30 July, 2021

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High Commissioner’s Report Politically Bias

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

On 27 January 2021, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report, on behalf of the Commissioner of course, titled ‘Promotion [of] Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.’ As we can typically see from recent activities of this Office, the report is more of a political report than a human-rights one. 

A credible human rights report should be unbiased and objective, focusing on human rights and human rights violations of the people without dragging on political matters or preferences. The purpose of such a report for the Human Rights Council should be to enlighten the member countries about the facts and evidence of the past or the present to engage in a constructive dialogue with the country concerned, and recommending necessary steps to promote human rights, reconciliation, and accountability. 

Especially of a country where extremism and terrorism have been recurrent problems, such reports should particularly be careful not to give excuses (uda geddi) directly or indirectly for such movements to reemerge.   

It is not clear who has written this report, although some pretends it was written by the Commissioner herself. Of course, she should take the responsibility. It would have been better on the part of the Office, in the name of transparency, if the author/s have been revealed. Then the Commissioner could have been excused.    

The Focus 

There is a clear focus in the Report on the year 2020 where a new government was elected by the people overwhelmingly right or wrong. Criticizing such a government is primarily a matter for the people in the country and is a political matter even for outsiders. Even in the Summary itself it says, 

“The High Commissioner is deeply concerned by the trends emerging over the past year, which may represent early warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation. The report highlights that developments over the past year have fundamentally changed the environment for advancing reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, eroded democratic checks and balances and civic space, and reprised a dangerous exclusionary and majoritarian discourse.”

There is no mentioning of the terrorist attacks in April 2019 or the government crisis in October 2019 (to say the least) which in fact marked the deteriorating security and human rights situation in the country. It appears that the human rights ‘advocates’ at the Commissioner’s Office do not accept that peoples’ security in a country (let alone national security) is a necessary condition for the protection and promotion of human rights. This is a fundamental defect in the ‘Western’ thinking of human rights to my experience and knowledge on the subject.   

It may be the case that the Commissioner’s Office is angered or prejudiced by Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from the previous co-sponsorship of the Human Rights Council resolutions in February 2020. Apparently, that is why the year 2020 is marked. The paragraph 2 of the Report expresses this dissatisfaction. 

It must be understood that in independent and sovereign countries there can be different views on the matter of ‘co-sponsorship’ and if this understanding is lacking on the part of the Commissioner’s Office, there cannot be proper understanding of human rights or freedoms. In this case of a country.  

Distorted Historical Context 

Part II of the Report tries to give a distorted and even a dangerous picture of the origins of insurrections, armed conflicts, and violence in Sri Lanka. Paragraph 7 begins with the following sentence. 

“Sri Lanka’s armed conflict emerged against the backdrop of deepening discrimination and marginalisation of the country’s minorities, particularly the Tamils.”

Mind you, there was an armed conflict in 1971 without any connection to the Tamils or discrimination against the Tamils. Most of these armed conflicts emerged (1971, 1983-2009, 1987-89) because of political objectives (or aspirations) above and beyond social grievances. Or otherwise, there were democratic and peaceful means to rectify them although arduous and slow. 

The phrase ‘against the backdrop’ in the statement may appear sobering the implied connection between the ‘armed conflict’ and ‘discrimination of minorities.’ However, it is a direct or indirect justification of the LTTE’s ‘armed conflict.’ It is also not correct to characterize the ‘armed conflict’ as between two equal contenders. Those were armed insurrections against a democratically elected government. 

The report refers to that again more explicitly again in implicit justification. It goes like the following.   

“The 30-year war between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as well as earlier insurgencies in the south, were marked by persistent and grave human rights violations and abuses by both parties, including extrajudicial killing, widespread enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence that affected Sri Lankans from all communities. (My emphasis).  

Could the resort to arm struggles by the LTTE or the JVP be justified by human rights violations? In my opinion ‘No’ particularly in a democratic or even in a semi-democratic country. Although the statement says, ‘violation and abuses by both parties’ what is mentioned here are ‘extrajudicial killings’ ‘enforced disappearances’ ‘arbitrary detention’ ‘torture and sexual violence,’ usually referred or attributed to a State.  

Political Bias 

Most alarming in the Report is the obvious political bias expressed in favor of the last government and against the present government. This should not be the case in a human rights report. Paragraphs 15 and 16 are very clear on this matter. First para begins: 

“It was at this juncture that a national unity Government, formed in January 2015, made important commitments to confront the past, strengthen democratic and independent institutions, and end impunity.” 

This is a clear example that the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s Office has a clear political bias over political matters, party politics and democratic governmental changes within a sovereign and an independent country. While pointing out some inconsistencies and delays, the Report further states: 

“Nevertheless, Sri Lanka seemed to be on a new path towards advancing reconciliation, accountability and human rights. The developments since November 2019, however, have reversed that direction and, instead, threaten a return to patterns of discrimination and widespread violations of human rights experienced in past decades. (My emphasis). 

In Section III, there are six subsections devoted to political matters apart from human rights issues and violations. There is no question that there are ongoing human rights issues and violations, and the governmental structures undoubtedly impinge on them. These are common to many countries including Western nations in different degrees. 

The task of the Commissioner’s Office or the UN would be to involve member countries in a constructive dialogue without preferring defeated governments/parties, and without involving in political polemics. Otherwise, there are serious doubts whether the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s Office aiding and abetting defeated governments, terrorist groups like the LTTE or the JVP ostensibly in the name of human rights. 

As an academic representing the World University Service (WUS) before the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission during 1984-1991, the present situation at the Human Rights Office in Geneva appears extremely sad. I have never seen an extremely political report such as the present during that time. 

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Latest comments

  • 13
    9

    Laksiri Fernando is nothing but a Sinhalese Buddhist majoritarian putting out garbage to support the racist Sri Lankan state and the fascist rulers today.

    Just because 6.9 million Sinhalese voted for the Fascists does not mean the government is democratic.

    Hitler came to power by voting and committed genocide of Jews, so does the Sri Lankan Hitler.

    Genocide of Tamils is happening right now in the North East of the Island while this man is talking nonsense.

    Genocide of Tamils is a process going on from independence: Now it is accelerating at break neck speed.

    Sinhalese writers are either frogs in wells, or pretending to be, the latter is more likely.

    • 4
      10

      He is right. Unfortunately you are looking at everything through racism. No wonder you always fail.

      LF is trying to unify all ethnic groups against SL’s gross HR violations against all. That is the only way forward. Not your tribal approach.

  • 11
    6

    Another mad Chingkallam oozing with racism , screeching out , as his war criminal war heroes will soon be tried. Does not like the truth, like most Chingkallams. Only creature politically biased is you and not the UN High Commissioner for human rights. You have now run away to Australia to have nice time and enjoy freedom and human rights but still screech from there supporting Chingkalla racism and facsism.

  • 12
    3

    Dr. Laksiri,
    I think you have lost your credibility long time ego to speak about political bias by honouring a murderer with Ph.D.

    • 2
      7

      Tribal thinking!

      Unfortunately you don’t see beyond your tribe.

      • 5
        1

        Tribal think is better than wild animal thinking.

  • 11
    2

    Laksiri says:
    “Most alarming in the Report is the obvious political bias expressed in favor of the last government and against the present government. This should not be the case in a human rights report. “
    What an amazing statement from an “academic”. The present govt is responsible for all the issues mentioned, like jailing investigating officers or forced cremation of Muslims. The author seems to think that simply because this regime was legally elected, it shouldn’t be criticized. Doesn’t he know that Hitler too was elected?
    “It must be understood that in independent and sovereign countries there can be different views on the matter of ‘co-sponsorship’ “
    Yes, but when states enter into agreements in order to ward off consequences, those who decide to withdraw should know better than to whine when the consequences follow.
    Anyway, Laksiri has made it quite clear which side he stands on, and thank you for that. The wolf has taken off his sheepskin.

    • 15
      3

      old codger

      When did you start treating Dr. Laksiri Fernando seriously?
      Once in a while (99 out of 100 times) the little lion tends to jump out of his tummy with Anagarika roar.

      He discredited himself by proposing a honorary DSc for Gota and a LLD for his crooked brother Mahinda immediately after the conclusion of war as if he was awaiting long time and desperate to honour the clan.

      I never understood what Intellectual honesty is about.

      • 5
        0

        Native,
        “As an academic representing the World University Service (WUS) before the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission during 1984-1991, “
        I am sure that at the time, he held completely opposite views.

    • 10
      2

      This fellow is just another shameless Rajapakshe stooge singing for his supper. He has completely lost his credibility. Once someone loses their integrity he/she should never be trusted. Reading his fully biased bull crap is just a waste of time.

    • 4
      1

      OC,

      “The wolf has taken off his sheepskin.”
      Even that sheepskin was much too transparent to conceal the roaring lion within it.

  • 6
    2

    “The purpose of such a report for the Human Rights Council should be to enlighten the member countries about the facts and evidence of the past or the present to engage in a constructive dialogue with the country concerned and recommending necessary steps to promote human rights, reconciliation, and accountability.”

    Well, this is exactly what the UNHRC has been trying its damndest to do and continuing to work on ever since the first resolution was passed on Sri Lanka in 2014. But it is not possible to engage in a constructive dialogue with war criminals who are backed by majoritarian ethnoreligious hardliners. That would amount to the same thing as blowing a trumpet into the ears of a deaf man. A buffalo does not pay any heed to the raindrops falling on its back. Therefore, very strong punitive action is called for to deal with intransigent governments like this.

    • 7
      0

      Another excerpt of this article is self defeating.
      ….Although the statement says, ‘violation and abuses by both parties’ what is mentioned here are ‘extrajudicial killings’ ‘enforced disappearances’ ‘arbitrary detention’ ‘torture and sexual violence,’ usually referred or attributed to a State…….
      Are these not loss of human rights of victims and families. Problem will NOT arise if Law was enforced on these criminal acts to discover the culprits. How has the State acted on these for 15 years and when action is within the control of the State. Non-action is admittance of guilt. This is compounded when even those found guilty are pardoned saying they are “war heroes” or clergy of the govt. favourites.

  • 6
    11

    According to Kalama Sutta, Gauthama Buddha has told:

    • Do not accept and believe just because something has been passed along and retold through the years.
    • Do not believe just because some practice has become traditional
    • Do not accept and believe merely because of the reports and news spreading far and wide through one’s village, or even throughout the world.
    • Do not accept and believe just because something is cited in a Pitaka
    • Do not believe just because something fits with the reasoning of logic (takka).
    • Do not believe just because something is correct on the grounds of naya (deductive and inductive reasoning) alone.
    • Do not believe or accept just because something appeals to one’s common sense, which is merely snap judgments based on one’s tendencies of thought.
    • Do not believe just because something stands up to or agrees with one’s preconceived opinions and theories
    • Do not believe just because the speaker appears believable
    • Do not believe just because the Samana or preacher, the speaker, is “our teacher”
    —-
    High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet should follow what Gauthama Buddha said and:
    • Should not believe because Tamil Diaspora say
    • Should not believe because Yasmin Sooka says
    • Should not believe because racist Tamil politicians say
    • Should not believe because her paymasters say

    • 5
      2

      EE,

      Why did you bring Kama Sutra into the discussion? what is the relevance?

      • 2
        2

        When I see people thoughtlessly repeating on CT tales retold by others, I think that it Kalama Sutta is appropriate.
        But EE distorts Kalama Sutta in breach of the spirit of the Kalama Sutta.

      • 1
        1

        G
        Cannot you read or do you think that it is funny to insult an important Buddhist text?
        CT
        How do you tolerate such offensive stupidity/mischief when you throw the rule book at lesser offences.

    • 6
      0

      Sometimes better to hold your own counsel and not rush to judgement.
      No one knows exactly what to believe or not to believe because everybody have their own agendas as there are often two sides to a story. But whatever side, make your own views on the plausibility.

    • 2
      1

      Eagle ‘the buffoon from the south’ Eye, why don’t you take your own advise you bumbling fool.

  • 7
    1

    Man is back in his true form to quote:
    “The 30-year war between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as well as earlier insurgencies in the south, were marked by persistent and grave human rights violations and abuses by both parties, including extrajudicial killing, widespread enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence that affected Sri Lankans from all communities.(My emphasis). “
    And to go on to argue:
    “Could the resort to arm[ed] struggles by the LTTE or the JVP be justified by human rights violations? In my opinion ‘No’ “
    *
    How does the cited text justify armed struggles by the LTTE or the JVP in terms of human rights violations?
    It clearly says that the war between the Government and LTTE as well as earlier insurgencies in the south, WERE MARKED BY persistent and grave human rights violations and abuses by both parties.
    *
    Pathetic!

    • 9
      1

      SJ,
      You are right, “Man is back in his true form”.
      He was always a cunning fox in sheep clothing. He is showing his true colour (inherent Racism) but pretends to be a moderate. A shameless person who keeps contradicting himself.

  • 8
    2

    Dr Fdo,

    You claim to be a former ‘ academic representing the World University Service….’ but your presentation of facts to justify your opinion that the UN High Commissioner’s Report as politically bias is below par for a person with such credentials. For example, what has the 2019 April bombing got to do with human rights? The bombing was preventable isolated incident, which occurred due to a lapse in the security services & the govt., for which the incompetent ex President Sirisena has to bears full responsibility. The only human rights issue is the subsequent indefinite incarceration without charge of a lawyer who appeared for the accused. I am sure a man with your qualifications will accept that even a murderer is allowed representation, so isn’t this a violation on the lawyer’s right to appear for the accused?

    cont

  • 7
    2

    Cont

    Human rights abuses occurred since the 70 insurrection & in the 90s but you are confused with the grievances of the frustrated Sinhala youths & the Tamils as a minority. The focus now is on the documented evidence of the Red Cross & other NGOs of atrocities committed by both sides during the final phase of the war. If the armed forces of a democratic country is undisciplined, there is no difference between them & terrorists or vigilantes. Shouldn’t those alleged with war crimes exonerated by a court of law if they are innocent? Or is it all’ collateral’ damage? It is shameful when academics are also in denial & prostitute their credentials.

  • 9
    5

    This guy who conferred PhD for two criminals listed in OISL report is asking, who the author of the report is.
    It is not clear who has written this report, although some pretends it was written by the Commissioner herself. Of course, she should take the responsibility. It would have been better on the part of the Office, in the name of transparency, if the author/s have been revealed.
    First thing, there is no report as this guy saying. There is only one report the UNHRC HC will be presenting, that is only in the end of this month. Not just CT, Many Colombo Media described the purpose of shameful action of releasing a confidential draft to media is only to gear up this Criminal PhD master like the ones, in defense of the War Crime Aanduwa. After purposeful leak, UNHRC web site carried an explanation to the report, as leaving leak alone in media will only attract one sided attacks from the affected side by the report, not the purported discussion in UNHRC floor, an equal opportunity arrangement for all countries. There, only the final report will be discussed. So Lasksiri is doing exactly what Aanduwa wants and he is eloquently explaining why UNHRC put out another sort explanation. This Sinhala Jury only Verdict, educated imbecilic, is advancing on the game of Tani Tavil (solo).

  • 7
    5

    We are not going to pull one or two lines in report and give out of context explanation for that 16 page Bharatham. We just want see how the bigot Lasksiri is goofing in his haste. Lankawe Tamil- Sinhala violence war started in 1956. This is the Adam of political – physical violence in British freed Appe Lankawe. Substantial number of people considers this the result of Solomon West Dias Ridgeway’s Sinhala Only & other racist policies. Another group considers that Don Stephen’s initiations to deport Tamils as the debut. I contribute to the latter one, along with UNHRC HC Navipllai, who asked Chitanta government to remove his statue from Freedom square for his heinous crime. This is not strange, in US, in many areas, people doesn’t want to see Columbus’ statue. The end result of this bigotry used to win elections by evolutionary UNP & SLFP propagating extreme violence idea and the Sinhala Buddhism Only ideologists, revolutionary JVP terrorists, is never ending pogroms against minorities. JVP, too is only part of the formula, not an outsider or victim of Sinhala Chauvinism. There was a subtle difference between JVP terrorist and political party terrorists, The former one launched a riot against police to take control in one shot and change the country into a Sinhala Buddhist dictatorship government, but the latter was step by step, doing only raping, burning, killing, arson, looting… any violence possible over Tamils’ .

  • 9
    6

    They both drew their energy from Don Stephen’s Yahapalanaya & Solomon West’s Chitanta.

    LTTE, which was born out of Vattokottai convention, which clearly stated that the Tamils were here on resolve to armed struggle to attain freedom as all negations to that time were scraped off by Sri Ma o- Colvin constitution and declaring Lankawe a republic state, without the consent of Tamils, which was needed to ratify the Soulbury Constitution. This guy didn’t work in any proper office so lacks of knowledge of procedures. All laws passed in parliament too, do not come from Prime Minister’s writing or president’s writing or Speakers writing, but they sign what was done by legal draftsmen. They can’t declare “here after my words are the Sir Collars”. Certainly High Commissioner did not sit and type the report. She dictated, critically edited and approved the final drafts produced by her qualified staffs. This guy is trying to interpret it out of context and trying to prove that she was not aware of JVP’s terrorism. The interesting part is he sees a reason provided by HC for Tamils armed struggle, but agrees none existed for JVP, which he is arguing in his essay, but never willing to accept the LTTE sacrifices, though he too was supporting JVP. It is pure opportunism, the whole essay is.

    • 3
      9

      And Malay Chelva’s tar bucket.

      • 4
        1

        G
        It is you who carry the tar bucket to tarnish the images of people and thereby draw attention to your daft assertions.
        Do you know what the adjective Malay means?

        • 4
          1

          S.J,
          He’s picked it up from EE, the citizenship expert.

  • 11
    4

    LTTE was created, not by the Tamils but by the Sihala governments little by little from 1948 onwards. DS was the Architect/engineer by his state aided colonization of the Tamil areas in the east to change the texture of the Tamil population. . There after the successive Sinhala governments continued its racial policies by various subtle methods, initially. Thereafter, not being satisfied with the slow progress in subtle discrimination, the Sinhala governments competed among them selves, to prove to their voters as to who could do the worst damage to the Tamils, in the shortest possible time. In that process they brought in the Sinhala only, University Standardization, Colonization of the Tamil areas all over, in a big way. These processes were coupled with racial riots against the Tamils, gradually increasing the onslaught on the Tamils mercilessly. And thus, the LTTE was conceived and the birth took place in 1983, latter part. Conflict continued there onwards and India, Pakistan, UK USA and , China jointly saw to the downfall of the LTTE. Of the Six countries India played a double game, expecting various dividends and now they have learnt a ‘bitter lesson’. If the Sinhalese treated the Tamils equally, they too would have supported the port workers to keep India away. India too have the habit of the Sinhalese ie. Laugh nicely and while laughing cut the hearts.

    • 1
      6

      Kanapathy Varunan
      “LTTE was created, not by the Tamils but by the Sihala governments..”
      —-
      Don’t talk BS!
      LTTE was created by racist Malabar Vellala Tamil politicians who passed the Vaddukkodei Resolution in 1976 to create a separate State for the descendants of Dravida coolies brought from Hindusthan to Yapanaya by colonial rulers and urged Tamil youths to take up arms to achieve that objective. After that LTTE Tamil terrorists went on slaughtering Sinhalayo for three decades using suicide bombers, claymore bombs and chemical weapons.
      Tamils always try to put the blame on the Government and Sinhalayo for the blunders and crimes they committed.
      —-
      Sinhalayo do not have to colonize their country. It is Tamils who came from Hindusthan occupying land belonged to Sinhalayo where their Kingdoms existed before Dravida invaders destroyed them. So, please vacate land belong to Sinhalayo.

      • 2
        1

        Eagle Eye you dumb fool, he is right. LTTE was created by the ongoing racist pogroms and terror unleashed on the minorities by the majority. You dumb ass is too damn stupid to digest this truth at any level. Mutt go and get a life.

  • 8
    2

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando: You suggest that it would have been better to reveal the name of the person who wrote that “Report” and also go on to suggest the UNHRC Commissioner would have been excused. You perhaps would have listened to the “Speech” made by the President of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka – Nandasena Gotabahaya Rajapakse, at the commemoration of the 73rd Independence day. He said: ” I am the Sinhala Buddhist President”. Do you expect “Transparency” to be maintained, the “writer” of that speech should be stated so that the President could be “Excused” as you suggested in the case UNHRC Commissioner? What do you think how the International Forums would assess that statement? I am much concerned as to why that “October Coupe” of 2018, whereby the then President in violation of the Constitution “Appointed” MR as PM and an entirely “New Cabinet” was sworn in, was not referred to in the report of UNHRC. How about the recent “Presidential Commission Report” (The Kangaroo Court) published on the “Political Victimization”? Shouldn’t that also be included as an “Addendum” to the UNHRC report? Just a few matters for your attention and “Study”, could be used for your next “Doctorate” -“PHd”.

    • 7
      5

      Good one. That is the way comments have to be. Unfortunately it appears these days Laksiri Fernando is on his own way; doesn’t mind others opinion about his dishonest, hypocritical writing. He stayed out when Communist Denish withdraw from agreement, but showed up only after government leaked the confidential report.

  • 5
    2

    Kudos to CT for availing us, the readers, writings from all walks of life and all sorts of characters, many with a Ph.D., many who swing with the winds of fortune and populism, and the left, the right, the liberal and the sane.
    +
    It’s a reality check that exposes the level of madness that exists in the cross section, and allows us to appreciate the worthy and competent work of the sane.
    +
    This ain’t the latter.

  • 5
    2

    Little wonder that MR regime used LF as a pliant toady to teach human rights to the SLA soldiers.
    The man obviously is worried about his complicity in the state terrorism of the MR regime becoming exposed, so he mumbles on about LTTE and JVP terrorism. What evidence does LF have to suggest that the UNHRC is influenced in any shape or form by the LTTE or the JVP?

    • 2
      7

      Agnos,
      UNHRC is influenced by people who pretend they are civilized but behave like tribal people for their benefit. Tamil Diaspora is influencing those tribal people by oiling their palms.

      “UNHRC is influenced in any shape or form by the LTTE”

      • 4
        1

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        “Tamil Diaspora is influencing those tribal people by oiling their palms.”

        Please supply the names and details of all such people so that I could ask them oil your palm many times over.

        Don’t you think it is cheaper to oil the palms of Basil, Mahinda, Gota, Namal and Kamal?

        Think about it, by being the middle man you can oil your b***s as well.

    • 5
      1

      Agnos

      “What evidence does LF have to suggest that the UNHRC is influenced in any shape or form by the LTTE or the JVP?”

      He is heavily influenced by Sri Lankan tradition, custom, practices, norms, justice system, loyalty, Sinhala/Buddhism, modern day responsibility of intellectuals (not the one advocated by Dwight Macdonald’s) …. patriotism, ….. Therefore you don’t demand evidence of anything.

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