30 September, 2020

Blog

Politics Of Sri Lanka’s UNHRC Reprieve

By R Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

President Maithripala Sirisena must be a happy man after the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution to give two more years to Sri Lanka, to fully implement all the commitments it made in the 2015 resolution to deliver justice to thousands of people affected by the Eelam wars. By co-sponsoring the latest resolution with the U.S., Sri Lanka had shown its readiness to positively engage with the international community on fulfilling its commitment to reconciliation and human rights, as pointed out by the U.S. head of delegation at the UNHRC.  The Sirisena government can claim the adoption of the resolution, without a vote, as a diplomatic victory of sorts; it showed the UNHRC members have positively responded to Sri Lanka’s plea for extension based on its performance so far, which had been recognized even by the not-so-kind report of the UN Human Rights Commissioner  presented at the session.

But, the two-year reprieve provides only relief; Sri Lanka’s success in buying time cannot hide its failure to take action on two basic requirements: ensuring meaningful devolution and creating credible transitional justice mechanisms. Unfortunately, these are stuck in the political logjam, perhaps aided and abetted by bureaucratic indifference. However, the two-year extension shows that the member-countries have some understanding of the limitations of the Sirisena government in evolving politically acceptable solutions on controversial issues like the inclusion of foreign judges in the transitional justice system or prosecuting army officers suspected of committing war crimes.

But the moot question is, can Sri Lanka fulfil its commitments to the UNHRC by 2019?

It will be difficult to wager on this, if we go by the politically supercharged environment created by ‘patriotic citizens’ (whatever it means) raising the question of national sovereignty, in accepting international dispensation on transitional justice. They seem to forget that their own role model – President Mahinda Rajapaksa – had invited foreign judicial luminaries to oversee inquiries of similar nature (though with disastrous end results). But, it is in the nature of politics to be short on memories that do not suit the politicians.

Of course, one way out for the Sirisena government is to fast track the “doable” issues, which can impart some momentum to the whole process. Two such issues are the return all the remaining private land under military occupation and replacement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant enactment. These have not been dealt with the alacrity to bring them to closure.  The aftermath of the legislating on the Office of Missing Persons, typically, shows the chokehold bureaucracy has in translating good intentions to positive results. It has brought no relief to thousands, who are mourning the fate of their missing kith and kin.

Considering the political paralysis affecting the government’s decision- making process, it appears doubtful whether it can come up with a “time bound implementation strategy” to fulfil its outstanding commitments, as urged by the UK. The want of desire to act, rather than strategic planning, seems to be the malady affecting the government’s tardy performance. This is not merely restricted human rights issues, but, governance as a whole, if we go by the slow speed at which it produces results.

It only proves that good intentions or political rhetoric of the government is not enough. Even if the leaderships of both the main coalition partners are nervous about the right wing backlash on some of the controversial issues like the induction of foreign judges in the transitional justice mechanism, there is no reason for not acting upon non-controversial doable issues. Unless, the government shows sensitivity in acting upon these demands, its UNHRC reprieve will be a wasted one.

From the political discourse it appears President Sirisena would act upon the gritty issues only after consolidating his power base in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and gaining control of the ruling coalition, where the United National Party (UNP) constantly seem to be outguessing the presidential mind. Though the pro-Rajapaksa faction within the SLFP had been working against him, President Sirisena being in power, should be able to take effective damage control measures within the party. His appeals to the youth members of the SLFP to rally in support have to be read in this context.  However, the coalition contretemps are likely to be there, because it is in the nature of two astute political leaders – Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe – to try and outmaneuver each other, in the marriage of the convenience that the ruling coalition is.

In this context, it is interesting to note the conduct of the so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), made up of former LTTE overseas representatives and pro-Eelam elements of Tamil Diaspora. The TGTE would not be surprised that despite its plea to all members of the UNHRC “not to cave-in to a roll-over with an extension of time”, they did just that. The reason is simple: the rules of the game have changed.  Unlike the Cold War days, the real world now has little time to listen to political proxies of terrorist groups.

*Col R Hariharan, a retired MI officer, served as the head of Intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force from 1987 to 90. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: haridirect@gmail.com Blog: http://col.hariharan.info

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Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    British called Subash Chandra Bose as TERRORIST.

    Poverty Indian praise this Bose as a Liberation Hero who ran away with Japanese fearing for British bullet with tons of Gold,Money given to him by Tamils in Burma,Singapore and Malaysia .

    Vaanjinatha Iyer who shot and killed Lord Ash while sleeping inside the night train is a hero for poverty Indians.

    Cheers broom stick moustache

  • 8
    0

    The UNHCR theatre is authentic Theatre of the Absurd.
    Hariharan with his not so well hidden agenda is adding his ‘do paisa’ worth to the farce.

  • 5
    0

    Can you write an article as to what role India should play on this subject?

    • 0
      0

      Thamilan:

      Tamils are eternal victims. they cry out loud for a country out of Tamilnadu which infestd with heavy Casteism and discrimination and it is not agood place for Tamils.

      Anyway, Hariharan is a CIA agent. He is talking about the CIA agenda for Sri lanka. Sri lanka checkmated west with this resolution. But, their intention was to stop china coming more into Sri lanka. If you regional politics you understand it.

      Tamils are just a pawn in this chess game.

      • 0
        0

        In a chess game , pawn can attach the king. Checkmate.

        Sinhalese are not even in the chess game. Just matter of time, Muslim and evangelical population will surpass Budhists. Checkmate

  • 4
    5

    Poor Vaiko was sent to the slammer yesterday,

    Although it is a shirt stint, it is still the slammer.

    And Vaiko will have to share his Thosai & Sambar with the Dalits .

    In contrast, real LTTE supporters who helped Mr Pirahaparan and his Tamil Terrorists are now helping Dr Ranil to re write Mahavamsa.

    And one of the Chief Financiers of the LTTE is holding Millions of Dollars to send to Dr Ranil, as soon as the TNA heavy Abraham gives the nod.

    That is after Dr Ranil gets our Dalits to sign off on Partitioning their Mahavamsa Land which has stood in good stead for 2500 years.

    One thing good though is, Indians are not coming to the South, even if Dr Ranil gets his ETCA ..

  • 4
    4

    The problem with UNHRC resolution is NOT foreign judges but the resolution itself is illegal. Setting up special courts is the problem. UN resolution is based on a report which is less professional and pregnant with unsubstantiated allegations not worthy of consideration to a body like UNHRC.

    Instead of fighting out with the UNHRC on these baseless allegations of less professional Darusman report Sri Lankan government has chosen to cooperate with them. It is ridiculous.

    If not Sri Lankan government under MY3 did not cooperate with it, there is absolutely nothing UNHRC can do about it. As we see everyday US is trying really hard to get a foot hold in SL and improve US Navy’s foot print in SL. Well we can improve US-SL relations and *consider* US navy’s actions in our seas and ports. But it is a two way process. We are NOT ready to give you ports and facilities and at the same time prosecute our armed forces according to their whims. SL government should make that known to US very clearly.
    It is unfortunate to see SLG trying to impress US when it is really US that needs to impress us.

    UK, one of the main movers in UN against us this time is not in a position to demand war crimes tribunals from us. Theresa May stated last year that her armed forces are FREE from any persecution. And it is hypocritical to demand us to penalize our forces on unsubstantiated reports.
    It is this spineless government which has bowed down to these demands.

    And Hari, the victims of the eelam war our Sri Lankan citizens regardless of ethnity. The only perpetrators are those who funded terrorism in Sri Lanka and created a war. Therefore Hariharan can help UN by giving details of the Indians who funded terrorism in SL to punish them.

    • 2
      0

      “The problem with UNHRC resolution is NOT foreign judges but the resolution itself is illegal.”

      Damn shocker! Sri Lanka has endorsed an illegal resolution according to such the fool!

      • 0
        2

        yes it is an illegal resolution which did not followed the correct procedures in UNHRC. UN high commissioner does not have authority to initiate an intl investigation on SL only security council has such power. So UNHRC high commissioner has violated UN charter himself and our gover has endorsed it

    • 3
      0

      Dear Sach,
      ” The only perpetrators are those who funded terrorism in Sri Lanka and created a war.”

      President Premadasa gave weapons to the LTTE. Have you (conveniently ) forgotten?

      • 0
        2

        you can consult Premadasa on that!

      • 0
        0

        old codger

        President Premadasa gave weapons to the LTTE. Have you (conveniently ) forgotten?

        did you know, some how, always Tamils become eternal victims

  • 7
    0

    The problem, Mr. Hariharan was that it was the late Indira who kicked the ball that led to the war, it was RAW who trained the “tigers”, and India who supported VP and his gang. If these things didnt happen, there would not have been this MR fighting a war, human rights violations being investigated, this poor nation being in such debt, corruption and violence to this extent, etc etc. And there would be no Chinese building harbours and airports. Sri Lanka would have remained the safe, calm and peaceful nation and would have progressed well under decent leadership.

    Think about it. Seriously, think about that

    • 1
      0

      ‘If these things didnt happen, there would not have been’…….

      IF SWRD, JR and other ambitious, devious, politicians didn’t set out on the road to win the hearts of the hard-core Bauddha-Sinhala voters with promises of a Bauddha-Sinhala utopia there would NOT have been harassment of our minorities…..

      IF there was NO Sinhala Only the majority of our Burgher community might NOT have left…….

      IF law and order was properly maintained there would have been NO harassment of our Tamil brethren, and there would have been NO 1958

      IF there was NO 1958, and our leaders might have worked together to build a more inclusive country with respect, consideration and equal opportunity FOR ALL citizens. Then, NO 1983.

      IF this had happened, there would have been early prosperity, and we would have had our best, and most talented people working to build the Pearl of the Orient. Then Lee Kwan Yew would still be trying to make his Singapore to be like us.

      IF our political leaders did not put forward thugs, crooks, and the incompetent into office, politics would have attracted more decent and capable into parliament.

      IF these things happened, foreign investors would have been queuing up to part of OUR success story.

      IF these things had happened we would not have needed a Great Liberator and his brother The Enforcer.

      IF these things had happened, there would be NO white vans, NO Boosa camp, NO Missing Persons…

      IF these things had happened, we would not be rueing Paradise Lost.

      IF, IF, IF only we had our time all over again, and knowing what we know now, would we have done things differently?

      IF must surely be the saddest word in the language our last colonial master left us.

      • 0
        0

        Spring, you are right too!! SWRD, JRJ, Kannagara, etc. But for India to sponsor violence against a much smaller neighbour ?? This is not a problem that could not have been settled, but after a larger, more influential nation gets involved then it is a disaster. The nation is deeply wounded. Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims are divided and the UN probes, AI probes, etc only help those institutions to hold on to their high paying jobs but will not let the boiling pot simmer down.

  • 2
    0

    Height of Hypocrisy!

    The two countries, USA and UK that initiated the Resolution at UNHRC proposing to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and violation of international law have committed more war crimes, crimes against humanity and violated international law than any other country in the world. Some of the persons who are responsible for committing these crimes are: George W. Bush (Senior), George W. Bush (Junior), Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, Dick Cheney, Hilary Clinton, John Kerry, Tony Blair, David Cameron.

    This reminds me the story about mother crab and baby crabs!

  • 2
    0

    perpetrators of sins preaching gospel, having already driven a wedge between the two races here show themselves as a good big boy standing aloof.

    • 1
      2

      Shan:

      Tamils are racist. So, Indian govt uses racism to make Tamils happy. Get it ?

      In India, Tamils can not live with HIndus. In Sinhale, Tamils can not live with Sinhala people.

      But, any where in the west, they are happy campers and coolies.

      • 2
        1

        And Jimmy soft on the head cannot live with anyone other than lion cubs and Sinhalese Buddhist racists. Jimmy most of the present day so called Sinhalese, may be even your ancestors are largely descended from Tamil coolies who were imported into the island by the Portuguese and Dutch and settled along the western and southern littorals. Please google and read the history of the Sinhalese Karawe, Salagama, Durawa Berawa , Hali etc. They make up around 50% of the present Sinhalese population. Even the other 50% are a mixture of the indigenous Tamil and other tribes mixed with immigrants from India, largely again Tamil coolies.

  • 0
    1

    Let me focus on the two sentences that caught my attention:

    – It only proves that good intentions or political rhetoric of the government is not enough.

    – The want of desire to act, rather than strategic planning, seems to be the malady affecting the government’s tardy performance.

    _________________

    Despite the fact one statement negates the other R Hariharan is happy with his arguments.

    This is the type of BS the writer dishes out periodically.

  • 3
    1

    By co-sponsoring, and to make believe, Sri Lanka thinks that human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is akin to playing cricket, winner takes all. Play the game to deviate and delay until hopefully rain and bad light will abandon the game, and for the international spot light on Sri Lanka to be switched off or removed. Not so under the Human Rights Charter rules.

    The UNHRC members have not positively responded to Sri Lanka’s plea for extension of time, but have again brought Sri Lanka into the ring and have allowed more rope, with a choice – for Sri Lanka to sink or swim in the mud, with the same roll over, with no changes or amendments to the resolution.

    The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s strong report is very clear and have allowed for the procedures and processes to flow through, heading towards international jurisdiction and to the UNGA.

    It is “not cave-in to a roll-over with an extension of time”, but the rules of the game are such for rogue states,and have not changed.

    Unlike the Cold War days, the real world now wants justice, accountability, and no room for state terrorism to be inflicted on its own people, and for the perpetrators to roam free.

    I hope the author will give evidence on the atrocities committed by the IPKF under his watch, under another separate international independent investigation.

    I hope this intelligence officer in his next article explain how India will manage, if a Chinese colony develops in the south, and a Pakistani submarines trespassing along its western borders, to catch up with its trusted friendly Sri Lanka.Food for thought

  • 5
    1

    Bloody Harahan who was responsible for IPKF terrorism impeaching gospel Who created LTTE Harharans India and Indira. Only ofora commission Rakiv Gandhi changed stand because of corrupt Bhandari charged stand for the necklace. Writing like a saint. These fellows should be put before he giong squad.

  • 3
    1

    A superb well researched analysis by Colonel Hariharan.Can any writer in the SL armed forces match such skills.Sadly we have only Major General Kamal Gunaratne and Weerasekera (bestial thugs at best ) on our side! What price independence?What a shame Sri Lanka.

    • 1
      0

      “Can any writer in the SL armed forces match such skills?
      Three reasons why this is so:
      1.Education
      2.Education
      3.Education.
      Believe me, it shows. A fancy title and uniform will not disguise a semi-literate thug.

  • 1
    0

    Co (Retd.)l Hariharan

    We have read you many opinion pieces on Sri Lanka’s national question..

    Can we have an opinion piece on the Kashmir issue, efforts by India to resolve the issue and reasons for India’s refusal to accept UN assistance to find a solution?

  • 0
    0

    UNHRC which worships Saudi money? Which is deaf, dumb and blind to Saudi violations in Yemen and killings of civilians? What an effing joke UNHRC has become. Like a lot of UN agencies, these places are CASH COWS For third world bureaucrats who are self important and start creating little fiefdoms and start practicing nepotism. These Indians and other fellows in UN jobs lead cushy lives that they simply cannot hope to have if they were employed in their own nations in similar capacity. They fly Business class and stay at hotels and wag fingers. UNHCR is an effing sycophantic driveling joke. Ask Ban-Ki-Moon. He admitted to Saudi Arabia buying their silence. What does UNHRC Say about your Indian Motherland and the brutality in Kashmir dude?

  • 2
    0

    This gentlman has never written about his own nation and the multiple crisis. For example Kashmir and the massive presence of Indian troops and the continuing conflicts and incarcerations. Also the violation of human rights of Kashmiri muslims and also torture and rape by Indian Hindu troops that continues there.

    He was dumb/mute about IPKF crimes in Ceylon. IPKF raped hundreds of Ceylon Tamil women and stole gold and pillaged.

    Now to add to this farce under Hinduvta Modi Sahib, we have a life sentence passed on if someone kills a cow for beef or as a livelihood in the pathetic slumdog state of Gujarat. That is a basic human rights violation targeting Muslim Indians who trade Beef and eat beef. Modi is from Gujarat and at one time persona-non-grata in USA after he was found complicit in anti Muslim riots that killed over 2,000 innocent patriotic Indian Muslims.

    As Chandirika madam used to say about Ranil baby haamu, Meykata Katey pittu. He is suffering from arrogant self important so called upper caste Hindu military irrelevance butting his arse into Ceylon’s affairs

  • 0
    0

    he Big Story: Bovine theocracy
    Two days after he was attacked and brutally beaten by a gang of cow protection vigilantes in Rajasthan, Pehlu Khan, 55, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday. The vigilantes attacked Khan and four of his associates as they were transporting cows for slaughter. While Khan and his associates claim they were simply transporting their own cattle and had the necessary papers, the gau rakshaks accused them of smuggling cows.

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