1 October, 2020

Blog

The Killing Fields Of Sri Lanka: A Cynical, Concerted And Orchestrated Campaign

By Ravinatha Aryasinha

Ravinatha Aryasinha

Intervention by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva at the screening of  “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”- 1 March 2013

The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests against the efforts by the organizers of this event – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (FIFDH), to use the UN premises for the  screening of this film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. Sri Lanka also strongly protests the perception that has been sought to be created in the public mind, through pro-LTTE websites, as well as by duping even better known media organs such as even the International Herald Tribune, which yesterday in an article quoted the Director of this film Mr. Callum Macrae as saying that the film “would be screened at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council now underway in Geneva, where the United States plans to introduce a resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of the war crimes by its army”.

Sri Lanka views this film ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’, which follows the screening of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ (June 2011) and ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished’ (March 2012) screened on the sidelines of previous HRC sessions, as part of a cynical, concerted and orchestrated campaign that is strategically driven and aimed at influencing the debate in the Council on Sri Lanka. It is clearly motivated by collateral political considerations.

Earlier this week, upon coming to learn of this insidious attempt, on 24 February 2013 I drew this matter to the attention of Ambassador Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council. This was followed up with a meeting with the President on 25 February 2013, where I drew attention to ECOSOC Resolution No. 1996/31 of 25 July 1996 that stipulates the parameters of the consultative relationship between the UN and NGOs, which clearly lists as grounds for suspension and withdrawal of consultative status of NGOs, inter alia, specifically where such an organization either directly or through its affiliates or representatives acting on its behalf, clearly abuses its status by engaging in a pattern of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the charter of the UN including unsubstantiated or politically motivated acts against member states of the UN incompatible with those purposes and principles. This being the third occasion when a Channel 4 film is being showed to coincide with a session of the Human Rights Council, I pointed out that a clear pattern had been established by the NGOs involved, who in the view of the Government of Sri Lanka are abusing their privileged status with ECOSOC.

During my meeting with him, and subsequently by his letter dated 27 February 2013, Ambassador Henczel has disassociated the UN Human Rights Council from today’s event and has observed that such events “do not reflect an official position of the Council”. He has emphasized that “the organizers of such events, take full responsibility for the content of their events”.

The question the Government of Sri Lanka today wishes to pose from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH, is as to whether they can take full responsibility for the contents of this film?

It will take a few days, possibly weeks, before experts in the field would be able to ascertain the true facts about the contents of this film. However, if the two preceding Channel 4 broadcasts are anything to go by in trying to judge the credibility of this film, it does not give us much hope.

–      When the original footage, much of which is now recycled, first came out about 3 months after the ending of the conflict in 2009, it was sourced to a shadowy group ‘Journalists for Democracy’. Organizations using the photographs and video footage did so with a disclaimer, that they could not vouch for the authenticity of the material.

–      In 2011, as the first in this sequel, ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ was brought out, all we had to believe, was Mr. Macrae’s words regard its authenticity.

–      The star witness and chief protagonist of the 2011 film Ms. Damilvany Gnanakumar,  portrayed as a UK citizen who went to Sri Lanka and got held up due to the fighting and who served as a medical volunteer, later proved to be a member of the LTTE ‘Soodiya’ Regiment and a prominent member of the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO), who unknown to her family went back to Sri Lanka to help ‘Castro’, the LTTE’s point person responsible for coordinating its international network

–      Another prominent personality referred to in the film –Ms. Isipriya who was portrayed as

a ‘TV announcer’, is a trained LTTE cadre holding the rank of Lt. Colonel, and was responsible for the training of LTTE female suicide cadre

–      It turns out that translations at critical points of the film were also consciously distorted to mislead the viewer, such as the point at which civilians are seen being huddled into a trench, seemingly to protect themselves against shelling. However, the comments by the people correctly translated, merely denote their asking not to be filmed, again re-emphasising the stage managed nature of this film.

–      Even something as simple as a civilian protest, which is described as a “spontaneous” move in the film, was later proved to have been stage managed by the LTTE.

–      The accusation that GOSL denied food and medicine, and deliberately targeted civilians in the ‘no-fire’ zone is completely without basis, and runs contrary to the massive humanitarian operation known to have been carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces, who in the final stages of the conflict, at great risk to themselves, brought back to safety nearly 300,000 civilians including women and children, held as human shields by the LTTE for over a year. It also runs against the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka has successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated 95% of the 11,955 ex-combatants who surrendered or were arrested at the end of the terrorist conflict, including 594 ex-child combatants.

They say justice delayed is justice denied. Similarly so called evidence withheld, for the purpose of crafting a more juicer film in time for the next Human Rights Council, raises questions of the motives of the producers of these films. If the concern was to bring justice to alleged victims, if they believed this material to be authentic, it would be only logical to expect that they present it here and now, rather than the present recycling operation done, with a little more manufacturing each year. But that is precisely what all those who have collaborated in this exercise, are doing.

It is not only the Government of Sri Lanka that has found these annual films to be objectionable. They have been criticized by many, including reputed newspapers such as the Sunday Times of the UK, which in June 2011 described the commentary of past broadcasts of Channel 4 as “intemperate and partisan” and rightly pointed out that most of the footage which was used is “unattributed and uncorroborated”.

While Mr. Macrae who produced this film, and Channel 4 which embraced the project have gone to great lengths to use it to vilify Sri Lanka, they turned down repeated requests by Sri Lanka’s domestic reconciliation mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), to make available to them a copy of the original footage, so that its authenticity can be verified. It should also be noted that the first ever UK preview of this film was screened at the 3rd Anniversary celebrations of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) on the 27th of February – two days ago. The GTF is a well known pro-LTTE forum, and the fact that the director of the film saw it fit to preview it at such an occasion clearly exposes that these personalities have been heavily influenced by the propaganda of the pro-LTTE lobby and their skewed views on developments in Sri Lanka. This event establishes, without any doubt, the nexus that exists among the leading critics of the GoSL and the pro-LTTE lobby. The presence particularly of Dr. Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, and one of the three authors of the Darusman Report of 2011, makes clear that she is intent on playing prosecutor, judge and jury all in one.

This event, together with several other ‘propaganda stunts’ presently on-going in Geneva and other capitals, as well as to follow in the coming weeks, is but a reminder of the considerable ‘spoiler’ role sections of the pro-LTTE Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates who have become vote banks and pressure groups in several Western countries are intent on playing. While espousing the ideology of the LTTE, using its resources and being manipulated by its surviving military leaders, they pay scant regard to the Tamil community living in the North and the East and other parts of Sri Lanka who having emerged from a 30 year long terrorist conflict, who together with the enlightened sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates, are keen to re-build their own future and that of their children in a new and peaceful Sri Lanka, in a spirit of reconciliation.

By providing a platform for the screening of this film which includes footage of dubious origin, content that is distorted and without proper sourcing and making unsubstantiated allegations, the sponsors of this event seek to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka and detract from the considerable positive developments that have taken place in the former conflict zones, within less than 4 years since the guns fell silent. A consequence of this action would be the undermining of the ongoing reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. This is not surprising, for like Mr. Macrae and Channel 4, at least two sponsors of today’s event – Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, also refused invitations from the LLRC to testify before the Commission.

I believe the lesson to be drawn from this is, that it is probably easier to cast aspersions from
a far and keep the pot boiling, than to contribute towards the ongoing process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    editor. ,sunday divaina defence writer expose who is rohithbasana ltte sinhgala paper was edited by bashana at modara he now op a bogus org called jds i challeged him he never blame the ltte killers victor ivan also expose that

  • 0
    0

    “I believe the lesson to be drawn from this is, that it is probably easier to cast aspersions from a far and keep the pot boiling, than to contribute towards the ongoing process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

    Quite true! I wont dispute it.

    However, would it not have been even better to do what was promised during the war and thereafter to resolve the Tamil/mionorities quest for political and equal rights? Would it not have been better to have brought about better governance rather than erode it further?

    When one is caught with the pant zipper down and wearing no underwear, it is better to shamefacedly zip it back, than to pretend that there is no reason for anyone to stare!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      0

      For once I agree with RN ! The government has def been caught with the pants down but I am (unlike hime) relishing the coming days.

      • 0
        0

        So do I and further add that instead of shamefacedly zipping it back they presume the rest of the majority of world to be as stupid and endowed with lesser intelligence and need for them and want them to shave their private parts and do as many “blow jobs” on them until their king and his siblings die a natural death JR.

        Who knows the IC may oblige the way President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is carrying on regardless caring not a hoot a hoot for anyone.

    • 0
      0

      I fully agree With Dr.RN. MARA Monkey tricks won’t work all the time.

      Where’s Hambanthota MARA goon drummer boy Vatti amma Weerawanse…..and Beliatte chandiya Kelani Mervin.

      Get ready to lick UNHRC and CW as….es pretty soon.

  • 0
    0

    There is always MR on standby for any eventuality:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/127776803/Civil-Society-Collective

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Ambassador !! In the hands of the LTTE, a traitor means – ”not worthy to live”. But as a democratically elected Government ( as per boasting by your Almighty President) don’t you have something called ”due process”!?? If a girl is a member of the LTTE, Does it mean that she could be gang raped, photographed and killed by your holy forces ?? How do you differ your Democratically elected Government from the So Called Terrorist ??

    • 0
      0

      This President who is refusing to release the reports of 15 commissions/committees he appointed in the last seven years is more terrorist than the armed rebels !

  • 0
    0

    Samarasinghe and Ariyasinha are crying like babies. They are coming out again with the same lame excuses and deceptive and devious explanations the regime’s mouthpieces gave in response after the previous two Channel 4 films were screened.

    The wealth of evidence available in the public domain against the SL military and political leaders cannot be denied however much Mahinda Samarasinghe, Aryasinha, Gotabhaya and other mouthpieces insult and threaten the people and organisations that expose them.

    The little farts of the Rajapaksa regime are bringing shame on Sri Lanka by their stupid activities in Geneva. Their friends Cuba, China and Russia are not there this time to shield them. It is time the people of Sri lanka gave the Rajapaksa regime the boot and save whatever dignity Sri Lanka is left with.

  • 0
    0

    “Another prominent personality referred to in the film –Ms. Isipriya who was portrayed as

    a ‘TV announcer’, is a trained LTTE cadre holding the rank of Lt. Colonel, and was responsible for the training of LTTE female suicide cadre”, “
    says the DIPLOMAT Ravinatha. Is he suggesting that it is okay to rape, kill nd take nude pictures for the international exposure? Not only the Rajapaksa brothers, their armed forces, but these suit-wearing brigade should also be punished for their attempt to represent and defend the war criminals.

    • 0
      0

      There is no indication that Col Issapriya was raped.

      • 0
        0

        David Blacker

        “There is no indication that Col Issapriya was raped.”

        How do you know?

        Any previous experience of examining rape victims?

  • 0
    0

    Ravinatha A brings out illogical rant. Any effective debate has to be timed – and this may coincide with the activities of a related body
    like the UNHR gatherings. Had they ocurred every six months, whatever that has to be presented by the victims will have to be presented timely to the correct Forum. Without the interested parties presenting the
    Victims views, does the Ambassador think that Shavindra Silva or Gota
    will present the victims views or that of the so-called rescued tamils?

    It must be recognized by the Regime that the diaspora can outdo Cuba,
    China and Russia put together when it comes to talking/dealing with State
    Terrorism! MR has been assured of a Veto at the UNSC by China and he
    therefore does not care any more than Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

  • 0
    0

    1. Why don’t your government take these organizers and directors to court on a suit for defamation? The SL government threatened that they will do so? What happened?
    2. UN institutions do not pack off NGOs and INGOs if they are embarrassed! That is the SL way!!
    3. You say these are instigated by pro LTTE expatriates! Do you think the SL government will otherwise instigate these? Do not look for who said? Instead look at what is being said?
    4. You speak about unsubstantiated allegations, distorted contents, dubious footages, etc in the film. You do not allow any investigation to be conducted; you do not conduct any credible investigation either. You allow them to conduct an investigation and then you could challenge them if they come up with anything untrue!
    5. How will this film affect reconciliation efforts of the SL government? People in the country are not going to be affected if the things shown are not true! If they are true then they will nurse some grudge against the SL government for not taking appropriate action against the perpetrators of those horrible massacres and massive human rights violations. Do not just repeat the rhetoric what the government put out!! It may fool your countrymen and you; but not an international audience.
    Andy

  • 0
    0

    1. Why don’t your government take these organizers and directors to court on a suit for defamation? The SL government threatened that they will do so earlier? What happened to those threats?
    2. UN institutions do not pack off NGOs and INGOs if they are embarrassed! That is the SL way!!
    3. You say these are instigated by pro LTTE expatriates! Do you think the SL government will otherwise instigate these? Do not look for who said! Instead look at what is being said!!
    4. You speak about unsubstantiated allegations, distorted contents, dubious footages, etc in the film. You do not allow any investigation to be conducted; you do not conduct any credible investigation either. You allow them to conduct an investigation and then you could challenge them if they come up with anything untrue!
    5. How will this film affect reconciliation efforts of the SL government? People in the country are not going to be affected if the things shown are not true! If they are true then they will nurse some grudge against the SL government for not taking appropriate action against the perpetrators of those horrible massacres and massive human rights violations. Do not just repeat the rhetoric what the government put out!! It may fool your countrymen and you; but not an international audience.
    Andy

    • 0
      0

      Andy

      There is popular Sinhala pop song which satirizes our ability to live in perpetual denial. We have thick hides and don’t really bother about how we are viewed by the rest of the world. The ruling family of course is very vulnerable and reacts appropriately

      We think and genuinely believe that we have been doing a wonderful job keeping the “wolves” at bay, that we fought a humanitarian war and that the Tamils are better off than they were before.

      Since we are a deeply divided nation, like the times of Slavery in the US and apartheid in South Africa, we don’t feel any shame or remorse for treating our brothers and sisters differently.

      Further we believe that we are the custodians of the purest form of Buddhism which is extols loving compassion.

      Thus its difficult for us to understand why the West is persecuting us; we are like the Gypsy who is chased from one land to another because he is misunderstood

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Ambassador, I am a medical witness to the atrocities committed by the Srilankan Armed forces on non-combatant Tamils. I am prepared to give evidence before an international court of justice, as per my experience the judiciary in Srilanka is racist and will not bring relief to the Tamil victims. If your government is not guilty, why are you fearing for an international tribunal on war crimes committed by the Srilankan armed forces. Your government conducting it’s own investigation into war crimes committed by your security forces is a big joke because a thief cannot be a judge for his crime. Please stop your diatribe in attacking people who are speaking the truth about what happened in Srilanka.

  • 0
    0

    We say we are a sovereign nation and whatever happens here is our business only. We harrass our own people. When our misdeeds are exposed we cry ‘foul’.
    As far as the LTTE was concerned the international community gave their full support to defeat them. LTTE was proscribed, their finances cut, US intelligence helped track their logistical supply routes leading tho the sinking of their ships etc. What was requested in return was the humane treatment of the tamil civilians. Four years after the war the promises made are not kept.

  • 0
    0

    The truth is coming out. Jarapakse and his associates will not be able to show their faces in the Western world. War criminal Shavendra Silva already got pushed aside in the United Nations. Did Gothabaya really think he could cover up atrocities by putting out a media blackout? What he forgot was to remove the cell phones from the “war heroes.” Now the porno collection is being revealed in bits and pieces. There is a lot more to come.

  • 0
    0

    The Sri Lankan government protests too much. Every, single, bit of evidence, photographs, and document, has been labelled as fake. According to the liars, they are blemish free and perfect.
    Every, single call for investigations and accountability, has been stalled and dodged by criminals.
    We have seen videos, pictures, and heard witnesses tell stories that should make any democratic nation be ashamed for these brutal and unnecessary murders.
    We have become the terrorists we were fighting. Sri Lanka has been made into a rogue nation, and we should all be ashamed of our tarnished image abroad.

  • 0
    0

    Robert Mugabe also blames the Western Governments, the UN, NGOs for the 40 years he has been in power and claims to be innocent and clean. The once prosperous Zimbabwe is now a basket case with 3 million of its educated citizens virtually begging in the streets of South Africa.
    To buy a loaf of bread you need to provide several trillions of Zim currency. The Rajapakses are taking us in that path is what the JHU, BBS and the rest of the chauvinist outfits must warn the Sinhala people against instead of preaching hatred against the minorities.

    Ravinatha A must understand, in international bodies like the UN – polemics, vitriol and verbal combatancy do not win you friends or issues. He has a bad brief to argue and a regime, well established for its mendacity, truculence and broken pledges, to defend. Blaming the GTF, LTTE, the Tamil diaspora is old hat and will only add strength and win more friends to these non-State actors – who seem to have done their homework well compared to the ill-prepared GoSL delegation.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
    0

    why so much fuss about film that little gota and others say fake?

  • 0
    0

    In Sri Lanka you don’t believe the video clips, you don’t believe the photographs, you don’t believe eye witness accounts, you don’t believe your own eyes. You only believe the Sri Lankan. Yes please believe me I am a Sri Lankan I don’t lie. Is it the message. To day Sri Lanka is characterized as a nation of lies. How do you now rehabilitate it and make it into a decent country.
    Rather than trying to argue in this way why don’t we just say there was no war no body died. All this is a made up stories.
    Every Sri Lankan knows these are true. These kind of sadistic massacres had taken place periodically. The victims were mostly Tamils. People had been burnt alive. The country is dotted with mass graves. Thugs rule the land. You can write any thing. Nobody is going to believe you, because you are a Sri Lankan.

  • 0
    0

    You are unable to confront the main crimes. You are only trying to paint the characters as LTTE and what not. If this is a write up of a UN rep what you you expect from a Sri Lankan army. After all you are a Sri Lankan so you can lie

  • 0
    0

    RA says ” contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka”. If such a process is in existence, Tamils would have already joined it. If they have not there are undisputed reasons for it. In the public domain, in the print and electronic media, sober,sensitive, sensible, well educated and balanced personages among the Sinhalese are standing by what is right for the Tamils. The same is true of Muslims and Burghers. In unison they rail against criminality and castigate the government explicitly. Why should they if the process is real.

    If conciliation is desired why are the Muslims already reconciled being alienated with fresh programmes of barbarism? Is it political prudence to alienate first and then to reconcile? Does it provide grist to the propaganda mill to prate to the world that the process of reconciliation is on and the obdurate Muslims like the Tamils are not contributing to it?

    RA instead of engaging in bombast and rigmarole should list out the steps taken towards reconciliation. If it carries conviction people will turn towards the government. RA will gain credibility and will cease to be accused of singing for his supper – JR menu or MR recipe.

  • 0
    0

    ”keep the pot boiling”:

    i.LLRC website is hacked
    ii.LLRC recommendations are not being implemented
    iii.elections for Northern Province are postponed till a critical mass of Sinhalese are settled in the North
    iv.occupation army personnel as teachers in schools
    v.occupation army gobbling up employment opportunities of the civil population

  • 0
    0

    ”Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, also refused invitations from the LLRC to testify before the Commission”.

    Who needs their input? We had more than enough very helpful submissions from conscientious and very knowledgeable Sinhalese with suggestions and plans for a just and peaceful future. They lie unused. After hacking the website they are out of the public’s reach.

  • 0
    0

    What none of the commentators on Ravinatha’s statement has so much as alluded to is the statement from Our Monarch, Mahinda Rajapassa who has just issued a statement that Prabhakaran’s son was NOT killed by the forces.
    Shouldn’t we bow down and say “Ehey hamuduruwaney” give the fact that this is the same truth-teller who said there were NO CIVILIAN CASUALTIES in the final battle against the LTTE?
    Come on, chaps, we must respect the truths from on high even if they happen to be at some variance from what actually happens and happened!

Leave A Comment

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