5 July, 2022


Government Must Keep Its Promises – To India, Japan, The UN And To US

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The bitterness of the pill that the government was forced to swallow once again at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva was assuaged somewhat by the support that Sri Lanka received from significant parts of the world.  Despite eloquent speeches by the Sri Lankan representatives and supportive countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka lost the vote by an increased margin of 25 to 13 compared to the previous year.   But Japan broke ranks with its fraternal Western allies to abstain from the vote.  The government has also been able to take consolation from the 13 countries that voted along with it in opposition to the resolution titled “Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability” sponsored by the United States.  The government has much to be grateful to the Muslim countries that voted along with it.

Pakistan’s representative in Geneva is reported to have actively lobbied with other member countries on behalf of Sri Lanka.  His speech also brought out the inequitable treatment being meted out to Sri Lanka.  He pointed out that the UN High Commissioner’s report went beyond the scope and mandate of last year’s UNHRC resolution and therefore any action based on it could not be conceived as “a reasonable basis for a further engagement of that country in a constructive manner.”  The last resolution of March 2012 only called on 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 fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.

The present resolution signifies a hardening of the international community’s stance on human rights issues in Sri Lanka.  In comparison to last year’s resolution there is a shift away from a focus on reconciliation to a focus on accountability for past human rights violations and war crimes.   The resolution noted the call made by the UN High Commissioner for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.    The resolution also stated that it “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.”


The countries that voted against the resolution, particular those from the Muslim world, would have noted that the preamble to the US-sponsored resolution affirmed that “States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law as applicable.”  The Muslim countries would be most aware of how these obligations are being violated internationally when anti-terrorist and regime-change actions are taken in their parts of the world.  The Sri Lankan government has taken the position that it ended the scourge of terrorism that had plagued the country for three decades in the only way that was possible.  It further argues that this involved less civilian casualties than some of the international operations against terrorism by countries that are calling it to account.

By and large the majority of the Sri Lankan population would also view the UNHRC resolution as being against Sri Lanka and meant to punish it for defeating the LTTE in battle.  This is the interpretation that is dominant in the country’s media and intellectual discourse.   A very large proportion of Sri Lankans would see the elimination of the LTTE as being in the national interest and they would validly say that life in the country has improved dramatically as a result.  Those who take their memories back to 2006, and to the first few months of the Rajapaksa presidency, would remember how the LTTE created a situation in which war became the only option.  The watershed came earlier during the Norwegian-facilitated peace process when the LTTE rejected it, walked out of peace talks and rejected even the bold offer of federalism made by the previous government.

However, what is now lost sight of in Sri Lanka is that the elimination of the LTTE was not only due to the efforts of the Sri Lankan people, the valour of the soldiers and the leadership of the President and the Rajapaksa family as is claimed on political platforms.  The war victory was also made possible because of military support given to the government by the international community, the intelligence they shared with it and sanctions they adopted against the LTTE especially after it walked away from the Norwegian-facilitated peace process.  The entire spectrum of the international community, including the countries that now seem to oppose Sri Lanka, supported the government’s war effort on account of the government’s promises and commitments regarding post-war reforms and solutions.


The UNHRC resolution contains the promises and commitments that the government made to the international community and to its own people during the war.  These include the devolution of power to the provinces, ensuring the rule of law, putting an end to extra-judicial killings and disappearances, resettling and rehabilitation of all displaced persons and ending military interventions in civil administration.   It is unfortunate that these promises and commitments have not been kept.  The most obvious failure has been with regards to the devolution of the power which was made repeatedly in person by the President himself especially to Indian leaders including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then subsequently denied in cavalier fashion.  This has been most deplorable and would account in substantial measure for the Indian decision to vote against Sri Lanka.

It is important that Sri Lanka does not repeat this mistake with Japan, whose abstention from the vote in Geneva has been most gratifying to the government.  The Japanese support followed President Rajapaksa’s visit to Japan in the immediate run up to the Geneva vote where he met with Japanese leaders including its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Once again the President gave a series of promises to his Japanese hosts which have been documented in the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.   In particular, the President made four promises. The first was to continue to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission; the second was to hold elections to the Provincial Council for the Northern Province in September this year; third was to commence the  political dialogue on constitutional reforms through a Parliamentary Select Committee process; and fourth to take necessary measures regarding human rights and accountability.

The special relationship that Sri Lanka enjoys with Japan is also evident in the Japanese foreign ministry communiqué.  It mentions that the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandfather, Prime Minister Nobushike Kishi, visited Sri Lanka on his first official tour abroad after World War 2.  To this day the Japanese political leadership has warm memories of Sri Lanka’s intervention on their behalf after the end of World War 2 when the Soviet Union and other countries were trying to punish Japan.  Instead Sri Lanka’s representative J R Jayewardene asked for magnanimity towards the defeated and renounced Sri Lanka’s claim for compensation.  The spirit of magnanimity that the then Sri Lankan government showed to Japan has been paid back manifold as the eternal spiritual and moral teachings have promised.  It is very important that this goodwill must not be lost, and the promises that President Rajapaksa made during his visit to Japan are kept.

Likewise the other countries of the world that the Sri Lankan government now sees as its enemies have been its good friend in the past, donating much aid and also sharing warm human memories.  What they are all looking for are promises that are kept.  We too, as Sri Lankan citizens, must look to our government to keep its promises which are for the good of all Sri Lankans.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Dear Jehan Perera,

    The Government Of Sri Lanka [ RAJAPASSA and Close family AT THE HELM of It], Already Kept it’s promises to Velupillai Pirapaharan, Sinhalese, Muslims And very Obligingly To Tamils also.

    So We have a hope the governance lead by RAAAJAPASSA Wil do that to JAPAN INDIA AND TO UN TOO>

  • 0

    Just to mention a few of many broken promises by the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, the epitome of democracy and the one that keeps reminding us of our president’s promise to them:

    Had not Obama promised in 2008 to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre? Now, it is 2012, and President Obama says; “he is still committed to closing the detention centre” but Detention Centre is not closed and inmates are there.

    In his famous Cairo speech in June 2009, President Obama vowed to support Palestinian statehood. He raised so much hope in the Arab world and then brought so much disappointment.

    During his Cairo speech, Obama said; “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” But building of Israeli settlements continues to date unhindered.

    At Obama’s annual UN speech of 2010 he spoke of coming back next year, “with a new member of the United Nations – an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.” Today the promise is still a dream. Israeli army has hundreds of check points in the Westbank. There are literally hundreds of examples as above.

    All I am trying to say is; in politics, it is not practical to keep every promise that one makes.

    • 0

      Noble is it ok for you to do wrong if others are also doing

  • 0

    Will MR keep his promise of devolution, when a simple promise to increase the salaries of Public Servants are denied by him? This man MR is a despicable Liar, not fit to be recognized as a Decent Human.

  • 0

    Mr Perera, it is important to sketch the scenario of international relation. But you know very well that the role of Japan since the beginning of the last Eelam War is marginal. This attention shows a supply of money and power. The government benefitted in Geneva, but your analysis (unfortunately) rings a bell about economic ties between your organization and Japan. Mr Perera, the situation is problematic and tragic without further mixing up: really no need to increase confusion.

  • 0

    MR has fulfilled the most important promise. In his election manifesto in 2005, MR has promised to solve terrorist problem in Sri Lanka. And he had eradicated terrorism from Sri Lanka in toto on May 18, 2009. In spite of many of his short comings, that is why majority of people keep voting him at every election. But these antinational jackanories do not understand it.

    We were facing human-bombs, clamour bombs and many other bombs on daily basis before LTTE was eradicated. At the time, we were not sure whether our children would come back home in one piece after school. Life was so uncertain, mothers and fathers went to work separately or hadn’t travelled together for popular belief was that at least one parent must survive to look after the family.

    How could those who have been living abroad but cry wolf now on not done by MR to date or accuse him on some petty unfulfilled promises or hate him for personal reasons understand effects of terrorism had in our daily lives those days.

    When MR came to power his government was bequeathed with am internationally acclaimed ‘peace agreement’ with the terrorist LTTE. Terrorists ruled one the third of the land mass and two third of the cost line. Government ruled the rest. Terrorists had their rule in their part and the government had their in their part. Eelamists thought they were only inches away from their pipe dream becoming a reality.

    Terrorists were hard at work training their child brigade, women brigade and Makkaal padai to fight the final war. Diaspora was sending millions to LTTE coffers to finance the final war. No NGO or Human rights commissions were worried about deaths of civilians or children like Pirapakaran’s son then. They were all offered cyanide neck laces by Adela Balasingham who lives in London freely now.

    All of those terrorists and their backers and their kith and kin explored every inch of Sri Lanka for espionage, pilgrimage, visiting relatives or whatever reason freely but not a soul from the government side was allowed to cross the terrorist line without a ‘visa’. If ever allowed that was with terrorist escorts only. Terrorists kept their iron curtain in tact.

    RanilW knew his agreement was not worth the paper it was written. He had taken lessons from Norwegians to learn Pirapakaran is a genius of war and LTTE is invincible. That is why; he relied fully on the so called ‘international net’ to implement his peace agreement. RanilW never knew that that net is a facade and IC is Trojan horse.

    The fact that RanilW sends his secretary for defence to convey best wishes to a terrorist leader being freely treated at an expensive private hospital with a basket full of apples, oranges and grapes speaks his timidity. Embolden by such timid acts by the government, pistol gangs of terrorist roamed freely and targeted every intelligence officers they could identify. A sniper targeted the former foreign minister. Human bombs had the choice to blast whoever they choose whenever they want. Veterans like Sarath Fonseka were marginalised and had no say; they were about to be send on retirement.

    Norway arbiters of peace and their peacenik buddies like Jehan were having a field day. They cruise the length and the breath of Sri Lanka in their Toyota land cruisers to pacify the warring parties and also to count bodies and hand them over to respective parties. They were busy counting peace violations and bodies at the same time. But they only condemned violence and lectured on how to restrain aggression through press statements issued from their five star hotels.

    Now that there is no war to arbitrate, it must be really frustrating for those wartime arbiters and peaceniks. They must be really disappointed for they have no job to do. I do not know what those Viking arbiters are doing now. As for our peaceniks they have given a new job by their western pay masters to render a new veneer to an old topic ‘Human Rights’, ‘democracy’ ‘good governance’ and etc that they had put in the back burner when LTTE was getting their human bombs to blast themselves in our buses, trains and public places to kill and maim thousands of civilians.

    Same old leaders that disagree on everything except for opposition to MR are busy issuing press statements together on human rights, that right and this right but none seems to listen to them.

    • 0

      Don’t worry Leela,

      Soon you will be faced with carpet bombing by B52s. Now that is a promise.

      Good luck!

      • 0

        yes that way u have reason to extend ur refugee visas

    • 0

      Yes you are right MR has eradicated one form of terrorism which we call fight for freedom and replaced it with State Terrorism unleashed on ordinary Sinhalese and if you want proof just ask the Lawyers , Judges, Journalists and any one who dared to criticise the thugs.
      This is what the Majority Sinhalese voted for and have to live with it.

  • 0

    jehan, what is all these fuss about promises. if you could go back to history,what about the promises made by super powers at camp david,oslo. Palastinians are still in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.Tell me which super power press or so call rights groups voice their displeasure about palastine refugee issue.Dont forgetwe are only three years after war

    Think whats happening in Iraq.US and western led war for democracy has no water and power.Now its ten years after the war.This is not happening in the north of srilanka.

  • 0

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  • 0

    jehan perera u and ur tranperancy internal nothing else just another scam ngo which create to satify western powers.
    usa talking anbout srilanka what happent o 1.2 million unarmed inercecent woman and children usa and nate forces kill for oil. why ni body talk about those inercent peoples human rights jehan perera.
    what happen to the japanes people who get killed by american nuclear bombs those people dont have human rights

  • 0

    hi jehan please tell who funding ur transperency international
    who are the doners.
    norway uk swislans LTTE

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