22 April, 2021

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I Am Heartbroken For My Lanka – A Day Of Mourning

By Tush Wickramanayaka

Tush Wickramanayaka

EQUALITY, JUSTICE, HOPE – The UN Charter begins by affirming “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

Sri Lanka lost the vote on the UNHRC Resolution Item 2: L.1/Rev. 1 ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights” by 22 States in Favour, 11 Against and 14 Abstained on 23rd March 2021.

This is NOT a victory as foolishly and comically declared by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dinesh Gunawardena. His sense of logic and mathematics is not to be envied. This is downright defeat of the current Government, disheartening of the callous disregard of the repeated warnings and disgrace to the people of Sri Lanka.

This vote is NOT against the people of Sri Lanka albeit Government allies are trying to misdirect the people’s frustrations as a verdict against our sovereignty and independence labeling it as politicizing the UN Council and trying to play the same old trump card of racism. The resolution reaffirms that all individuals in Sri Lanka are entitled to the full enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind such as religion, belief or ethnic origin and the importance of a peaceful and unified land’. So, please stop playing the broken record!

The United Nations (UN) consists of 193 independent member States. It has six main organs. Five of them: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague in the Netherlands. The peoples of the UN determined that to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

The four areas or pillars of the UN: Peace and Security, Human Rights, The Rule of Law and Development. These four pillars are all interconnected. You can’t fully achieve one without achieving all of them.

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018 released the report on January 27, 2021, declaring that she was “alarmed” by Sri Lanka’s deteriorating human rights situation and set out steps that the Human Rights Council should take to confront the growing risk of future violations.

The Human Rights Council (not to be confused with United Nations Human Rights Committee, United Nations Commission on Human Rights, or Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world consists of one President and four Vice Presidents appointed annually and 47 member States elected every three years on a regional group basis via direct and secret ballet of the General Assembly. A member State cannot be re-elected for a period of three years after two consecutive elections.

This is a day of mourning for all Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity or religion …

Fact 1 – Sri Lanka was a member State of UN Human Rights Council from 2006-2008. It is true that we have an egocentric, inexperienced, toddler as Head of State but surely the entourage of experienced senior members should have warned of the impending doom when the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa withdrew its support for the 2015 consensus resolution seeking justice and reconciliation, and shown general disregard for upholding basic human rights. They should have known the consequences of their superiority complex; that the UN Council WILL act to protect those most at risk. We live in a country governed by a bunch of incompetent senile citizens who deserve to be in a retirement home.

Fact 2 – Since 2020, the President has appointed at least 28 serving or former military and intelligence personnel, some alleged of war crimes, to key administrative posts and has formed several Presidential task forces with vague, overbroad or overlapping mandates with existing institutions. The Defense Secretary justified the extra judicial killings of the Mahara Prisoners. If ever there was any doubt of these “alleged” war crimes, his recent stance has fortified these allegations. We live in a country where our problems can be resolved and our voices silenced with a State sponsored bullet.

Fact 3 – The 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the balance of power between the different branches of the Government, vastly expanding the scope of presidential and executive powers and reversing many democratic gains introduced with the 19th Amendment. It fundamentally eroded the independence of key commissions and institutions, including the HRCSL, the Election Commission, the National Police Commission and the judiciary in terms of procedure for the selection, appointment and dismissal of senior judges and other high-ranking officials. The Constitutional Council was abolished like a puff of smoke. The result is the whole sale dismissal of all cases relating to members of Government and their cronies.  We live in a country where absolute power corrupts absolutely and ordinary citizens may never be able to seek justice.

Fact 4 – Militarization and commercialization of the Covid-19 operations to endorse the majoritarian and exclusion rhetoric by forceful cremations of the Islamic and Catholics, naming and shaming individuals and refusal to allow our overseas labor force to repatriate is a direct violation of human rights. Playing politics with the victims of Easter Sunday massacre, enticing ethnic conflict by destroying Buddha statues, burial sites and monuments of the Tamil people are deplorable.  Unlawful lengthy detention of Muslims, Sinhalese and anyone else considered a threat is a common phenomenon. Ramzi  Razeek and Hejaaz Hizbullah are victims of injustice, the latter lamenting in jail without charge since April 2020. We live in a country where the ICCPR and Prevention of Terrorism Act is misused in controlling our thoughts, speech, writing and even the use of social media.

Fact 5 – While the criminal justice system in Sri Lanka has long been the subject of interference, the current Government has proactively obstructed or sought to stop ongoing investigations and criminal trials to prevent accountability for past crimes. In January 2020, the Government appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged “political victimization” of public officials, members of the armed forces and police, and employees of State corporations by the previous Government. With its broad mandate, the commission has intervened in police investigations and court proceedings and had the effect of undermining the police and judiciary in several high profile human rights and corruption-related cases. Several high profile cases of naval officers Karannagoda and Dissanayake were freed but murder of Wickrematunge, disappearance of Ekneligoda and detention of Abeysooriya remain unresolved. We live in a country where cold blooded child murderer convicted of death penalty is released by the President without any accountability setting a precedence of violence against the true beneficiaries of our future – our children. 

This is a day of rising for all Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity or religion…

The State party is undeterred by the reality of the resolution and seems elated that UN Council can do nothing to enforce the recommendations, hailing it as a victory because of the watered down nature of the final resolution excluding the proposed sanctions against individuals. You wanna bet?

The UN Council allocated USD 2.8million over a period of 22 months to ensure the recommendations are implemented. The Council meets again in June and September 2021 when Sri Lanka’s progress will be intensely scrutinized.

Despite the publicized last minute phone calls by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, except our immediate neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh, many of the member of States of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) abstained from voting and distanced themselves; Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Libya, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. So, anyone keen to light that inferno discriminating our Muslim community either backed by bureaucratic drama or individual social media antiques MUST stop or face serious consequences. In return, the Muslim community MUST engage with the norms and traditions of Sri Lanka rather than imbibe foreign extremisms.

All individuals in Sri Lanka are entitled to the full enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind such as religion, belief or ethnic origin, living in a peaceful and unified land. We cannot allow another bloody disaster to destroy our innocent people of North, East, South or West of the country. The propaganda machines continually firing in one direction is failing to heal the wounds.  Thus, any attempts of division of ‘Homeland’ by any ethnic group MUST be rejected with sustainable long term solutions endorsed only by meaningful dialog and cheered by the people of the soil of the mainland.

Whilst accountability and reconciliation is paramount, we must not forget that the 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. Thousands of children were systematically recruited and used as fighters and in other roles by LTTE and other armed groups, Muslim and Sinhala communities were forcibly expelled from the North, and civilians were indiscriminately killed in terrorist attacks on public places and transport by the LTTE. There are former LTTE terrorist members alive in Sri Lanka and overseas and they MUST be held accountable for the heinous crimes against humanity just as much as the alleged violations by the armed forces.

The countries that voted against the resolution have a history of human rights violations. Our close ally China, who set the stage almost demanding that others follow suite received a virtual slap. This is an indication that the international community is not intimidated. If GOSL is determined to protect its sovereignty and independence, Sri Lanka needs a harsh reality check that we will become globally isolated by hanging on to the tails of other nations. We MUST break the chains of dependence of our blind faith and political allegiance to a failing Government.

Although individual sanctions were not recommended in the final resolution, The UN Council noted that continuous failure to engage in the process can escalate matters to individuals being sanctioned in International Courts sponsored by the UN Council directly.  Furthermore, the Council also reiterated that other member States can impose sanctions against Sri Lanka. The council has made the process crystal clear. We MUST insist that the Government overcome the arrogance and eat some humble pie before we all starve to death!

EQUALITY, JUSTICE, HOPE…for the true beneficiaries of the future – our children…

*Dr Tush Wickramanayaka – Chairperson, Stop Child Cruelty Trust

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Latest comments

  • 30
    3

    Tush Wickremanayaka,
    Thanks for your well explained and thoughtful facts behind this resolution. The resolution is not against Sri Lanka or any of the citizens of Sri Lanka. It is about those who ignored or violated the law of this country.
    The truth is that we claimed victory after winning the LTTE Terrorism but failed to win the peace, unity, and failed to bring back rule of law and unbiased judiciary. Do we need these fundamentals or not? If not, Who is going to take the responsibility for the failure?

    • 7
      0

      Dear Dr Wickramanayaka,

      I am writing this here, because you yourself had experienced all what we the expatriates are going through when travelling back home from Europe.
      .
      It is very unpleasant, no words to express our anger, and not easy to convince them if they would not listen to anyone. Most of embassy personnel are not adequately updated. They just provide general information whenever we try to collect the most updated information from them. As if almost our basic rights are fully proned as nothing can help.
      .
      This proves well the LEVEL of CURRENT govt. it is not all its cracked up to be, Nandasena/should be dog. He should not fit to anywhere but Neuremberg camp in MEDAMULANA where these rascals were born to that brutal famly.
      :
      We the expatriates living in Europe are very dissappointed in GOSL’s behaviours regarding our travel back home. Some of us are met with the unexpected not being able to see their elderly parents. So like or not, we have NO CHOICE but pay several lacks ( 400% more than one would usually pay) pleasing mafia net.

      Asked why they would treat us so, is not answered by anyone. It is indeed a millitarised govt.

  • 32
    4

    It seems that truth and reality have finally caught up with Sri Lanka that has cunningly played the fool with and deceived the international community for many years, consistent with the ancient diagnosis of Robert Knox who said ” the Cingalese are a cunning lot who mistake the low-level cunning they possess to be a high level of Intelligence” !!

    • 2
      8

      Is the good professor Cingalese?

      • 0
        6

        SJ
        When a Sinhalese says Sinhalese are fools it is a statement by a fool.
        .
        Another example of Russell’s paradox.

        Soma

        • 3
          0

          Soma
          I resent it when any people are called names.
          It is utterly childish and even harmful as it promotes hostile and negative thinking.
          *
          I am sorry to say that CT pages are dominated by race-caste-gender-and-religion based bigotry.
          The piling up of thumbs up and down is characteristic of cheer leaders. They often encourage bigoted comments.

          • 0
            0

            SJ
            How do you like this one for a change:
            /
            GATAM / November 7, 2020
            .
            Sri Lankan Buddhists are the most intolerant, superstitious, jealous and naive people I have ever met across 34 countries I traveled. They would worship any tree, clay thing, alien or politician for benefit. World Buddhists must steer clear of this intolerant tribe.
            /
            Soma

        • 0
          1

          Somu,
          Self-criticism is a way of intelligent people’s or behavior and trait of them fixing one’s behavioral deficiencies themself instead of UNHRC coming home all the way. It is right opposite to hypocrisy, a leading form propaganda lectures delivered in CT by Sinhala Tamil PhD Pundits, placing them in the levels of high and low, themselves.

          One’s blood boils when a hypocrite label another one as low. One’s blood boils when a chaff attempts to ridicule another one talk, but has no logical counter talks. One’s blood boils when a traitor ask you why can’t Sinhalese genocide Tamils while America is doing that in ME. One’s blood boil when one cannot properly talk a basic engineering subject, but trying to preach centuries old Communism. One’s blood boils when one work for nasty Aanduwa and constantly spinning for it.

          • 0
            0

            Mallaiyuran
            .
            My blood used to boil in the early days with CT.
            .
            My wife and CT taught me patience.

            Soma

    • 1
      6

      Racism!

  • 25
    4

    I am disappointed you ignored the Sri Lankan state terrorism against innocent Tamils bombing schools killing civilians in revenge etc over many years.

    Also you conveniently ignored periodic state sponsored pogroms against Tamils where thousands of innocent Tamils died, raped and their properties destroyed.

    Tamils, and Muslims are generally disillusioned with the Sri Lankan state and the inability get justice in Sri Lanka.

  • 11
    34

    Tush, I am not about to engage in
    questioning your expertise , while admitting The foreign Minister made a terrible mistake,.
    But to outrightly deny the UN is not politicized is an understatement.
    What about all the shark countries who have commited the worst crimes against humanity? What about countries even now are engaging in it ?
    UN is a very biased organization.
    Btw I wonder what the past regime was doing ? Without completely ending the suffering of a people during the war and after the end of war ; they tried to start a 2nd one , of cause the entire UNP along with their Godfather is responsible for creating the LTTE and the War.
    If anybody is to be held responsible it’s the Yahapalana.
    Without getting greedy and going on a all hell breaking filling their pockets from top inbetween to the bottom; they should have concentrated on the Tamil issue and settled it.

    Tamils must realise this resolution can not do anything, nor China and Russia ARE going to sit and watch Siva Sena threaten us.

    It is best for Tamils to engage directly with the government for reconciliation.

    No POLITICAL power can even dream oF shaking the present government of 6.9 strong majority votes , THEY are still with the government.
    People can dream on.

    • 13
      3

      LANKA NETIZEN,
      Chinese is going to defend sri lanka?
      The same china who was caught manufacturing doormats with the sri lankan flag on it?

      • 2
        5

        H
        Is the mindset of a Chinese merchant any from that of a Sri Lankan Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim merchant?
        One can cite plenty of indiscretions by people of various identities.
        *
        In state to state dealings, we should know who treats this country with respect and who does not.
        *
        Chinese military action outside its territory is far less likely than such action by the US, NATO allies or for that matter India.
        As for projects like Shiva Sena, BJP of Sri Lanka, the country needs no foreign help to put them down.
        They will be stillborn.

  • 13
    3

    Though on a losing streak, Lankan cricket team claims to have much better thought out strategies than Rajapaksas Government. How bad it can be ????

  • 19
    3

    So based on these arguments put forward by Dinesh Gunewardene and declaring Sri Lanka had really won the voting in the UNHCR, does he accept Sajith Premadasa should be the winner of the Presidential elections and become the President.

    When you add all those who did not vote, and it is on record 20% of the voting population abstained from voting. So adding the absent votes to Sajith, Sajith will beat Gotapaya easily. So the real victor is Sajith

    Will Dinesh advise Gotapaya to step down? Sajith should thank Dinesh for his logic and invite him to his Government.

    People who occupy such highly respectable and responsible positions should also behave respectfully to retain the respect it has. When gutter people like Dinesh are given such a responsible position will only drag that post to the gutters where he belongs.

  • 4
    7

    This author does a good job condemning everyone, is there anyone she didn’t condemn? She is even ready to condemn herself, going by the title. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it does not solve anything. You cannot win a war with a pen. Unfortunately, this is the approach our GOSL took since Independence, by negotiating with Tamil politicians. While the (Sinhalese) politicians were bargaining over “devolution” or “district development councils”, the Tamil politicians were laying the foundation for a separate state by making impossible demands in the Parliament. These Tamil politicians were never serious in their negotiations, that is why Prabhakaran knocked off their leadership and seized power for himself. Our stupid politicians, India, and Norway then tried to negotiate with Prabhakaran. Some of them were assassinated, one got a glass eye, you can see the result. Finally in 2005, a serious politician was elected President. He did not waste his time negotiating. This man, Rajapakse, used common sense to solve a difficult issue. The author is ashamed because a few “war crimes” may have been committed in the process? Where was this author when LTTE was exploding bombs all over Colombo? I suggest the author re-visit her physics class: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  • 6
    2

    “I Am Heartbroken For My Lanka – A Day Of Mourning”
    Dr Tush Wickramanayaka – Chairperson, Stop Child Cruelty Trust
    – its a shame that your heart broke only when UNHRC passed the resolution
    ====
    was your heart broken when you saw the scenes of the final days of the war at Mulliavalaikaal
    was your heart broken when you saw the scenes female LTTE fighters rounded up in an army van and followed up by their naked bodies after rape and murder
    was your heart broken when you saw the innocent look of VP sons at the gun point of a soldier followed by the picture of his dead body with a bullet through his heart
    was your heart broken when you saw innocent women and children and old men running for their life followed by massive fire engulfing them
    =========
    why oh why was your heart was only broken by UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka for alleged war crime?
    ============
    had the Govt hoodwinked some countries to vote against the resolution ..would your heart be full of joy?

    =========

    • 2
      4

      Rajash
      All we know is your heart jumped with joy whenever LTTE carried out a civilian massacre. You guys used to watch LTTE videos in secret groups how pregnant women were stabbed in the belly and babies in bordering villagers were dashed on tree trunks to save bullets. Your daily fare was LTTE bravodos of killing soldiers and bayoneting of dying soldiers and setting on fire half alive.
      You guys were proud to say LTTE was your sole representative because you worshipped terror and blood for thirty long years. You took great pride in seeing Cyanide capsules hanging around children’s necks. You guys were so thrilled to see women cadres’ hair cut short in the final days so that your boys could shoot them if they attempt to drop the uniform and attempt to flee.
      Story of terror on civilians as a strategy to achieve a political objective went on and on until India decided to bring the blood thirst of you guys to an end support our military to save your own people which they did at great sacrifice.

      Soma

      • 2
        0

        Soma Soma Soma …sugama?

        Aiyo Aiyo LTTE LTTE LTTE

        you must be breathing and living LTTE every minute

        they were wiped out 12 years ago and you have the dead Tiger by the tail and dont want to let it go….it is indeed useful for you to keep beating with the dead tiger now and then

        Aiyo Aiyo Aiyo keep beating the dead tiger

        • 0
          1

          Rajash
          What about your annual ritual of commemorating the dead tiger?

          Soma

          • 1
            0

            have you not lost any loved ones?
            if so do you remember them on their death anniversary?

            • 0
              1

              I remember my loved ones, innocent, men, women and children of this country you considered as worthy targets to achieve a political objective EVERY DAY.

              Soma

  • 2
    5

    Foolish to think this will change anything.

    Now SL will be thinking how to avenge this just for the sake of avenging. They will!

    Not that UNHRC resolutions matter anyway. 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 also had resolutions. Nothing happened.

    Nothing will happen.

  • 4
    1

    Our actions in life have serious consequences positive/negative in this world and in the next eternal life for those who believe in Divine Accountability. Sadly the elected Rulers by popular choice are driving the social and economic policies to a place of no return.
    It’s a matter of time the citizens will be enslaved with unsustainable debt for generations. The families who benefit now will eventually lose it as well as history has attested to this fact time and time again. Hopefully, a miracle can save the country from this quandary.

    • 1
      0

      HF
      ” unsustainable debt for generations”
      That process got going in earnest under the Open economic Policy of 1978.
      Prior to that, borrowing was not very fashionable.
      *
      The following is most informative:
      https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/publications/otherpub/25th_anniversary_review_of_the_economy_of_sri_lanka.pdf

      • 2
        0

        Thanks, SJ. Yes, during the illustrious era of our mentor Dr NMP, borrowing was for development rather than borrowing now with high-interest rates from Ching to pay Chang for consumption.
        The magic of money creation in a debt-based economy will erode the savings. By a continuing process of printing worthless paper money, the fraudsters can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.
        The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is debt; the second is inequality. Both bring a permanent ruin and both are the refuge of political opportunists.

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