16 April, 2021

Blog

Sri Lanka: Learning From UNHRC Resolution

By R Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

As expected, the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted the resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” (A/HRC/46/L.1Rec.1) with 22 countries voting for it while 11 against (for Sri Lanka) on March 23. Eleven countries including India abstained. Sri Lanka Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s claim in parliament that it was “implicit from the voting result that the majority of the Council did not support this Resolution” would be dismissed as quibbling.

A big chunk of 10 of the 14 members of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) abstained, because of issues smacking of anti-Muslim stance, like mindless resistance to allow the burial of Muslim victims to the Covid-19 and officially thinking aloud about closing down madrasas and banning of burqas. Other such actions include hounding police officers who investigated corruption cases against Rajapaksas and threatening contrarian opinion makers in the media etc did not endear members to Sri Lanka.

This was the sixth resolution on the subject tabled before the UNHRC since 2012. So, the writing in the wall is clear: Sri Lanka has not been able to address international and local concerns on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country. It is not only Rajapaksa’s who failed in making a sincere effort to implement the resolution. The Yahapalana government bought time for three years, by co-sponsoring Resolution 30/1 but made only feeble efforts to implement it.

The four-member core group led by UK, which drafted the resolution, appears to have been influenced by the scathing report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Bachelet. There are three key stipulations in the resolution. It requests of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR) “to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including on progress in reconciliation,” and to present an oral update to the UNHRC at its 48th session, as written update at its 49th session and a comprehensive report that includes further options for advancing accountability, at its 51st session, both to be discussed in the context of an interactive dialogue.”

It introduces a new accountability process on evidence of international crimes committed in Sri Lanka for use in future prosecutions. It establishes a dedicated capacity within the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) “to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence” of gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sri Lanka and to advocate for victims and survivors and to support relevant judicial and other proceedings, including in member states with competent jurisdiction.”

However, the resolution has given Sri Lanka time till September 2023 to improve its record to meet the requirements of the resolution. But the Sri Lanka government appears to be in a defiant mood to evolve a game plan to constructively bring the resolution to a close. If this attitude is not changed, we can expect the resolution to hang like a Damocles sword over Sri Lanka’s head beyond 2023. The complexion of the UNHRC is changing as the US is now backing its efforts and India will complete its term as a member. There are clear indications of larger US involvement under Joe Biden’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region as part of the Quad framework in which India will be playing bigger role. Sri Lanka needs to understand and take advantage of the changing strategic dynamics.

Sri Lanka government’s approach to the UNHRC session, even after knowing the issues that would come up, showed a lack of strategy. Answer to the simple question “how to achieve a win-win situation for Sri Lanka in the UNHRC session?” probably never figured in the minds of its leaders. Or probably it got submerged in the sophistry of sovereignty and UN charter violations.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a military strategist with hands on experience in operational planning, had won the Eelam War. In spite of this, under his watch Sri Lanka’s performance at the UNHRC session was bereft of strategy. In spite of the government packed with veterans from the three services, there appear to be a lot of confusion in strategizing the approach. Of course, perhaps the disconnect between the President and the ruling Sri Lanka Podjujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition added to the confusion.

Silicon Valley disruptive technology and innovation analyst Jeremiah Owyang explains in simple terms the difference between strategy and tactics: “strategy is done above the shoulders; tactics are done below the shoulders.” The simplistic statement hides a lot of difference between strategy as what you want to achieve and tactics as how you go about achieving it.

If we apply this yardstick to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement at the opening of the 8th Parliament on January 3, 2020, his difficulties in reconciling it to the UNHRC issues of “promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” can be understood. His vision includes respecting aspirations of the majority of the people because “only then sovereignty of the people will be safeguarded.” He will defend the unitary status of our country and protect and nurture Buddha Sasana, “whilst safeguarding the right of all citizens to practice a religion of their choice.”

However, the President’s actions have defied safeguarding the rights of all citizens to practice a religion of their choice as well as humanitarian laws enshrined in the Geneva Convention. So, the President has to tailor his actions to meet requirements within his policy goals. That would require promoting ethnic reconciliation while recognising Sri Lanka as the home of Theravada Buddhist Sinhalas, tolerating the practise of other religions and ensure human rights are respected by rule of law with full accountability through amendment to the constitution or drafting a new one. Otherwise, Sri Lanka may well end up at the UNHRC in 2023, with yet another loss of face. That will be an avoidable tragedy

*Col R Hariharan, a retire MI specialist on South Asia and terrorism, served as the head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987-90. E-mail: colhari@gmail.com Website: https://col.hariharan.info

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    As an Indian how long can they tolerate Chinese occupation & Dominance in SL. USA took a definitive stance against USSR in 1960s. Time for them to draw a red line for the SL leadership. Time for them to send back the SL Tamil Refugees in India & provide them dwellings and livelihoods. It is the duty of the Indian Government to do so after helping Rajapakshas to defeat the LTTE.

    • 7
      1

      They are hell bent on completing the genocide, get real and stop dreaming.

    • 2
      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

      • 3
        0

        Thanks you Eagle Thaatha. How is the Aged Care home in Melbourne? Hope they are feeding you well.

  • 6
    0

    “while recognising Sri Lanka as the home of Theravada Buddhist Sinhalas, tolerating the practise of other religions”

    Hindia now officially heading to recognise the Island as the home only to Sinhalese and others are tolerated.

    Is this not Sinhalese and Sinhala State are trying effectuate once and for all all these years.

    These people, RAW, Hindians are hell bent completing genocide of remaining Tamils, especially EEzham Tamils by other means after partnering with Sinhalese and Sinhala State in massacring and genociding Tamils by violence in the name of fighting LTTE.

    This is why Hindia is silent about genocide, war crimes etc. because it is the lead partner and the Sinhalese & Sinhala State are are willing dirty dogs.

    People who are gung-ho about Hindia cares two hoots about 13 pubic hair, sending military to pull those hair etc. are in for rude shock and awakening.

    Hindia as always provides blood soaking meat (of Tamils) to Sinhalese. The UNHRC or UN cannot do a without concurrence of sori Sinhala State is the state of resolution, and it was Hindia that watered down the resolution to this level.

  • 1
    6

    Wrong lessons.

    SL is not India.

  • 3
    0

    Hari Haran it is only southern Sri Lanka that was the home of Theravada Sinhalese Buddhism and not the rest of the island . The northern eastern and north west coast from ancient times has been the home of the Eelam Tamil Saivites. This is historically proven fact and even your so called 1987 international Indo Sri Lankan agreement and the Sec 13 amendment that your own Indian government is now trying to push through the UN recognizes this fact. Read history properly before posting rubbish. Even the so called Mahavamsa fairy tale that is part fiction but mostly racist anti Tamil garbage constantly refers to the lands to the north and east of the island as the land of the Tamils. Read what the Portuguese, the Dutch and even what the British stated about the island. An island that is occupied by two people or nations to the north and east the Hindu Malabars( the Eelam Tamils ) ruled by their own rulers and to the west south and central parts Buddhist Sinhalese and thick forests and rivers separate their regions and these people from one another. The Sinhalese never had any say or peep in these ancient Tamil lands to the north and east of the island until 1948, when the British handed the entire island to them on a platter.

    • 3
      0

      From ancient prehistoric times and even during the Portuguese and Dutch era these Tamil lands were separate and were ruled separately from the Sinhalese lands down south and most of the so called Sinhalese rulers including the last king of Kandy and most of the so called Sinhalese aristocracy were all of South Indian Tamil origin, This is why the Kandyan convention is largely signed in Tamil .
      The King who converted to Buddhism was a Tamil Naga Saivite, his title was Thevanai Nambiya Theesan later Prakritized to Devanaam Piya Tissa. His father was king Mootha Sivan meaning the great Siva. How can you and how dare you call this island a Theravadha Sinhalese land , when 1/3 of the land had never been Theravadha of Sinhalese until 1948 . This means I can call India the land of the Hindi or Hindian Hindus. Traitorous Indian Tamil Brahmins like you will support this. No wonder you people are hated by the rest of the Indian Tamils , as your community despite being ethnically Tamil is very anti Tamil, just like the Muslim Tamils here.

      • 3
        0

        t was the British who in 1833 united the then separate Tamil north and east and the Sinhalese south and created a new colony called Ceylon and by this act made the Sinhalese who were always confined to the southern parts of the island a majority in the whole island and we Eelam Tamils who were a 100% majority in our own land a minority , Then in 1948 gave the entire island to the Sinhalese majority and left, with no adequate protection for the island’s Tamil speaker. Creating all this problem. They had no right to have done this. They should have created a federal structure or divided the island like the way they found , they did neither, as they did not care and we Tamils are suffering and Indians like you are supporting this Sinhalese lies and racism. When the British created the Tamil Northern and Eastern provinces in the late 19TH century , they created this out of the lands that the Sinhalese had no claim to. Any frivolous claims to Tamil lands in the north and east was very favorably dealt and these lands were taken out of the north and incorporated into the Sinhalese provinces. Hence Pathavi kulam from the north was removed and renamed as Padaviya and incorporated into north central Sinhalese province.

        • 3
          0

          Now the Sinhalese are using the armed forces, the power of the state and fake concocted history to claim these two provinces that is the ancient homeland of the Eelam Tamils and the Tamilsed Veddha as theirs. Lands that they have no claim too , as even the British colonial government and the Indian government, Raw and Indians like you shamelessly calling your selves Tamils are overtly and covertly helping the Sri Lankan government to finish of the remaining Eelam Tamils and steal their lands, as you thing we are a nuisance, hinderance and our very existence as a people with an ancient claim to 1/3 of the island, as a thorn and impediment for India to have good relationship with the Sinhalese governments of Sri Lanka . On the contrary it is our existence as a people occupying the strategic northern and eastern parts of the island that is keeping your southern Indian shores from the largely anti Indian anti Hindu Sinhalese , who ironically are largely descended from Tamil immigrants from South India and the Sri Lankan Muslims or Moors as they love to call themselves, who are also immigrants from Tamil Nadu

          • 1
            5

            Siva Sankaran Sharma
            In records kept in Sinhale, UK, Portugal or The Netherlands no mention of the existence of Tamils in Sinhale until a Demala guy who worked in the Department of Census changed the term ‘Malabar’ used by colonial rulers to refer to Dravidians brought by them as slaves to ‘Tamil’ in 1911. Dravidians lived in Sinhale but they were invaders and not indigenous people. Only Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo are indigenous people. All the others are ‘Paradeshi’.
            In the forms that people had to fill for various purposes, there was a question ‘Are you a citizen of this country by Descent or by Registration’. Demalu had to write ‘By Registration’. Only Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo are ‘Citizens by Descent’.

            • 1
              3

              Sinhalese are Aryans. Only country living Sinhalese Aryans, country Sri Lanka, ancient name was Heladiva. Helayo (Sinhalese) right from the Independent ruling this country.

              • 1
                0

                The name Perera is derived from the word Pear. A name commonly used is the Iberian peninsular. In Sri Lanka lots of recently Chingkalized low caste/Dalit Thamizh immigrants from South India, who now make up half the present day Chingkallams are very fond of using these Portuguese names. Perera, Silva, Fernando, Fardinando, Peiris the list goes on. You are one of these rotten pears that fell from a South Indian Dalit garden, now calling your self Chingkalla Aryans . Chingkallams are Aryan my giddy aunt . The vast majority of the present day Chingkallams have a largely low caste immigrant origin from Thamizh Nadu/Kerala. Looked at your self in the mirror? Hela Diva Helayo ! what the hell is that Hela diva is the Prakrit corruption of the ancient Thamizh word Eezham or Eezha Theevu and Helayo is another corruption of the ancient Thamizh word Eezhava. Even Colonel Hariharan an ethnic Thamizh from Pallakaddu Kerala will know this.

    • 1
      3

      Siva Sankaran Sharma
      “Hari Haran it is only southern Sri Lanka that was the home of Theravada Sinhalese Buddhism and not the rest of the island.”
      —-
      It is difficult to understand why Demalu are so fond of lying. You know very well that Sinhala Buddhist Kingdoms Anuradhapuara and Polonnaruwa were in the North East of Sinhale, the Land of Sinhalayo but keep on bombarding lies assuming Gobble’s Theory might work. Sorry, it is not going to work. By building Kovils on top of Sinhala Buddhist heritage sites in the North and East, it is not possible to change history of Sinhale.

      • 3
        0

        Yes every one in this forum knows that you are racist Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist, who has runaway to the west and now living the good life there and like 90% of the Sinhalese expatriates, enjoy the good life and equal opportunities that the west offers to you and your family but want the structural genocide and ethnic cleansing of the island’s Tamils in the island. There was no such thing or term called Sinhale , a new concoction by Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists to re name the island and claim it for the Sinhalese. The word Sinhales as explained before is the Prakrit/Pali corruption of the Tamil word Chingkallam meaning the red or copper coloured land , ( Chem or Cheppu meaning red or copper+Alam meaning land or land by the coast) Jus tlike Tamil place names Puttalam or Keralam of Cheralam in India. It has nothing to with a lion or any other big cat, All later fairy tales by Buddhist monks created to explain the word Sinhala that is a corruption of Tamil Chingkalam. Similarlty Hela is the corruption of another ancient Tamil word for the island Eelam/Eezham meaning home, the land of metal or toddy. Iyam means s sheaf or metal in Tamil and Ilama means a metal vein in Sinhalese .

        • 2
          0

          Era means toddy in Tamil and Ra with the E dropped means toddy in Sinhalese, There is a community called Eezhava in Kerala who are associated with toddy tapping ans are said to heve prehitorically migrated from the island. Polonnaruwa was founded by the Tamil Cholas . It is original Tamil name was Pulanari and all the ancient buuldings there Hindu or Buddhist was built by them. Typical South Indian architecture. Now Sinhalese falesely claiming as theirs. Similarly Anuradhapura was founded by the ancient Tamil Naga Saivite kings one of whom King Thevanai Nambiya Theesan son of King Mootha Sivan conveted to Buddhism and remained the capital. From ancient times until 1700s Aunradhapoura was surrounded by Tamil villages and ruled by Tamil chieftains, Even your Mahavamas fable states this.
          Polonnaruwa was founded by the Tamil Cholas . It is original Tamil name was Pulanari and all the ancient buuldings there Hindu or Buddhist was built by them. Typical South Indian architecture. Now Sinhalese falesely claiming as theirs. Similarly Anuradhapura was founded by the ancient Tamil Naga Saivite kings one of whom King Thevanai Nambiya Theesan son of King Mootha Sivan conveted to Buddhism and remained the capital. From ancient times until 1700s Aunradhapoura was surrounded by Tamil villages and ruled by Tamil chieftains, Even your Mahavamas fable states this.

          • 0
            2

            Siva Sankaran Sharma
            “Polonnaruwa was founded by the Tamil Cholas.”
            “Similarly Anuradhapura was founded by the ancient Tamil Naga Saivite kings.”
            —-
            Who taught you history of Sinhale to write this kind of BS!
            May be in Hindu religion there is no precept similar to ‘Musawaada Weramanee Sikkapadam Samadiyami’ (I will refrain from telling lies).

            • 1
              0

              Eagle,
              Can you provide proof that Polonnaruwa was founded by aliens?

  • 4
    1

    Hariharan I am not going to waste time posting paragraphs like the others here. Short and sweet. This is not an exclusive Theravadha Sinhalese Buddhist nation, like what the Sinhalese are now trying falesely portray and certain sections of ruling Indian elite RAW and even sections of the Tamil Brahmins in India want it to be. Strange call themselves Tamils but every action of their is against their own Tamil people and ethnicity. Then why bother to call yourself a Tamil? Go and call yourselves Kannada, Malayali, Hindian, Telugu or something else and see if these people will ever accept you as one of them. Now coming back to Sri Lankan. Large parts of the island was never Sinhalese but had always been Saivite and Tamil and had never or hardly been under Sinhalese rule or influence until the British arrived and united the whole island as one. Then how can this island be called Sinhalese Buddhist land. This is like modern India which is a creation of the British again being called Hindi speaking land or Britain the land of the English only. This island is the ancient homeland of two people and nations the Sinhalese down south and the native indigenous Eelam Tamils to the north and east.

  • 4
    1

    This island is the ancient homeland of two people and nations the Sinhalese down south and the native indigenous Eelam Tamils to the north and east. Just because the British united these two separate lands in 1833 and in this one act, made the Sinhalese, who were confined to the south of the island, a majority in the whole island and then handed power to the Sinhalese majority, does not make this a Sinhalese Buddhist land. Tamil and Saivaism had existed in the island long before Sinhalese and Buddhism and strangely the Sinhalese are largely not descended from North Indian immigrants but immigrants from Tamil South India. Please get your facts correct and you and your Indian government should not support genocide and racism for petty imagined gains. India will ultimately loose pandering to Sinhalese racism and China will have the last laugh. Sorry wanted to make it short and sweet but ended up rambling like the other two.

    • 4
      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
      4

      Rohan25,
      What you say is factually incorrect probably because you have not studied the right history of Sinhale.
      Just to educate you about the situation in North East of the country I would like to point out that the area Tamils claim as ‘Traditional Homeland’ is where first Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa existed. These Kingdoms were destroyed by Dravida invaders forcing Sinhalayo to abandon those areas and move to safer areas. Although Sinhala Kings chased away Dravida invaders, Sinhalayo did not return to those areas because Dravida invaders had destroyed the irrigation systems that Sinhalayo relied to grow paddy. During colonial rule, Dravida people brought from Hindusthan occupied land vacated by Sinhalayo in Yapanaya. At the time Sinhale gained Independence, a large majority of Tamils were confined to Yapanaya peninsula. Hardly any Tamils live in the East. Dravida people who came during colonial rule and occupied Sinhala land cannot claim North East as their ‘Traditional Homeland’.

  • 2
    1

    No amount of strategy or tactics would have changed the outcome. The western bloc is unhappy with the Regime and their strategy is regime change.

    • 3
      0

      a14455

      “The western bloc is unhappy with the Regime and their strategy is regime change.”

      So are 9.5 million voters.
      All strategies end in tragedy, including Gota’s petty plans to build a fascist state.

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.