2 December, 2023


Justice Not Mourning Or Doles, Is What The Victims Want

By Paul Newman

Dr Paul Newman

As the dust settles down over the fortnight long protests against the barbaric gang rape of a 23 year old girl in Delhi, the world reacted strongly, a number of world leaders commented on the need to protect women. I was amused with two news articles, one was the demonstrations in support of the Delhi rape victim in Sri Lanka, here I was wondering when rape is an everyday unreported occurrence in the North and East of their own country, the demonstrators shut their eyes towards these Tamil women and looked to the other side of the Indian ocean.

The second news was the statement of Mr.Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. He urged India to protect its women. Mr.Ban has conveniently forgotten the plight of the Tamil women in neighboring Sri Lanka.

It is estimated that around 140,000 Tamil women live in the north and east of Sri Lanka, out of which a whooping 90,000 of them are war widows and much worse nearly half of them are below 40. The world knows that these women continue to be raped and brutalized as the armed forces continue their rule in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Rape cases generally go unreported fearing vengeful attacks by the perpetrators and social ostracization. Who is there to shed tears for them?

Last year the armed forces were attacking and molesting Tamil women in the form of grease devils, there were also violence against female ex-combatants, though reported extensively there were no signs of protests or statements anywhere!

Inadequate infrastructure for women IDPs and returnees especially housing, health facilities, water, sanitation, proper employment and education still remains a great cause of concern.

Why Mr.Ban has not raised any questions with the Sri Lankan ruling class about the plight of these voiceless women?

As a mute spectator during the final stages of war why the all empowered UN and Mr.Ban did not plunge into action when the LTTE offered to surrender in May 2009? In the two UN  reports, the Panel of Experts as well as the Charles Petrie report there is no mention of the failure of the UN SG’s Chief of Staff, Mr.Vijay Nambiar who was supposed to personally supervise the surrender of the Top political wing cadre of the LTTE. He as the emissary of the Secretary General had advised the LTTE political wing personnel to carry white flags and surrender before the Sri Lankan forces, when they did that along with many women and children they were brutally assassinated in cold blood. This incident is well recorded by the great journalist late Marie Colvin.

Even after this monumental failure of Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Mr.Ban persisted with his Chief of Staff who never came under the firing line. It is a well known fact that these Gentlemen share 40 years of friendship. Mr.Vijay Nambiar who’s elder brother Lt. Gen (Retd) Satish Nambiar was a Defence adviser to the President of Sri Lanka and that could have had a bearing on the decision making along with the Indian influence exerted on the Chief of Staff not to intervene in the last stages of the war needs to be investigated.

Sri Lanka had also enthusiastically supported Mr.Ban’s candidature withdrawing their candidate to the post of the UN SG. Mr.Ban’s  son-in-law’s  anti-Tamil stand which was very much evident through his past writings and his bitter experiences in Eelam as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) has also greatly influenced Mr.Ban’s thinking and subsequent inaction.

On the part of the UN, the International Community one can see the double standards in dealing with the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka when compared to Libya, Egypt or Syria.

Despite all the International condemnation the students of Jaffna University were mauled by the army and a few continue to be in jail, where are the voices from the UN and the IC?

The muted response of Mr.Ban on the Tamil issue makes many to believe that there are ulterior motives in his and the UN  inaction.

The UN Panel of Experts, the International Community and human rights groups have sought Independent investigations into war crimes and genocide which have been completely rejected by the Sri Lankan state dominated by a single family rule of its President, Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Genocide of the Tamils continues in different forms, Sinhalisation, Militarisation and Economic marginalization are the order of the day. All methods of coercion to start a meaningful dialogue by the International community have failed and are bound to fail under the present regime.  The war criminals roam around freely after more than three and a half years.

The Sinhalese armed forces savagery carried out the worst Genocide of the 21st Century in which 146,679 civilians are still unaccounted. There is also information available which speaks of another unpublished report on Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war by the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. It would be the wish of every world Citizen that UN publishes this report which could lead towards justice to the victims and their families.

The human rights fraternity supporting the rights of the Tamils would also urge Mr.Ban Ki Moon to use Article 99 of the UN Charter and order  an International Investigation and presents the report before the Security Council and the General Assembly so that World decides who was wrong. For all the mistakes the UN has committed it can also redeem itself.

Let history remember UN and Mr.Ban Ki Moon as those who worked for Justice and not just as those who just mourned.

*The author holds a Doctorate of Philosophy on ‘Internal Displacement and Human Rights situation in Northern Sri Lanka from Bangalore University. He was one of the four public speakers at the Permanent People’s Tribunal on War Crimes against Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    May be they are thinking that Tamils are not coming under human category and human rights are not applicable to them??

  • 0

    Military governers even now,through the army and paramilitaries control all aspects of life of citizens of the north and east.
    Persecution of citizens,including rape,abductions,armed robbery & denial of civil liberties are common.
    The thousands of war widows are preyed upon by the military and paramilitary groups.
    They cannot complain to anyone,even to the police.
    The UN is dormant,about the crimes commited on the tamils during the war,and the atrocities continuing even now.
    Elected representatives of the tamils are sidelined by the military regime,and are harassed & threatened.
    There has to be an accounting by the UN assisted by human rights groups.

    • 0

      Just to be reminded that out of 20 Divivsions of the Sri Lakan Army,
      15 are kept in the Northern Province, 2 in the Eastern Province and only the remaining 3 Divisions cover the 7 provinces.
      So you can imagine the motive of the SL regime.

  • 0

    Mr. Ban ki Moon son in law is from India and he worked in ***Indian Army****. this is his profile:

    Was he in IPKF?

  • 0

    This is all about international politics and pressure.One reason is media who is only taking those news which are in the atmosphere.E.G. A dalit(marginalised community in india)girl was raped in kandhamal district which is coming under the province of Odisha.But no none of the media is ready to taking up that issue.This is due to politicization of media.most of the media are owned by corporators or politicians. So through media the politicians and corporators are able to impose what they want.

  • 0

    VJ Nambiar ….

    Nambiar, India’s proxy in UN, complicit in white flag killings?

    Readers in Colombo might not be able to access http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=35889
    So I have copied part of it

    [TamilNet, Saturday, 12 January 2013, 23:55 GMT]
    While the International Community which, blinded by the 9/11 terror, architected the annihilation of Tamils’ primary safeguard, the LTTE, is left to savor the resulting horror state and the autocratic dystopia in Sri Lanka, Rights groups have accused the U.N. of being derelict in its duty to protect civilian lives. Vijay Nambiar, the Chef de Cabinet, who was a key official in shaping UN’s Sri Lanka policy, is also accused of complicity in the “Whiteflag” incident where several surrendees were executed by the Sri Lanka military after being given assurances of safety by International actors. Nepotism and family connections between Ban Ki Moon and Nambiar, with personal links to India and Colombo, may also have contributed to the U.N.’s unwillingness to stop the Mu’l’livaaykkaal massacre, observers say.

    Vijay Nambiar previously served as Deputy National Security Advisor to the Government of India and Head of the National Security Council Secretariat. Earlier he served as Ambassador of India in Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and Algeria.

    Nambiar’s brother, Satish Nambiar, was a defense advisor to Colombo during the period when the adversaries were involved in the early phases of negotiating a ceasefire. Satish Nambiar served in the Indian Army as Lieutenant General during Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, and achieved international recognition as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of UNPROFOR, the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia.

    Besides Yukio Takasu and John Holmes, Vijay Nambiar is widely seen as the key third U.N. policy maker who guided the U.N. actions implemented on Sri Lanka’s battle ground that brought humanitarian disaster to Eezham Tamils, Tamil activists say. India and China’s pressure on the UN Secretary General’s contributed to Ban’s reticence in taking action against Sri Lanka, France’s Ambassador, Gerard Araud, was to say later.

    “The U.N. Secretary General is not an agent of the Security Council. Rather the Secretariat is one of 6 Independent Organs of the UNO,” says Prof Boyle, an expert in international law, noting a recent interview where Nambiar wrongly said “United Nations works according to the mandates laid out by the Security Council or the General Assembly.”

    Observers say, however, that Nambiar’s mind reflected a tendency to assume a passive posture, and to hide behind the authority of the Security Council, in his reckless disregard to the lives of Tamil civilians, even while admitting that “in between those [U.N.’s] mandates there is a lot the UN Secretariat can do pro-actively, and that is the biggest challenge.”

    Nambiar’s “silent diplomacy” undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka during the fateful last months of the war, his alleged complicity in the involvement of the whiteflag incident, and his refusal to brief the UN Security Council nor to provide a media briefing evoked controversy, reports from the U.N. journalists say.

    Report of the Secretary-General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations action in Sri Lanka
    UN’s Petrie report on UN’s inaction during the last stages of the war, documents Holmes and Nambiar jointly pressuring Navi Pillay of UNHCR to desist from publishing estimated casualty figures that would put UN in to a “difficult terrain.”

    When asked why the report had sections blacked out, and there is no mention of Ban’s envoy Vijay Nambiar and his role in the so-called White Flag Killings of surrenders Tamil Tiger leaders, UN spokesperson declined to respond, according to ICP.

    Petrie Report said “an estimated 360,000 or more civilians were crowded into an ever smaller part of ‘the Wanni’ area of Northern Sri Lanka where many died as a result of sustained artillery shelling, illness and starvation. Almost 280,000 survivors were forcibly interned in military-run camps outside,” implying more than 80,000 civilians may have been killed in the Mu’l’livaaykkaal massacre.

  • 0

    Its high time that we stop the life style of “Shutting one eye and closing the other”…instead let every person open the eyes and react positively to make a change…let it start from within…with due respect to the other….

  • 0

    Dear Dr Newman,
    “I was amused with two news articles, one was the demonstrations in support of the Delhi rape victim in Sri Lanka, here I was wondering when rape is an everyday unreported occurrence in the North and East of their own country, the demonstrators shut their eyes towards these Tamil women and looked to the other side of the Indian ocean.”

    what makes you say this? is it wrong to feel for another? or do you think only SL Tamil women get raped in SL? You do know better! I am a Tamil, and am happy, at least some SL women added their voices to what happened in your country, and I do appreciate your feelings for Sri lankans ,and am sure its much better if all of US can stand up for down trodden Humans all over the world, rather than just Sinhalese or Tamils, whites or blacks , Christians or Muslims!

  • 0

    Dear KVN, I do not think any Tamil women came to the streets in Colombo to protest against the Delhi rape. The rape of any woman is unpardonable, how many Sinhalese or the Sinhalese civil society protested or demonstrated when Isai Priya, a Tamil women was raped, murdered and her breasts cut off? Kindly refer to the 2000 annual report of Human Rights Watch, you will come across the story of Ida Carmellita, raped by five soldiers after tying the mother to the lamp post in Pallimunai, everyone knew who the criminals were, yet all of them were released and the entire family had to escape to India as refugees. How many of your countrymen demonstrated. When my own house is filled with filth why do I go to clean the house of my neighbor. Kindly refer to the numerous reports of the Women commissions and minority rights groups, this is an issue discussed at the UN and other forums. You must remember that the government claims there are 90,000 Tamil war widows, IT IS THE GOVERNMENT CLAIM, why don’t you do something about it, take up this issue with the government and get some rehab programmes for them, I can go on, I’m not a fanatic but a social science researcher who is concerned that in my own neighborhood 146,679 Tamils are missing, yet everyone is silent. I cannot remain silent, I appeal to you to join the side of truth and fight for justice of these voiceless women and 50,000 orphaned children.

    • 0

      Sir, I think you didnt get me right. maybe my fault. what I wanted to say was/is, when we read your article, we get the feeling that you are only worried about Tamils,I think that is wrong . Yes I do know how cruelly Tamils, males and females were treated in SL, even today, yes I have read about Isai P & Ida C et many many more .all very very disturbing, but please, with all due respect I ask you, do you honestly believe that only Tamil women get raped in SL? YOU are a researcher, I find it hard to believe that you have never come across any Singhalese woman being raped by soldiers, politicians, thugs even priests and bikkus. Sir, I sincerely thank you for your time and energy you spend on us, our brothers and sisters. but please try to get out of the box you are living in, its not good, as I told you I am a Tamil, do you believe that all TAMILS are good? No Sir, it isnt so. there are good Tamils, and I know for a fact there are Good Sinhalese too. and I strongly believe that the only way to eradicate our problem is to get together, look at the problem together and find a solution together.hope you will agree, thank you.

      • 0

        I have never come across a situation in Sri Lanka of a Sinhalese girl getting raped because she is Sinhalese, Tamil girls get raped because they are Tamil! Kindly understand that I’m not condoning any rape anywhere in the world. In India itself, where were all these so called street sympathisers when scores of Kashmiri women and women in North East, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand are getting raped. My point is please also condemn the pre-meditated rape of Tamil women which occurs because they speak Tamils.I never said all Sinhalese are bad or all Tamils are good. We have Karunas, Douglas’ eveywhere! You are getting confused with two different issues. I once again reiterate that when my own house is filled with filth why do I go to clean the house of my neighbor. You may think I am a hypocrite. We all are.

        • 0

          Sri Lanka gangrape sparks anger

          Press Trust of India / Colombo January 25, 2013, 18:35

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          In a case with parallels to the Delhi gangrape, a 47-year-old woman was allegedly raped by four auto drivers near a Colombo suburb evoking a similar sentiment of outrage.

          Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said they arrested two of the men yesterday after a witness raised an alarm and the authorities were looking for two more suspects.

          “The victim has been admitted to hospital,” Jayakody said adding that the men had attacked her when she went to a taxi stand to ask for directions after losing her bearings in the Mirihana suburb of Colombo on Wednesday night.

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          This sir, is for you to peruse, as you say you have never heard about a singhala woman getting raped!!!

          A womens’ rights group, Lak Vanitha, or Lankan women, said they were staging a demonstration later today outside a police station in the same area where the unidentified woman was attacked by the drivers.

          “We have about 1,400 rapes recorded each year in Sri Lanka,” Lak Vanitha chief Shanthinie Kongahage told PTI.

          “The actual number should be much more. Most victims are afraid to report because of social stigma or out of fear of more violence,” she said adding, “We are pressing the police to ensure a speedy investigation and a quick prosecution.”

          She said the international publicity surrounding the Delhi gangrape last month had inspired her group to raise the issue locally and create more awareness in the local community.

          “Lot of women are harassed by three wheel drivers,” she said referring to the ubiquitous autorickshaws which have become an alternative to poor public transport.

          “We need to take a stand and say enough is enough,” she said.

          The 23-year-old Indian gangrape victim who died of her injuries has touched a nerve in neighbouring Sri Lanka where activists have expressed solidarity with Indian women facing sexual violence.

          • 0

            You still did not answer my question, were any of the Sinhalese women raped because they were Sinhalese?

  • 0

    There can be no peace till justice rendered to the affected.The srilanka and the international community will sure realize this soon

  • 0

    Pls hear to the two Youtubes (part1 and 2) on the debate on rape in India.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZDqm7IN5NYU (The Hindu’s Fight against rape – Part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HJeghQCION0 (The Hindu’s Fight against rape – Part 2)

  • 0

    A friend of mine has made the following comments about the discussion.

    This is a fantastic discussion on the Delhi rape victims case. The two u-tubes are nearly 2 hours long; once you watch the proceedings, it is so informative that you will be glued to the tubes without your knowledge. The discussions were extremely frank. The sloppiness of the police and the courts and the failure of the justice system was blatantly apparent.The proceedings in the courts will take years, perhaps as long as 20 years, so much so those involved in the case may not exist to receive the verdict.

    The Indian Army’s behaviour in Kashmir and the North-eastern India were also discussed. So it was not surprising when we hear the conduct of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in North-eastern Sri Lanka, when they went there to disarm the Tamil Tigers to prevent them from creating their own state of Tamil Eelam.

    Rape is a horrendous crime wherever it may take place. All of us truly sympathize with the Delhi victim of rape. The Indians and the government have conveniently ignored the massacre and rape that took place across the Straits in Sri Lanka.. Tens of thousands of women were raped and their breasts were cut and thrown in heaps. Satellite surveillance would have shown the Indian leaders the scale of the genocide that was taking place in Mullivaikkal in Sri Lanka during May 2009; yet they kept quiet about it. The reason for this was given by Gotabaya, the Sri Lankan Defense Minister. He said Sri Lanka fought India’s war.India trained and armed the Sinhalese to crush the Tigers and commit the genocide.

    India often site Rajiv murder for their action in Sri Lanka. Jain Commission has given an open verdict on Rajiv’s death.The real murderers of Rajiv are still walking free in India. So this cannot be the real reason; it is India’s desire to prevent the Tamils from creating their own state and going free. They argue that the Tamils going free in Sri Lanka will be an inducement for the discontented people in India to go free. For this reason rape of Tamil women and genocide in the Tamil Homeland is acceptable.

    In 2009 Ram’s Hindu paper was busy in Tamil Nadu, suppressing the gravity of the situation for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, so that the Tamils in Tamil Nadu from getting agitated. It is gratifying to see the Hindu paper is now holding a discussion on the Delhi rape case. Hopefully, the trend will change in India and they will also examine the rape of tens of thousands of Tamil women in Sri Lanka

  • 0

    dear newman
    Your concern about srilankan tamil is good But you cannot ignore millions of somalians living in this world worst than your present concern
    thank you

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