28 October, 2020

Blog

Provide State Relief To Victims Of JVP & LTTE Periods 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

On Valentine’s Day there were two events that took place at Colombo’s iconic Vhara Maha Devi Park. The two events that took place at the park on Valentine’s Day highlighted the contrasts that continue to prevail in society. One event was replete with music and youth and covered by the commercial media, the other event was attended by mostly elderly women who had lost their loved ones in violent conflicts over the past four decades and was ignored by the commercial media. This event was organised by Families of the Disappeared. They gathered together at Vihara Maha Devi Park and after a few of them spoke walked in procession to the Prime Minister’s Office to hand over a petition to call for the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 including the payment of the Rs. 6000 interim monthly allowance to those who had obtained Certificates of Absence as approved by the previous government.

Most of those who attended the second event were women who had gone through the JVP insurrection of the late 1980s when mass killings, disappearances and abductions took place in different parts of the country in the areas where the Sinhalese ethnic majority predominated. The common factor with the Tamil insurrection led by the LTTE which was simultaneously taking place was that both were against the Sri Lankan state which reacted as harshly to the Sinhalese as it was to the Tamils who challenged its authority and suffered from the permanent loss of family members who were arrested, detained or were abducted and never returned to them.

Each of the women at the second event had a story to say that was tragic. One said that her husband was in the paddy field with her when the security forces came and took him away for questioning. Another said that her two brothers were studying in the university when they were taken away and she said that the country lost two PhDs as a result. Still another said that the family was at home when there was a cordon and search operation in which large numbers of young men and women were taken away never to be seen again. When they spoke of these events of long ago, four decades ago for most, the tears and faraway looks would still come to their eyes which bespeaks of the human love that endures for as long as life does.

New Hope

Unlike the first Valentine’s Day event which had the power of money and the energy of youth to organize it, the second event was not easy to organize. The group from Batticaloa, who would have represented the more recent victims of enforced disappearance did not arrive. Since the change of government in November there has been increased surveillance of organisations involved in human rights issues and particularly those dealing with missing persons. There has been no direct restriction on their work, but the knowledge that the state’s intelligence agencies are having them under scrutiny would make anyone uneasy. The fact that both the leaders of the present and former government have publicly said that the missing persons are no longer living would indicate a lack of state support for such initiatives.

However, the deterrent factor of fear was mitigated in this instance by the fact that most of those who attended the commemoration event were victims of a UNP-led government, who are presently in the opposition. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was a youthful, heroic and highly energized opposition MP at that time. On one occasion he was even stopped by immigration officials at Colombo international airport for carrying files of the human rights violations that were taking place to be presented in Geneva before the UN Human Rights Committee, as the UNHRC was known at that time. Not surprisingly, the families of those who went missing during the JVP insurrection expect Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the rest of the government to be supportive of their campaign to obtain justice from the state for the terrible fate that befell their loved ones and themselves.

The previous UNP government’s reconciliation process, which peaked early with co-sponsoring of the UN Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 of 2015 was meant as a response to international pressure with regard to the human rights violations that took place during last phase of the war with the LTTE. However, the key institutional mechanisms that were promised, including the Truth Commission, Office on Missing Persons and Office for Reparations are as applicable to the victims and families of the JVP insurrection as it is to those who were victims during the LTTE war. The establishment of the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations have given the families of the missing a new hope that they will obtain some sort of adequate redress that would compensate them for years of state neglect and personal misery they have had to undergo.

Two Paths

There are two main ways in which a state can be expected to legitimately respond to issues of human rights violations that occurred in the past. One is by acknowledging the past, expressing regret and apology, and by punishing the perpetrators of those crimes. This is a difficult if not impossible path for the state to move forward along because there is continuity in the state. In this context the pressure for dealing with the past through punitive justice will usually come from outside the state. Sri Lanka is presently facing such a challenge with the US government designating army commander General Shavendra Silva for alleged gross violations of human rights and imposing a travel ban on him and his family.

The more appropriate path for Sri Lanka to take at the present time would be that of restorative justice where the state would acknowledge the human rights violations and crimes of the past that occurred on all sides and seek to restore the lives of those who survived to the maximum level possible. Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, Kshenuka Seneviratne, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN said Sri Lanka is committed to find innovative and pragmatic solutions driven by the domestic context to protect the country’s national interest guided by the provisions of the Constitution, and the will of the citizens expressed through democratic means. Now that the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations have been set up, the government needs to utilize them to the maximum to bring relief to the victim families instead of seeking to restrict their mandates or wind them up.

Most of the family members of the missing I spoke to at the commemoration event at Vihara Maha Devi Park said that their preferred options were that the state should acknowledge the truth of what happened and provide them with the material compensation to restore their lives to what it would have been if this catastrophe had not hit them. Surely the Sri Lankan state which is able to find massive funds to fly airlines that make mega losses, build airports with no planes, and ports with no ships, can find the massive funds required to restore the lives of its own sons and daughters who fell victim to the state’s inability to resolve conflicts peacefully. The Sri Lankan state will have a stronger moral position in contesting its international detractors if it sets out a roadmap to reconciliation with innovative and pragmatic solutions as promised and begins that journey today.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    Appoint a Judicial body to investigate forensic details the murders committed during JVP and LTTE violence. The abuse of power by politicians and forces should be tabled. The atrocities committed by JVP and LTTE also should be investigated. The citizens deserve an answer.

    • 0
      2

      Looks like all political parties in parliament except CWC and SLMC have blood in their hands.

  • 8
    0

    Great News , to all Silly Lankans . Stupid Lanka has decided to withdraw from the UN resolutions, they signed not once but twice. As a commentator mentioned elsewhere “Stupid Lanka will be the first to vote against itself in the history of UN “. Damn Right and very funny. And the great intellectual from UNP, Marikar had told all Silly Lankans should avoid applying visa to US, until they issue one to Shavendra.
    But that will not stop him and his family visiting. What a hypocrite. Moron why dont you do the same with the US companies too, say lets start with Google, Micro Soft, Intel and the cardiac stent maker which you may need in future.

  • 1
    1

    Process to clarify the fate of missing persons are brought up time to time efforts to help the authorities honor and updated efforts is not to be seen and done The active authorities supporting is cause by political parties is not living now constant reminder is floating in the air about this subject and in few times most politician will be not be living this problem which is still floating in the air will be flashpoint for foreign Humanitarian Affairs to penetrate to the country the future is put on obligation on events had a story to say that was tragic
    Only time will tell if political parties will be more cooperative and governments more active in investigating the fate of missing.

  • 5
    0

    The Sri Lankan state doesn’t care about these tortured souls..it doesn’t care about its ordinary citizens..it doesn’t care about justice..it doesn’t care about the kidney patients in NCP..it doesn’t care about the plight of wild elephants or the affected humans..it doesn’t care about the destruction of the remaining pockets of forests…it doesn’t care about a lot if things which should be high on the list of priorities..

    All it cares about is how to stay in power, what alliances to form, how to safeguard themselves…

    The President talked the talk…but don’t hold your breath…just get out on to the streets and demand they do their duty..and persist till they do so..

  • 6
    0

    In terms of high crimes, this country has lot more overdue eras.
    :
    So long Rajaaklshes are the leaders, no chance for the victimized families to be served with Justice.
    :
    Be them notherners of southerners, Rajaaksehs would defend the high criminals evidently.
    :
    We have some respect to GR but hes is more or less like SAMANERA/Child monk in Rajapkshe politics. Samanera Monks are caught by sexual crimes of the elder monks incl. head of the monks, but the victimized monks would not ever speak out and loudly say, that they are being caught by such crimes.
    The very same situation is the case with GOTABAYA who became president with VOTER grab by Mahinda Rajakshe on blant lies. Today, the bugger Mahinda is caught by not having fulfilled the least, what he promised to the PUNNAKKU eaters led majority citizens. Today, as if an asthma patient struggle to breath in, being on podium, bugger stutters and search for new Rhetorics to mislead the prey-audience.
    However, time has come to make REAL changes to the manner, paradigm shift, regarding the thinking patterns of the PUBLIC.
    No BPs that are found on the EXCRETA of Rajapakshes, but goodies will have to bee ELECTEd by people during next election.
    JVPrs or others may have to be scored more, compared WIMAL ponnawase led RAJAPAKSHE backlikcers.
    If Wimal Ponnawanse would be TOTALLY rejected by his ABUSIVE politics, the country would surely bloom like a the SPRING flower buds come up in EUROPE.
    Let BPs be BURNT down by the POWERFUL voters at least NEXT time. We kept hope on and on, but this time it should happen. Basta

  • 4
    0

    Thanks for raising the issue of compensation.
    I agree that MR had been (would not use ‘has been’ because I do not have sufficient evidence that he retains the fire he had for human rights) a vocal campaigner for the protection of JVP members.
    Parents of lost children (both LTTE and JVP fighters have/had parents who are/were devastated) and the least the government can do is to help the next of kin.
    Remember the time Mrs Bandaranaike gave instructions not to take any prisoners!
    Both JVP and LTTE had fighters who were motivated to fight for a cause.

    Some of our colleagues at Peradeniya University were killed in 1971 and many remember the grotesque spectacle of naked dead bodies as practised in Latin America to terrorize people.
    That was the end of it – the poor remain poor while others collect million dollar commissions – that is another discussion!

    (BTW, we claim Sri Lanka to be a Buddhist country – total hypocrisy – but Sri Lankan idiots put up with it)

    Disappearances during R Premadasa’s presidency and Mrs Bandaranaike’s prime ministership did not instigate proper investigations.

    • 3
      1

      MR was a vocal campaigner for the protection of OLD JVP’ers ( The Sadukin Pelenawun) and not the present day capitalists JVP CLOWNS.

  • 2
    2

    an excellent idea.
    most of those who got themselves into the freedom fighting movements were from a poverty-stricken and not city folks.?
    =
    they have to be well compensated for the follies of the various governments in their frustrations gave the draconian orders to uncouth unruly ruthless always ready for a kill lawless military armed forces who had many a sadistic pleasure in performing their given tasks.
    =
    the compensation should be aptly backdated, interest at the present market rates should also be added on to this better late than never payments.?
    =
    in every political party should vigorously stick to its commitments and promises that they meekly make on the election platforms to greedily get into government.?
    =
    glad that some concrete moves are beginning to fall into place and hopefully it will just not be another wet dream.?
    =
    cheers, R. J.

  • 2
    4

    why should the state help families of terrorists jvp or ltte
    leave it to ngos

    • 3
      3

      Are you kidding me? NGOs only screech. They do not spend a penny on anyone other than themselves.

  • 1
    1

    Compensation demands for JVP victims is now too late, so is for LTTE victims. Premadasa, in his wisdom, armed the LTTE & should be responsible for the policemen who surrended to the LTTE, only to be massacred subsequently. Psychotic law enforcement officers who tortured & murdered suspects were later promoted but all these go under the radar. The human rights champion, MR, took advantage of this sad situation to further his political ambitions.but in the end, it boiled down to nothing for the victims, just hype. Ironically, the same human rights defender was charged with crimes against humanity when he came to power subsequently. The JVP too, although now in mainstream politics, never even apologised for the murders of innocent civilians during their violent past. The Sinhala extremists are quick to defend the atrocities committed by the SL armed forces during the civil war against Tamils but are silent when it comes to atrocities committed by the police & the army against suspected Sinhala youth during the JVP reign of terror. Apart from those who lost family members, I am not sure if official records even exist on these disappearances. In the same vein, I don’t think the more recent disappearances of civilians will ever be investigated, never mind the compensation. I am sure Mrs Eknaligoda would never know what happened to her husband.

    When all politicians, including the opposition (as implied by SP support of war criminals), blatantly brushing the uncomfortable truth under the carpet, will there ever be justice, let alone compensation?

  • 2
    0

    If the leaders are not sensitive to the grievances of people that society is doomed.

  • 1
    0

    Great Proposal Jehan !!!

    ………Will Nandasena provide relief and compensation for over 1000 innocent youth he murdered in Matale during JVP uprising ?????
    ——Apart from killing over 40,000 innocent civilians during Ealam war…
    ………
    ………….Wonder whether human remains of Matale Mass Graves have been tampered already??

    …Perhaps, Pascal, Eagle Eye, KAS Sumanaya etc have ready-made answers…….

  • 1
    0

    Assassination of by mass scale of Youth of South in 1988/89/90 by UNP regime of R.Premadas and JRJ an accountability and responsibilities are that NOT transpiration that terms and conditions by UNP’s mode of “democracy of good governance & Rule of Law”! @ All in all killing were by supervision of UNP leadership are form of extra-Judiciary methodologies. Which that belongs to the key role of played by State Terrorism of UNP was that back by Western Regime of such countries. An entire massacre of tragedies of lost of lives of 700,00 to 80,000 youth was covered up by Western mass media and Sates of Westerner democracies.
    Indeed Western and rest has ignored such massacre which that brand as counter to action of against JVP Terrorism. This not the whole truth,but it was part of truth of politics of JVP Terrorism . An Undeniably JVP was/is Terrorist outfit of locally -oriented anachronism of by name of “Socialism” of Che Guvura type insurrection.!
    As whole lost of lives are an accountability lay of UNP regime of key man was responsibilities of that come under that Ranasinghe Premadasa key played of State of Republic…by UNP leadership.
    Not an Human Right laws had been an apply on issue has been an arise of that massacre of Youth in 1988/89/90 an island by locally or Internationally

  • 1
    1

    good proposal even if they wants to do something from where are they going to find the money.even of some outside NGO OR UNHCR TRY TO HELP WHO IS GOING TO SUPERVISE THE ARRANGEMENT.SAME THING HAPPEN TO SUNAMI FUNDS MAY HAPPEN TO THIS FUNDS.

  • 2
    1

    Srilankan political leadership uses Military commanders sanction in order to get more votes from foolish Srilankan Sinhala voters. For them power is more important than a military commander. I doubt now that Rajapakse’s has agreed to sign the agreement with the deal with USA and Rajapakse’s may have asked USA’s help to get two third majority. Mahinda and Gota’s immediate visit to India and secrecy of what they have discussed or agreed with Modi highlights that they are prepared to sell Srilanka to USA and India. Do you think USA and India is going to give free without any benefit to India? Both JVP and LTTE was crushed in this land by USA, UK and India. We all come to know the danger of giving two third majority to Rajapakse’s or Ranil’s means the rights of ordinary Sinhalese and Tamils are lost in the coming years.

    • 1
      0

      Ajith,

      You have succinctly made the most acceptable comment on who Rajapakses are and what their insidious plans are that no sane person can refute. Thanks.

  • 1
    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

    Govts do not have to waste money this way. There better method taught buy the capitalist system. Sri Lanka has a millinia old irrigation system which provided drinking water and water for every thing else. Now the present govts are allowing those to degrade and some times they themselves destroy it.
    Govt has spent rs 2250 MILLION like value to provide drinking water ALONE to 15,000 people. Let us say that is just 4000 families. How about we establish our own spending system instead of following the capitalist developmental system. Ask every TEN families to dig their own well large enough for them and strengthen it with Cement too. Give rs 50,000 each family and the total expenditure will be rs. 200 million. Govt saves Ra TWO BILLION. Now the system, spent money to businesses, contractors and that will be expensive. Why do we need some one else’s systen when we had a working system.

  • 0
    0

    Sunil Abey.

    I totally agree with you mate.
    Any linear circuit containing several voltages and resistances can be replaced by just one single voltage in series with a single resistance connected across the load!

    • 0
      0

      Hello Plato,

      Thanks for reminding me of the basics of circuit theory!
      Wonder who you are!

  • 2
    0

    What is the difference between the Human Rights violations in the Last phase of the Battle against the LTTE,
    And the Human Rights Violations by the LTTE for 30 years before their Last Battle?..

    Did those NGOs who cry foul now about the Last Battle, intervene to look after the victims of the LTTE Human Rights violations inflicted on thousands of innocent civilians , specially poor innocent Sinhala Buddhist civilians in remote villages ?.

    How can the violations of Human Rights of the hardcore LTTE Cadres armed to the teeth and their supporters acting as sand bags to give them protection be as same as the violation of Human Rights of innocent civilians by the UNP Government who went to villages and picked up their political opponents and sent them to torture chambers before killing them ?.

    If the Lady in the picture is a victim of the violations of Human Rights by the UNP Government during the 87-89 period, Dr Jehan should have made representations to the UNP Government of Dr Ranil and his Yahapalana mates who were ruling the roost until last XMas..

    And Dr Jehan could have enlisted the support of the the current JVP leader who is still a friend of the previous UNP Government and specially a mate of its real Laeder Dr Rani Wickremasinghe.-

    These are the issues which fair minded people like us to grapple with when these Peace Makers with Political agendas try to educate the Public about Human Rights Violations ..

    • 0
      0

      Objective is to get compensation for the LTTE. I sensed that immediately as I saw the title.and didn’t read the article.

      Soma

  • 0
    0

    The problem with Jehan and his ilk’s approach is the partiality and selectivity in victim identification or classification (that would suit their own agendas). Therefore the first step has to be establishing an impartial rationale which is justifiable to the citizens that has legitimacy (and not to placate the foreigners). Secondly to establish transparent & legitimate mechanisms/processes for action and third would be how to fund it.

  • 0
    0

    Sunil Abey.

    Why ? cant you remember we were dancing partners of Thevinins Theorem!

  • 1
    0

    Good idea! For LTTE victims all money should be collected from the Tamil diaspora! Tamil taxpayer in Sri Lanka shouldn’t pay even a penny!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.