By S. V. Kirubaharan –
With more than two decades of experience in observing and listening to Sri Lanka’s statements in the UN Human Rights Forums, I would like to predict the content of their forthcoming statement to the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council – HRC.
Every written document/statement produced by the Sri Lankan government is designed to brainwash or misinform the international community rather than achieve anything in reality or in practical terms.
By observing the government’s activities and its media, I presume that the following matters will be included in its statement to the 24th session of the HRC. Of course, the sequence may change.
They will definitely say that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – CHOGM which consists of the 54 Commonwealth Nations will be taking place in Sri Lanka in November.
Here they will not talk about their human rights record, nor compare themselves with other CHOGM members who have been suspended in the past.
Refer to the latest news item already appearing in one of the pro-government media:
Daily News, 29 August 2013 – The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November will be an eye opener for sections of the international community that had been carried away by the false propaganda of the pro LTTE network, former UGC Chairman Prof Gamini Samaranayake said. (Excerpt)
They will talk about the indigenous Veddahs. That is the reason why the President has given an official double cab with driver and free fuel to Veddah Chief Uru Warige Wannila Aththo.
The visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – HCHR, Ms Navaneetham Pillai will be highlighted. They will inform the HRC that the HCHR was given independent access and could visit wherever she wanted. It was a week-long fact-finding mission during which she met with the President, many other Ministers and others.
Here they will not say how the victims of human rights violations were harassed by the Security Forces because they spoke to the HCHR. Also nothing will be said about Minister of Public Affairs Mervyn Silva’s offer to marry the visiting HCHR. There will be no more vulgar insults to a high-profile guest.
They will certainly say that the President appointed a three-member commission to investigate the disappearances that have occurred during the 30 years of conflict. This will be followed by reference to the Colombo additional magistrate’s order to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of police to investigate the disappearance of over 2,500 people who had gone missing in the North and East.
Don’t ask the government and the courts why they have been silent for many decades and about the fate of the five previous commissions on disappearances.
The latest discovery of the government and pro-government media, that nearly 5,000 Security personnel abducted by the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam – LTTE – includes 3,484 army soldiers, 189 Policemen and 1,175 civilians, will be highlighted.
No reason will be disclosed, as to why they were silent on these disappearances (and any further details about these figures) – until the visit of the HCHR.
They will not forget to say that, after the ‘brutal terrorism of the LTTE’ had been successfully wiped out by their Security Forces who fought “with a human rights declaration in one hand and a gun in the other”, the way was paved for us today to have the 1st election for the Northern Provincial Council which will be held on 21st of this month. This includes North-Western and Central Provinces.
Here, they will not disclose to the HRC that until 26 August, 246 complaints of election related violence have already been reported by the Network for Election Monitoring of the Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEM IHR).
The statement will also talk about four Army soldiers who have been dismissed from their ranks for forcibly entering a house in Horowpathana, raping a woman and robbing money.
As usual, they will talk about the National Action Plan for the Implementation of LLRC recommendations. In fact, a reputed ex-diplomat once named it an ‘Inaction Plan’. They will say they need ‘time and space and nothing can be done overnight’. However, this is an outdated argument which has no place, as 4 long years have passed.
By the way, they will not inform the HRC how they are misusing the two-thirds majority in parliament for their own benefit, deliberately ignoring the national ethnic issue.
When Prof. G. L. Peiris met with the HCHR on 29 August 2013, he said: “Sri Lanka accepts constructive and justified criticism but resents vicious and baseless positions which are incessantly repeated”.
Doesn’t His Excellency’s Government incessantly repeat itself?
Prof. Peiris further said that as far as religion is concerned, where there were problems, all communities came together to resolve the issues.
In other words, let the majority religion, on their terms, suppress the minority religions. Nobody should open their mouth! This appears to be the usual hilarious signature tune of Prof Peiris!
He says, “We have already extended our invitation to the Special Rapporteurs on the right to education and the IDPS for country visits in December 2013 and January 2014.”
They will not disclose to the HRC, how many other Special Rapporteurs have requested to visit Sri Lanka – the UN Working Group on Disappearances, Special Rapporteurs on Extra-judicial killings, Torture, Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Religious Freedom, Freedom of Expression etc.
Prof. Peiris continues to say that the Special Task Force has been indicted in relation to the killing of five students in Trincomalee. For this to happen, does the HCHR have to visit Sri Lanka or need to visit frequently?
The full statement of Prof G.L. Peiris in the meeting with the HCHR is available on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka.
Last Friday, President Rajapksa and the High Commissioner met in Colombo. When Navaneetham Pillai raised her questions about many specific situations, Rajapaksa said that these were isolated incidents and that the majority of Sri Lankans continue to coexist peacefully in all parts of the island.
The best joke during Navaneetham Pillai’s visit to Sri Lanka was that, “President Rajapaksa told Pillai that the people of the country believe the UN is a biased organisation”. The statement quoting him, issued by his office, continued to quote the president: “They believe that your report has already prejudged (Sri Lanka)”. (Excerpts)
In other words, Rajapaksa expects the visiting HCHR to hide all the truth that she herself witnessed and instead, to learn to write fictional statements like His Excellency’s Government.
Hope Sri Lanka will inform the 24th session that the Tamil National Alliance – TNA Members of Parliament are frequently compelled to visit the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). They seem to attend the TID more often than they do in Parliament.
Will Sri Lanka inform the HRC about the harassment of journalists – arrests, torture, disappearances, killings – leading to many seeking asylum in foreign countries? 25 journalists killed and 26 forced into exile. Prageeth Eknelygoda, a Cartoonist, disappeared on 24 January 2010 in Colombo. He is still missing.
Let us wait and see the predictions made above, on an official government document, prepared and delivered during the 24th session of the HRC.
This is for the information of the human rights activists who work on the situation in Sri Lanka.
It is a closely guarded ‘secret’ that whatever new buildings have been opened by Defence Secretary Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Jaffna, have mass graves located underneath them. In the past, the bodies of those questioned and killed by the Sri Lankan security forces have been buried and new buildings have been constructed on top of those mass graves, especially in the Jaffna peninsula.
Horrendously, these buildings are shown to the world as ‘a gift’ of the Defence Secretary to the people in those areas. Is this the so-called ‘Development’ of the North and East?