29 May, 2017

Much Ado About CHOGM

By M. A. Sumanthiran –

M A Sumanthiran

Much has been said concerning Sri Lanka hosting the approaching Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). A significant part of the discussion has been with regard to Canada’s decision to boycott CHOGM. In his official statement Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that:

“When Sri Lanka was selected to host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Canada was hopeful that the Sri Lankan government would seize the opportunity to improve human rights conditions and take steps towards reconciliation and accountability. Unfortunately, this has not been the case…The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable. Canada noted with concern the impeachment of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice earlier this year, and we remain disturbed by ongoing reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances, and allegations of extra judicial killings…It is clear that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values…As such, as the Prime Minister of Canada, I will not attend the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka…”

This position brought upon Canada the ire of the Sri Lankan government, with the Minister for External Affairs furiously dismissing Canada’s initiative as “an attempt to politicize the proceedings of the Commonwealth”.

Instead of merely lashing out defensively however, the Sri Lankan Government would do well to seriously consider the significance of Canada’s decision.

‘To boycott or not to boycott’

As Sri Lankans our concern must not be merely whether countries boycott CHOGM or not, but that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka is of such a nature that countries are forced to even consider the question.

Even if the Sri Lankan government is so unwise as to peremptorily dismiss Canada’s decision to boycott, it surely cannot deny the fact that Canada is not alone in its concern regarding Sri Lanka’s Human Rights situation.

Britain’s decision to attend CHOGM was not without controversy. The Queen was strongly urged to boycott CHOGM to protest against the lack of progress in an investigation into the murder of a British citizen, Khuram Shaikh, in Sri Lanka on Christmas day in 2011. A UK parliamentary committee has accused the government of a timid and inconsistent policy towards Sri Lanka, where it says there are “continuing human rights abuses”, stating that the government should have made Sri Lanka’s bid to host CHOGM conditional on improvements in human rights. “The UK could and should have taken a more principled … and robust stand in the light of the continuing serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka,” the MPs say in a report.

All this, despite pretty strong words by the British government making it clear that its participation at CHOGM was not an endorsement of its host nation.

British High Commissioner John Rankin clearly stated that Britain was “concerned about…respect for human rights, rule of law and independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka”. Further he stated that Britain’s Prime Minister will attend “because of the importance we attach to the Commonwealth, irrespective of the location of the CHOGM” and that the spotlight on Sri Lanka during and after the summit will help pressure Sri Lanka to demonstrate that it was committed to the “Commonwealth values” of good governance. He also made it clear that Britain intends to do its part in this process, announcing that “…the British government will come with a clear message that Sri Lanka needs to make concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation and a political settlement,” and that Prime Minister David Cameron will send a strong message to Colombo to improve its rights record and demonstrate a commitment to good governance.

India too has grappled – indeed is still grappling – with the question of whether to attend CHOGM or not. Domestic pressure to protest against Sri Lanka’s abysmal Human Rights record by boycotting CHOGM is intense. The most recent reports indicate that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to skip the summit.

Notably, concerns relating to Sri Lanka’s Human Rights record are not isolated to the hosting of CHOGM.

Last month, United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay warned that Sri Lanka must show “clear progress” towards reining in rights abuses and investigating suspected war crimes by March 2014, or face an international probe. This comes following Sri Lanka’s inaction on 2 resolutions relating to its Human Rights record in the United Nations Human Rights Council, one of which primarily sought that it implement the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, appointed by President Rajapaksa.

The incongruity of a nation under such intense censure for its Human Rights record chairing the Commonwealth has not gone unnoticed. In a recent statement Human Rights Watch requested Commonwealth foreign ministers to not award Sri Lanka chairmanship of the Commonwealth following CHOGM. Brad Adams, Director of Human Rights Watch stated that:

“It’s bad enough that the Commonwealth has allowed a government accused of massive rights abuses and war crimes to host its summit…to effectively put the Commonwealth in the hands of an unrepentant government that doesn’t meet the Commonwealth’s official values on democracy or human rights would be the height of hypocrisy.”

The question for those of us in Sri Lanka is not, and never was, whether any given country will decide ‘to boycott or not to boycott’. That is a decision that must be taken by each respective country. It is the country that must decide how it will promote the values and principles the Commonwealth stands for, and this is something that must be respected.  As Britain has made clear, the decision not to boycott is not necessarily endorsement of the Human Rights record of Sri Lanka. In fact, it can be just the opposite: a decision to use the summit as an opportunity to express its concern about Sri Lanka’s abysmal Human Rights situation and do all it can to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to begin improving it.

Similarly, the decision to boycott CHOGM as a means of protest against Sri Lanka’s dismal Human Rights situation is also one that must be respected and recognized for the courageous act that it is. Canada’s decision is not a political attack against Sri Lanka. It is in fact one more in a string of Human Rights initiatives Canada has been credited with. The country is recognized internationally for standing at the forefront of global efforts to promote human rights. Canada is in fact credited with creating the modern concept of UN peacekeeping.

In the 1980s, Canada took the lead in bringing economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa. In 1996, Canada, together with the European Union called for a United Nations gathering on the Burmese democratisation process, and soon after the European Council took its first Common Position on Burma, which introduced “soft sanctions”. In 2007, Canada led the struggle to keep Belarus off the United Nations Human Rights Council, in light of its atrocious Human Rights record. In June 2011 Canada took the lead in condemning the Syrian regime’s attacks on its own people at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Canada delivered this condemnation on behalf of 54 countries. Canada is also leading the charge on Iran’s dismal Human Rights record, leading, for the past 10 years, the now annual UN resolution on “the Situation of Human Rights in Iran” which typically receives significant support. Canada’s Philippe Kirsch chaired negotiations to launch the International Criminal Court (ICC). He later served as the ICC’s first president. Canada has regularly been chosen to sit on the United Nations Security Council.

Minister Pieris’ curt dismissal of the decision of a country with such a reputation hardly holds water. The Minister’s position is make even more weak in light of the fact that Canada’s concern for Sri Lanka’s Human Rights situation is one that has been expressed consistently by the global community including the United Nation, India, the UK and the US for several years.

This also has relevance for a country like South Africa, whose amazing reform is owed to the sanctions brought against it, which was led from the front by Canada. The Republic of South Africa, a member of the Commonwealth, will have to seriously consider its own stand viz-a-viz Sri Lanka, and cannot behave as though it has forgotten it own recent history.

It’s time Sri Lanka stopped playing defensive petty politics every time yet another member of the international community voices concern about its Human Rights situation. The means have ranged from UN resolutions to boycotting CHOGM, but the message has been consistent, and it is becoming louder and louder. It’s time we stopped covering our ears, and started listening.

*The author, M. A. Sumanthiran (B.Sc, LL.M) is a Member of Parliament through the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a senior practicing lawyer, prominent Constitutional and Public Law expert and civil rights advocate

Print Friendly

Latest comments

  • 0
    0
    TNA should join with General Fonseka and Joint Opposition to lead a massive people’s rally, Lanka SPRING, against the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse Brothers’ and Sons Dictatorship and show the world the TRUTH about the regime – come CHOGM in November!
    • 0
      0
      Canada has to be hailed as the champion of human rights and democracy, while the other hypocrites have their axes to grind.
      • 0
        0
        And the proof is in the pudding. Human rights violations in Canada against first nations (bhoomiputra, adhivasis or aborigines) is being investigated by UN’s James Anaya currently. Harper needs to point fingers for more than the need for the Scarborough vote.
        • 0
          0
          ram “Human rights violations in Canada against first nations (bhoomiputra, adhivasis or aborigines) is being investigated by UN’s James Anaya currently.” Will you now tell us whom should you think be recognised as the first nation in this island?
          • 0
            0
            You have to go back to hundreds of thousands of years to find the origin of man in Sri Lanka.
          • 0
            0
            Vedda or Vanniattu are the first nation of Lanka. Their lands were stolen by the Sinhalaya modayas and the first nation communities were and still abused and exploited by the State and sinhala villagers..
            • 0
              0
              Don Stanley Thanks for your support. However it is not just the Sinhalese that continue to abuse my people but Tamils too.
      • 0
        0
        You really are very ignorant. Canada’s brutal treatment of it’s Indian population is well known but did you know: After the first world war about 4,000 Ukrainian men and women were kept in twenty-four internment camps and related work sites. Many were released in 1916 to help with the labour shortage. A head tax was charged on each Chinese person entering Canada in 1885 and was meant to discourage Chinese people from entering Canada after they had slaved for years building the Canadian Pacific Railway. Japanese Canadians were locked up in December 1941 after Pearl Harbour. Many interned children were brought up in these camps, including David Suzuki, Joy Kogawa, and Roy Miki. The Canadian government promised the Japanese Canadians that their property would be returned upon release but instead sold them off cheaply at auction. In the 1950s the government forcibly relocated 87 Eskimo citizens to the High Arctic as human symbols of Canada’s assertion of ownership of the region. The Indian ‘residential’ schools of Canada where a network of boarding schools for Indians funded by the Canadian government and run by Christian churches, mostly Catholic and Anglican. This system was to Christianise the children and destroy the Indian’s culture and heritage. The last school was not closed until 1996. Some Canadian provinces continue to operate separate and publicly funded schools that allegedly discriminate by religion. In 1999 the UNHRC condemned Canada for having violated the equality provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee repeated in 2005 that Canada had failed to “adopt steps in order to eliminate discrimination on the basis of religion in the funding of schools in Ontario.” In Quebec Canada has laws restricting the use of English and insisting on French. In 1993, the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled that Quebec’s sign laws broke an international covenant on civil and political rights. “A State may choose one or more official languages,” the committee wrote, “but it may not exclude, outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a language of one’s choice.” And finally, in August this year 2013, Human Rights Watch demanded that Canada have a national committee of enquiry into the continual disappearances and violence against indigenous Indian women and girls. And Harper preaches to us on diaspora Tamil votes, sorry I mean on Human Rights.
      • 0
        0
        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/
        • 0
          0
          Max Silva Thought provoking, thanks
    • 0
      0
      Massive people’s rally!Where?Lets make it like this.Lets all of get together and have one of those massive rallies against the Rajapakse brothers for getting rid of our non violent Prabakaran!Why not lets get Wickamabahu,Mangi,Sumanthiran,etc on board.I will join,of course i need big bucks.Keep on dreaming of Ealam.Lick the boots of the CanadianPM(white man).Enjoy your life my friend!Keep on day&night dreaming!Massive rallies,ah?
      • 0
        0
        One Track Mind, Eh? Max Silva? Still licking Rajapakse Sandals?
    • 0
      0
      There is no chance of a Sri Lanka spring. Not when nearly 70% of the population endorses the Rajapakse lead government. It must be painful for those who funded and supported the LTTE terrorists to accept their humiliating defeat. Keep dreaming, the losers choice.
  • 0
    0
    Canada (Harper in particular) is so concerned about human rights in Sri Lanka because of Tamil votes. Why are they not concerned about human rights in China where they have billion dollar trade deals with a dictatorship? Or India with it’s torture an killing of thousands of Kashmiris? It is because of trade. Sri Lanka has a bad human rights record. The hypocritical West are not really interested in this. Nobody is really interested in a small island in the middle of the ocean. They are interested in trade. This poor record that Sri Lanka has gives the West the opportunity to pretend to the world that they really care. Both Tamils and Singalese are the losers in this game.
    • 0
      0
      Valid point. However, Canada, the UK, Australia et al show in closer interest in Sri Lanka due to the detritus (Tamil and Sinhalese) that have washed up on their shores these last few years.
  • 0
    0
    Mr. Sumanthiran, I have a prior question as to WHAT use or relevance the Commonwealth of nations as an organization have in the world today? Today we have many country grouping such as – BRICS, G-12, ASEAN, Non-Aligned Movement, OSCE – all with some geopolitical or economic development purpose. But the Commonwealth is an organization that is a BRITISH COLONIAL relic- created simply to celebrate the BRITISH EMPIRE that folded some time ago and has no earthly relevance in today”s world – except some empty UN sounding rhetoric about “Democracy, Human Rights and Law and order” which the Rajapakse regime observes in the breach.. So why is this white COLONIAL elephant organizsation – like the white elephant Hambantota projects allowed to waste so much of our money? Lanka is already highly indebted due to Rajapassa’s love for WHITE ELEPHANTS – be it projects in Hambantota or the CHOGM..
    • 0
      0
      How many Sri Lankans have benefited through a Colombo Plan Scholarship? Its not a Sri Lankan Program but One which was named as such by the Commonwealth. One Example The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka benefited at its very inception by the provision of a Director Of Studies and the entire library under this program.
      • 0
        0
        Speaking of the Colombo Plan, I believe everyone remembers the PL 480 agreement where wheat flour was gifted free to the Govt of Sri Lanka which in turn marketed the wheat flour to the masses and earned a revenue for the govt. to meet it’s expenditure in the Budgetary estimates. This is what enabled both the UNP and the SLFP to offer rice as a measure to secure the vote of the masses. The UNP offered a measure free while SLFP offered two measures free and won in 1970 that changed the destiny of this country. Once the whole Nation got hooked well and truly on the Wheat Flour as the staple diet, eating bread instead of rice which they were used to before, these do gooders quietly withdrew the PL 480 making us purchase Wheat Flour at current market prices now, which the US used to dump the excess in the sea to keep the prices stable. So much for their Bonhomie.
        • 0
          0
          gamini Under Colombo plan Canada donated I believe 14 diesel electric locomotives from 1954 to 1966 to then Ceylon. Do you think it was a tied aid?
          • 0
            0
            Native although it is said that never to look in the mouth of a Gift Horse, I have my reservations, for good reasons.
        • 0
          0
          Well said Gamini!
    • 0
      0
      Dodo you are right! Rajapakse has embraced the CHOGM COLONIAL WHITE ELEPHANT because this is the ONLY organization where he can feel important! Hence the pathetic advertising campaign by Kili Maharaja media Group that: “Sri Lanka has ARRIVED?” – in Rajapassa’s CHOGM NEVERLAND! What a pathetic bunch of uneducated GODEYAS and social climbers these uneducated and uncultured Rajapassa brothers are! MR and brothers and sons think they have “arrived” on the world stage by clinging the Commonwealth of Clowns tail – a WHITE ELEPHANT they are wasting millions of $$$ on! Meanwhile Prince Charles and the David Cameron are taking the ignorant Sinhalaya modayas for a good ride! And the great SInhala anti-COLONIAL nationalists Pathala Champika and Wimal baluwamsa are as silent as lambs! Oh what a circus is Lankan politics!
    • 0
      0
      Dodo; Bullseye! The Commonwealth is simply insignificant in this day and age and evidence of this is seen in the contributors to its budget. However, there are still large numbers of Brown-Sahibs who earnestly look forward to the photo-opportunities these events allow to impress the yakko’s back in the village. We should have left the Commonwealth a long time ago and had the confidence to do our own thing.
  • 0
    0
    Yes indeed! human rights, minority rights, self-determination rights .. I think its time to take a break from constantly whinning about entitlements and talk about obligations. Absenteee landlords have an obligation to stay in Jaffna 95% of the time and look after people’s affairs there. Have you moved your residence there? What progress have you made with regard to “diaspora investments” ? Show us that money first. Then there is the issue with fisherman deprived of their livelyhood due to TN fisherman. Have you even begun to tackle this issue? National human rights issues are for national parties. You belong to a minority party who work in the pheriphary. Address provincial issues first. National parties will look after complex issues you are clearly not mature enough to handle.
    • 0
      0
      Hey Vibhushana, you are going over the top by saying ‘National human rights issues are for national parties’ National parties are screwing things up in style against its very own nationals, That is why minority parties, regional parties and International parties have to come in.
      • 0
        0
        Hello there Aela. Regional parties are fine. As long as those parties haven’t encourged, affiliated themselves or glorified people classed as “terrorists” in 54 countries. You have to agree people of this ilk have no credibility to talk about “human rights” in the first place? That is why I said leave the subject to others who are more authorotative on the subject .
    • 0
      0
      Vibhushana ” human rights, minority rights, self-determination rights .. I think its time to take a break from constantly whinning about entitlements and talk about obligations.” You are right at least in this instance. Lets talk about obligation of the Majority, their state, their institutions, ….., to treat all people equal, respect for human rights, to devolve and transfer powers to local elected bodies, to protect people, property, lively hood, habitat and their land, to respect local culture, religion and customs, to protect………………..
  • 0
    0
    Too bad Tamil Elam is STILL not in the Commonwealth!! :) Sour grapes.
    • 0
      0
      You idiot Commonwealth is group of countries ruled by The British Tamil Eelam was never a British Colony.
    • 0
      0
      CHOGM will happen. Sri Lankan regime will be disgraced after that once business deals are finished by taking its chair of Commonwealth of Nations. This is where it gets tricky. Either Rajapaksa family rules for another generation or Tamil Elam will be in the Commonwealth in 5 years as calamity befalls a nation of fools killing each other following regime change.
      • 0
        0
        CHOGM will happen. But Delegates from Member Countries will not come as Blind Tourists. The Rajapkases are hoping that they will look at the Gift Wrapping and Tinsel that will cover the Real Ground Situation, and not look inside the Parcel.
  • 0
    0
    Sri Lanka certainly has a poor human rights record-everyone knows that this true. But what of Canada’s own? Have they looked in the mirror of their conscience and seen what they have done and are doing to their own indigenous peoples? Talking ‘big’ cannot hide facts.All the CHOGM countries have serious problems in their own backyards. They cannot throw stones, but they can-if so inclined-talk in friendship and try to change existing situations.
    • 0
      0
      Honestly, most of us here in this golden island care a ratsarse about what other countries get up to as long as they don’t inconvenience us. The ones who are making the biggest noise are doing so because they have our detritus clogging up their cities and bawling out how badly the GOSL (and our armed forces) have treated their kith and kin. MR has the determination to withstand all the pressures that international bodies throw at us and if at the CHOGM anybody tries to be smart Gota will reprise the hand-dryer outburst that gave David Milliband and Bernard Kouchner ‘jamboo’ faces in 2009.
  • 0
    0
    I completely agree with Dodo. Yet this is a international conference that most former British colonies would attend and Sri Lanka simply cannot evade its obligations to the world community. Govt must set standards right for the good governance and protection of human rights. Today GLP is a totally irrelevant paper prof who would do anything President wants, therefore people should not pay any attention to what this puppet say. We all Sri Lankans should respect the Bold step taken by Canadians for the suppressed people of Sri Lanka who are under the grip of Rajapakse clan.
  • 0
    0
    One of the things that is happening is that the President, even if he wants to settle the minority issues, with Jathika Hela Urumaya, and Jathika Nidahas Peramuna are in the coalition, he will not be able to settle the issue. The way forward for him to dissolve the Parliament and hold elections again, and this time to contest only under SLFP banner. He may loose a few seats but the chances of SLFP winning is high. With the SLFP majority Parliament he should be able to do the correct thing by settling the minority issues. But will the President have the guts to do it? Even if he has the guts will Gothabaya allow him to do it? Will the President have the guts to go against Gothabaya and still implement solutions to the minority issues?
  • 0
    0
    This issue is More than a century OLD and in Sri Lanka the human rights issue is with Tribalists and Terrorists. UN aboriginal envoy says Canada is facing a ‘crisis’ James Anaya urges Ottawa to call an inquiry into aboriginal women, not to ‘rush’ education reform “James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, painted a grim picture of the conditions facing First Nations, saying Canada is facing a “crisis” when it comes to its treatment of indigenous people. The remark came during a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday following the completion of his nine-day mission to Canada. ‘I urge the government not to rush forward with [education reform] legislation but to re-initiate discussions with aboriginal leaders’ “From all I have learned, I can only conclude that Canada faces a crisis when it comes to the situation of indigenous peoples of the country,” he said. Anaya said the Canadian government still has a long way to go in narrowing “the well-being gap” between aboriginals and non-aboriginals. On the eve of Parliament’s return, the UN fact-finder urged the federal government not to “rush” forward with the tabling of a controversial aboriginal education reform bill it intends to introduce this fall. Anaya also called on the federal government to launch a “comprehensive and nationwide” inquiry into the case of missing and murdered aboriginal women, something the federal government has so far refused to do. He also urged the federal government to extend the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission so that it can complete its work. Funding for aboriginal students First Nations education reform is expected to be featured in Wednesday’s throne speech, and it will also be the centrepiece of the Harper government’s aboriginal policy. The UN aboriginal envoy said while everyone agrees that First Nations education is a priority, he heard a “profound and consistent mistrust” towards the First Nations Education Act being developed by the federal government. Anaya said he heard “a particular deep concern that the process for developing the act has not appropriately included nor responded to aboriginal views.” “In light of this, I urge the government not to rush forward with this legislation but to reinitiate discussions with aboriginal leaders to develop a process and ultimately a bill that addresses aboriginal concerns and incorporates aboriginal view points,” Anaya said. The UN fact-finder said the federal government could increase the level of funding for aboriginal students “relatively quickly.”
  • 0
    0
    I believe that the writer’s narrative is largely one-sided and also includes inaccuracies relating to the circumstances in which Iran, Syria etc have been singled out for attack. In addition to some useful comments made by readers as to the present irrelevance of a British Commonwealth whereas economic alliances are critically important, it quite possible that the writer is actually canvassing on behalf of another hidden agenda.
    • 0
      0
      Lasantha Pethiyagoda His hidden agenda could be Narendra Modi. Read the news below: Modi says must protect Tamils October 18, 2013 Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi says people of Indian origin are present in several countries and they have to be engaged effectively and taken care of when in trouble like the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Modi also said that India’s foreign policy should be built on the foundation of our culture, tradition, strength, economy, trade, strategy and security, the Indo Asian News Service reported. Delivering the Nani Palkhivala memorial lecture in Chennai today on “India and the World”, Modi stressed that the foreign policy should be drawn up with inputs from states and wondered why not give each Indian state one foreign country to develop better relationship with. He said India’s freedom struggle was not just about getting independence from British rule but a global anti-colonial movement and these principles should shape up our foreign policy. (Colombo Gazette) http://colombogazette.com/2013/10/18/modi-says-must-protect-tamils/
      • 0
        0
        Native Veddah:- “Modi says people of Indian origin are present in several countries and they have to be engaged effectively and taken care of when in trouble like the Tamils in Sri Lanka.” Why is Modi taking sides? The Sinhala speaking Peoples of Sri Lanka are “also of Indian origin”. Don’t they too, “have to be engaged effectively and taken care of, when in trouble”, by Mother India. That is why India should support Sri Lanka at CHOGM!
        • 0
          0
          Rationalist “Why is Modi taking sides?” Apart from electioneering, he is reflecting on India’s overall approach to Sri Lankan issues. India creates, defends and destroys depending on the insane behaviour of Sri Lankies. When necessary India created, defended and finally destroyed Tigers lock, stock and barrel. Mahin and his clan were allowed to gloat on the demise of LTTE. India defended Sri Lanka by destroying LTTE. Now they want to deal with real issues. India will see to that Mahinda regime politically meets the same fate as LTTE. Modi’s comment is the warning shot, more to come from other corners. “The Sinhala speaking Peoples of Sri Lanka are “also of Indian origin”.” Subramanian Swamy made this point clearly many moons ago, listen to him in this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuCjqV357Zc He said “Sinhalese and Tamils are the same people. Sinhalese came from Orissa and Bihar Tamils from Kerala and Tamilnadu.” However the Sinhalese ancestors came mainly from South India carrying with them 25% Bengali DNA. Sinhalese now need to accept the fact that they too are of Indian stock. All those old and new versions of origin of Sinhalese race myths to be put to rest if they seek Indian protection. Old version states Vijaya and his 700 thugs started the Sinhala race almost over a night, the Sinhapurians. Then there are other myths, Hela, Sakya Muni’s descendants, Aryans,Ravana’s people……and so on. If Sinhalese also want to be Modi’s people then they will have to prove themselves to be Indians and worthy of India’s protection. ” Don’t they too, “have to be engaged effectively and taken care of, when in trouble”, by Mother India.” India in the past protected Sinhalese on many occasions only to be insulted by the naughty little boy Sri Lanka. When necessary India will cut Sri Lanka to size put it in the naughty corner, painful though it is, this is mother India’s tough love. India might feel that its effective engagement is gone past its expiry date.
          • 0
            0
            Dear Native Veddah “Sinhalese are also of Indian” origin is not merely a refrain from the maverick Dr. Subramaniam Swamy. The late Mr. Thondaman referred to his people as “those of recent Indian origin” having this in mind. Although Anagarika Dharmapala and A.E. Gunasinha waged communal war in different terms in the 1930s and 40s this undeniable fact has to be borne in mind in our present quest towards unity and reconciliation. Mr. Thondaman also has sometimes in jest referred to himself as an Indian Kandyan. The genial Senior lawyer Faiz Mustapha P.C. cottoned on to this and claimed he was a Kandyan Arab. As the late brilliant Writer-Thinker Reggie Siriwardena was to write poignantly “we are all part of a beautiful and colourful weave” Senguttuvan
  • 0
    0
    The objective & theme of the Commonwealth Charter is said…Democracy…Human Rights…application of Law…these are words that were and are in the vocabulary of the Regime and are poisonous to them. It is said that the Host Country that takeover the Chair for 2 years in the Commonwealth have to respect..follow..abide and ensure the implementation ..i.e.Democratic Principles..Human Rights..International Peace & Protection.. ..tolerate dissent- with respect & understanding..good governance..freedom of expression…Rule of Law..Power Sharing.. Health ..Education..Food & access to shelter… Gender equality.. Importance of Youth…Land Development & protection of Enviornment…Role of Civil Society, their participation ..indetifying member Countries that are small and facing Risks…follow the Latmar House Principles in removing Chief Justice…as stated in the Charter.. We are a Country that has been moving entirely the opposit direction since Independence..and last 8 years we witnessed the complete destruction of these Principles. The Commonwealth Countries ..Britain..Australia.. New Zealand may be believing that the Leadership of our Country will adhere to these.by handing over the Chair..hik..hik..hik.. GOOD IF THAT CAN BE DONE ..but .it will be nothing but sand castles on the beach..because they little know about these selfish crooks.. on the other hand IF the leadership follow these.. within one year HE WILL BE OBLITERATED BY THE UTTERLY OPPRESSED SOCIETY…just look at these.. 1 ) it was just 3 days ago we witnessed the HEARTNING JUSTICE done by our honourable de facto CJ to Nimalaruban who was killed last year in Anuradhapura Prison..OUR CJ IS A TRUE DEMOCRATIC SON OF… you know who no..? he delivers JUDGMENTS on presumptions..WOW…because he enjoys Justice..he too has immunity. 2 ) it was just 3 days ago that the Commander of the ( in ) Human Army threatened the people in the North to expect nothing but decapitation IF they demand independence…!!! for Him too there is independence ..Justice…so he also goes by presumptions… Freedom is only to the Ruling Class Then and Now… THE SCANT DISREGARD BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE PUTRID CONDITIONS THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY SURVIVES IS PATHETIC…GOD SHOULD CERTAINLY NOT SAVE THE QUEEN.. BUT THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.. The Modern Fools in Britain do not understand the deceptive nature of the crooked Sri Lankan Rulers and their hypocrite lackeys who worship even Crocodiles if their pockets get filled. The Regime has already begun to use this Conference as a launching pad for next 12 years..grand Plans for Prmature elections ..just after the conference they have planned to celebrate 9th year of ascending to throne..He hee..because that is what this ” Commonwealth ” means to them…IMPROVE THEIR PERSONAL WEALTH.. ..POWER..POSITION..FREEDOM already 68 years gone since Independence ..we witnessed hundreds of thousands dead demanding freedom… 2 generations gone…we still run on Railway..Roads …sewer system..built by the British Fools….the majority of the Country is yet to be independent…Country is surrounded by the Sea but will you believe that there are people in this Country who have not seen the sea shore yet…!!!
  • 0
    0
    Lets leave the Rajapakses aside for a moment! If the Sri Lankan opposition is as impotent as its leadership has proven to be in the last couple of years, then it is an opportunity missed. Seriously, does anyone see a SINGLE so-called opposition leader capable of mounting a well organized campaign of civic disobedience during CHOGM?? And for Canada to wax eloquent about Sri Lanka’s failures is rather rich considering the horrendous record it has of treating its indigenous peoples and stealing of resources, a-la tars ands oil in Alberta. The Aussies are not far behind in their racism and hypocracy. We have seen it on the cricket field and it is much worse on the ground there. The Commonwealth is an entity who’s time has come and gone. The Queen hangs onto it because it is the ONLY vestige left for her to feel a World leader. She is not even important to governing UK. Unfortunately the blacks and browns the Brits left behind in the Colonies have aspired to hob nob with the colonials every few years and the Rajapakses are taking their turn, with Chinese money. So, Muttu Banda, Ran Menika and Lechchmi will have to eventually pay for the wining and dining, with increase taxes on everything for the next few generations. Thats okay say the Colombo elite because they can buy the BMW’s and Mercs at auction, after the conference.
  • 0
    0
    M.A.Sumanthiran ever the talk shop with much ado over nothing but an avid opportunists seizing situation to hod the limelight and an accidental politician.
  • 0
    0
    Once again we can see lot of comments are being made bashing Canada. It reminds me of “blame Canada” song. I don’t believe politicians ignore electoral repercussions when they make policy decisions wether it is domestic or international. Having said that, it is important that we consider facts with regard to Canda’s stand on CHOGM in SL. Before Stephan Harper came to power LTTE and all it’s front organizations were legitimate organizations in Canada and the liberal government ministers were chief guests in LTTE fund raising events including former PM Paul Martin. After Harper came to power he not only banned these organizations in Canada also directed the RCMP to invistigate activities of those organizations. As a result of that, all of their offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver were raided, computers and personnel were taken into custody. Just before last conflict started in SL, RCMP and FBI jointly conducted investigations into arm procurement attempt by LTTE members in Canada to purchase missiles to attack Kafir fighter planes. Had it been successful, it would have had devastating blow to the SLAF which played a very crucial roll in the final war. When Harper was taking all these decisions he had a minority government which was 11seats short of forming a majority government in the future. Harper’s own party leaders requested Harper not to do it due to political reasons and even Liberal and NDP biased Globe and Mail news paper questioned Harpers logic behind those decisions pointing out that Tamil Canadians can easily deliver 11 seats that Harper requires to form a majority government. When the final war started LTTE sympathizers in Canada continually demonstrated with the help of opposition parties asking Canadian government to intervene. Major highways in GTA were blocked, demonstrations were held all over Canada. Harper did not give into those demands. After the war was over in SL, Harper issued a statement asking SL government take effective steps address the legitimate grievances of minorities in SL. After LLRC report came out, Harper agin requested SL government to implement It’s recommendations fully which SL government so far failed to do. Canada’s own record of human rights is not 100% squeaky clean but successive governments have taken steps to address those issues officially apologizing to those victims and providing financial compensations those victims and their families, last one being done by Harper for Indian residential school victims in the house of commens in front of Indian chiefs and provided financial compansations to victims and their families. Same has been done for Japanese Canadians for rounding up during the second WW at the request of Amaricans after Pear harbour attack, for Chinese Canadians those who sacrificed their lives to build Canadian rail lines also for European Canadians. In terms of treatments for natives in Canada, Canadian government is distributing 4 billion dollars annually to Indian band councils to look after their people. Health Canada is providing health care for these natives. These people are totally excerpted from all federal taxes. Harper knows state of native people and their 3rd world living conditions despite the massive amount of money being spent. That’s way he wanted to bring changes to Indian act empowering natives by giving them property rights, matrimonial/common law rights to women for which Indian chiefs are vehemently opposed to. Let’s take the Atawapaskat housing issue which brought so much negative publicity from all over the world including the UN human rights council. People were living in dilapitated houses, a dilapidated school almost impossible to operate. If you add federal money and the revenue getting from the nearby diamond mine, each of those 1400 natives in that reserve could have got $54000 annually. But they live in very poor living conditions. Band council has 16 members and 7 of them Band chief’s relatives including her boy friend. These is a wide spread problem in every native reserve. When you don’t own a property you have no interest in looking after it. Harper’s solution for this is a rudimentary one(but works all the time) which is to empower these natives but it is going no where due fears protest from band councils.
  • 0
    0
    The article argues that attending the summit does not mean approval of the host country. Why then are so many trying to persuade countries not to attend? Should they not be encouraging them to attend and talk about their concerns? Human Rights is a good cause but is the cause being used for the wrong purposes by the rich and powerful? How clean are the hands of those who make accusations of violations? The story of the elders who accused the a woman of adultery and the parable of the removing the mote from a brother’s eye whilst having a beam in one’s own eye seem appropriate.
  • 0
    0
    M. A. Sumanthiran – At one time your current party leader proclaimed that one of the most atrocious terrorists of all time was the sole spokesman for you all and all Tamils in Sri Lanka. That is your past. Recent past. What nonsense are you talking about human rights man? Where were you then? You have NO human rights and you have NO right to speak of human rights because no so long ago you all lined up behind a cut throat who did not respect human rights of others. At that time you did not see anything wrong with that no eh? No matter how many eloquent speeches you make, you will not be able to cover up that shameful past. By continuing to act as if that past does not exist you mock at other people and show that you have no shame.
  • 0
    0
    *chuckles* Come come Suma , canada is not as innocent as fresh fallen snow as you state. One of the most globally damaging rights violations is occurring because of excessive pollution caused by the USA, CA et al. More people are made vulnerable, more wars are fought, more people go hungry and thirsty because of that than any other reason or real or imagined violation of accepted norms. And yet, Canada stoutly defends the decisions of the USA not to agree to internal curbs. It is determined to keep on desanitizing the earth and destroying its ability to survive while pointing “righteous” fingers at anybody … and every body. I am highly amused.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.