14 December, 2019

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Gota’s War On Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commitments

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera | Finance Minister

At a Press Conference on 15 October 2019, Presidential Candidate of the SLPP, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, dismissed Sri Lanka’s commitments to our citizens on human rights, rule of law, and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence including Resolution 30/1. He also dismissed the need to address the grievances of families from all parts of our country whose loved ones including security forces personnel are missing. With the arrogance of an authoritarian regent, he remarked that the “people in the North and East have more important issues: jobs, education, etc, and we can’t hang on to old things; we have to move forward”. By saying this, he claimed that he and he alone knows what is best for each and every individual citizen in this country including how they should think and feel including in the face of personal tragedy. 

Listening to this, I thought that it is my duty to remind the citizens of our country about the history of how, during the Rajapaksa-era, we erred in dealing with our conflict-ridden past, isolating our country on the international stage and how we regained our stature following the January 2015 Presidential Election by reasserting our sovereign right to deal with our own issues locally. 

On 26 May 2009, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Secretary-General of the United Nations made a Joint Statement which said: 

“Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. The Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances.”

Further, on 27 May 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka proposed a Resolution on its own in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva titled ‘Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights’ which was adopted by a vote. 

However, the Government failed to address the grievances of citizens of all communities in our country as undertaken in May 2009. The Government also failed to restore the honour of our security forces and police, by investigating allegations in terms of the due process of the law so that action is taken against those who have committed crimes, and others do not have to suffer in disgrace for years to come. 

As you would all remember, President Rajapaksa appointed the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’. Yet, implementation of its recommendations was ignored. Then, yet another Commission titled the ‘Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons’ (Paranagama Commission) was appointed. This included a foreign Advisory Council comprising, among others, Rt. Hon. Sir Desmond de Silva QC (UK) and Professor David Crane (USA). There were also foreign experts supporting the Council including Mr. Rodney Dixon, QC. (UK/ South Africa), Professor Michael Newton (USA) Vanderbilt University who formerly served as the Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Commander William Fenrick (Canada), Professor Nina Jorgensen, Major General John Holmes, and Mr. Paul Mylvaganam (UK). 

Non-implementation of recommendations of the Presidential Commissions appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa resulted in the erosion of trust and confidence resulting in a series of resolutions in the Human Rights Council on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Although Sri Lanka refused to participate in a dialogue with the co-sponsors and dissociated itself from these resolutions, they were adopted irrespective of Sri Lanka’s disassociation, and by 2014, the Council had set up an investigation on Sri Lanka called the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). This was the first ever international investigation on a human rights situation in our country. 

By December 2014, Sri Lanka had become isolated on the international stage. Our security forces were deprived of peacekeeping opportunities and training opportunities in the developed countries of the world, naval ship visits from the developed countries of the world had ceased and so had joint exercises, EU GSP+ facility had been withdrawn, there was a ban on fish exports from Sri Lanka to the EU, IMF and World Bank had stopped lending to Sri Lanka, the economy was burdened by debt taken at commercial rates for vanity projects, the judiciary was in tatters with a weakened rule of law regime and the impeachment of the Chief Justice, investor confidence was at an all time low, and Sri Lanka’s stature on the international stage had eroded, and so had confidence, credibility and trust.   

The Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka was due in March 2015, and further strictures including targeted measures on individuals were expected following the release of the Report.  

It was in this backdrop that the Government, following the Presidential Election on 08 January 2015, based on the mandate received from the voters to implement the 100 Day Programme, presented its own proposals and co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 to regain and reassert Sri Lanka’s sovereign right to solve its own problems locally, so that space for any further international action or strictures would not be open. This was the path to establish durable peace and reconciliation in our country, restore Sri Lanka’s dignity on the international stage as a state that takes responsibility to address the problems of all sections of its own citizens, renew Sri Lanka’s engagement with the international community, rebuild eroded trust and confidence, restore the dignity of our security forces, police and judiciary, and usher in the sustained stability required for investor confidence and durable prosperity for all our citizens. 

It is as a result of this resolution (30/1) that prospects for international action initiated through resolution 25/1 of March 2014 and the OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) that was adopted during President Rajapaksa’s regime was effectively halted. It is important to remind everyone that it is only if we as a responsible and sovereign nation fail to act that we place our citizens in grave peril by allowing space for others to step in, and international action as well as universal jurisdiction to apply. 

If you look at the content of Resolution 30/1 carefully, you will understand the objective of the reconciliation agenda which contains a series of measures covering reconciliation, rule of law, security and confidence-building that is necessary for long-term development of our nation. 

Many of these measures have been implemented, and in some others the progress has been partial but is ongoing. These measures include: creating institutions to ensure the rights of victims as well as the future safety, security and wellbeing of all citizens; judicial independence which even Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has since acknowledged and benefitted from; constitutional reform, so that we can all live, work, and prosper together in dignity; and addressing shortcomings so that everyone can enjoy peace in their own lands and houses.

The key provisions in the resolution are:

The establishment of an Office on Missing Persons, to undertake the humanitarian and compassionate task of determining the fate and whereabouts of the missing along the history of all our past conflicts and crises. The OMP, quite simply, restores the right of every Sri Lankan family, of any background, language or religion, to know what happened to their missing loved ones and to take measures to impress upon our nation’s soul, the non-recurrence of disappearances in future. As it has been noted, the missing in our country includes hundreds if not thousands of families of our soldiers as well as police personnel, missing in action. 

The creation of an Office for Reparations, to ensure that all the persons affected by conflict have a fair opportunity to rebuild their lives, to receive adequate reparation, to be recognized in their dignity as human beings and citizens to receive appropriate satisfaction. The Office will be a permanent mechanism that will formulate policy which can help all citizens even in unfortunate events in future. 

The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will clarify the events of the conflict, including those most disputed and controversial, in order to lift the veil of secrecy and speculation, and to listen to all the victims and survivors, in a compassionate and dignified way. Everyone can tell their story. This includes the military. 

The establishment, within our national legal system, of “a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law”, a mechanism that the Resolution explicitly calls “a Sri Lankan judicial mechanismnot an international one, in which there would be the participation of foreign jurists just like President Mahinda Rajapaksa had foreign experts in the Paranagama Commission. 

Could any citizen actually say that allegations should not be investigated when we are bound by our own Constitution to provide for the equal protection of the law? Shouldn’t we do justice to all our citizens including our security forces personnel by investigating allegations so that those who may not be guilty of a crime do not have to carry the weight of an allegation with them to the grave? Should we let allegations remain without investigations and make our security forces personnel vulnerable to be subjected to universal jurisdiction? 

Ten years after the end of the conflict in the North and the East, and almost thirty years after the end of the second insurrection in the South, we seem to continue fratricidal conflicts in our hearts, with the anger of the fighter, instead of the compassion of the peacemaker and peace-builder. 

In 2015, Sri Lanka ceased to be the pariah nation we were in the period immediately before that where we were fighting everyone and cornering ourselves. We took control of the accountability and reconciliation agenda, and we put the world as our witness. We regained our place as a responsible sovereign nation alongside the rest of the world, because we had regained our heart, and our identity as a compassionate, proud, diverse nation, full of hope and inspiration to march forward, holding our heads up high, to be the best that we could be.

That, and not the lies and exaggerations, is what will win in the end: our love for our Mother Lanka, our freedom, our wonderful diversity, our faith, our capacity to reconcile, and our capacity to live and work together with unity of purpose – to make our country the developed country it deserves to be with no space for recurrence of conflict, working together in friendship with the international community including the United Nations.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    24

    Liberalism is a disease..and you Mr. Dressmaker has a bad case of it.

    • 6
      2

      Which is worse – a dressmaker or a coffinmaker?

      Or put it another way. Whose services you prefer – a dressmaker or a coffinmaker?

    • 3
      4

      Not the Dress maker, He was a former “rent boy”..

      • 1
        1

        watcher – You have been watching porn movies!

        • 1
          0

          Fundamental human decency does not apply to this sorry SOB that use to sell certain services while he was in UK and now trying to sell the country to political cabal called UNHR.. This guy have no skill sets or decency and thinks sucking upto westerners will get him rich… Worst part is now he has called GR and ask a position on his future govt. Talk about fundamental human values…

      • 4
        2

        watcher

        “Not the Dress maker, He was a former “rent boy”..

        Did you hire him to pleasure your partner?

        • 1
          0

          Be careful you are showing your tastes.. May be you cannot get it up anymore..
          Do you like “Nalla Thumbies” ?

  • 25
    10

    Durin the Rajapakses’ regime they did not believe in Huma Rights they only believed in Inhuman Acts

  • 21
    24

    This fashion designer does not know the difference between what a system crime is and what an individual war crime is. This bugger goes and signs an agreement thinking they are accusing us of war crimes committed by individuals and they are hell bent on supporting us in so called reconciliation. This man should get someone’s help and understand what a system crime is and what sort of charges the NGOs who are controlling the UN are bringing against us. Obviously his fashion designing brain capacity cannot comprehend that. And by the way I guess the bugger is getting so many phone calls from INGO and LTTE remnants abroad.

  • 18
    7

    Khemas boy Mangy was very much a part of the Rajapakse political band wagon in the mid 90s!
    He decided to break away in the mid 2005. Quite rightly too!
    He realised.a bit too late that the Rajapakses did not have class!

    • 7
      3

      Plato

      “He realised.a bit too late that the Rajapakses did not have class!”

      Or clothes.
      Mangala tried to warn the emperor of his “New Clothes”. He wouldn’t listen.

      And his brother the National Hangman proved time and again he is not qualified to hold the highest office in this island. When he was asked about the Disappeared, he was very disrespectful to the disappeared, laughing, joking, ………….. clowning, lying, … uncomfortably perhaps his spin doctors must have coached him how to wriggle out of difficult questions at the press meet.

      His performance looked very ugly, probably would have made his potential voters feel uneasy about this man.

      Are you ready for a fascist takeover of this island?
      Have you booked your tickets and packed your bags?
      Remember Basil (10%) did both just before 8 January 2015.

  • 22
    20

    It’s clear, if this 70 year old US citizen moron /vermin / blockhead / idiot / dimwit NGR is elected President (which is highly unlikely if the voters use their heads and not their emotions), the country will be considered a pariah State by the International Community and will be isolated as during the rule of criminal MR. The innocent population will have to pay the price. The voters got to see their level of knowledge and level of openness and transparency during the recent ‘meet the press’ held at Shangri La (sponsored by Communist China!). Some of his recent utterances are outright lies and will be believed only by the slaves and the gullible.

    Voters be warned and vote sensibly!

    • 4
      1

      Gamini.
      We the Citizens Of Sri Lanka who are the blockheads/ idiots/ moronic/dimwits who elect persons who are socially/ intellectually below average and woefully wanting in Leadership skills.
      Persons who in the Private Sector will not be able to Mange a Company and compete on a level playing field, devoid of entrepreneurial/ managerial or technical know how. They were capable of only working in a 7 Eleven outlet.

    • 5
      4

      Mr. Gamini,
      Please get help from a professional.
      This much of hate & jealousy in your soul is not good for your health.

    • 10
      2

      Gamini

      ” 70 year old US citizen moron /vermin / blockhead / idiot / dimwit NGR “

      You have disrespected him by avoiding his other titles, National Hangman, Sadist, Psychopath, a poster boy of the extreme Sinhala/Buddhist fascists, who pleasure themselves whenever they hear his name, ………….

  • 19
    10

    No wonder this alleged criminal’s (NGR) antics during the previous regime was attributed by some to be partly responsible for MR’s downfall and defeat in 2015. Likewise, if this vermin / moron becomes President elect on 17 November, 2019, that will be the beginning of the end of the Nation of Sri Lanka. Voters please vote sensibly!

  • 3
    4


    Following Nandasena’s Press Briefing , Keselwatta Kid out bit Nandasena by promising Free Manure to all and sundry in the Land.
    This is in addition to his other offers to Dalits ,like free Lunch to all School Students. Job offers to all Youth , Free Houses to their parents along with those 110 Buddhist Viharas.

    Keslwatta Kid has even agreed with his close Aids l to make Mangala Samare the new PM in a new Cabinet soon after November. 16th.

    Keselwatta Kid has agreed to TNA ‘s New List , Sampathar took to Nandasena which now demands Federal North and East with Full Police Powers and Free Land Rights.

    When the Kid is going full bore to woe the whole Dalit inhabitant population, because of his fear of not getting the backing of Dr Ranil’s Elite , Anglican and Vellala Faction, Samare comes up with this Press Briefing to please the West, UN, NGOs and the Diaspora .

    I know Samare will get a few more As from his friends for his CV with this, if he becomes the new PM, in Keselwatta Kid’s UNP Cabinet.

    But will it bring any extra votes to Keslwatta Kid, who is already working 23 hours a day to become the 2nd commoner President of Lankawe.
    .

  • 8
    3

    Dandina’s son Gota is a mass murderer.

    SL will have 22 million Lasanthas if he unfortunately wins.

    Look how uneasy he was when asked about human rights. Reminds me how Hitler was uneasy when Jessy Owens won gold medals.

  • 3
    4

    Let us not forget. Bringing an end to a 30-year war was not an easy task. Unfortunately, wars result in collateral damage to human beings, political systems and freedom. Mangala was with Rajapakse clan and he defected. Now he is trying to get revenge.

    Let the people decide. Common man thinks Mangala is a ruthless “TAX MAN”.

  • 1
    4

    Oh Mangala. You were with Rajapakses… and now….

    “Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday warned of dire consequences unless accountability allegations, levelled against Lankan military were properly investigated.”

    Common man sees you as a TAX MAN.

  • 5
    4

    Mongal thinks give his a*@e to OHCHR is big thing. We need a leader who protects the country from enemies. Look at leaders like Trump and Putin. Their mantra is country first. Anyway people will decide what type person we need now very soon. We all have to accept that.

  • 5
    1

    there would not have been a gota problem if your former pal ranil did not run with the hare and hunt with the hounds
    after 4 years none of the rajapaksas are in jail because he was protecting them
    gotas candidature is the result
    the unp is paying for ranils sins
    the sooner the party retires him the better as he is now a liability
    sajith should take over the leader ship of the party and take hirunikas advice

  • 5
    7

    Excuse me but didn’t Lanka break the back of the most ruthless terrorist organization in 2009 under a previous government? That was conventional warfare, LTTE was a conventional military power, with land, people, arms and massive global military-industrial-banking- logistics capabilities. I think the people who let the LTTE reach that point of power should be arrested and tried, if that has not already happened.

    The writer belongs to the maundering ragtaggery that is either trying to gain brownie points from the wishy washy old men and women in the UN who like to bully smaller countries and want to keep them in endless wars. I strongly advise Lankans to ignore this kind of nonsense which is either retardation or corruption or both.

  • 4
    2

    I have admiration for you, Mangy, for certain steps and decision making as a Minister in any given subject you held. But I have to recognize the fact that you are a practical politician. YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO BE IN THE OPPOSITION. That is why you had to ditch Ranil and join Sajith. You are not a fool not to know the antics of Sajith’s father which you even stood against very unobtrusively. You are also aware that Sajith’s basic approach is that of his father. They say that if and when Sajith win you would be the Premier. FINE. But for heaven’s sake don’t be another Ranjan Wijeratne in getting exploded in the vehicle you are in the heart of Colombo. You know that you can’t cross swords with him like you did with the Rajapakses after getting power. As far as I am concerned all the significant candidates for this election are potential violators of human life, rights and dignity. Gottler may be a fool to talk of International matters now itself and that way Sajith shows his flexibility to get the votes of all parties concerned now. What if Sajith is the President and you are the Premier and Sajith commands that pay only lip service to UN commitments? Then you have no choice but be with him if you value your life. Even the UN knows this and even they won’t appreciate form their hearts for the trouble you take to write all this. We all have to await for a dark age in Sri Lanka as far as human life is concerned.

  • 2
    2

    These are last, desperate attempts by the gooey yahapalanayas :) This guy has totally misinterpreted what GR said :) Or, it must be another desperate attempt to stave off defeat.

  • 2
    4

    “In 2015, Sri Lanka ceased to be the pariah nation” When Pariah from down South co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 sans any Cabinet or Parliamentary approval.
    Yes. The Country will be considered a Pariah State by the IC as a pariah from down South has mortaged the Country to the likes of Samantha Powers, Biswal, Malownowski, to the detriment of her sovereignity and for his personal gains.

  • 8
    2

    It is absolutely disgusting how these low class, uneducated village water buffaloes can run for presidency. All these gamaralayas with that sarong wearing gamaralaya from Pollanaruwe have ruined this country. I had great suspicion when the gamarala became the President after Hambantota water buffalo was chased out. My suspicion came through. None of these buffaloes can even run a thambili kiosk, I am not sure how they were elected to the top office of the country.

  • 6
    1

    During the press conference at Shangrila, an Indian reporter asked Gotabaya a very clearly phrased question regarding the fate of the persons who surrendered to the army at the final stages of the war. He tried to evade responsibility by saying he was not the Commander of the security forces and tried to avoid answering the question. When the reporter persisted by saying that he was the Secretary of Defense and was aware of everything that was happening he wanted to know what is the question she was asking. This guy keeps smiling during press conferences but he is full of venom inside.

  • 9
    2

    Part 1

    Mangala,
    Frankly you are shedding Crocodile tears . When we elected you we looked to you to deliver but you have betrayed us. You words are too little too late You had 5 years to implement the watered down UN resolution bu every now then you have talked about Reconciliation but paying scant disregard to accountability.
    Sri Lanka is now at the 11th hour and facing a watershed moment. I hope Gotha reads this and I am sure he does because he posted an Article not so long ago. I commented on this soon after the election 5 years ago when RW your boss visited the House Of Horrors he promised MR that he will be protect him from any charges and you all have kept your word. But the entry of Gotha poses a grave danger to minorities in the near future Tamils and Muslims and to the Sovereignty of Sri Lanka which is being ebbed away by India. Gotha has spelt out his vision in no uncertain terms. India OUT ( no foreign meddling in Sri Lanka affairs ) and whoever we choose will be allowed in meaning China.
    My request to Gotha:
    1) If you love your country please withdraw from the Race. You will be a liability as you will be a lame duck President whether you like it or not.
    2) Sri Lankas Sovereignty is limited to India Security and India has already taken action and actions speak louder than words. Thanks to MR he has sold Sri Lank to the LOWEST BIDDER.
    3) If Gotha is elected he will not be allowed to run riot when it comes to Foreign Policy. His wings will be clopped but no doubt he will incarcerate the minorities and we are seeing evidence of that under Shavendra. Partly electioneering and partly Shavendra flexing his muscles LTTE have suddenly become the focus of attention as many are arrested ( after being planted with explosives by the Intelligence.) as part of electioneering.

  • 8
    0

    Part 2

    4) Gotha have promised to put in place security network but if you remove the causes of conflict you don’t need high security .
    5) Against the wishes of GOSL India developed Palaly and Sri Lankan Airlines didn’t even get a look in to fly the Test Flight. It was the Indian Airlines who flew the Test Flight and MS was there as a bystander. This is the shape of things to come and Indian Airlines have drawn up plans for regular flights costing Kattunayake loss of revenue.
    6) Gotha has stated he will tear up the missing personas list as no one is missing and that is a slap in the face for UN.
    7) Rambukawella and Peiris have said that the first priority for Gotha will be to allow China back in after 18 Months in and I challenge Gotha to make his threat good.
    If Gotha is elected Sri Lanka will pay a heavy price.
    Encroachment by India will increase. Inward investment will nose dive as no one will invest in a country which clamps down on Civil Liberties and Freedom of speech and invite further trouble with future uncertain . The only country with a vested interest will not be allowed back in. So it is MAKE or BREAK and COMPLT or DIE. Gotha I ask you spare the agony. My request for you Mangala is if Sajith has any vision ask him to sort out Ethnic Issue by devolving power without which we cannot move on.

  • 3
    1

    Mangala is quite right in many ways. It is an unfortunate tragedy that we should have this Joker trying to be in charge of our destinies.Hope saner counsel will prevail and the people will teach him a lesson of his life. Bensen

  • 3
    4

    This bugger Mangy is a traitor and should be prosecuted and jailed for betraying Sri Lanka

  • 1
    5

    Investors do not consider civil liberties, democracy etc. Philippines is a good example. With a tough autocratic leader investments are flowing in.

    • 5
      0

      I take it then that Phillipies has flourished and stopped exporting labour force in doves because there is no unemployment.. So all your Sinhala maids dont have go to the Middle East to earn a living. What a prospect.

  • 1
    0

    Read gotas war. He will use the sqame tactics when we face the so called international community..Michael Roberts backed by his team c learly said that they were with there aircraft carriers were coming to take the tigers out. We therefore were forced to act to prevent it. Lets ask for the missing people, Our women who were raped and their illegimate childen to bre compensated. The missing people should be traced.. What about the JVPers who died as well aas the UNPers who were killed. These UNPers were armed and also killed SLFPers. The west should compensate us/..

  • 6
    0

    Gotha

    I hope you have read my piece and can you tell me with all honesty as to how you are goint to achieve the following.

    1) Invite China back in
    2) Ask India to leave Jaffna Airport and prevent Indian Planes landing there.
    3) Close the Indian Consul General Office in Jaffna and ask India to get out. Actions speak Louder that words.
    4) Get Sri Lanka to resume Peace Keeping duties and start earning 750 Million Rupees a year.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Mr.Samaraweera,

    I am shocked and horrified at the following coming from a man who claims to have “LOVE ” for his Country and a ” VISION ” for the future.
    It has taken me all day to make sense of what he had uttered and he must have animal instincts. Shame on those who love him.

    1) Presidential Candidate of the SLPP, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, dismissed Sri Lanka’s commitments to our citizens on human rights, rule of law, and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence including Resolution 30/1.

    *** A future President of a so called civilised country has shown utter contempt for Rule Of Law , Human Rights and above all respect for its citizens.

    2) He also dismissed the need to address the grievances of families from all parts of our country whose loved ones including security forces personnel are missing.
    *** One has to divide this into two groups a) Those who are missing after surrendering to the Security Forces and we all know what happened to them . They were all gunned down in cold blood which is a war crime. b) The security personnel are a miniscule compared to LTTE Carders. He has shown that he doesnt care by embracing ” Karuna” which is a Sinhala problem if the families are willing to forgive him.
    3) With the arrogance of an authoritarian regent, he remarked that the “people in the North and East have more important issues: jobs, education, etc, and we can’t hang on to old things; we have to move forward”. By saying this, he claimed that he and he alone knows what is best for each and every individual citizen in this country including how they should think and feel including in the face of personal tragedy.

  • 0
    0

    The world bank aid is with strings. Thier aid has detailed guidlines on how it should be used. the market is flooded so that our price goes up Infrastructure is one that increases dept without a return to payback. Chinese aid unites us. It can be renewed. We m8ust assess t5he market with our friends. This should be done in unity with china. We need amaster statigist like Gota..

  • 3
    0

    *** This man is an Animal and has no feelings for Tamil lives and an out an out ” RACIST” not fit to be a leader.
    I feel outraged reading the above and I will be sending it to all World Leaders and the UN. Gotha and GOSL must be referred to ICC.

    SHOCKING

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