money. The same applies to UN.
    ,
    Basic human rights depends on the concept of equality, justice, security, sovereignty, brotherhood, family, work ethics, distribution of resources etc.
    ,
    Quality of each and every area is diluted by the power of money.
    ,
    On paper it’s ideal, but in reality it’s just a dream sold to us by the rich and their loyal dogs.
    ,
    Only power the common men have is, unity. The top knows that, but the bottom is ignorant.
    ,
    Through UN, Media, Religion, Race, Colour, Education, Type of Job etc, they create divisions.
    ,
    Without unity of the bottom, the top could continue to exploit humanity in the name of peace

    • 2
      4

      Suranga Gunasekera

      Please define and explain each one of the terms in your above typing:

      equality,
      justice,
      security,
      sovereignty,
      brotherhood,
      family,
      work ethics,
      distribution of resources

      How these terms are practised, implemented, used, …………… in Sri Lankan context.
      Please ignore my questions if you haven’t got a clue.

      • 4
        2

        Native Vedda,
        ,
        The point was, UN first should clean the logs before trying to find the speck.
        ,
        I’m sorry I don’t have time to educate you.
        ,
        I believe you’re dream to have an ideal Sri Lanka for Tamils will never happen.
        ,
        Sri Lanka is ideal for Sri Lankans. That includes every one, including you, if you’re willing to be less greedy.
        ,
        Where ever you go, with your greedy nature, you will never find peace.
        ,
        The assumption about you made based on the past experiences.

        • 2
          4

          Suranga Gunasekera

          “I’m sorry I don’t have time to educate you.”

          The point is like many ignorants before, you haven’t got a clue as to what you are typing about here. If you want to discuss serious issues please prepare yourself before you start typing.

          “I believe you’re dream to have an ideal Sri Lanka for Tamils will never happen.”

          You can believe any damn thing you want to, based on your ignorance, paranoia, deep ingrained racism.

          “Sri Lanka is ideal for Sri Lankans. That includes every one, including you, if you’re willing to be less greedy.”

          Again please enlighten us with a definition of Sri Lankans.
          What it entails.
          Don’t drop names just because others are talking about it.

          Whether you like it or not, this island belongs to my ancestors hence I have more rights than any of you, the descendants of Kallathonies, I belong to the island and I am not a Sri Lankan, because I was not given the opportunity to give my consent to the change of manufactured term.

          Greedy!!!!
          Look at the mirror and say greedy, it will point to you.

          Don’t test our patience with your ignorance and bigotry.

          • 4
            2

            Lol. Patience is a virtue. I won’t test it anymore. Try and enjoy the rest of the day.
            ,
            Learn to dance in the rain, otherwise you might get a heart attack.
            ,
            Sweet dreams

            • 0
              4

              Suranga G
              The rain in N&E ceased in 2009 but the ground is inundated like a paddy field and as long as the Southern Military wallows there it is impossible for the inhabitants to dance.

              • 0
                0

                Better safe than sorry

            • 1
              0

              Suranga Gunasekera

              Thanks for your advice however as many before you and am sure after you tend to drop names of which you haven’t got a clue, simply because you are too lazy and ignorant to learn the meaning of words that you pick up from streets, third grade racist media, bigoted academics, ……….

              CT has given an opportunity for you to learn, grasp, think, fact check, ……. and write what you know. Use it wisely and if at all possible inform, educate and entertain CT’s readership.

              You cannot go on bull s******g all the time.

  • 3
    0

    I could not help but say you too Jehan
    You are worried about the weakening of the Genocidal state of 63 years. Not worried about the victims of the Genocide.
    Remember Irish fought for more than 300 years to get freedom.
    Do not talk about UN and Iraq Syria. Talk about the Victims of 63 years of Genocide

    • 4
      2

      Dont be silly Jehan Perera.
      The US endgame at UNHRC is military bases in Trincomalee and it will stop at nothing to achieve its goals in the Cold War against China.
      Every form of pressure will be brought to bear on Sri Lanka, from low intensity economic war fare to debt trap the country and crash the rupee to the UNHRC game and divide and rule with Fake news and Hate speech by weaponizing Buddhism and ethnic politics with the fake new constitution too!
      Long live miracle of Modayas!!

  • 3
    1

    Under the guise of ‘liberalism’ this author is keen on propagating policies that in effect panders to nationalists who have hamstrung Sri Lanka since independence.

    Thanksfully, the world is seeing through the act now. The UN already encourages the use of Universal jurisdiction, and the measures against Sri Lankan forces and it will slowly rachet up.

    The world does not like failed states, but reading the report Sri Lanka increasingly resembles one. Sri Lanka needs to decide if it will be the next Venezuela.

  • 0
    0

    The United Nations and all its Agencies have a dual Plan of talking about Rights and Virtues as one and squeeze the weak nations and Peoples to death until the powerful Nations get their pound of Flesh.

    I am sure nothing will come out of any of the resolutions the UN or its Agencies have passed in the Past or present. The Palestinian and Jammu Kashmir Issues are galaring examples of double standard activities we have witnessed since 1947.

    The Sri Lankan issue basically an ethnic political struggle since 1948, snowballed into a Genocide war in which UN and its Agencies have actively shared and the powers that committed the crimes clamoring for their share in the spoils of that war.

    How can we look for Justice even if hybrid Courts become a reality?

  • 6
    2

    Jehan Perera , The ICJ has ruled that there is a situation of ongoing violation of Human Rights, displacement and perhaps genocide against the Chagos Islands people by the United Kingdom and US governments which have displaced the Chaggossian peoples and taken their homes and lands for a huge American military base, the notorious Diego Garcia base.
    Chagos Isand is a neighbour of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.

    NPC, CPA, ICES, Madam Nimalka Fernando and Colombo NGOs should stop turning a blind eye to Chagos Island people’s struggles and broaden your HR work and look beyond the shores of Sri Lanka to neigbbouring counties , particularly and the rights of Indian Ocean Communities and organize protests outside UK and US embassies in Colombo and take up the Case of the Rights of Chagos Islanders and Indian Ocean communities to their lands and ocean resources that are now used by EU colonial powers.

  • 2
    2

    Britain detached the Chagos Islands in 1965 during the decolonisation process and declared it British Indian Ocean Territory, evicting its 1,500 residents. This is the human rights record of Britain that charge Sri Lankan Government for human rights violations during its military operation to eliminate LTTE terrorist outfit that carried out unimaginable heinous crimes against innocent unarmed men women and children.
    ——
    Because USA is no longer with UNHRC, Theresa May has agreed to do the donkey work for USA. Shame on you!

  • 3
    1

    Jehan

    Dual Intervention Can Lead To Reduced International Pressure

    Particularly damning are the large number of cases given in which serious human rights violations and crimes took place, but which have got stalled somewhere or other in the legal system. Examples would be the murder of Wasim Thajudeen, Sri Lanka’s Rugby captain, and Lasantha Wickrematunge,

    *** I am surprised that a reasonable man like you saying that they have got stalled somewher or other in the Legal System. The reason why it has got stalled was because the Killers are headed by MR & Gotha and therefore there is no willingness to prosecute them. Only ICC can bring justice to the aggrieved.. It is as simple as that.

  • 0
    0

    Those Sinhalese nationalists who sang hosanna for the US for providing diplomatic, military intelligence and logistics to defeat the LTTE have now turned against the same country. The US was interested in Trincomalee some years back, but no more. The US navy fleet has several floating arsenals that are capable of knocking out enemy fleets. The only way to keep the US and others out of the way is to solve all problems both political and economic among ourselves. Unfortunately, this is not forthcoming from the likes of Sirisena and Rajapaksa. Both are engaged in primitive politics to win elections.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.