3 July, 2022


Gota’s Godfathers Of Terrorism, UNHRC Resolution And After

By R Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

The UNHRC passed the U.S. sponsored resolution (A/HRC/22/L.1/Rev.1) on Sri Lanka at its 22nd session at Geneva on March 21, 2013. The text of the resolution is at Annexure. The resolution was passed by 25 votes to 13. Eight nations abstained. Gabon was absent.

The result was not unexpected. However, the content and wording of the resolution was stronger than the UNHRC’s 2012 resolution on Sri Lanka. It makes accountability in observing international human rights laws as its primary focus and has called for a “credible and impartial investigation” into such violations. This is important as it reflects the lack of faith in what Sri Lanka has done so far. Equally important is the reference to the continuing fundamental rights violations in the country.

The resolution also recognises the report of the Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navi Pillay and her recommendations to inquire into alleged violations of international law. In view of this, when the resolution comes up for review in 2014, more baggage could be added to it unless Sri Lanka is able to convince members of the progress it has made.

Sri Lanka’s flawed strategy

Sri Lankan representative’s speech on March 21 showed lack of specific strategy to handle issues raised at the current UNHRC session though its broad contours were indicated by three visiting senior bureaucrats of Washington as early as November 2013. Sri Lankan representative’s speech still focused upon procedural issues and rather than meaty issues relating to mounting allegations of human rights violations and war crimes and other substantive issues raised in Ms Pillay’s report. Even if Sri Lanka did not recognise her report, the speech could have addressed them.

A second aspect relates to floor management of voting. With the U.S. and the EU supporting the resolution which was sponsored by 41 UN members, the chances of success are high.  Last time, even the muscular support of China and Russia could not bale out Sri Lanka. In their absence, active support of India and Brazil –both influential powers beyond their geographical regions was required to defeat the resolution. However, apparently Sri Lanka’s efforts did not produce the results. Indian vote was probably conditioned by internal compulsions. However, Brazil voted in favour of the resolution probably in view of its increasing international role, beyond regional limitations.

After the 2012 UNHRC experience, Sri Lanka should have foreseen India’s difficulty in voting against the U.S. resolution in 2013 as the ruling coalition became more dependent upon external support than ever before for survival.  The DMK has been trying to change its image of a fellow traveller of the Congress-led coalition to an ardent supporter of Tamil Eelam as it battles for survival against the AIADMK. It has chosen the Sri Lanka issue as a convenient foil to fight for its flock in Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka Tamils and the UNHRC resolution became critical issues even for national parties including the BJP and the Congress when there was an emotional surge in Tamil Nadu after the publication of photos of alleged custodial killing of Prabhakaran’s son’s. So New Delhi had little manoeuvring space other than supporting the UN resolution.

So initially, India perhaps did the next best thing to make the resolution more acceptable to Sri Lanka so that a voting could be avoided. Sri Lanka was reluctant to accept this ‘diluted’ draft it seems.  Apparently India’s well meaning effort had a strange reaction from Rajapaksa brothers. They appear to be only interested in using the issue to strengthen their nationalist credentials rather than bringing it to a smooth closure as evident from their statements appearing in the media.

A Island news report on the subject said: “Responding to a statement attributed to Sinha [Indian representative at the UNHRC] that Sri Lanka should address accountability issues to the satisfaction of the international community, the Defence Secretary [Gotabaya Rajapaksa] told The Island that those wanting Sri Lanka to satisfy the global community should realise that they were adopting double-standards. In fact, they would never have tolerated external intervention in domestic issues, though Sri Lanka was being asked to give into an investigation on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations….Would India address its accountability issues to the satisfaction of Western powers or the UN? The Defence Secretary asked, while pointing out that no one was talking about the accountability of those godfathers of terrorism here.”

According to news reports, President Mahinda Rajapaksa lambasted the US-backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council against his country, and said that such “attacks would not defeat or intimidate” Sri Lanka. “This attack would not surprise us at all. These attacks would not subdue us either, nor would they defeat or intimidate us in any way” he added….He also termed all allegations against his Government as “false accusations with ulterior motives”.

Sri Lanka’s policy makers would do well to read what Dr Dayan Jayatilleka wrote in the Daily Mirror on March 23, 2012:  “If one has to identify a single critical or crucial variable for Sri Lanka, it is India, but our strategy cannot be reduced to Indian support…A few weeks after we fought and won our battle in Geneva in May 2009, Myanmar lost in the same forum though it had the votes of India, Russia and China.”

According to him Sri Lanka’s victory in 2009 “was not simply and solely India…We will find it almost impossible to win without India’s support, and we cannot win if India ever turns against us, but we cannot win only with India’s support.   We must always remember that many Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Latin American states will take their cue from India. India has a wide presence and is widely respected among Sri Lanka’s friends.”

Prophetically, he said if India’s position had changed from that of Sri Lanka’s May 2009 UN HRC victory, “we must seek out the reasons and rectify them jointly.” On the contrary, Sri Lanka chose to completely ignore India’s concerns; after India’s vote a second time, it has gone into a sulk. Why is Sri Lanka doing this?

Limitations of China card

Sri Lanka appears to put too much faith in the real politick of India-China relations despite its access to Indian bureaucracy, politics and media at all levels. While Sri Lanka is an important variable in deciding India-China relations, Sri Lanka has its limitations in conditioning it. There are many reasons including the ever-growing Sino-Indian trade pie that govern the mindset of the two nations in deciding the course of their inter-relations.  But ultimately, it is the leadership style in both countries that takes a call on the form and content of the relationship.

A new leadership has taken over in China under President Xi Jinping. He is unlikely to take any radical action to upset Sino-Indian relations in the near future. He indicated this on the run up to the BRICS summit starting in Durban, South Africa today.

A Xinhua report said: On Sino-Indian ties, Xi said, to jointly follow a path of peaceful development and development through cooperation not only meets the common interests of China and India, the two largest developing countries in the world, but also does a great service to Asia and the world at large.

Speaking highly of the important headway in bilateral ties in recent years thanks to concerted efforts of the two sides, Xi urged both countries that are pursuing development at a faster pace to seize the opportunities and take solid steps to bolster cooperation and exchanges in all fields, accommodate each other’s core concerns and properly handle their problems and differences.

On the boundary problem, Xi said it is a complex issue left from history, and solving the issue won’t be easy. But he said he believes “as long as we keep up our friendly consultations, we can eventually arrive at a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement.”

“Pending the final settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should work together to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas and prevent the boundary question from affecting the overall development of bilateral relations,” the president added.

As far as India is concerned, the Manmohan Singh government will be facing parliamentary elections in 2014. Already its cup is full with economic issues, internal problems and international issues related to Pak-inspired trans-border terrorism. Though New Delhi would always carefully watch and analyse China’s increasing influence and activity in Sri Lanka, it is unlikely to react hastily to any potential threat to the relations. Both countries have shown a matured approach to regularly communicate and interact at various levels. So we can expect the two countries to dissipate any build up of pressure that disturb their inter relations.


Many analysts have commented on India keeping the sanctity of its Sri Lanka policy insulated from internal political compulsions. In every country internal compulsions often dictate external policies; more so in India. Regional satraps are holding the reins of survival of the Manmohan Sing-led coalition at the Centre. And Tamil Nadu has a big clout in determining the fate of such coalitions in the future as well.

Indian foreign policy has always been influenced by the perception of the people. And Sri Lanka policy is no exception to this. The only way to manage Sri Lanka policy for Manmohan Singh government is to defuse the emotional build up in Tamil Nadu. This can be done only by taking proactive measures to make Sri Lanka respond to India’s concerns, rather than reacting only to what the U.S. does and what Sri Lanka does not. But given the poor record of this government in taking such initiatives, we are unlikely to see any major government move till 2014 when the Sri Lanka issue would come up again in UNHRC. But by then parliamentary poll would be on and India’s membership of the UNHRC would be ending. So India’s stand is likely to be buffeted by many winds as before; in other words, the future course of India is anybody’s guess.

Tailpiece: While the public anger and students passion in Tamil Nadu on Sri Lanka Tamils travails is understandable, the danger of the situation being taken over by fringe elements is real. The despicable acts of beating up of innocent Bhikkus or Sri Lanka passengers are a manifestation of this. Strangely, these fringe groups of Tamil Nadu seem to have their kin among Sinhala chauvinist elements in Sri Lanka. The elements emboldened by a sense of triumphalism are now coming out of the woodworks. Though a small number, they are gaining more influence and visibility by attacks on Muslims, who are essentially Tamils. The same groups have a veneer of religious extremism and anti-Indian stance in such acts and comments made on them. However, probably Sri Lanka is in a better position to control such actions than India. Tamil Nadu government, while sympathising with the Sri Lankan Tamil cause, need to take urgent and visible measures not only to arrest perpetrators of such acts, but also prevent them from taking place.  Tamils should remember provocative acts against Sri Lankan visitors of all hues could rouse ethnic passions in Sri Lanka resulting in attacks on Indians and their business interests in which Tamils have a lion’s share.

*This article includes comments made by Col R Hariharan to electronic and print media as well as in a TV discussion after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session passed the resolution on Sri Lanka.



Human Rights Council

Twenty-second session

Agenda item 2

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

The Human Rights Council,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,

Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on institution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the code of conduct for special procedures mandate holders, of 18 June 2007,

Recalling also Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 of 22 March 2012 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,

Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population,

Reaffirming also that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable,

Welcoming the announcement made by the Government of Sri Lanka that elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province will be held in September 2013,

Welcoming and acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, and noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and the resumption of livelihoods, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts,

Taking note of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to the process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka,

Taking note also of the national plan of action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka and its commitments as set forth in response to the findings and recommendations of the Commission,

Noting that the national plan of action does not adequately address all of the findings and constructive recommendations of the Commission,

Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all and enact rule of law reforms,

Noting with concern that the national plan of action and the Commission’s report do not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief,

Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,

Expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the visit of a technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner,

Noting the call made by the High Commissioner for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

1. Welcomes the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka[1] and the recommendations and conclusions contained therein, in particular on the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;

2. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;

3. Reiterates its call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;

4. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with special procedures mandate holders and to respond formally to their outstanding requests, including by extending invitations and providing access;

5. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;

6. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, with input from relevant special procedures mandate holders, as appropriate, to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its twenty-fifth session. [1] A/HRC/22/38.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Mr Hari, again you started same anti-india fiction as regularly done by few tamil brahmins who aligns with srilankan govt to teach lessons to Tamils for the DMK movement of mid 60’s. And dont underestimate today’s intellectual of students. They are aware of all facts. People like you, cho, subramanya swamy, Raman and MK narayanan designs these missiles. I know you were colonel in IPKF and I appeal to you, this is not TN politics and kindly help is punishing those who are responsible for genocide

  • 0

    You better first come clean on IPKF dirty killing before you go talking shop.

    India is what tore us all to pieces – we are realizing too late.

    We Tamils could have got far more than we are had we not listened to YOU – INDIA.

    You led us astray then – you r leading us astray NOW.

    And you continue to make jokers out of tamil nadu…. i am laughing that in the 30,40s the tamils thought they were better than the brahmins and now the brahmins are giving them a run for their money… what a load of crap you guys can dish out

    • 0

      Shiva, you can go to hell….! We would welcome back the IPKF in the North-East…!



      • 0

        Do you want to get raped again by IPKF?

        • 0

          WATCHER! You haven’t WATCHED the Channel 4, haven’t you? Please change your name…!!!

  • 0

    The position in TN seems to be hardening and is beyond the control of Delhi. In Sri Lanka too extremist from the JHU and NFF have crawled out of the woodwork to start an anti India campaign. A new group of priests called the Ravana Balakaya have emerged with reference to the ancient Ramayana epistle in the Mahabharata.

    The situation seems to be dominated by extremist of various mindsets who dont really care about the consequences other than to gain publicity and create problems. Meanwhile the regime engages in rhetoric to encourage such elements without thinking of the long term effects.

  • 0

    msk punish yourself for funding the ltte.Wash your bloody hands from the blodd of those innocent youth and children who were forcibly conscripted into a war to further the hidden of the diaspora.

    selfish you rode the ltte vehicle for personal gains by driving to their deaths scores of innocent youth & childred if not who would have been succesful professionals & intellectuals in the Sri Lanka society today.
    You denied educations to them and stole their dreams and the dreams of their parents.
    What you deserve is a slippering ………

    let bygones be bygones

    • 0

      Saradiel, truth hurts.. who started all the menace, is n’t it your great SL. I was not supporter of LTTE till may 2009, but the way your government and military acted, the action of LTTE was justified in all means except killing Rajiv in an emotional vent. The truth still your govt keeps third rated treatment by looting north east and east. put yourself in shame, looters. Observe MA sumanthiran speech in parliament.

  • 0

    Time is right for us Sri Lankans to think of the fundamental reasons for Gotha to instigate Bodu Bala Sena. There are three main reasons. 1) The UN resolutions were not aimed at Sri Lanka or the citizens of Sri Lanka. In actual fact they are against the ruling regime, the President, Defense Secretary, senior leaders of the armed forces and diplomats such as Palith Kohona. 2) The cost of living increases and the day to day life of an average Sri Lankan is getting difficult as the days go by. The ruling parties know that this would reflect bad at the next election and they need to divert the focus of the masses blaming the ruling parties to a so called enemy of the Buddhists. 3)Creating communal disharmony would give the ruling party an excuse to say that they cannot implement some of the LLRC recommendations as the majority community is against those recommendations and has resulted in riots.

    Its time for the President to appoint a National Government and move the Defense Secretary out of the present position and appoint him to another ministry. Also he should implement a South African style “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, thereby the President will be remembered as an agent of Peace in the history books of Sri Lanka in the future.

  • 0

    You make out that it is flawed stategy at UN by sri Lanka and TN pressure on New delhi is the cause of Problem. real cause of problem is Sri Lanka’s Genocide and India’s adiding abetting the genocide. Of course Indian’s genocide started with IPKF’s genocide. I was personally lucky to have survived IPKF’s killing spree and my sister from IPKF’s raping spree thanks to some of the Tamilians in the IPKF who helped us against the wishes of superiors like Hariharan.

  • 0

    Hariharan has given a fair analysis.

    The ball is in the hands of Sri Lanka to defuse the international concerns. Development is not the only way forward. The deep rooted problem must be solved to defuse the causes of the inherent political failures compounding since independence.

    The so-called LTTE terrorism and the predicament of Sri Lanka at present are germinated by Sri Lanka itself. LTTE is Sri Lanka’s baby. By killing the LTTE it is on course to project that there is no Tamil problem. The woumb of the mother producing illegitimate babies must be surgically removed in the first place. But unfortunately it will not happen.

    International pressure will progressively increase if Sri Lanka plays balls with the issues. It is now a demand for internal inquiry. Knowing Sri Lanka, it will pave way for the international community to undertaske a international inquiry.

    • 0

      RJ – unfortunately RN makes such illegitimate comments on this forum. How can we surgically excise him from this forum?

      • 0

        Illegitimate in terms of the legitimacy you seek to define and propagate! A tiger cannot change his spots?

        Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

      • 0

        Dear Real Peace

        Please do not catapult by hiding behind a pseudonym name. First of all, you must find ways to seek innermost peace to be truthful. We both brothers are at same wave length and if you lack that understanding it could be only due to some prejudices you hold due to your conditioned mindset.

        You cannot, with your masked identity sit on moral high grounds to say my brothers comments are illegitimate.

        If at all a surgery is needed, the Colombo Telegraph must prevent from publishing anonymous hate comeents like yours in the future.

        Rajasingham Jayadevan

      • 0

        Lamp post treatment?


        • 0


          Your masters only believe in tree treatment, not the lamppost. you are such an AH licker, I thought.

    • 0


      The course of actions to take has already been planned by the US. It doesn’t depend on what Sri Lanka does or does not do in terms of human rights & accountability. So the question is why bother about US & their demands. What Sri Lanka needs is to immediately stregthen it’s internal capacity (in terms of food security etc) to withstand on coming imperialist onslaught.

      India by trying to become the deputy sheriff to the US will learn it’s bitter lesson at the hands of US itself (like many other countries of the developing world who experienced it first hand before).

      • 0

        Dear Anonymous Hela

        It seems you are living in the yesteryears.

        Please do not clobber everything west does as imperialism. The world is a different terrrain now – progressing from imperialism, super state power and terrism dictates to a much involved process of good governance and accountability in the conduct.

        A country like Sri Lanka must learn a lot from the west and India to respect diversity and tollerance. Multitudes of communities are able to live peacefully respecting each other and enjoying the freedom in the best possible manner.

        The British (I am sure you will brand the present day British as one of the imperialists) did not bomb and strafe the Irish people for the IRA terrorism. A sense of belonging and responsibility was exercised. Likewise, they did not shut the doors for devolution and have gone to the extent of planning to hold referendum on Scottish independence.

        Sri Lanka will find it hard to confront full scale accountability pressures from the world and it must take meaningful steps to deal with the issues sensibly and responsibly.

        • 0

          Rajasingham Jayadevan

          That’s a brilliant reponse to Hela.

          What the GOSL did in Vanni is an inexcusable barbarism in the name fighting prabahran’s terrorism.

          People in Vanni were put under seize, food rations were deliberately reduced by 70%, international bodies were removed from there, indicriminate high calibre shelling from air, land and sea flattened the entire landscape of Vanni. There is strong evidence that the GOSL also used cluster and phosphorous bombs. Captured/surrendered civilians/militants were abused, tortured, raped, maimed and executed in hundreds. The British govt did not inflict any of these barbaric crimes in the Northern Ireland to contain the IRA. What the hell is Hela talking…?

  • 0

    I know very well that some prominent Tamil Brahmins are deadly against Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Even if all the Sri Lankan Tamil are dead these people would not stop blaming Tamils, Sri Lankan Tamils. Can anyone provide reasoning for this hatred among “elite, educated, westernized’ against Sri Lankan Tamils????

  • 0


    This is because of two factors.

    1) During mid 60 DK self respect movement killed all Tamil brahmin superiority in TN and that spread faster on all India level. In their revenge attitude towards Tamils in Tamilnadu, they cannot do anything and showing it with Srilankan Tamil.

    2)There is a fake history bundled just prior to independence in India which evolved the concept of Aryan Vs Dravidian wars and supremacy in historic periods. And Tamil brahmins were misguided in this very fact that they belongs to Aryan but ( they are also part of dravidian family, only few iyengar caste belongs to Aryan clans) so they engage a war of drvaidian ( tamil) vs aryan ( brahmin). This is a myth causing havoc, and not all brahmins are supportive of this. only few minded like SS, cho, Raman, Narayanan, do these sort of stuff. Remeber subramnaya swamy saying sinhala are part of their descendants and MR declaring them as Aryan descendant. This is completely a hidden agenda behind this people

  • 0

    The Brahmins of South India – Iyers and Iyengars – consider themselves out and out Tamilians. They do not hold the unfortunate events of the
    EVR days in the 1950s against non-Brahmins. Their perception of the Lankan Tamil is different to the vast mass of Dalit Tamils in Tamilnadu. Brahmins blend very much into society and their inter-action with non-Brahmins today is far closer, warmer and cosier than in the 1950s of the Rajaji era where it probably may be true they considered themselves a layer or two higher. The expansion and opening of the economy, industrialisation and coming of the IT industry may have all contributed to the new and welcome reality.

    I have lived with the Brahmin community in Chennai for extended periods
    and speak from experience. Jayalalitha, the Brahmin, has been voted
    overwhelmingly by her non-Brahmin, largely Dalit, constituency State-wise over and over again.


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