23 October, 2020

Blog

The British Owe A Lot To The Tamil People

By Brian Senewiratne

Dr. Brian Senewiratne

Dr. Brian Senewiratne

The Chaos In Sri Lanka: The Role Of Britain & The Commonwealth

It is not widely appreciated that the current chaos in Sri Lanka is partly due to the damage done by colonial Britain, and later by the failure of the Commonwealth, to act when all the Commonwealth ‘core values’ had been systematically and blatantly violated by a succession of Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) governments. The result is a Totalitarian State where human rights have taken a bashing, democracy has been dismantled, Parliament has been reduced to a rubber stamp, the ‘Separation of Powers’ – the basis of any democracy – has ceased to exist, the Judiciary and the rule of law have become a farce and now, the very existence of the Tamil people is under threat. With corruption, nepotism, serious debt-repayment, an escalating cost of living, and the resort to violence by the Government, whatever the problem, the country is heading for a “Failed State”.

While the elite (the Rajapkasas and their henchmen) journey to a destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiralling down to chaos. This climate of frustration, fear, anger and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for Totalitarianism and Fascism.

Increasing concerns

There have been widespread concerns that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Sri Lanka (15-17 November 2013), because of extensive violation of human rights in Sri Lanka. It is a relief that 10 days ago, the Prime Minister of India, and, two days ago, the Prime Minister of Mauritius,  decided to join the long-standing decision of the Prime Minister of Canada, not to attend CHOGM.

The commendable decision by all three countries is very important. Canada is a major Commonwealth country, India is the most important regional power, and Mauritius an Indian Ocean country which is scheduled to host the next CHOGM in 2015. It is regrettable that India is sending its Foreign Minister and not some inconsequential person as Canada is doing.

Although British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be going to CHOGM, he has just released a statement of serious concern, after he watched the newly released (UK) Channel 4 film “No Fire Zone”:-

“‘No Fire Zone’ is one of the most chilling documentaries I’ve watched. It brings home the brutal end to the civil war and the immense suffering of thousands of innocent civilians who kept hoping that they would reach safety, but tragically many did not. Many of the images are truly shocking……..I will raise my concerns when I see President Rajapaksa next week in Colombo. And I will tell him that if Sri Lanka doesn’t deliver an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation is carried out instead”.

Prime Minister Cameron’s statement is one of the strongest made by the Head of State of any country on the need for an international investigation into what has occurred in Sri Lanka. This has been repeatedly stressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

The chaos in Sri Lanka

Is there chaos in Sri Lanka?  Well, here is the situation, you decide.

Every internationally credible Human Rights organisation, Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and International Crisis Group (ICG), in a series of reports this year (2013) have detailed Sri Lanka’s disastrous human rights record, the drift to authoritarianism and the silencing of dissent.

Democracy has been replaced by a Totalitarian State, the ‘separation of powers’ which are the pillars of Democracy, no longer exist. Parliament has been reduced to an irrelevancy by the Executive President with sweeping powers. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, after a recent visit, said the country is “showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction”,

There has been Government interference with Judicial independence, including the removal of the Chief Justice and her replacement by a Government stooge. The Media has been silenced or made into a mouthpiece of the Government. International Media organisations have stated that Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world for independent journalists and free speech.

Involuntary ‘disappearances’ are a daily occurrence (the second highest in the world after Iraq). There is rampant corruption at all levels, and a Police force which is the most corrupt in the world. There is, what can be termed, “An epidemic of Rape’ of Tamil women, girls and even men, in the North and East by the Sinhalese ‘Security’  Forces (!), the Police and others working with the Government”.

A massive Army out of control runs the Tamil North and East, and treats the area as ‘conquered territory’ and the people as ‘the spoils of war’. There is a failure to provide a reason for the need for such a huge Army of 230,000 – the highest per capita of the population in any country in the world.

Thousands of (Tamil) people are in prison or illegal detention centres, and held without charge or trial.

Sri Lanka has been dragged before the UN Human Rights Council, with more to follow. A disastrous Report by the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts into Accountability says that Sri Lanka has a case to answer. There are increasing international demands for an independent inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity, and even Genocide of the Tamils.

A deluge of reports by internationally credible Human Rights organisations have expressed serious concern. The Government has refused to allow these organisations, one of them (Amnesty International), a Nobel Prize winner, not to mention the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts, to enter the country, and see what is going on behind the closed and censored doors of Sri Lanka.

Is this chaos? It certainly looks like it.

Sorting out the chaos

Sri Lanka has had 65 years to sort out the problems left by the British when they quit in 1948, effectively handing over power to the Sinhalese, despite serious (and as it turned out, justifiable) fears expressed by the Tamils. A succession of Sinhalese leaders chose to go down the path of political opportunism in favour of the majority Sinhalese (76% of the country) by discriminating against the Tamils. Britain and the Commonwealth did nothing. Indeed, they have actively encouraged Sinhalese governments to do what they want in total violation of the ‘Independence Constitution’ which set out the conditions under which Ceylon was given its independence from British colonial rule.

If Britain is part of the problem, it must also be part of the solution. This has certainly has not been done. On the contrary, the outrageous decision to allow Sri Lanka to host the 2013 CHOGM would seem to be a ‘reward’ for violating the ‘core values’ of the Commonwealth. It is a disgraceful decision that will have a serious impact on the relevance of the Commonwealth, and the credibility of Britain.

British responsibility

In order to understand the chaos in Sri Lanka, and why it is unsuitable to host CHOGM, or even be in the Commonwealth, it is important to appreciate what has happened in that country and the failure of the Commonwealth in general, Britain in particular, to act.

‘Ceylon’ (renamed ‘Sri Lanka’ in Sri Lanka’s Republican Constitution of 1972) is a British colonial construct that has failed. For hundreds of years there have been three ‘Kingdoms’ – the Tamil Kingdom in the North (Tamil), the Kandyan Kingdom in the centre (Kandyan Sinhalese), and the Kotte Kingdom in the South West (Low-country Sinhalese). These ‘Kingdoms’ were essentially separate ‘States’ or ‘Nations’, each with its own people, customs, culture, and way of life.

A Nation

A “Nation” is a historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culture. It is generally accepted that that a nation possesses a common ethnic identity, a continuous linguistic and cultural tradition, a defined territory as a homeland, a common way of life and shared historical experience.

It is all these together that generate in a nation a sense of collective consciousness which gives it the capacity and will for political organisation.

It is clear that Sri Lanka has two vibrant nations – a Sinhalese Nation and a Tamil Nation.

In most cases where two or more nations live together in a single country, the political structure is federal, each nation having an autonomous state or regional government. It is this autonomy, and in the inviolability of its territory, that a nation in a multi-ethnic country finds its security for the preservation of its separate identity, language and culture.

This ‘3-nation’ country, Ceylon, was successively occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.

In 1505, the Portuguese occupied the Sinhalese Kotte Kingdom (Low-country Sinhalese), and the Tamil Kingdom (Tamil), followed by the Dutch in 1656, and the British in 1796.

The Kandyan Kingdom (Kandyan Sinhalese) which withstood the Portuguese and Dutch, and early British attempts at conquest, was ceded to the British by the Kandyan chiefs in 1815.

Despite getting control of the whole country for the fist time, the British continued to administer the three ‘Kingdoms’ as separate entities.

A Colonial construct

In 1833, there was a serious change. The colonial British, for administrative ease, abolished the separate administration (‘unified’ the country), and centralised power in Colombo in the (Sinhalese) South West – the ‘Colebrooke-Cameron’ so-called ‘Reforms’. So, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) is a British colonial construct.

The colonial British were well aware of the ethnic divisions. In 1799, Sir Hugh Cleghorn, the first Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, wrote the famous ‘Cleghorn Minute’:

“Two different nations, from very ancient period, have divided between them the possession of the island: the Sinhalese inhabiting the interior in the South and Western parts …..and the Malabars (another name for Tamils) who possess the Northern and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religions, language and manners”.

In 1833, they were brought together by British fiat (the Colebrooke-Cameron ‘Reforms’). During the colonial period, they lived in “union but not unity”.

The ‘unification’ of the country, and particularly the centralisation of administration in Colombo, has been a disaster. It resulted in the development, indeed the overdevelopment of Colombo, and the developmental neglect of the periphery, which included the entire Tamil area and the ‘deep’ Sinhalese South.

This British colonial construct, glued and held together by colonial might, started to get unstuck when the British left. It is claimed that the Tamils in the North and East who want a Separate Tamil State, Tamil Eelam, are trying to break up ‘a tiny country’. For a start, Sri Lanka (25,200 sq miles) is not a ‘tiny’ country. If divided, the Sinhalese State, 18,000 sq miles is larger than 63 UN nations, the Tamil State, 7,200 sq miles is larger than 38 UN countries.

The first people who demanded a division of the country were not the Tamils, as is popularly believed, but the Kandyan Sinhalese.

In 1927, the British sent a Commission headed by the Earl of Donoughmore “to visit Ceylon and report on the working of the existing constitution….”.   Many organisations submitted memoranda. The Kandyan National Assembly (Kandyan Sinhalese) requested a Federal system:

“Ours is….a claim of a nation to live its own life and realize its own destiny…..We suggest the creation of a Federal State as in the United States of America…A Federal system…will enable the respective nations of the several states to prevent further inroads into their territories and to build their own nationality”.

This can very well be applied to the Tamils.

The very least that the departing British could have done was to have left a political structure that was Federal. However, the British were only interested in making sure that the supply of tea (at ridiculously low prices) and their military bases in Trincomalee and Colombo, were in ‘safe’ Sinhalese hands.

Before dealing with the transfer of power, it is important to set out the British strategy in dealing with their colonies. The British politician, Lord Macaulay wrote his historic ‘Minute’ in 1835 (in a comparable situation in India):

“We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but British in taste, in opinions, morals and intellect”.

Bluntly put, it was to produce a class of “Black Englishmen”.

‘Independence’

Because of my family connections, I was physically there to witness the transfer of power that took place on 4 February 1948. At the appointed hour, the Rt Hon D.S. Senanayake, (a school drop-out), mounted the podium in a pin-striped suit and tail-coat (looking as British as they come) to receive the instruments of the transfer of power from the Duke of Gloucester, representing King George VI.

While the ‘Black Englishmen’ rejoiced in celebrations with visiting British Royalty and scions of nobility, I doubted whether it meant much for the millions of ordinary Ceylonese.

Soon, through the arithmetic of the ballot box and Sinhalese majoritarianism and chauvinism, it became clear that what had been ‘won’ was ‘independence’ for the Sinhalese. The Tamils were left with ‘assurances’ and Section 29 of the Independence Constitution which guaranteed protection for the ‘minorities’ at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. All this turned out to be nothing but pieces of paper, which were ‘torn up’ by a succession of Sinhalese ‘leaders’. What did Britain do at this act of blatant violation of their ‘Independence Constitution’? Nothing.

Section 29

This is a critically important section of the Independence Constitution. It was the only guarantee that minorities had to protect them from majority (Sinhalese) rule and possible discrimination. It prohibited the making of any law that was discriminatory against persons of any community or religion. In a Court Case that went before the Privy Council in Britain, Section 29 was deemed to be unalterable – an entrenched provision in the Constitution. It stated:

“They (Section 2 (a) (b) (c) and (d)) represent the solemn balance of rights between the citizens of Ceylon, the fundamental condition on which inter alia they accepted the Constitution, and these are therefore unalterable under the Constitution”.

If the Section 29 (2) safeguards were unacceptable to the Sinhalese or the Tamils, then the Constitution itself would have been unacceptable and there would have been no transfer of power and no independence.

The Ceylon Parliament therefore had no power or competence to alter, amend or repeal Section 29(2). That could only be done by the King/Queen in Council or the British parliament with Royal assent.

However, that is precisely what the Sri Lankan Government under Sirima Bandaranaike and her Marxist allies did in 1972 – to draw up a new ‘Constitution’ in which Section 29 (2) was dropped (and the name of the country changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka).  It was therefore a violation of the Constitution as it stood, and hence illegal.

What did Britain do at this gross violation of the Constitution which removed all the safeguards that the Tamils had at the hands of the Sinhalese? Nothing.

Having cleared the way for discrimination, the Sri Lankan government under Sirima Bandaranaike did just that – got into blatant discrimination against the Tamils. What did Britain do? Nothing.

A Presidential dictatorship

Worse was to follow. Life under Mrs Bandaranaike’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party and her Marxist allies became impossible, with a loss of personal liberties, arbitrary arrests and detention without charge or trial, a breakdown in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

J.R. Jayawardene, from the other side of the political divide, the United National Party (UNP), pledged that he would usher in what he called a government that was dharmista (‘just and righteous’). What he did not say was that it would be ‘just and righteous’ in terms of Sinhalese-Buddhists!

He was swept into power with the necessary 2/3 majority to do what he wanted. He did just that. He created the position of an Executive President with sweeping powers and then promoted himself to the position. A Democracy (of sorts) was replaced by a frank Presidential Dictatorship. What did Britain and the Commonwealth do? Nothing.

In November 1982, Jayawardene decided that General Elections were ‘not necessary’, and extended the life of Parliament for six years, without holding an election. Thus, the Parliament in which the UNP held a five-sixths majority, elected in July 1977 (which was to end in 1983) would continue until 1989. It is well known that had Elections been held in 1983, the UNP would have been decimated. If it was, Jayawardene would have had to go. Even if his party had been re-elected, there was no way that they could have obtained a five-sixths majority to allow Jayawardene continue his iron grip. What did Britain and the Commonwealth do? Nothing.

The damage that Jayawardene did to democracy is overwhelming and probably irreversible. The Sri Lankan President is more powerful and less accountable than any President anywhere in the world. Indeed the current President Mahinda Rajapaksa has removed any remaining restraints (the 18th Amendment to the Constitution) and made himself even more powerful and given himself the ability to remain as President for as long as he choses.

The reaction of Britain and the Commonwealth to this omnipotent President with sweeping powers and no accountability, who could do, and did, what he likes, is to reward him with CHOGM and make him the ‘Chairperson-in-Office’ for the Commonwealth for the next two years! This is what will happen at CHOGM in November 2013, attended by Prince Charles, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Heads of all the Commonwealth countries, except (commendably) Canada and, in the past 2 weeks  (significantly) India, and in the past few days, Mauritius.

Discrimination

The first Act of the newly independent country, Ceylon, in 1948, now under the Sinhalese, was to decitizenise and disenfranchise a million Plantation ‘Indian’ Tamils, who had been brought there in the mid 1850s from India to work on the (British) tea estates. One seventh of the population of the country (at that time) were made non-people, in one of the worst acts of political barbarism anywhere in the world. The Tamils lost 40% of their parliamentarians because ‘non-people’ could not be represented. This was done under the nose of the British Governor in ‘independent’ Ceylon. What did the British do about this outrage? Nothing.

This was done the very year that Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) joined seven other countries to form the (British) Commonwealth!

Having ‘dealt with’ the ‘Indian’ Tamils, the Sinhalese ‘leaders’ turned on the ethnic Tamils. To get the support of the Sinhalese ‘majority (74 % of the population), they started systematic discrimination against the Tamil ‘minority’. I must stress an important point. The Tamils were not a ‘minority’. They were ‘made’ into a minority by the British when they ‘unified’ the country. They were an overwhelming majority in their Kingdom – the Jaffna Kingdom.

Anti-Tamil discrimination was serious. In 1956, they lost their language when English, the Official Language’, was replaced by Sinhala only, to the exclusion of Tamil. In 1972, Tamils, especially from Jaffna, had to obtain a higher mark than the Sinhalese to enter the University, in what was blatant educational discrimination.

There was discrimination in employment. From 1956-1976, of 189,000 recruited to the public sector, 95% were Sinhalese. The Armed Forces and Police are 99.9% and 95% respectively Sinhalese. It is simply not possible for a Tamil to get into the Armed Forces.

There has been a government-sponsored demographic change in the Tamil East in favour of the Sinhalese. This has now escalated. The electoral consequences are obvious.

Standing as equals with the Sinhalese in subordination to the colonial British, the Tamils for a time became ‘junior  partners’, and by the 1960s had been reduced to a subject people under the rule of Sinhalese ‘masters’.

Non-violence

The Tamil leaders launched a series of Gandhi-style non-violent protests at this obvious discrimination. The protesting Tamils were beaten up and even killed by Sinhalese hoodlums, backed by the Government. What action did the Commonwealth take at this unacceptable behaviour of a (British) Commonwealth country? None.

At the slightest ‘provocation’, and sometimes for no identifiable reason, the Tamils have been beaten and sometimes killed by Sinhalese hoodlums and thugs, supported by the Government and Sinhalese chauvinist bigots in yellow robes, the politically-active Buddhist monks.

Violence

With the failure of the democratic process and non-violence to achieve anything, in 1972 Tamil youths in the Tamil North and East decided to pick up arms, as the African National Congress did in Apartheid South Africa. It was a ‘liberation struggle’ to liberate the Tamil people from Sinhalese domination and discrimination. What did Britain and the Commonwealth do? They branded the Tamil militants as ‘terrorists’, banned them, and helped the Sri Lankan government to crush them and the civilian population.  The human cost was enormous – some 70,000 Tamil civilians killed, in addition to the Tamil militants. “Crushing Tamil Tiger Terrorism” was the claim.

It is of interest that a year earlier (1971) in the South, disadvantaged Sinhalese youths had done exactly the same, because of a developmental neglect of the periphery, a consequence of the centralisation of power in Colombo. They were crushed with the loss of some 7,000 young Sinhalese lives. They rose again in 1988, and were crushed again with the loss of more than 40,000 lives. What did Britain, and the Commonwealth, in particular India, do?  They helped the Sri Lankan regime in this mass murder calling it an ‘insurrection’.

Anti-Tamil pograms

It has been wrongly claimed that on 19 May 2009, the 26 year ‘civil war’ between the Tamils and the Sinhalese came to an end. This is plainly wrong. There has not been a ‘civil war’ in Sri Lanka since 1915 (and that was between the Sinhalese and the Muslims). What there has been are a series of pogroms, wanton killing of Tamils, in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and 1983.

Then came the ‘Final Solution’ after Rajapaksa became President in November 2005 – the genocidal killing of Tamils. The agenda of the Rajapaksa junta was to make multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual and multireligious Sri Lanka, into a Sinhala-Buddhist Nation. What did Britain and the Commonwealth do at this extreme ethno-religious chauvinism? Nothing.

With all this slaughter, what has the Commonwealth done? Nothing.

Worse still – many Commonwealth countries actually helped the Sinhalese regime to wipe out the Tamils.

President Rajapaksa and his cronies are not alone in this criminality. His predecessor, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, decided, in 2005, to carpet-bomb Jaffna with half a million Tamil civilians who had a right to be there. It resulted in a mass exodus, referred to as “The Exodus”, as hundreds of thousands of Tamils, men, women, children, the sick and the elderly, fled the Jaffna Peninsula.

What did the Commonwealth do? Nothing. Even Boutros Boutros-Ghali[1], the then UN Secretary General expressed concern at the humanitarian tragedy.

When those who fled returned to their homes, more than 1,000 were taken into custody. Some 900 of them ‘disappeared’, their bodies found in mass graves in Chemmani, in the Jaffna Peninsula. The brigadier in charge, Janaka Perera, who was responsible for this outrage, was ‘rewarded’ by President Kumaratunga by being sent as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to a Commonwealth country, Australia!

It is not that Australia was unaware of the background of this mass-murderer. I made sure that the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs was informed.  I even got a TV station to put together a TV program to show the atrocities that Janaka Perera had committed. A representative of Amnesty International, an Australian Forensic scientist who was there in Chemmani for the exhumation, and an eye witness to these atrocities appeared on the program, aired at prime time on Sunday’s Channel 9 program.

I went to Canberra to see the Australian Foreign Ministry, with documented evidence to criminally implicate the new Sri Lankan Ambassador. I was told that he was ‘the most decorated military officer in Sri Lanka”. I responded, “Decorated for making Tamil (and for that matter, Sinhalese) people disappear?”

Diplomats from other Commonwealth countries in Canberra were well aware of the background of this mass murderer. What did they do? Nothing.

This is important because history does repeat itself. Rajapaksa’s war criminals who should be taken to the International Court of Justice, are being sent as Sri Lankan Ambassadors to several countries, Commonwealth countries included, and even to the United Nations and other international organisations. What has the Commonwealth done? Nothing. In fact, they welcomed these people who had blood on their hands. In passing, Australia’s surrent Sri Lankan Ambassador was the Head of the Sri Lankan Navy that shelled unarmed Tamil civilians and whose ships prevented the sick and injured from seeking medical help that was not available in the area. What has Australia done about this man? Nothing.

The ‘Final solution’

Then came the ‘Final assault’ by Rajapaksa and his cronies to wipe out the Tamils in acts that were Crimes against Humanity, if not genocide. Commonwealth countries, India and Britain included (and of course China), supplied the weapons, funds and even the expertise to help with the slaughter.

When the Rajapaksa junta expelled all international humanitarian agencies, including the UN workers, before committing the mass slaughter, what did the Commonwealth do? Nothing.

What has the Commonwealth done to hold the mass murderers accountable? Nothing.

Interference with the Judiciary

This is serious. It includes the impeachment and removal of the Chief Justice, Dr Shirani Bandaranayake, by President Rajapkasa on 13 January 2013. The ‘Divi Neguma’ Bill created numerous community organisations, banks and banking societies. It would be controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development headed by President Rajapaksa’s brother, Basil Rajapaksa, and would carry out development activities. According to the Constitution of Sri Lanka most development activities are devolved to the Provincial Councils.  The Bill’s constitutionality was challenged, and Chief Justice Bandaranayake and two other Supreme Court Judges held that it cannot become law unless it was endorsed by every provincial council.

The Government controlled eight of the nine provincial councils but the ninth provincial council, in the North, had not been functioning as an elected body since it was established in 2007. The Bill was approved by the Northern Province‘s Governor G. A. Chandrasiri, a former Army Officer and an appointee of President Rajapaksa.

The Chief Justice held that this was inadequate and that the Northern Provincial Council had to sign off on the Bill.

This irritated the President who decided that the Chief Justice had to go.

Geoffrey Robertson QC recently addressed a meeting in London where he referred to this:

“  I wrote a report earlier this year for the Bar of England and Wales on the removal of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka by the Government. Removal of her for bringing in a decision that the 9th Province , the Northern Province, largely the Tamil province of Sri Lanka, should not have its assent assumed by the Governor who had been forced on it by the Government.

It was a very important decision, it was a correct decision as the Constitution stood but because it angered the President and prevented the Divi Neguma Bill going through, which upset his relatives who all seem to be Ministers in the government, they moved against her and in a break of judicial independence and in a betrayal of the principles that should govern the Commonwealth, they, the MPs of the government party, voted to have the President dismiss her. They voted corruptly, and they voted wrongly.

It seemed to me that those MPs who behaved so badly in destroying judicial independence in Sri Lanka shouldn’t be allowed to enter this country, they should not be allowed to put their children in schools in this country, we should say that once you break human rights so obviously by getting rid of a judge for doing her duty, then we should have nothing to do with you”.

The current humanitarian situation in the Tamil North and East

This is a disaster, well-documented by International Human Rights groups, the UN Panel of Experts appointed by UN Secretary General to look into accountability in the closing stages of the war, and by outstandingly brave people such as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph and the Catholic clergy in Jaffna and Tamil ‘Civil Society’.

Has Britain or the Commonwealth countries acted? No, they are not interested. It is certainly not for lack of information of the situation behind the closed and censored doors of Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka.

I will briefly summarise this here. A more comprehensive account is not possible because of the constraints of space. Nor is it possible to deal with the disastrous evolving situation in the Sinhalese South. The violence that was turned on the Tamils in the North and East is now being turned on the Muslims and Sinhalese in the South. More is in store from a Government whose only solution to any problem is violence. It is a murderous policy which will achieve nothing – certainly not national reconciliation or Peace with Justice – a Just Peace.

Militarisation

The Tamil North and East are under military occupation that treats the area as ‘conquered territory’ and the people (Tamils) as ‘the spoils of war’. The military is 99.9% Sinhalese, while the population is predominantly Tamil.

18 Divisions of out of the 20 Divisions in the Sri Lankan military, are stationed in the North and East, the homeland of the Tamils. The military-to-civilian ratio is 1:5.

Military occupation

The (Sinhalese) military and (Sinhalese) Police are everywhere in the Tamil North and East. They can do whatever they want to anyone they want, with no accountability.

The widespread mental state among Tamil civilians in the area is fear. People are just silent – not without reason.

Military taking over local economic activity

The military are engaged in a variety of economic activity, from agriculture to running shops and cafes. Large areas of fertile land belonging to the Tamil people have been taken over by the military. The Tamil people are unable to challenge this because the military has the full backing of the Government. They are unable to take legal action because the police (95% Sinhalese) and the legal system are dysfunctional and pro-government.

The Tamil people can only watch, as their lands and businesses are taken over and run by the military, or by Sinhalese brought by the Government from the South and given State-subsidies to do whatever they want. Such subsidies are not available to Tamils.

Military in key administrative positions

Many key positions in civilian administration are filled by former military men who have a case to answer for the massacre of the Tamil people during the conflict. The Governor of the Northern Province is Major Gen G.A.Chandrasiri (former Jaffna Security Forces Commander), and the Governor of the Eastern Province is Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema (former Navy Chief of Staff).

Several others hold other administrative positions, despite having no experience in these areas.

Military settlements

Thousands of acres belonging to Tamil civilians, in proximity to military camps have been taken by the military for military bases and to permanently house the families of military personnel (all of whom are Sinhalese) and government-sponsored Sinhalese civilians from the South.

Sinhalese civilian settlements

Sinhalese civilians from outside the Tamil areas have been offered incentives to settle in the Tamil areas, with the clear agenda of changing the demography of the area – ‘Sinhalisation’ of the Tamil areas. They have been offered round-the-clock protection from the rightful owners of the land by the Sinhalese Police and military.

The electoral consequences are obvious. If this continues (which it will if no action is taken), the Tamil people will have no representation in Parliament . They will be ‘non-people’.

Sexual assaults on the Tamil civilians

In an upcoming publication: “An Epidemic of Rape of Tamil women, girls and men in the Tamil North and East by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, Police, Sinhalese settlers, and Tamil paramilitary forces working with the Sri Lankan Government”, I will detail this serious problem, which has been documented by human rights groups (Human Rights Watch) and others. What has been documented is a fraction of the real situation because the vast majority of cases go unreported because of shame or fear.

The vulnerable

There are 90,000 widows, 30,000 orphans and 25,000 disabled people, and thousands who have lost their livelihood because of the policy of the Sri Lankan government and the military. Is the Commonwealth concerned about this massive humanitarian problem? If it is, there is certainly no evidence of this – not even the expression of concern, let alone action to address this problem.

The immediate admission of internationally credible human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group, to the area is mandatory and urgent.  

Houses

Some 200,000 houses were damaged during the war and are now uninhabitable. The Sri Lankan government has done nothing to address this problem. The Indian government offered to build 50,000 homes, which the Sri Lankan government obstructed.

Just 1,000 homes have been built over the past four years, and these have been handed over, not to those who lost their homes but to those with connections to the ruling regime who have never been in this (Tamil) area, and former members of the military (Sinhalese).

The missing

Using the Government’s own records, the Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph, presented figures to the LLRC, to show that 146,679 people in the Vanni (in the Tamil area) were unaccounted for. The government has failed to explain this (or to produce evidence that the claim was invalid).

Detainees

Despite claims to the contrary by the Sri Lankan government, there are thousands of Tamils held in detention without charge or trial in prisons and (illegal) detention centres. It is in an attempt to conceal this that the Government refuses to allow international human rights groups access to the area, and even to the country.

The façade of ‘development’

‘Development’ is indeed happening in the war-torn areas, but it is a development of roads, military bases, Buddhist monuments and shrines.

Developing what the Tamil people urgently need, a place to live in, and access to their homes and land, is simply not happening.

The problem is compounded by visitors, especially expatriate Tamils, who fly into the area, have a superficial look at these ‘developments’, leave and then claim that ‘all is well’. They most certainly do not talk with the ordinary civilians whose lives are shattered and remain so.

 The military and freedom of association and speech

The military is present at every event. A circular has been sent to all government departments and schools that no function can be held without the presence of the military. Not even funerals or a private function are exceptions. It is a degree of militarisation unmatched in any country in the world.

High Security Zones

Large areas of Tamil-owned land have been declared “High Security Zones”, out of bounds to civilians. This has nothing to do with ‘Security’ but to do with excluding Tamil people from existing. This ‘land-grab’ by the military and the Sinhalese government is illegal, an act typical of a Totalitarian regime that can do what it wants with no accountability.

The escalating military budget

The average defence budget during the peak of the military conflict in 2008 was Rs 166 billion. This increased in 2009 to Rs 175 bn. After the end of the armed conflict, it has escalated.

In 2011 the Government spent Rs 214 bn ($1.92 bn), which increased to Rs 230 bn ($ 2.1 bn) in 2011. The ‘defence’ budget for 2013 stands at Rs 290 bn ($ 2.2 bn).

With the Tamil Tigers crushed and the armed conflict over, it is pertinent to ask the Sri Lankan government, who the enemy is to justify this escalating military budget. It cannot be to defend the country against an external enemy since none exists.

Genocide of the Tamil people

There is overwhelming evidence that the agenda of the Sri Lankan government is to wipe out the Tamils in the North and East. This is Genocide, as defined in the Genocide Convention – signed by Sri Lanka in 1950: Resolution 260, Article 2 states: “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. In Sri Lanka, the ‘part of the ethnic group is the part that lives in the North and East.

At a recent (28 September 2013)  Conference in London on Genocide in Sri Lanka, Geoffrey Robertson QC had this to say:

“I have spoken to so many of the sufferings, the appalling sufferings, of the Tamil community in the 2009 – Genocide probably, certainly a Crime against Humanity, which was committed against them by the Government (of Sri Lanka) and the Armed Forces”.

What is serious is that it is continuing- “Slow Genocide” as Madeline Albright put it in relation to another conflict.

Tamils ceasing to exist as a ‘people’

In February 2012, in the run-up to the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February- 23 March 2012), 19 Tamils, non-politicians, “Civil Society”, including Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, sent a letter to the US:

  “The Sri Lankan Government’s current activities in the North and East are challenging the very existence of the Tamil people and more time to the GOSL to implement the LLRC’s recommendations will only mean further time for the Government to play havoc in the North and East and subjugate the interests and aspirations of the Tami people. If the International Community does not act now, like they did not act in May 2009, the Tamils will cease to exist as a ‘people’ in the country”. ‘Ceasing to exist as a people’ is Genocide.

Extermination (of the Tamils)

The 124 page, “Report of The UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts into Accountability in Sri Lanka” (released 31 March 2011), was the most serious indictment of the Sri Lankan government ever published. Section 251 (page 68) referred to what happened as “Extermination”.

Under the ICC (International Criminal Court) Statute, ‘extermination’ includes “Intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of the population” Article 7(2)(b).

The fact that these senior lawyers with international credibility should use the word “extermination” is highly significant. Extermination is Genocide.

This is not just matter of words. If Genocide, or extermination, or ‘ceasing to exist as a people’ is in progress, then international intervention is mandatory to save the population at risk.

International independent investigation

Every international human rights organisation, the UN Expert Panel into accountability and the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillai, have all called for an independent international investigation into war crime and crimes against humanity that occurred in the Tamil North and East.

The Sri Lankan government has refused absolutely to allow this, claiming absurdly that there were ‘zero civilian casualties’! The Government insists that an investigation can be done by Sri Lankans – the LLRC (Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission).

This is seriously flawed – as was pointed out by AI, HRW and ICG when invited to attend. AI followed this up with an extensive article, ‘When will they get justice’ (see below).

This is what Geoffrey Robertson QC thought:

So, under this pressure, particularly and importantly and valuably, pressure from Hilary Clinton, on behalf of the United States, Rajapaksa established in May 2011, the so-called “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission”. But this was a sham truth commission packed with former Government officials which wasn’t interested  in establishing the truth but rather in supporting the Government’s propaganda. It had no power to protect witnesses who dared to criticize the Army, and human rights groups simply refused to cooperate with it. The Report was published in December 2011. It concentrated on condemning the Tigers, it white-washed the military which it claimed, obviously dishonestly, given quote: “The highest priority to protecting civilians”.

Well, this was an obvious lie and the Report increased the lies by attributing blame for the murder and rapes of Tamils that had obviously happened, to rogue elements in the Army rather than to officers or commanders”.

The demand for an independent international investigation will continue to grow, not least by the UN Human Rights Commissioner at the next UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva (March 2014).

I have already quoted the just released statement by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, which is highly significant. To quote this again (because of its importance), he said, “I will tell him (President Rajapaksa) that if Sri Lanka doesn’t deliver an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation is carried out instead”.

These fine words must be backed by action. Trade between the UK and Sri Lanka is not insignificant. All that Prime Minister Cameron has to do is the state clearly that if the human rights outrage does not stop, the victims not compensated and rehabilitated – which must be checked by international observers, there will be  trade sanctions.

I am not suggesting something outrageous since this is exactly what was done to another Commonwealth country, South Africa, by Britain and Commonwealth countries, which compelled South Africa to dismantle its apartheid policy.

Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

The idea of R2P is relatively new in formal terms, bringing a sense of an international duty of care to the conduct of world affairs. In a less formal sense, R2P or the duty of care towards others, is as old as humanity.

The new formal term is a United Nations initiative established in 2005. It is based on the (correct) belief  that sovereignty is not a right, but entails responsibilities for states to provide protection and security for their populations.R2P focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, which it places under the generic umbrella term of mass atrocity crimes. The R2P has three foundation “pillars”:

  1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.
  2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state to fulfill its primary responsibility.
  3. If the state manifestly fails to protect its citizens from the four above mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.

In the international community R2P is a norm, not a law. However it is grounded in international law. R2P provides a framework for using tools that already exist, i.e. mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctioning, to prevent mass atrocities. If these fail, there is the provision to militarily intervene. Civil society organizations, States, regional organizations, and international institutions all have a role to play in the R2P process.

Professor Damien Kingsbury, at the School of International and Political Science, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, has written an entire book in 2012 on “Sri Lanka and the Responsibility to Protect. Politics, ethnicity and Genocide”[2] The case to apply R2P to Sri Lanka is very strong.

Genocide in Sri Lanka – Conference in London, September 2013

There was an important Conference in London, September 28th and 29th 2013, on:

“Accountability for Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka. Its significance for the world”

Two world famous lawyers (among others) spoke. Of particular importance were the two addresses, one[3] by Geoffrey Robertson QC, a British barrister and a leading authority on Crimes against Humanity, and the other[4] by Professor Francis Boyle,  Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Urbana–Champaign, Illinois, USA. Their addresses (on the net) are crucially important. I will publish both of them.

They set out clearly and unequivocally, the legal options available to take the criminals in Sri Lanka, to the UN Human Rights Committee, an organ of the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court. The action is not only to bring those who are responsible for Crimes against Humanity and even Genocide, before the Bar of International Justice, but to enable compensation and restitution for the thousands of innocent people who have suffered.

I have been in communication with both of them. The financial cost of doing this is negligible, given the level of expertise.

Self-determination

This is a critically important issue. Independence for ethnic minorities – whether indigenous or not – is promised in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which has been signed and ratified by Sri Lanka (and almost all the countries in the world). Article 1 states that “All peoples have the right of self-determination”.

While international lawyers can argue that the collective noun “peoples” refers to all the inhabitants of each existing State, this merely gives power to the majorities and not the minorities.

Since the UN Charter (Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948 – the year that Sri Lanka got Independence from colonial Britain), the right of self-determination has implied the right of a territory to decide the status of their homeland (by a free and genuine vote) for independent Statehood, integration with another State, or through some form of political association (such as autonomy within it).

The irrational qualification to self-determination has been the ‘uti possidentis’ rule that its exercise must not involve changes to existing frontiers (or borders) other than by agreement between the States concerned. Since States rarely concede territory, ‘uti possidentis’  has prevented the early resolution of disputes before they erupt into ethnic violence. This is precisely what has happened in Sri Lanka, and why it might well erupt in the future unless this absurd refusal to agree to self-determination is removed, and people are given a free choice.

What do International Human Rights groups think?

There has been a deluge of reports expressing serious concern at what is going on in Sri Lanka. Here are just a few.

1 Amnesty International on the LLRC

In September 2011, AI published a 67 page Report[5] which states that Sri Lanka’s LLRC is not a credible accountability mechanism. Its mandate is seriously flawed highlighting falls far short of international standards on national commissions of inquiry. It points to the systematic failures of domestic mechanisms to bring about justice, truth and reparations for victims.

2. Human Rights Watch on sexual violence

On 26 February 2013, Human Rights Watch released a 140 page report, We Will Teach You A Lesson” Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces[6]

The 140-page report provide detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centres throughout Sri Lanka. The cases were very well documented, medically and legally.  It reported women and men being raped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating.

As the Report states, this is just a tiny fraction of the actual number of rape cases because many cases were not reported to the Police (or anyone else) because of shame or fear of reprisals. Even the people who did report the incident could not be investigated because Sri Lanka refused entry visa to HRW.

3. Amnesty International on Dissent[7]

In April 2013, AI published a 74 page devastating Report:

“Sri Lanka’s Assault on Dissent”.

The opening sentence says it all: “Dissent is a dangerous undertaking in Sri Lanka”.

It goes on:

“ One of the holdovers from Sri Lanka’s armed conflict is a security regime that criminalizes freedom of expression, and an official attitude that equates dissent with treason. Sri Lankan officials and state-owned media employ the term “traitor” with alarming frequency against detractors, often threatening death or injury to the person accused.”

4. The International Crisis Group on Authoritarianism in Sri Lanka[8]

On 20 February 2013, in a 42-page Report, ICG stated “The Government attack on the Judiciary and political dissent have escalated Sri Lanka’s authoritarian turn and threaten long-term stability and peace”?

CHOGM (November 2013) goes on

Despite the overwhelming case that can be made (and has been made), CHOGM November 2013, will be held in Sri Lanka in two days.

There have been some ‘interesting’ incidents and decisions.

The Indian Prime Minister will not attend

After vacillating for months, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not attend. This was undoubtedly because of pressure exerted on him by Tamil Nadu, especially by Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa.

Welcome though this is, disappointingly he will send the Indian Foreign Secretary. It would have enhanced India’s credibility if he had sent some insignificant person, like what the Canadian Prime Minister did.

Nonetheless, a boycott by the Prime Minister of the most important country in the area, India, is clearly very significant.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius will not attend

Mauritius Prime Minister Dr Navin Chandra Ramgoolam has just decided to boycott CHOGM. He told Parliament that his decision was taken in the face of absence of progress in Sri Lanka in respect of human rights, adding that he was a man of principle. Mauritius will host the next CHOGM in 2015.  

Australian and New Zealand parliamentarians harassed

Last week, Australian Green Senator, Lee Rhiannon and New Zealand Green MP, Jan Logie, who went to Sri Lanka to look into the human rights situation, and visited the Tamil North, had their passports confiscated when they tried to give a press conference in Colombo before they left. Senator Rhiannon wrote of her experience in The Guardian[9].

 My detention highlights why Australia should boycott CHOGM”

She wrote: “I went to Sri Lanka to be the voice the Australian government has refused to be. The voice that speaks of the human rights abuses that the Sri Lankan government is allegedly involved in. The voice that is part of a growing international call for an independent investigation into war crimes allegations following a brutal civil war in which more than approximately 40,000 Tamils were killed over five months in 2009. The voice of leadership that says Australia will not reward Sri Lanka for cracking down on journalists, human rights activists, minority ethnic and religious groups.

What I saw in Sri Lanka has convinced me that Australia needs to show courage and boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as the prime ministers of Canada and India are doing”.

It is important to quote what she found since it is so recent (November 2013).

“We then had a series of meetings with elected representatives…….  We also visited a newspaper office, where we learnt of shootings and intimidation of local journalists reporting on human rights issues. On several occasions, the extent of the sexual abuse of Tamil women by Sri Lankan soldiers was brought to our attention. We met a lawyer who described to us the evidence collected about these horrendous crimes.

Large areas of Tamil land are now occupied by the military. The level of hardship for women and their dependents is shocking. More than 40,000 households in the north and east of the country are now female -headed, and few of them receive any government assistance if they cannot find work.”

Just before they left Sri Lanka, in a press release stating that they will have a press-conference, they were more specific about sexual harassment.

“Large numbers of women regularly suffer sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Sri Lankan armed forces. One lawyer described to us the evidence collected about these crimes. In one case they have text messages from Major General Mahinda Hathurusingha to the ‘comfort women’ he frequently abuses”.

It has not been stated what was in the text-message. Perhaps it was “Can you come quickly?” or “Can I come right now? It is urgent.” I do not really know. What I do know is what a Major General in Rajapaksa’s military does. There is ample evidence that he is not an exception.

The Green Parliamentarians concluded:

“Clearly this is an unsafe country for journalists to work as those who commit these crimes have not been investigated or charged. We were left with the impression that the government is becoming increasingly repressive towards those committed to a critical independent examination of events in Sri Lanka”.

The Australian Prime Minister will go

Unsurprisingly, Tony Abbott will go. For once he was honest enough to admit why he was going. In a comment in ‘The Guardian’ he said what we all knew! He said that Sri Lanka had been cooperative in taking back people arriving by boat and Australia needed to maintain the “ best possible relations” with the country – to hell with Commonwealth ‘core values’.

What was important to him was to take desperate asylum seekers who had fled a barbaric regime, and return them to Sri Lanka. What would happen to them there was not his concern. The Human Rights Watch has clearly documented what happens to them – torture, rape, and ‘disappearances’.

The Journalists will be there.

All arriving journalists will be given a 222-page book entitled “Corrupted Journalism. Channel 4 and Sri Lanka”

Channel 4 News will be there

I was surprised to hear that (UK) Channel 4, which produced the award-winning “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, and “No Fire Zone” will be there.

Channel 4 News Editor Ben de Pear explained how they had been granted access to Sri Lanka for the first time in four years. It was because the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary refused to attend CHOGM without the full complement of British press.

I have no doubt that the Rajapaksa junta will arrange a ‘special welcome’ for Channel 4 News – perhaps hoodlums carrying placards accusing them of being “Tamil Tigers” which is now a generic term applied to all who question what the Sri Lankan government is doing (or has done).

I wrote this some days ago. Last night it turned out to be true. On arrival in Colombo, the Channel 4 News team, were met with ‘welcome’ placards carried by Sinhalese ‘patriots’, accusing Channel 4 of being in the pay of the Tamil Tigers!

When the reporters (who included Ben de Pear, Director Channel 4 News Editor, Callum Macrae, Director of No Fire Zone, Jonathan Miller) tried to get to Jaffna, they were blocked. I gather that they tried to get a flight. Unsurprisingly, the flight was cancelled.

They then decided to go by train to Vavuniya in the North. In the train were supporters of the Rajapaksa regime and probably the military and police tailing them. Some 5 hours into the trip, hooligans (‘patriots’) blocked the train, with scores standing on the rail track. They were told that there were protestors blocking all the railway stations to Vavuniya.

Channel 4 contacted President Rajapaksa and asked him whether this was in keeping with his promise to allow them ‘to go anywhere and see the progress that Sri Lanka had made’. Orders were issued that the journalists be allowed to travel.

I have no idea what happened later. I have no doubt that we will hear more from Channel 4 News about Media freedom, the ‘disappeared’ and much more.

An “Alternative Human Rights Festival”

In a commendable act of bravery, Brito Fernando’s “Right to Human Rights Centre, Families of the Disappeared in Sri Lanka”, has launched a parallel event, ‘Alternative Human Rights Festival 13-14 November in Colombo.

Three busloads of relatives of the ‘disappeared’ on their way from Jaffna to attend the ‘Festival’, were stopped by hooligans and thugs, clearly with the backing of the Army and Police. I gather that the families of the ‘disappeared’ also ‘disappeared’!! With massive protests, they miraculously ‘reappeared’ but were forced to return to Jaffna.

I am not sure whether the ‘Festival’ will continue, or be allowed to do so.  It probably will, whatever the risks – and these are significant in the “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” as it is inappropriately called.

How come Sri Lanka is hosting CHOGM?

With widespread knowledge of extensive human rights violations, how is it that Sri Lanka was picked to host CHOGM? Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, has a case to answer. There is now evidence that he has withheld crucial legal advice that could have prevented Sri Lanka from hosting CHOGM.

The legal opinion was that the firing of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice by President  Rajapaksa was a contravention of the Commonwealth Charter, which sets out the supposed shared values of the member states: democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

It should have been made available to a group of eight Commonwealth ministers who verify if countries are obeying the Commonwealth Charter. It was not. Questioned by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, Sharma said that the advice had been obtained “in confidence”.

There is no question that Kamalesh Sharma has to be sacked. Will he be? No, he will not, because any demand for him to be shown the door, will upset his friend and, (after the end of CHOGM), the ‘Chairperson-in-Office’, President Rajapaksa.

James Packer’s Casino

In my earlier article, “Sri Lanka hosting CHOGM 2013. A serious problem”, I said that:

“What goes on in the main meeting(s) might well be a farce, but the forums that accompany CHOGM, CBF (Commonwealth Business Forum) in particular, is anything but a farce. CBF is a gathering of businessmen from developed and emerging markets that aim to promote trade and investment. It is a business meeting, which has nothing to do with “Commonwealth core values”. It presents a tremendous opportunity for the ‘host nation’ to look at new partnerships and business opportunities – to hell with human rights, democracy or the rule of law.

I was therefore not in the least surprised to hear that James Packer (from Australia) will be there to launch a Casino. I gather he will be the key-note speaker at the CBF. A Casino is clearly needed, absolutely needed, to gamble away ill-gotten riches. I cannot confirm the rumour that the foundation stone for the Casino will be laid by none other than the Australian Prime Minister – Tony Abbott, one reason why he simply must go, human rights abuse or no abuse.

I gather that the site of the proposed Casino is in Slave Island, in the heart of Colombo. It is of interest that the hundreds of people (Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims) who have lived in this area for years, were thrown out by the Rajapaksa regime – the area literally demolished, with negligible compensation. A casino was far more important to the Rajapaksa junta.

What can (and must) be done?

Irrespective of what goes on (or does not go on) in CHOGM, there is an absolute need for international action. The purpose of this publication is to draw attention to the fact that it what Colonial Britain did to set the stage for the chaos that followed. If that is correct (which it is) then it is mandatory that Britain (and the Commonwealth) play a lead role in sorting out the problem.

The immediate action

The most urgent actions are:

  1. To get international Human Rights Organisations (AI, HRW and ICG) into the Tamil areas NOW.  Can it be done? Yes. Britain has enough international clout and economic clout with the Sri Lankan government to do so. The recent comments by the current British Prime Minister makes this clear.
  2. To get the UN to admit a UN-Force (as was done with East Timor) to replace the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.
  3. To apply the UN “R2P (Responsibilty to Protect) – since the Tamil civilians in the North and East are certainly in need of protection. It must be stressed that R2P obliges the international community to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions, with Military intervention as the last resort.
  4. Set up an international independent inquiry into war crimes, which the British Prime Minister said the world should.
  5. To mobilise international action to help the Tamil people. This should be channelled through the UN, not the Sri Lankan government.

The longer term

  1. Conduct a Referendum in the North and East under UN Security, as was done in East Timor, to see what the people in the area want. Self-determination is a right, not a favour. The Tamil nation has that right.
  2. To implement the result of the Referendum. If the people in the area want to remain under the Government in Colombo, so be it. If they want a Separate Tamil State, then to see that this is delivered. This is precisely what happened in East Timor.
  3. To charge the criminals responsible – be they the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, or those in charge, be they military or civilian (the Yamashita Principle), the Tamil Tigers, including those currently working with the Sri Lankan government, and get them to the UN Human Rights Committee, the International Court of Justice (‘The World Court’) or the International Criminal Court. All of these are possible.
  4. To get justice for the innocent civilians who have lost everything – including compensation and restoration of their lands, homes and businesses.

The British owe a lot to the Tamil people, not to mention my people, the Sinhalese, all of whom are under a Totalitarian regime, and, in the case of the Tamil people in the North and East, a tyrannical Sinhalese Armed Force and Police, as well. It is time that the British delivered. It is the least that they can do.


[1] UN Secretary General 1992-98

[2] Routlege, 2 Park Sq, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX 14 4RN or from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08FbPxp1AIg&feature=youtu.be

[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4vg3awf9u4&feature=youtu.be

[9] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/11/my-detention-highlights-why-australia-should-boycott-the-commonwhealth-sumit

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Latest comments

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    “‘No Fire Zone’ is one of the most chilling documentaries I’ve watched. It brings home the brutal end to the civil war and the immense suffering of thousands of innocent civilians who kept hoping that they would reach safety, but tragically many did not. Many of the images are truly shocking……..I will raise my concerns when I see President Rajapaksa next week in Colombo. And I will tell him that if Sri Lanka doesn’t deliver an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation is carried out instead”.

    WHERE WERE THE BRITISH PARLIMENTARIANS AND THE SO CALLED HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES when USA, UK and other countries BOMBED the hell out of IRAQ, Afghanistan and now Pakistan? was Cameron in slumber with the diaspora. BUSH and BLAIR needed to be in Hague… who voiced for the Innocent AFGHANS IRAQI”S AND NOW PAKISTANIS, who were killed by the hundreds of thousands and called ” Collateral Damage”

    WE in SL ( ALL communities) paid a hefty price for 3 decades, while the arm chair critics were crying wolf… NOW we have peace..there was a time BOTH parents would NOT take the kids at the same time for fear of being victims in the same bomb. WHO voiced for US? NONE.. NOW that SL has suppressed or even eradicated TERRORISM ( NOT TAMILS)..WE all communities need to come together n build a united SL with home grown Solutions than let these hypocrits drive a wedge between communities… and also bring in an Asian Spring to drive away the ” FIRST FAMILY” out of existence and flee to AFRICA..

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      Many thanks, Brian!

      Your are so right to say: “Parliament has been reduced to a rubber stamp, the ‘Separation of Powers’ – the basis of any democracy – has ceased to exist, the Judiciary and the rule of law have become a farce and now, the very existence of the Tamil people is under threat.”

      Please also write something about the useless UNP and civil society which follow’s Rajapassa’s orders..

      Brian, You have done and are doing great service for your motherland. Keep up the good work and be of good courage. Do not let the Rajapakse-paid chorus here discourage you! Please keep writing…

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        Brian you owe a lot to SL . Like the free education you received

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          UK, US & CHINA GAIN FROM THUG SYSTEMS & A LACK OF DEMOCRACY AS THEIR STRATEGIC & ECONOMIC INTERESTS ARE MAINTAINED.
          THEY HAVE SPONSORED ALL THESE SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
          THUGS, DICTATORS & THEM ARE IN IT TOGETHER.

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          Sarojini,

          Brian studied at S’ Thomas College,Mt Lavinia, a fee levying school and then did his medical studies in UK. The only free education he had was at the Ceylon University before he went to UK.
          But, please remember that Brian and his parents paid their taxes to the Ceylon government.
          From:
          A former class mate of Brian

          • 0
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            But, please remember that Brian and his parents paid their taxes to the Ceylon government.

            Paid Taxes ?

            Or the Country paid taxes to Brian and his family ?

          • 0
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            Expatriate

            What an absoulte disgrace to STC , a school that has produced great Sri Lankans. Are you sure about this ?

          • 0
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            EXpat , BS did study for free at the University , a batchmate of my aunt . Who cares whether he studied at St Thoma’s or not or paid Taxes . DO you think he is the only Person who has paid taxes in SL . I PAY MY TAXES IN SL AS WELL. THIS does not mean I am special and that I can run down SL willy nilly .

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              Sarojini,

              I thought you would understand that free education, among others, was funded out of taxes collected from the citizens, including Brian’s parents.

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                EXPATRIATE, The taxes SL pay in SL is a joke compared to other countries . the amount of taxes his parents would have paid would hardly suffice for even a year at the University especially if it is A MEDICAL DEGREE . I pay taxes in SL and know the % and is no where near the taxes in Western countries . I pay at the higher rate and I would tell you loud and clear that would be a drop in the ocean where university courses cost . In the UK a medical degree costs nearly 17,000 GBP per year which rises to 20,000 in the next three years . BS rewards SL with his cantankerous poison as a reward .just because his parents paid their taxes ! This is laughable .

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            Brian, who paid you to write this ? S’ Thomas Collage no wonder!!!!
            Learns a little bit of English vocabulary and starts to betray ones own country!!! How pathetic!! !!!

        • 0
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          Sarojini,

          The only issue that I raised was that Brian was not a beneficiary of free education in Sri Lanka through his entire education in Sri Lanka, except when he did a science degree at the University.
          The cost of medical studies, both in Sri Lanka and UK,(the latter especially), is irrelevant to your implied claim that Brian benefitted from free education.
          I am not suggesting that the taxes paid by Brian’s parents would have offset Brian’s free education costs. Who knows? Being landed proprietors, Brian’s parents would have paid taxed for a number of years, at least from the time of their marriage. If the taxes paid by them are compounded, they may amount to a significant sum.

          I am not supporting nor questioning Brian’s views on Sri Lanka.

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          Brian, you wrote so much and hope the pro-LTTE on whose payroll you are obviously are, are paying you enough to slander your motherland.

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    [Edited out] Brian,
    For god sake can’t you say your crap short and sweet?You may have all the time in the world to write crap as long as the river Nile.But for us time is a luxury.Instead of wasting our time why don’t you say,”I hate Srilanka,i hate Rajapakse,I love the defeated Tamil terrorists.It is the defeated Tamil terrorists who take care of my lodging,food,medicine etc”.

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      Dr Brian,

      Please, please keep it succinct. We have to keep working to make a living and we have only so much time to spare.

      “It is not widely appreciated that the current chaos in Sri Lanka is partly due to the damage done by colonial Britain, and later by the failure of the Commonwealth, to act when all the Commonwealth ‘core values’ had been systematically and blatantly violated by a succession of Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) governments. “

      Not only in Sri Lanka, many parts of the World, when UK was trying to maintain ITS GLOBAL HEGEMONY AND IMPERIALISM.

      Yes, on Sri Lanka, the Soul-bury Constitution was insufficient. when can you expected from former imperialists who left messes behind in India, Middle East ad other places as well.

      While pointing the finger at the Sinhala Buddhist Racists is correct, do not forget the Twmil Racism is more offensive than Sinhsla Buddhist Racism. Examples are the expulsion pf Muslims and Sinhsla from the Northern Province. Call a spade, a spade.

      Whatever the former LTTE, the current GTF (Global Tamil Forum), or GTTF (GLOBAL Tamil Terrorist Forum) or FTTG (Former Tamil Terrorists Global). the fact remains that when it comes to war crimes, they are not second to Sinhala Buddhists.

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      WELL DONE SIR!!!!

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    ‘Separation of Powers’ – the basis of any democracy – has ceased to exist in Sri Lanka”. Dead on Sir!
    The first recommendation of the Committee of Reform of the Commonwealth of Nations (aka. clowns) should be to put on hold and REVIEW the appointment of Mahinda Rajapakse as Head of the Commonwealth of Clowns – failing which this British colonial outfit once which took Indian Tamils as slaves and indentured labour to plantations in Sri Lanka, Africa, MalAsia and the Caribbean and made billions out of indentured labor should be SHUT DOWN.
    In Sri Lanka today there is a DEEP STATE or ‘state within a state” run by awar criminal Gota the Goon and his military intelligence apparatus, with select officials in the Judiciary (de facto CJ, corrupt to the core, Mohan Peris), the Administration (Lalith Weeratunge) and of course the Emperor without cloths – Mahinda Rajapakse. This military dictatorship in Lanka today maintains a FACADE OF DEMOCRACY with a circus of elections in the presence of an opposition (UNP Ranil & Sajith factions, JVP, etc) that is equally corrupt, racist and condemnable.

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    Mr. Brian Senewiratne,

    So..Sri Lanka should splinter into 3 countries? Kandyan, Kotte and Tamil?

    Based on the same logic and pre colonial Kingdoms that existed in India, how manay seperate countries shall we have in India?

    No wonder Manmohan is staying away from Sri Lanka.

    Agree. Brits have committed many mistakes. And continue to do so. Tolerance of the LTTE is big one among them.

    However, Brits are gone now. 65 years ago. We are in charge now. We better own up. Let us quit blaming Brits and all others for our own damn problems. Let us stand on our own feet.

    Cheers!

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      Ben,
      ” We are in charge now” are you in charge? Or rajapakse family in charge?

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        Anpu Please enjoy his humour, dont take him serious.

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        Anpu,

        You missed the point, my friend.

        Sri Lankans need to quit blaming colonisers such as Britain. This has become a useless excuse used by stupid rulers and citizens of Sri Lanka alike.

        It is our country now. Britain is not interfering. Atleast directly. They do interfere indirectly to the best of their ability.

        What happens in Sri Lanka is now primarily our responsibility. 65 years is a long time to turn a country around.

        Instead, stupid Tamils promote seperation and a romantic form of extreme Tamil natonalism. While stupid Sinhalese opress minorities and elect corrupt rulers such as Rajapassa.

        Tamils and Sinhalese together destroy this beautiful country.

        And have the guts to accuse Britain for all the mess. After 65 years of Independence. Utter stupidity.

        Cheers!

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    Dr S, Thank You for another tiresome regurgitation of Sri Lankan history. Clearly, it must be a quiet day at the surgery. You got off to a flying start taking the traditional poke at the British. So, why did you bugger-off to the odious outposts of the empire; in particular the land that fostered the white-only policy? Did you think you were white enough? If you were such a true son of Sri Lanka you would have stayed here with us and fought against the successive governments of drop-outs, thugs and crooks who have infested our public affairs all of these 65 years. I suppose you would plead that as a kinsman of the Bandaranaike clan it was in your jeans to suck up to the white man. (Solomon West Ridgeway – says it all!)) Since you so memorably witnessed the birth of Sri Lanka’s independence, we have had more than our fair share of smart men and women decamping to salubrious climes and raising their cloths in defiance from that safe distance. Never mind the British, people like you should consider the great disservice done by running away from the scene.

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      Spring K: Guess you are frustrated in the land like no other.. sorry Dude, but please do chill out a bit.. ok. some anger is necessary!
      Brian is doing a great job from where he is – much better than those sitting in the middle of Banana Republic – just look at the shameless, pathetic creep Ranil Wickramasinghe who was even planning to go to the British Commonwealth Circus opening ceremony at Chinese Pokuna until Rajapassas and/or perhaps Sajith’s goons came around today to Sirikotha with the Saffron wave – Balu Sena!
      Ranil who has been running after the WHITE ELEPHANT Commonwealth of Clowns and spouting useless “Latimer House Rules” for years, including when CJ was impeached, is now pissed that Rajapakse has outdone him with the CHOGM circus. They are BOTH responsible of the

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    May you be born in Toilet Nadu so you can sit on a roadside gully to shit.

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    Who is this? Another Marxist speaking from the dustbin or a genuine Sri Lankan hater?

    The writer intentionally starts his history lesson on the arrival of the western powers. Why doesn’t he go a few centuries back and see how Sri Lanka was ruled by one Sinhalese kingdom? Why don’t he see that name Ceylon came from Sinhalese? why don’t he see the tamil invasions that later led to the two kingdoms? This is a pure dishonest one or a misguided idiot.

    And don’t these impractical wannabe historians understand that it was impossible for the British to create a separate nation on the tiny northern province alone?

    And what “fixing” is he trying to imply? A military interference maybe? What kind of a war monger would suggest such a thing?

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    Brian,

    You talk of the three Kingdoms Sri Lanka Had when the British arrived.
    Jaffna, Kotte and Kandyan kingdoms. You blame the British for bring the Jaffna Kingdom under the sinhala leadership.

    I don’t think that you would disagree that the current provincial boundaries were drawn by the British.
    You also know that the current Eastern Province was very much a part of the Kandyan Kingdom.

    Yet you talk of demographic change of the Tamil East.

    You know very well that the current Eastern province was created by annexing vast areas of sparsely populated Sinhala villages with relatively thickly populated Tamil and Muslim areas which are about 10 miles from the coast.
    There is clearly no justification for Tamils claiming proprietary exclusive rights over the others within the boundaries set artificially by the British merely because there were more members of Tamils over the others in 1948.
    If there is any validity in such contention it would follow with even greater force from the same principle since there is and always has been within the natural borders of Sri Lanka am overwhelming preponderance of Sinhalese the entirety of Sri Lanka is the homeland of the Sinhalese.

    I hope you would write an article in CT, as to why the Eastern Province should be part of the Traditional Tamil Homeland

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    //I gather that the site of the proposed Casino is in Slave Island

    Doctor, this gathering of yours like all others is not accurate. Crown Sri Lanka will be in DR Wijewardene Road. You should not talk about things you don’t know and come across as an idiot in the face of those who know.

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      Liberal

      Not only once this Doctor Loose Cannon has now become the common Joker of CT. How could he be a caring person for a nation of Tamil if he does not do for this own son?

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    Oh please can somebody give this seeya a news paper and a cup of tea and ask him to spare us his verbal diarrhea? Sri Lanka is in a grave crisis both from within and without. We need intelligent and constructive discourse to tackle the Rajapakse hegemony and the Sinhala and Tamil extremists. We need to build bridges and force a coalition of the sane. We certainly don’t need this old coot’s ridiculous venom. He will vomit this crap on anybody who listens and shame on Colombotelegraph for giving him the opportunity to vomit on us.

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    wish you well and God bless you

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      (A)Sinhala friend

      Dementia is a non-curing illness and OLE Brain does have the right symptoms to prove it.

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        hypoxic delirious idiots will not be able to think properly- They are confused and dangerous. But demented would be at least able to remember the past better !! Hope Brian is healthier than delirious idiots for many reasons.

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          (A)Sinhala Friend

          You sounds like a another Tamil Die-Poo-ra on LTTE pay list.

          Sure – everybody know who have been confused and disappointed after Nandikaadal mud bath of your beloved blood sucking Podian Preba in 2009. Clock is ticking for OLE brain to follow his sun goat steps.

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    We Tamils would be intelligent enough not to be mislead by the Brian Seniwaratnes of the world. If he really wanted to do something for us, he could lobby the Australian Government rather than waste our time in Colombo Telegraph! I have had enough of this regurgitation of history – lets strategize on how to address the future – the present is bad enough.

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    Dr. BS,

    I think time and space did not allow you to analyse the losses suffered by the Sinhalese and Muslims under the hands of Tamil Militants, especially the LTTE for about three decades. But, I cannot allow you to skip just as a passing cloud the evacuation of Muslims from the North and killings of Muslim worshipers inside the Mosques in the East. I also do not like you to just skip the benefits the rural youths, Sinhalese and Tamils alike in Sri Lanka got from the education reforms, especially ‘University Entrance District Quota System’ from 1972.

    While agreeing with most of your views and recommendations, I would be very happy, and I am sure that every Sri Lankan will be very happy, if you go further one step and include in the Referendum one more choice to say that ‘any Sri Lankan from the North and East will be given free visa to migrate to UK, Canada or Australia’. I believe, being the saviors of Human Rights, you and AI, HRW etc will vehemently promote this request. Awaiting the outcome very eagerly, Sir, as I also may qualify!.

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    Another predictable rant from the old doctor, and predictably, another load of irrelevancies and inaccuracies.

    The British owe a lot, not so much to the Tamils but to the Sinhalese for bringing in loads of Tamils from India and settling them in Sri Lanka. The Brits similarly also owe a lot to other countries – like Fiji, many countries all over Asia – Malaysia and Burma, for instance, many countries in Africa- like Uganda and Kenya Mauritius– for shifting hundreds of Indians to those countries and leaving them there to form a veritable ‘fifth column’ in those countries. Go to the respective countries in Africa for instance and they will tell you how these Indians did little or nothing to support the struggle of the natives for independence, preferring instead to curry favour with the white rulers and get whatever they could from them.

    I wish the good doctor showed some sense even in his old age. Poor fellow, he cannot think straight.

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    dear Dodo

    you are absolutely right
    The UNP is not part of the problem – it is more than that
    Someone rightly said that if Ranil Wickremasinghe did not exist, the Rajapaksas would have had to create him

    The complete absence of an Opposition is a worrying feature in Sri Lanka. So is it (to a lesser extent) in Australia today. the Opposition is in shambles

    One other thing I failed to mention was the 10 year tax-holiday that Mr Packer is said to be getting is dreadful, given that Sri Lanka’s Public debt has risen alarmingly to Rs 3 trillion, or nearly 80% of GDP. i cannot get confirmation from the Central Bank, though i have tried

    Brian Senewiratne

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      Brain

      No labour spineless goons to support your blood sucking LTTE parasites in Aussie Land? Is that what worries you?

      Did you Mr. Abbott’s speech at Colombo?

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      dear Brian

      please get your facts right. The casino in slave island is by john keels is on there own land.no Muslims or Tamils was displaced for it.

      as for the debt to GDP ratio try cb website.

      if he didn’t get a ten year tax holiday he won’t come, then we wont get any tax at all.

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    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/

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    Who reads this clowns crap .

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    Tamils were only SLAVES taken away from their homeland of Tamil Nadu to SL, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, Murutius, etc., etc.

    Since then Tamils are parasiting on these countries.

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      Looks like the Tamils are giving enough hardships and sleepless nights to the Sinhalese for more than 2000 years now. According to the Mahavamsa, Dutugemunu killed sixty thousand Tamils around 2000 years ago but within 44 years after Dutugemunu’s death, the Tamils started ruling again. According to News reports, Rajapakshe killed forty thousand Tamils in 2009 but the Tamil problem is not over, instead it has become even worse. The Tamils are not giving up.

      Trust me, the Tamils will never let the Sinhalese have peace and prosperity as long as the Sinhalese make the Tamils lives miserable. ‘If you pull the Tamils down to misery, then they will pull the Sinhalese and the country also along with them to hell’ and that is what is happening for decades or rather centuries now.

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        Babu Preshad

        What do you think we are doing now?

        We are enjoying the freedom after 30 odd horrible years? Thanks to the current Sri Lankan leadership and our Defence forces.

        If you idiots want to have another futile war, bring it on. As many said, Sri Lankan defence forces need some target practice that they did not have for last five years. This time send your own sons and daughters (Cheese babies) who are being fed and brought up in effluent western world.

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        “According to the Mahavamsa, Dutugemunu killed sixty thousand Tamils “

        Prasad,where did you get this figure from mate.You are just as bad as channel 4.Dutu did kill in the thousands,bu 60000 is quite high when in the 3BC there would have been only few hundred thousands in population.

        besides Dutu was a naga bhuddhist not a sinhalese.Sinhala race was not formed at that time though bhuddhism was brought in.So there woudn’t have been any tamils too though elara was a tamil,most of his army would have been also nagas,yaksha and devas.It would have been a home and home battle and a power tussle between elara and dutu.Mahawamsa was written in 4 AD.

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    I can hear Tamils howling again.

    Mullivaaikal Memorial at Vilar in Tanjore was razed to the ground by Indian authorities!! :(

    Just 2 weeks to go to Mahaveer Nai!!

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    Poor Brian Seneviratna doesn’t have to wait until Ms Pillai send a UN Force.

    He can get a limited access Visa for just 30 bucks if he wants to worship in Kataragama to accrue some merit points.

    We even gave McCarae one although he seems to be flouting the it at present.

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    What this gentleman says is absolutely right, but the crux of all these issues is the absence of a viable opposition. This has permitted Rajapakse to switch on to cruse control and to have a free ride.

    RW is another killer politician, is is truly sad that everybody waiting and simply watching, permitting this impotent man to betray the whole nation.

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      Dose (A)bandu

      Did more than 65% vote for Mr. Rajapaksa in last few elections? Has majority of Lankans support him then? Is it unbearable pain in your dirty bum to put up with it?

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    Mr. Brian Senevirathne OWes a lot to Britain.

    [Edited out]

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    An article from the doc after a long time with the usual lies. Why the delay Doc, did the LTTE PAYCHECK bounce?

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    “President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, decided, in 2005, to carpet-bomb Jaffna with half a million Tamil civilians who had a right to be there. It resulted in a mass exodus, referred to as “The Exodus”, as hundreds of thousands of Tamils, men, women, children, the sick and the elderly, fled the Jaffna Peninsula.”

    Why do we let this guy lie like this. SL forces did not carpert bomb Jaffana, when LTTE knew they couldn’t hold on the Jaffana they took the civillians as human shields to the vanni, just as they did during the last stages of the war. I had a first hand experience reg this. When I was in Kilinochhie last year I met a family, who said they were originally from Jaffna, BUT ltte forced them to leave in 1995/6 when they abaondended jaffana. They said most families that left jaffana did not leave on their own, but left because of LTTE.

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    Brian, it is admirable as a Sinhalese to admit the Injustices committed on the Tamils by a set of hooligans posing as Sinhalese. I as a decendant from one of the very early Sinhala Families in this country, thank you for standing for the rights of the Tamils, who are our own brothers. This I believe is the common sentiments of most Sinhalese. However of a Sinhala Nation where more than half the number have Portuguese names led by Nobodies who have become somebodies in society thanks to the British, have overtaken us with support from vested interest and have ruined the country today.

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      Gamin (the racist)

      Remember – unlike you idiots we Sinahalese welcome the influence of moderate Tamils, Arabs and aslo from Portuguese, Dutches and English cultures and enrichment we had from them.

      The problem you bloody idiots have in common is not believing in co-existence. You definitely have Nazi influence (mono racist approach as seen in 30 odd year of ethnic clencing in North and East of SL) and OLE Brain is one of those origins (in plane English a vagabond from hora-shot by a Naziman) not a real Sinhalese.

      So do not insult Sinhalese by naming OLE Brain is as one of them.

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    Thanks very much Brian, for yet another superb document. It is comprehensive and well researched. I heard that you are creating a one or two page summary, to be used for advocacy work.

    Brian’s document may have a few shortcommings or errors. I challenge his detractors, especially writers in the CT comments section who are on the payroll of the Government of Sri Lanka, and racist Sinhalese, to identify errors in Brian’s document.

    Instead, these paid writers and racist Sinhalese are desperately spewing abuse at Brian! They have only succeeded in showing the true face of Sinhala racism to non-Sri Lankan readers of the Colombo Telegraph.

    May I point out to non-Sri Lankans, that Brian has also criticised the LTTE and other armed Tamil groups. Here is his foreward, to the “Broken Palmyra”.

    ##############################################################

    http://www.uthr.org/BP/A%20FOREWORD.htm

    http://www.uthr.org/BP/Content.htm

    ##############################################################

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      Whatever said and done, LTTE theoretician lived until his death in UK. He was able to say I will garland (kill with a suicide bomber) Douglas Devananda while being on UK soil. How much money was raised for LTTE in UK? When did UK ban LTTE and how many people died because of LTTE crimes before that? Even today, even when it is banned, LTTE flags are freely waved in London and people who funded terror are free to meet in house of representatives. Is that enough for you on how much UK is committed to act against terrorism here in SL? They could care two hoots about any crimes here as long as Tamil Diaspora votes are with them. That bugger David Milliband even went to the extent of saying that terrorism was justified in “some” instances where “some” was a reference to Sri Lanka. Bastards!

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    Modaya, looking for a handout to bolster his fading account.

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    I doubt if any man or woman has ever trod this planet without some if not many detractors, disparagers and enemies. As we Humans are almost unchanged genetically for the past many millennia’s are predominantly the ongoing by-product like proto-type experimental creatures mostly of nurture, social-environment and upbringing. We do contrast very much with the infinitude of other living forms on this planet that are predominantly pre-programmed in their genome even with a few hundreds or thousands of neuronal connections as creatures predominantly of nature, instinct and the physical environment. Even though some of these creatures are are bestowed with super senses yet they are mostly driven by the above.

    The monarch butterflies are s famous for their southward late summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico and coastal California and then the return northward in the spring. This occurs over the life-spans of three to four generations of these butterflies. Such are super powers of nature and super codes in their respective genomes amidst the rest of the animal kingdom to control and restrict some behavior patterns as well as sometimes lock them in their particular environmental niches.

    Where as we humans who born not so free and/or equal mental and/or physical endowments are heavily dependent on our mothers and fellow humans of that particular clan, tribe, community and/or nation in our early years are left almost all to our nurture to gather our beliefs and values from the moment of our birth. It is mostly due to these that we are conditioned, reconditioned and even some rabidly, sub-consciously and unconsciously brain-washed into their parochial and prejudiced “frogs in a well” like communities in certain patterns of thought, feeling, belief and behavior and are bound to be exploited by our cultural-viral memes to eternally disagree and be at each other’s throats that nature may have this feature too to balance the populations of a multitude of life forms along with other many types of natural disasters.

    Hence all these disparagers and detractors too cannot help themselves but are unfolding as their genes and memes permit them to be mini and micro robot like creatures of the great mistress or master nature.

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    The British owe a lot to all the people of Sri Lanka, since it was Britain that fostered and engineered the separatist war in the island. This is where the political leadership of the LTTE was headquartered.

    The groundwork for the war was done in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s, ending in 1976 with the formation of the Tamil Tigers. I was personally involved in this groundwork and research, when I was the slave-boy of my parents, whose job it was to run from my father’s Morris 1300 into the village huts of Tamil people in the North and East and ask “kuduku thanni irikatha?” (can I have some drinking water?). My father would pour the generously provided water into a plastic urine specimen jar and drive off. I was used in this way because it was thought (correctly) that the Tamil villagers would trust me because I was a child).

    This research was ostensibly to measure the fluoride content of water in wells and other sources of drinking water in the North and East, but there was a lot more data collected than this. The roads, tanks, towns, villages and waterways were recorded and detailed maps were drawn by my mother, using the irrigation maps of her father, Winslow Alagaratnam, who was Director of Irrigation under D.S.Senanayake (and previously under the British). I have in my possession the hand-written journals of these research trips that my mother wrote (and I illustrated) between 1970 and 1975.

    This research, which was used for detailed planning of the war in London, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne and India, was funded by two British organizations – the Nuffield Foundation (a charity front for the Morris Motor Company) and the Wellcome Trust (a charity front for Wellcome Pharmaceuticals, later Glaxo-Wellcome).

    The research my parents conducted in the research laboratory my father built adjacent to his female ward in the Kandy Hospital in 1969 included data collection regarding anaemia from malnutrition in Tamil tea estate workers from the Hantane estate, as well as research into parasitic infections (malaria, hookworm), lethal viruses (including rabies, typhoid and cholera) and bacterial infections, notably urine infections (which had been an area of expertise of my father’s boss in England, Lord Max Rosenheim).

    At the time, being in my early teens, I didn’t understand the bigger picture. I was given Vietnam War comics and Korean War comics that demonized the South-East Asians as “gooks” when I was studying at Trinity College, but I had no understanding of the complexities of the Cold War. Nor did I have the medical knowledge or historical perspective to understand the real purpose of the water specimen collection and the sampling of the fauna and flora of the North and East that I so enthusiastically participated in.

    Since then, armed with an understanding of the British and their Allies’ clandestine biological and chemical warfare programs during the Cold War (including the MK Programs which are outlined on Wikipedia), I have worked out that the “clinical research laboratory”, also (or solely) functioned as a biological warfare laboratory.

    I have provided details regarding this on my You Tube site as well as a series of documentaries revealing the role of my family in the terrible war in Sri Lanka (“Understanding the Tamil Tigers”).
    I particularly wish to share with CT readers my “Confession and Apology to the People of Sri Lanka”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwNhUeHlKTw

    Romesh A Senewiratne-Alagaratnam (son of Brian Senewiratne)

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    THIS OLD JOKER IS STILL ALIVE.

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