20 October, 2021

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Fully Vegetarian Gota Is Widely Feared – Martin Horwood

By Colombo Telegraph

Martin Horwood MP

“The role of the army in Sri Lankan society is an increasing concern. Earlier this month, The Economist highlighted the role of the Sri Lankan President’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is the country’s Defence Secretary. The Economist said: “His brother, Basil, calls him “fully vegetarian, the nicest, kindest person in the family”, yet he is widely feared.”The article continued: “A Tamil leader says the army oversees “oppressive, insulting, humiliating” rule in the north, with tales of land grabs, murders and rape. In Colombo, political observers worry about the militarisation of politics.”” Martin Horwood said. Participating the debate on Sri Lanka’s human rights in the Westminster Hall  he further said  “The article went on: ‘Some local journalists are warned by editors never to write about him’— that is, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It concluded on Gotabaya: ‘Asked if he frightens people, he says: ‘If they don’t criticise me, it is because there is nothing to criticise.’”

The full statement is reproduced below:

I commend the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr Sharma) for securing this very timely debate. At the outset of my remarks, however, it is important to stress that Sri Lanka has many things to be proud of. Its record on literacy, child mortality and life expectancy is among the best in south Asia and, indeed, one of the best of any developing country. Sri Lanka also has a proud tradition of democracy and the rule of law.

Sri Lanka ought to be an aspiring leader within south Asia and, indeed, the democratic Commonwealth, but the truth is that gaining such a status demands the highest possible standards of human rights, and the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from this debate and from many other debates and commentaries around the world is that, during and since the violent conclusion of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s record has not met those high standards. That casts a rather dark shadow over the country’s otherwise proud record in development and democracy.

If they don’t criticise me, it is because there is nothing to criticise.

The UN panel of experts produced its report in 2011, which found credible allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Sri Lanka. The report also highlighted the fact that a staggering number of civilians—40,000—were killed in the closing weeks of the war in Sri Lanka and, critically, it called for an international accountability mechanism, which several hon. Members have already referred to.

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. In fact, the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall pointed out that there has been a series of internal commissions and inquiries within Sri Lanka, none of which have really had much credibility. Possibly the most credible of them has been the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which produced a report last year, and it is important to acknowledge that that report made some tough recommendations in relation to detainees and media freedom. Furthermore, it dispelled the myth that there was no shelling of civilians and that, for instance, the shelling of hospitals by Government forces did take place. In that sense, that report by the LLRC was an important step forward. Nevertheless, I should still like to hear from the Minister what progress he thinks has been made in implementing the recommendations of the LLRC report. For instance, Human Rights Watch reported only last month that there are still several thousand people in Sri Lanka who, having initially been detained under the emergency regulations, are still in custody. Many of them have been held for years without trial, which is in violation of international law. The Sri Lankan Government have so far refused even to publish lists of those who have been detained. Of course, as several hon. Members have pointed out, there are severe limitations to the LLRC report, particularly in relation to the army’s conduct and to accountability for possible war crimes and humanitarian crimes that may have been committed.More fundamentally, however, there are other, deeper issues with Sri Lankan society. The Foreign Office’s own human rights report highlighted, for example, issues of torture. The report quoted the statement by the World Organisation Against Torture that “it had received credible testimonies of torture from across the country, including in cases not related to the ethnic conflict or terrorism”.The report also raised issues about human rights defenders, freedom of expression and other concerns, which I probably do not have time to go into today. The role of the army in Sri Lankan society is an increasing concern. Earlier this month, The Economist highlighted the role of the Sri Lankan President’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is the country’s defence secretary. The Economist said: “His brother, Basil, calls him “fully vegetarian, the nicest, kindest person in the family”, yet he is widely feared.”The article continued: “A Tamil leader says the army oversees “oppressive, insulting, humiliating” rule in the north, with tales of land grabs, murders and rape. In Colombo, political observers worry about the militarisation of politics.”

The article went on: “Some local journalists are warned by editors never to write about him”— that is, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It concluded on Gotabaya: “Asked if he frightens people, he says: “If they don’t criticise me, it is because there is nothing to criticise.””

I leave hon. Members to draw their own conclusions.

Obviously, there are also specific cases, such as those of Mr Weeraraj and Mr Murugananthan, the activists who have disappeared, and indeed the continuing case of Sarath Fonseka, a former general, who had the temerity to stand against Mahinda Rajapaksa in a presidential election. Can the Minister tell us—if not now, then in writing—what representations are being made on those specific cases to the Sri Lankan Government? Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and others have raised the issue at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. It has also been raised, as has been mentioned, by the Canadian Government.

In conclusion, I want to ask the Minister three specific questions. First, has he raised the issue of an independent accountability mechanism, as recommended by the UN panel of experts, with the Sri Lankan Government, within the EU and at UN level? If so, what progress has been made? I do not want words put into the Minister’s mouth, but it is important for us to know that those discussions are taking place. Secondly, what is our response to the Government of Canada and others who have questioned whether it is right for Sri Lanka to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, given Sri Lanka’s record on human rights? Thirdly, I emphasise the point made by the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall about the continued deportation of Sri Lankans from this country, when such deep concerns are raised by the Foreign Office about the treatment of detainees and those in custody. Obviously, the Minister has to be diplomatic, but it is time to send a clear message that, as a democratic Commonwealth country with high aspirations, Sri Lanka’s record on human rights and accountability for crimes committed is simply not good enough and has to change.

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Latest comments

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    Thank you Martin for your contribution for the JUSTICE.

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      What kind of justice this hypocrites is talking while forgetting the scores of crimes against humanity committed in his back yard?
      The justice to the people who suffered for three decades was done by Gota and his clan. Where were these criminals when we suffered, lost our lives to the ruthless LTTE?

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      Hitler was a vegetarian!

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        No his brain was a vegetable similar to Gota.

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      Gota a herbivore? He is nothing but a Carnivore, with few hundred Human lives under his belt. He can cheat the whole world but not his own conscience.

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    I can support Mahinda Rajapaksa but certainly not for this man Gotabhaya, he is psychopath.

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      Criminals like you supporting ruthless LTTE are the real psychopaths.

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      Do you think that Mahinda and Gota had two different biological fathers?
      They are two similar branches of the same tree. The difference is that one stem has more thorns than in the other.

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      Are u Prof. Carlo Fonseka!!!!!!!!

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    If this is Carlo Fonseka saying that his niece lost more territory to the LTTE than any other President. Her Government had more security guards at their homes and the fighting never escalated because we did not have enough elections for battles to be fought for votes.
    If we have a psychopath as Defence Secretary then I am glad he is a psychopath. No bombs blowing up in Colombo or anywhere else. Carlo whoever-you- are. Khema as soon as they lose your voter base in all the refugee turned Vritish constitutions they will start hounding you for all the crimes you people commit. Credit card frauds, housing frauds, income tax and council tax frauds, drug dealing…extortion.. where will you get the money when social benefits are taken off the fraudulent. martin does not give a speck for Justice all he wants are the votes of fools like you. Remember.

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      To beat the LTTE is a triumph no body but the defense secretary’s skill and judgement should be given the credit for ! Jews hung Christ ! Even Mrs. Gandhi lost a son dabbling in terrorism ! It is a very dangerous game this man played ( Nearly Lost his own life to bombers !) and came up trumps !

      Well Done Defense Secretary and thanks for being able to walk streets of Colombo without fear of Bombs !

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        Our western boot lickers forget the past.How we and they live with fear of bomb.Shame of this mother fu…s.Well done Mr,Gota.

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    It is very easy to comment on these critical issues ! Those who suffered for years from terror will tell a different story ! Leave the arena to the players !

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    War victory because of Sarath Fonseka not because of GOTA.

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    Hitler also vegetarian!

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      It just occurred to me also that even the Nazi leader Hitler too is said to have been vegetarian. But don’t judge it that way cause I myself am one since birth and yet I’m damn sure that I’m not that dictatorial and psychopathic to such a brutal extent and at least in my case even girls tend to walk all over me:P

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    yep…there is `nothing to criticise`….everything going on peacefully..

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      Sir , You are correct Gotha knows what he is syiang and he has the blessing of the clan , the government and the Sinhala south They believe they have defeated the LTTE they dont need to full fill the obligation they undertook to the West and India that when the war was over they would implement a political solution . The west and India are learning the bitter leason the Tamil politicians had experienced since independence The Sinhala politicians had hood winked the British when the country got it’s Independence by not dividing the country and had caveats in the constitution to protect the minority. They removed them by making this country a Republic going even to the extent of loosing the Ceylon name which was a selling point for the world tea market. Meanwhile I am not holding my breath that India and the west would do anything Nathen

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      yes, there is nothing to criticize but his whole life was critical.

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    HI,Martin.Lets all get together and punish all the psychopaths in this world.We can start with those MI5/British politicians who murdered innocent princess Diana.If they are in the clear why don’t you lift the ban on the documentary “Unlawful killing” which exposed the British sadists in the establishment?

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      Do you imply that Gota is psychopath too?

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        The question is wrong but the contents are correct.

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    Why don’t the Brits bring human rights charges against China?How can they,when they go down on bended knees asking for loans from China?

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    Dear Mr. Martin. Sri Lanka seems to know what they must do. And how to do it and when to do it. It’s been 6 years since peace has arrive to our country. Finally. What ever the reason we Sri lankans feel that we are grateful to Rajapaksha family. It will stay in their mind for another coming centuries. We were mostly bought up with Buddhist philosophy and culture. So most of them are are charm, co supportive people. We are innocent people. We do not like violence surround us. When we were at a devastating situation because of Tamil Terrorists activities our Army was moved correctly by governing party to bring this Current peace. LTTE leaders are with our government taking nessosory steps to drag us up from the lost last almost Thirty years. We have a culture goes back to thousands of years and we know what to do, and how to do and when to do. Thank you very much . asa siti oba sematta esththie.

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    Martin,where are you?I have not heard anything from you about the murder of princess Diana by those sadist MI5 including your political establishment.Come on Martin,whom are you trying to bluff?You British criminals murdered princess Diana in cold blood.Human rights,eh!

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    The serously disturbed little Gota will obviously go the way of Indira Gandhi who got a bullet from her own guard.

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    This guy Gota thinks that he is the ONLY one who has come to live forever. He thinks that he is the Albert Einstine to who has won the war…..There is No ONE above him ! So arrogant , Stupid , Never ending pandith who knows everything . Just imagine when these guys were in USA they were 3rd grade citizens. Now with they power running the country think of themselves …………….HRW is the only topic where they are feared. Lets get them to the Hague and clean up…………………

    • 0
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      You forgot about Gotas o-levels? Oh sorry wrong family

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    Hey Martin, Sri Lanka is a place where human rights violations took place in a massive scale and with impunity.
    Innocent civillians were massacared and the wealth of the whole country plundered by a bunch of marauders called british.Shall we investigate?

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    When you look at the uneducated uncultured ones can you still deny evolution?

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    Hi! Martin, what Rajapaksa & co did to get rid of LTTE is great. Thank God they are gone for good, had they come to power even God won’t forgive them, the amout of killings they did for nothing, many of my friends, my principal all were killed for nothing, just to create fear so that no one will go against their wicked rule they killed people, its good they are wiped out, credit goes to SF.

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    What Martin do you want to live in insecurity ? Either Tamil or Sinhla we had fear to move in our own land because of this Tamil Terrorists. The Terrorists were control by the Diaspora for a reason. Gota has nothing to fear because we Sri lankans know how to take care of him. Now would you care for a coconut toddy it’s pure vegetarian and make sure there are no huno if not gahen bapu gaman badu.

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      Many readers here supporting GOTA do not seem to believe in Karma.
      The innocent souls for whose death this Gota was responsible will be cursing him until he meets his creator.
      He ran away from fighting the LTTE and resided in USA. When his sibling came to power, bribing Velu, and when many powerful countries (China, Russia India,Pakistan Iran and many more) came to help SL, he came back.
      Without all these countries help, he could not have won the war.

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        What? “…he could not have won the war.” He never won a war but the country won because of Sarath Fonseka. Thadi Priyantha licks Gota’s boots and writes a book on Gota’war. The credit of winning the war was stolen from brave soldiers who did their supreme sacrifice in the war.

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    Plants also has a right to life.

    To grow crops means to also deforest.

    (by the way Hitler was also vegiterian)

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    I guess the Commonwealth Heads for State meeting in Hambantota in 2013 will be a wash out with a big boycott by the Old Commonwealth – Britain, Canada etc.
    Someone should compare all the “development” in Hambantota with the pittance that has been done for the north in the past 3 years and we will see a regionally unbalanced and warped pattern of development between north and South – which is a root cause of the ethnic conflict. This pattern of development is the opposite of reconciliation!
    Hence the Commonwleath Heads of State should boycott Hambantota – Rajapakse’s showpiece electorate

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    We are awaiting for another computerised election been held as this time it won’t be easy for him to do any juggleries.

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    Dear Martin

    We thankk you for your relentless interest in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

    While you are at it, please find out whether the cunning LTTE rump in the UK is exerting undue influence on you elected MPs through lobbying.

    Please see whether you guys from all 3 parties are colluidng with the cunning LTTE rump in the UK. Gains are obvious. There is Pro-LTTE vote bank to tap into.

    David Milliband was proof. Thank you Wikileaks!

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