25 September, 2020

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Genocide Resolution & Geneva Gambit: Prongs Of A Pincer

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Chief Minister Wigneswaran attempted to explain away the Northern Provincial Council’s ‘Genocide’ Resolution by saying it was not directed against the present administration but rather against its predecessor. He was not telling the truth, to put it mildly. The Resolution has a specific target and that target is unveiled in the very title. The Resolution goes into the record under the title “Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils”. Thus the charge is not against Mahinda Rajapaksa—not that this would have made it right—but against Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanka, the country—our country—that stands accused. It stands accused of ‘genocide’. Any reference to the previous administration appears in those sections dealing with ‘recent genocide’, while every section on ‘recent genocide’ is preceded with one on ‘historic genocide’.

What is the pith and substance of the resolution? There is no room for confusion. It says:

“This resolution provides an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (Genocide Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December, 1948, and acceded to by Sri Lanka in 1950, and provides:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Although the OISL investigation is a time-bound effort focused on February 2002 – November 2011, Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils began with the island’s independence. Since then, Tamils across Sri Lanka, particularly in the historical Tamil homeland of the NorthEast, have been subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, culminating in the mass atrocities committed in 2009. Sri Lanka’s historic violations include over 60 years of state-sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms, massacres, sexual violence, and acts of cultural and linguistic destruction perpetrated by the state. These atrocities have been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Tamil people, and therefore constitute genocide.

This Council is of opinion that during the period extending from 1948, when the Citizenship Act was passed to strip citizenship from a segment of the Tamil community and render them stateless, and continuing through the present day, successive Sri Lankan governments have perpetrated genocide against Tamils. Extensive evidence demonstrates that acts have been committed that constitute four of the five enumerated genocidal acts in the Genocide Convention…” (p.1)

The resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council solemnly places our country, Sri Lanka, in the company of Hitler’s Germany, Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“…This Council notes that the spread of false rumors to incite violence against a group is a hallmark of genocides throughout history, such as in Nazi Germany, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. The Sri Lankan government has used false rumors as one tool in organizing Sinhalese mobs to commit genocide against Tamils.” (p.3)

The Resolution accuses Sri Lanka of committing “cultural genocide” against the Tamils.

“…The governments of Sri Lanka also committed acts of cultural genocide, beginning on June 5, 1956, when the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike government passed the Sinhala Only Act, or the Official Language Act, which replaced English with Sinhala, spoken by 70% of the population at the time, as the sole official language. This act failed to officially recognize Tamil in any capacity. In the first republican constitution of 1972, Buddhism was privileged “at the foremost place” among religions in the constitutions. Although the term “cultural genocide” does not appear in Genocide Convention, it was included in the initial draft, and international criminal tribunals have found acts of cultural and linguistic destruction to constitute acts of genocide. The Sinhala Only Act and the privileging of Buddhism undermine the Tamil people’s language and religion, predominantly Hindu.” (p.5)

The Resolution states that the Sri Lanka sought to physically eliminate the Tamils in the same manner as in Rwanda. One of the methods by which this Rwanda–style “physical destruction”, albeit in slow motion, defined as “slow death genocide”, was sought to be effected, was through – wait for it—university admissions policy.

“…Moreover, according to international criminal jurisprudence from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the term “physical destruction” “should be construed as the methods of destruction by which the perpetrator does not immediately kill the members of the group, but which, ultimately, seek their physical destruction,” which would “include, inter alia, subjecting a group of people to a subsistence diet, systematic expulsion from homes and the reduction of essential medical services below minimum requirement”. By pushing Tamils out of the workforce and rendering them financially insecure, the Sinhala Only Act and university admissions standardization ultimately aimed to destroy the Tamil group at least in part via a “slow death genocide.” This Council further notes that during the war, the government imposed prolonged blockades against humanitarian aid and embargos on necessary goods, preventing basic goods and supplies from reaching the NorthEast.” (p.7)

Did you know that a military blockade is still in place against ‘Tamil areas’, causing the “historical impoverishment and isolation of the Tamil community”? Note the despicable use of the present tense, and the open-endedness, in the phrase “has been in place since 1990”.

“A military blockade against Tamil areas has been in place since 1990, except for ceasefire periods, which has contributed to the historical impoverishment and isolation of the Tamil community. The blockade has prevented ordinary items such as basic medicine, school books, cement, gasoline, candles, and chocolate from entering Tamil areas. During certain periods of the ethnic conflict, the military adopted a harsher stance, and blocked all humanitarian aid intended for civilians.” (p.7)

According to the Resolution, the genocide is ongoing: “To this day, Tamils in the NorthEast suffer from Sri Lanka’s ongoing genocide …There has been no change in the oppressive level of militarization in the NorthEast with the election of Maithripala Sirisena…” (p.11)

So what’s the bottom line? What does the Northern Provincial Council, its Chief Minister Wigneswaran and by extension the Tamil National Alliance which has failed to denounce the resolution and whose most moderate member justifies it entirely, wish to be done with – and to—this country, Sri Lanka? What is sought to be done? What is the agenda? There is no room for confusion on this score.

“…Resolved that the obligation to prevent and punish genocide under the Genocide Convention is not a matter of political choice or calculation, but one of binding customary international law. This Council urges OISL to comprehensively investigate and report on the charge of genocide in its 11 submission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015. The UN Security Council should refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for prosecutions based on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Alternatively or concurrently, domestic courts in countries that may exercise universal jurisdiction over the alleged events and perpetrators, including but not limited to the United States, should prosecute these crimes.

To this day, Tamils in the NorthEast suffer from Sri Lanka’s ongoing genocide…There has been no change in the oppressive level of militarization in the NorthEast with the election of Maithripala Sirisena…This Council urgently calls upon the international community to create conditions suitable and sustainable to protect the Tamils of the NorthEast Provinces in Sri Lanka from genocide.

The case of genocide in Sri Lanka is unique among genocides in history because it occurred over several decades and under different governments before intensifying into a no holds-barred war for nearly three decades and culminating in the mass atrocities of 2009. It is accordingly vital that Sri Lanka’s historic violations against Tamils, in addition to the 2009 attacks, are addressed through an international mechanism in order to combat Sri Lanka’s institutionalized impunity. This international intervention, coupled with action to promote the respect of human rights, is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for self-determination, peace, and justice, in Sri Lanka and for the Tamil people.” (p. 11)

So that is what the elected representatives of the Northern Provincial Council and their Chief Minister, think of the country in which they live, work, do politics and pontificate in. It is a country in which genocide is ongoing; a country which has perpetrated and is perpetrating genocide.

What do they want? They want to put the charge of genocide foursquare on the international agenda. They want Sri Lanka to be prosecuted. The charge is against “Sri Lanka”—the country; this country; our country. They want “international intervention” –their term, not mine—to prevent (ongoing) genocide against the Tamils.

It isn’t only the provincial representatives who think so. The moderate Mr. MA Sumanthiran, poster boy of Colombo’s cosmopolitan civil society, completely justifies the Genocide resolution. He also indicates the opportunities that will open up with the institution of a ‘domestic mechanism’ into accountability, with the “supervision” of the OHCHR, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Taken together with the genocide resolution and Mr. Sumanthiran’s endorsement of it, there can be little doubt that the ‘domestic mechanism’ proposed by the new UNP administration will open the space for making the charge of genocide stick, and infiltrating into the High Commissioner’s report and thus the international agenda, firstly in Geneva. Excerpts from the Ceylon Today interview given to Ananth Palakidnar follow:

“The Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, defending the NPC’s genocide resolution as democratic and timely, emphasized on the need for the war victims to prepare themselves to gather more evidence in order to strengthen the OHCRC’s OISL report to be released in September this year. He also added that an internal investigation with the OHCR’s supervision, unlike the local investigations in the past, is essential to ensure a constructive UN investigation into the alleged war crimes in the country.

Q: What is your view on the recent ‘genocide resolution’ passed by the Northern Provincial Council?

A: The resolution is timely and the facts which have been listed out in it are nothing but true. It was a sheer democratic action and very well drafted, taking into consideration the grievances of the people directly affected by the war. Various comments could surface with regard to the resolution, but it was aimed at seeking justice for the people who have been affected by the ruthless war in the North. The Chief Minister of the Northern Province or the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) cannot be criticized for bringing about the genocide resolution, since the NPC represents the people who were very much affected by the war. So the NPC, which represents those people and being a democratic institution, has done its part in the right manner in bringing out the resolution. The Chief Minister has clearly pointed out the atrocities committed systematically towards the Tamils since the country gained independence. Therefore without addressing the genuine grievances of the people affected by the communal upheavals in the past, we cannot talk of reconciliation. Therefore, the genocide resolution was brought out to identify the perpetrators who had committed the war crimes and bring justice to the war victims. The resolution is not at all meant to hurt the feelings of those who strive for peace and reconciliation in the country…

Q: Do you think the delay in releasing the OISL report will make way for the perpetrators to do the manipulations over the accusations against them with regard to the alleged war crimes?

A: Nothing like that. The OISL report has its own findings. It cannot be influenced or adjusted. The TNA is constantly in touch with the OHCHR officials. On the other hand the people who had experienced the adverse effects of the war should do everything to strengthen the OISL report by adding more evidence to it. When the report is released in September it should bear the right weight. The war victims should come forward without any hesitation to strengthen the report further. They should be bold enough to give their evidence. There are several witnesses who had seen for themselves, directly, the atrocities committed during the war. A large number of key witnesses had given their evidence in the past, secretly. However, they should now cooperate within the other six months to make the OISL report more meaningful.

Q: How do you comment on the proposed internal investigation under the supervision of the OHCHR in Sri Lanka?

A: A local mechanism to hold an internal investigation into the alleged war crimes is important. It will not be a strategy adopted in the form of commissions in the past. The internal investigation under the supervision of the OHCHR will help in a big way to protect the witnesses as well. In any country, to support the OHCRC action, an internal investigation is also carried out in addition to the UN investigation. Therefore, the internal investigation, which is the Lankan Government is clamouring for, will only add weight in an extensive way to the UN action. Here again the people, without any hesitation, must cooperate in the investigations in whatever form to reach a constructive end results.”

Mr. Sumanthiran’s Ceylon Today interview reveals the intentions and expectations of the TNA and gives an inkling into the nature of the pincer move comprising the ongoing OHCHR international investigation and an OHCHR-superviseddomestic mechanism” that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Wickremesinghe administration appear to have agreed to.

*Dayan Jayatilleka was Minister in the North–East Provincial Council in 1988-’89 and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva in 2007-2009

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Latest comments

  • 13
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    I am surprised to note how many idiots here try to attack DJ personally calling him various names instead of addressing the facts of his article. Am I to conclude that these idiots behave this way because they do not have facts to counter his arguments?

  • 5
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    I count approx 30 Tamils denying everything. The number of things they are in denial is quite staggering in fact.

    Although what brings out this condition among Tamils? Its a condition known as Sociopath. Some of the signs of Sociopaths.

    – Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse.
    – Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences.
    – Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. T
    – Sociopaths never apologize.
    – Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth

    The TamilNet fella for example is one the extreme cases of this condition. The one or two exceeds even this level and become Phychopath like the Veluplliai. P.

    • 5
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      Vibushana:

      I would want to say that the sinhala masses are butchers and murderers and more. We can go on accusing each other. The main and major problem is that ALL the local investigations and commissions by the various regimes have not produced any reports to the public. One after the other was apparently was commissioned to hoodwink everyone. The govt’s own LLRP has not implemented much of its proposals. The present regime claims it is different from the previous one and has promised an independent and credible local investigation. Let it prove itself right first. Most of us have an open mind on this. The present regime’s initiative is by itself an admission that the previous regimes had been playing balls.

  • 8
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    Dyan:

    You illiterate; You have no pride left and doesn’t matter how much people ridicule you don’t care and shoot up like the Mushroom and carry on in the hope that one day MR the THUG will come back. Man he is a THUG and a CRIMINAL in the eyes of the Tamils and the Civilised world he is gone with the Tamil wind that swept the Nation on the 8th and he is not coming back.
    Let give you some facts and then try and educate you if you have any mental capacity left to learn.

    According to the United Nations, the definition of genocide is:

    “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    a. killing members of the group;

    b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    c. deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    In modern society, genocide has come to apply to any planned mass slaughtering of a particular group of people, and to a lesser extent, any disaster that was brought about by artificial or human means and produced a large number of casualties. It’s suffered the usual media sensationalism and over the years has lost much of its meaning. In the eyes of society these days, genocide is no longer the profound offense to all of civilization that it was taken to be in 1945, but just an obscure problem in an equally obscure nation by an equally obscure dictator ( Mahintha) .

    1) The Resolution has a specific target and that target is unveiled in the very title. The Resolution goes into the record under the title “Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils”. Thus the charge is not against Mahinda Rajapaksa—not that this would have made it right—but against Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanka, the country—our country—that stands accused.

    *** What is so difficult to understand. The Majority of you are born RACIST and therefore guilty of GENOCIDE headed by the THUG MR from the Hambanthotta slumps .

    2) It stands accused of ‘genocide’. Any reference to the previous administration appears in those sections dealing with ‘recent genocide’, while every section on ‘recent genocide’ is preceded with one on ‘historic genocide’.

    ***Just refer to the Definition of Genocide by UN. It is historic because it has been going on for the last 67 long years.

    3)What is the pith and substance of the resolution? There is no room for confusion:

    *** You are damn right.

    4) Mr. Sumanthiran’s Ceylon Today interview reveals the intentions and expectations of the TNA and gives an inkling into the nature of the pincer move comprising the ongoing OHCHR international investigation and an OHCHR-supervised “domestic mechanism” that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Wickremesinghe administration appear to have agreed to.

    *** I have already explained in response to TGs article that the clue to Mangalas actions are in the speeches made by MS during the election campaign promising to save MR from any international actions to punish him. So under the principle of ESTOPEL MS cant go back on his word. It is evident from the absence of any actions internally against MR or Gotha the two Butchers of Hambanthotta.

    IT is time you give up GRIEVING for MR. Time is the best healer and I hope you find peace and face the future without MR.

  • 7
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    Yes DJ; and I quote “It is Sri Lanka, the Country- our Country-
    that stands accused”. The people know that your effort at Nugegoda
    failed misserably, and you are trying to use this to create racial
    hatred against the Tamils. You will fail here too. They know you &
    your tactics. Such attempts would destroy you to nothingness.

    Justice Wigneswaran was only bringing to the notice of the UNHRC
    the genuine concerns of the people.The Country i.e. those who
    occupied the helm & their immediate associates, who had intentionally
    engineered the position of the Tamil speaking people into the
    current sordid state, since Independence, stand charged for their
    actions. Mr Sumanthiran too had confirmed this. What else do you
    expect the Tamil’s to do?

  • 4
    5

    The fact of the matter was there was Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, no one can say that did not happen. I am not only talking about the last days of the war, but the 1983 riots and the previous riots. But the timing of the resolution is what is wrong. Maithripala gave into TNA requests, rightly so, in so many ways since he became the President. For Justice Wigneswaran to present the resolution shows Wigneswaran is a thankless person and his handlers are the LTTE Flag carrying diaspora. This is a sad situation as the entire Sri Lanka was jubilant when Wigneswaran was appointed CM. Now he has lost the trust of the people, especially the Sinhala literate masses. Wigneswaran will now have to crawl back uphill. With one resolution, Wigneswaran has in the fair minded Tamils and Muslims minds become a “TAINTED PERSON”. Can we trust him again?

  • 5
    5

    gen·o·cide – the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

    genocide against tamils? Is it something on going or are we talking about something that has happened in the past(1983 etc…)?

    Can a tamil in Sri Lanka go anywhere within Sri Lanka without getting killed by so called genocidal sinhalese?

    Can a tamil in Sri Lanka buy properties anywhere in Sri Lanka? But.. can a sinhalese go to jaffna and try to buy a piece of land?

    Are there any discrimination when hiring tamils for jobs or any other position within the government? Btw.. Kadirgarmar was not a tamil I think….

    Does tamil/hindu gods have a place in majority of the sinhala buddhist temples? How many hindu Kovil that has a lord budhdha statue?

    Wellawatta and surrounding area is basically full of tamils and how many genocidal attempts are being made on a daily basis around Wellawaththa to kill all the tamils (Btw… recently Muslims around Kooragala chased away sinhalese group who went on a pilgrimage… but that’s not racism… they were just having fun)

    I can go on and on to say that there is no genocide in Sri Lanka against tamils (like Boko Haram, ISIS etc…). But I do believe tamil, muslim & sinhalese all has problems which should be addressed. Genocide is not in that list.

    Besides, if there is genocide happening in Sri Lanka and if Tamils think it’ll stop if they get a separate state that’s bull***. What will happen is if we divide this small country for tamils & sinhalese; we’ll have to give another piece to muslims and this will be a happening island with actual genocide on a daily basis.

    It’ll be fun….

  • 0
    0

    Are you suggesting Nisha Biswal is the heroine?
    Correct Sinhalese is Kota Uda!

  • 1
    3

    Tamil terrorism and their violent political class are playing political gambit in locally and internationally.-For Tamil Eealm.

    The proposed ‘Genocides of Tamil national’ by Sinhalese nation that proposal approved CM of TNA want to showed the international community, that uninterrupted allegation since 1948 not yet finished.

    Tamil Separatism and its hegemonies ambitions f so-called Eealm Rough state is Global oriented project back by World Tamil congress (WTC)and Global Tamil Forum (GTF) remain their immediate options on their table. TNA is playing part of role of Genocides allegation against People of Majority of Sinhalese in minority in World population.

    The TNA of Wignistream of NC-CM preparation for new legal coverage for ground work Tamil speaking world community to be established Tamil rough in part of Sri lanka.
    By and large that TNA-CM of NC role major playing on behalf of Tamil State’s aspiration Tamil speaking in the world.. TNA and Tamil chavnanaism is worst political-ethnic nexus in Globe politically that manipulated by Tamil violent political party in Led by CM Of NC.
    TNA is success of TULF and FP of anti-establishment and ant-democratic political party of Tamil chavnanaism and communalism an ideology in Sri lanka.

    The present historical development is concern, Buddhist Sinhalese who constitution three quarter of the Sri lanka’s of 22 million population.
    We live in fear of being overwhelm by Tamil in Indian Tamil Nadu and Island 18% percent of population. In practically speaking call upon 75 Millions Tamils ethnic and religion compatriots living just across the PALK STRAIT IN SOUTHEASTERN INDIA. South Indian Tamil invaded, that Sinhalese-Buddhist Home land an occupy time to time.

    In the present era Tamil Terrorism back by TNA had been launch by ruthless WAR on LTTE Terrorist that 30 years against majority people of Sinhalese an Island of Sri lanka.
    Therefor the Sinhalese must fight for every inch of their protected land of ethnic homeland.

    Having Majority Sinhalese to protected their land Sovereignty ,
    Territorial Integrity and Independence nations by protecting their democratic nation that TNA led Tamil violent political call that is ‘Genocides by Sinhalese’.

    That is what TNA back by Tamil cause of LTTE terror ruthless politics , since Tamil nation separatism came into being 1948 led by Federal Party of SJV leadership.
    We have learn lessons of from so-called Tamil ‘Genocides politics’ of their political of war against majority People of Sri Lankan not by their words by their actual deeds.

    LTTE politics of war summed by Monsoon by Robert.D.Kapalan of thinking tank of US Pentagon. In few lines of wrote by Kapalan. page 202.
    ” Throughout the course of the war Prabakharan turned the Tamil Tigers into a quasi -cult terrorist group in which he was venerated as a demigod. To comprehend LTTE writes the late American scholar Michael Radu. ” imagine Jim Jones ‘ Temple cult of Guyana in possessions of a ‘navy and ‘air force’ as well as(at its height) some 20,000 fanatical and armed zombie followers.” Indeed ,Prabakharan’s Tigers comprised the world’s first guerilla insurgency with its own air force ( Czech-made Zlin Z 143s) and, more important, its navy(explosive-packed fishing trawlers and a small submarine force). He imposed a blood tax on the population under his control in the north and east, with each family having provide a son to the Tigers. There
    was a wing of the organization the Black Tigers, dedicated to murder and assassinations. Until the early 1990s, Tigers led the world in suicide bombing, a tactic that to a large extent, they had pioneered. The Tigers used many tens of thousands of civilians as human shield and children as porters on the battlefield. The very history of the Tamil Tigers shows the perverse violence, the embedding of warriors amid large numbers of civilians and the rampant use suicide bombing are NOT crime specific to Muslims or to the Arab..World. “

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out] Please write instead of just posting web links – CT

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