30 September, 2020

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The Naseby Initiative Continues

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

Lord Naseby (LN), the British peer who recently took up the allegation of 40,000 civilian casualties during the Vanni offensive in the British parliament, a principal element of UNHRC Resolution 30/1, has taken a further step in his efforts in setting the record straight.

According to a media release from his office, he has forwarded a full set of papers consisting of the Hansard transcript of the debate he initiated in the House of Lords on October 12, all copies of the heavily redacted pages of British Defense Attaché Lt. Col Gash’s dispatches, his interpretation of the un-redacted parts and the substantial corroborative evidence from many other sources. These have been sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the Human Rights team at the UNHRC in Geneva, namely the High Commissioner, Prince Zeid Ra’ad AI Hussein and the nine UN Special Procedures mandate holders along with a personal letter stating his intentions of further pursuing the matter.

Many contend, opposition to UNHRC 30/1 stems from the need to escape war crimes (genocide according to some). In the eyes of others, nothing is further from the truth. The need to address accountability issues is not in dispute. However, in such an exercise, of paramount importance is to establish a fact-based estimate of civilian deaths during the Vanni offensive. PoE estimates up to 40,000 whereas some others including LN estimate between 7,000 and 8,000, including around 20% believed to be LTTE cadre in civilian garb.

Initial objections to the Geneva Resolution were primarily due to the lack of a Sri Lankan footprint in the Resolution process. The UNSG appointed Panel of Experts (PoE) and subsequently UNHRC summarily dismissed the LLRC findings and Paranagama Commission Report (second mandate), both Sri Lankan initiatives. Subsequent developments such as the Wiki Leaks documents leaked by US Private Charles Manning and Lord LN’s revelations among other material brings to question, attitudes and actions of initiators of the Geneva Resolution, namely US, UK and the European Union.

The PoE never visited Sri Lanka at any point in time. Nevertheless, Resolution 30/1 was based on their report. Some relevant paragraphs are;

“As of 31 December 2010, the Panel had received over 4,000 submissions from more than 2,300 senders (para 17/page 5).”

“A significant number of submissions contained allegations relating to particular kinds of violations or to particular time periods during the final stages, and individual complaints of specific violations of human rights or humanitarian law. Documentary information, comprised of lists of incidents or victims, photographs or videos, was also received.  A limited number of unbiased analytical submissions provided analyses of general information including media reports or specific aspects of the situation. General information including media reports, web links and historical accounts, forwarded to the panel from publicly available sources also accounted for a portion of submissions” (para 18/page 5).        

“In the limited surveys that have been carried out in the aftermath of the conflict, the percentage of people reporting dead relatives is high. A number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths. Two years after the end of the war, there is still no reliable figure for civilian deaths, but multiple sources of information that a range of up to 40,000 civilian deaths cannot be ruled out at this stage. Only a proper investigation can lead to the identification of all the victims and the formulation of an accurate figure for the total number of civilian deaths” (para 137 / page 41).   

Therein lies the questionable credibility of those who decided of the need and have initiated a resolution for a credible investigation.

The UNHRC authored Resolution, on the one hand, is based on recommendations made by PoE which in turn are based on submissions by over 2,300 nameless and faceless persons, with their identities locked away for a period not less than 20 years.  They make up a substantial part of PoE’s ‘multiple sources of information.’

On the other hand, UNHRC has ignored PoE’s omission of reports, the resolution’s promoters and initiators US, UK, EU governments and UNO would have received from their respective representatives in Colombo. They are not a part of the PoE’s “multiple sources of information”.

Further, PoE apparently did not consider representatives of nations promoting the resolution such as the US Embassy and British High Commission in Colombo as “credible sources.”

PoE has failed to ascertain if some of those making submissions are persons reported missing or declared dead in Sri Lanka. Nor has it been established if depositions were fact based or made with a view to strengthen claims for political asylum.

It would have been only but correct to include testimonies of the likes of former US Ambassador Robert Blake, former UN spokesperson in Colombo Gordon Weiss, former US Military Attaché in Colombo Lawrence Smith and Lt. Col. Anton Gash into PoE’s list of ‘a number of credible sources’.

The Resolution project pursued by the said countries after locking away vital information received in dispatches from their representatives on site is not in the best interest of Sri Lanka. It is also the clearest indication of an anti Sri Lanka agenda.   

Following are excerpts of a redacted dispatch from Lt. Col. Gash dated Monday, February 16, 2009, 4:44 PM Subject IDP Reception – Trincomalee 12 Feb 09 among other things states the following; “On Thu evening (12 Feb) I observed the arrival of 400 IDPs by sea in Trincomalee.” “From 1930 hrs (12 Feb) to 0300 hrs (13 Feb) the ship to shore transfer took place. (I was present 2200 – 0200 hrs). “The operation was efficient and effective, but most importantly was carried out with compassion, respect, and concern. I am entirely certain that this was genuine – my presence was not planned and was based on a sudden opportunity; I had free access to the 300m long stretch of beach over a 4-hour period and was able to observe upwards 200 SLN personnel working extremely hard in difficult conditions.” “IDPs were having their mobile phones checked, but they were then returned to them.”

There is no reason to believe, US, EU and UNO missions were not permitted similar visits to front lines. 

It is indeed gratifying to learn of LN’s decision to move forward with his efforts to clear Sri Lanka of the charge of 40,000 civilian deaths.

He has commenced a race which rightfully should have been initiated by GoSL after the initial revelations in the House of Lords. Unfortunately, our leadership is yet to make up their minds if they should accept and continue or drop the baton currently carried by LN. The Foreign Minister has limited himself to a single statement in Parliament calling Naseby’s revelations “an ace”, for use at a future date. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is yet to offer an opinion or comment on the British peer’s initiative. 

The yahapalana leadership, the Foreign Ministry, and its bureaucrats may be compared to a ship adrift at sea with its rudder disabled. It is now in the public domain; President Sirisena authored a letter of appreciation to LN dated November 2, 2017. Six days later, on November 8, the Foreign Secretary forwarded the document with a covering note to High Commissioner Amari Wijewardene in London, instructing her to deliver it to LN. She was directed, contents of the letter are “not shared with the media either in the UK or Sri Lanka.” The President’s letter was received at the High Commission nine days later, on November 17. It was finally delivered to the addressee by the High Commissioner on November 21 afternoon, a full nineteen days after the President signed off the letter. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake tabled contents of both President Sirisena’s and his letters of appreciation to LN in Parliament on November 14, a week before LN received the original document. 

Nineteen days for delivery of a letter from the Head of State is scandalous. The blame need be placed fairly and squarely on the Foreign Office and its Secretary. A Prsidential communication should have justified the dispatch of a special diplomatic pouch in the first available flight. SriLankan Airlines currently operate nine flights a week to London. It also warranted telephone instructions to the High Commissioner to obtain an appointment from Lord LN on an urgent basis for delivery of a letter from the President.

During the entire period of the conflict, Sri Lanka rarely defended itself successfully both at international forums and in the global media. The rejection of a strongly worded UNHRC Resolution in May 2009 mostly due to the efforts of former Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, was one such rare occasion.

President Sirisena, notwithstanding his preoccupation with party politics and local government elections, must give leadership to a project running parallel to LN’s efforts to exculpate Sri Lanka from the charge of the mythical 40,000 civilian deaths.

The opportunity that has arisen due to The Nasby initiative is too valuable to be squandered away. Towards this end, a thorough spring clean at the Foreign Office would be a good start. Improvement of procedures to enable delivery of a letter from the Head of State to any major capital in the world in no more than 72 hours is a prerequisite for such a project.   

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Latest comments

  • 5
    2

    Rajeeva Jayaweera is right.The sorry situation of the foreign affairs ministry headed by a retired person is shown well in this matter.Taking 19 days to have a important letter from the president to London to which there are many daily flights from Colombo is unpardonable…It is said that secretary only acts on the advice of a third class Indian Degree holding ,fat woman officer who has the skill to show that she is a super officer.When one retires part of the brain retires as the pension is now certain and there is no need to act fast.The secretary retired many years ago and now works on contract.Every month he goes abroad on useless trips.The Foreign Ministry is in a sorry state .The man is clueless nearing 70 years and has survived not because of efficiency but servility.He was almost chased out of India for calling Tamil Nadu politicians as terrorists .He then slowly got appointed to America.

    The truth is he is related to Mahinda Rajapaksa and got many benefits from him is well known.By embarrasing the government on this matter makes his loyality to MR clear.

    Why is the government not appointing a serving officer as secretary is the big question.Immediate action is required.if not a bigger embarrassment will be seen soon,

    • 1
      0

      Dear Rajeeva,
      You seem to be a tireless promotor of the antics by that Nosey Boy who is at present the darling of the Sinhala people. You are praising that Dee-Jay-Woo chap for being responsible for rejection of the strongly worded UNHCR resolution in 2009 is far from the truth. Matta Sira is completely clueless of international politics and should not be blamed. By your effort you appear to be eyeing for the post of representing Srilanka at UNHCR for march 2018 meeting to support your long lost uncle, whose letters to UNHCR went to the waste paper basket in no time. If you are really keen to get the post, please let me know as I can talk to Sira machan to appoint you.

  • 2
    2

    Spring Koha

    Here we go again.
    So the Time Lord is going to win the war at Geneva offhandedly.

    Rajeewa types:
    “The rejection of a strongly worded UNHRC Resolution in May 2009 mostly due to the efforts of former Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, was one such rare occasion.”

    This is the best diplomacy by the Hindians and Americans, they let little islander claim victory and made him feel important. Within a year or two former ambassador was made unemployed.
    Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa (LLD) confirmed Dayan was working for a NGO.

  • 2
    1

    Spring Koha

    Here we go again.
    So the Time Lord is going to win the war at Geneva offhandedly.

    Rajeewa types:
    “The rejection of a strongly worded UNHRC Resolution in May 2009 mostly due to the efforts of former Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, was one such rare occasion.”

    This is the best diplomacy by the Hindians and Americans, they did all the backroom manoeuvres and let the little islander claim victory and made him feel important. Within a year or two former ambassador was sacked and made unemployed.

    Later Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa (LLD) confirmed Dayan was working for a NGO.

  • 5
    2

    Lord Naseby is a paid lackey of the Sri Lankan government, and no one takes him seriously other than Sinhalese racists like you. Even fairy minded Sinhalese think this man is a joke. Shame on you , as know what this man is stating is a blatant lie and he is mouthing Sri Lankan government propaganda. Yet promoting his untruths. Shows what sort of racist mindset you have. This is why the ungrateful Sinhalese Buddhist President and his government who largely got elected on the votes of the Tamil speakers and Sinhalese Christians ,sent a letter of appreciation to this liar. proving like all Sri Lankan governments they lie and are racist to the core.

  • 3
    2

    The Number does not matter whether 40,000, 70,000, 147,000 or 8,000 but the intention of genocide is proved, by the pogroms against the Tamils in 1956,1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 and from 2006-2009;
    UN Charter clearly outlines the Genocide very clearly: for more details please refer
    https://www.academia.edu/34202740/SRI_LANKAS_GENOCIDE_OF_TAMILS

  • 3
    1

    Rajeewa Jayaweera
    Your title is “The Naseby Initiative Continues”.
    This Lord Naseby has been at for ages, never made any impression earlier and do you honestly think that he will this time?
    You start off with “Lord Naseby who recently took up the allegation ………..”.
    Not recently Rajeewa but for quite a while. The reason why he has not had any success is his bias. He has not said one word about the pogroms. None of his peers take notice.
    You are an advocate of cleaning up LankanAirlines. In spite of careful records etc. no one can find out the loss incurred so far.
    Do you really think that GoSL can provide a figure for the war causalities? Why the hell are you wasting your time nit-picking on the numbers?
    Towards the end of the war, a twelve year old boy captive was shot dead point blank. Will this Lord Naseby deny this?
    It is better to ponder as to why this predicament came about. Was the language/religion divide a red herring?
    The self-harming must stop Rajeewa.

  • 2
    0

    Para 18/page 5-“A significant number of submissions contained allegations relating to particular kinds of violations”

    We Are Not Surprised.

    In Oct 2010 PoE called for submissions. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the notice were subsequently posted, and the deadline was later extended to Dec 31st.

    On 8th Dec, srilankastateterrorism.blogspot.co.uk carried an article “Have You made Your Submission?” and asking people to write to the PoE.

    The website had 25 sample letters, asking users:

    “Please submit your letter to the U.N panel, even if you are not directly affected by the conflict”
    “Please use these letters if you do not find time to write your own letters”

    The letters had blank spaces to insert one’s name. The 40,000 figure was mentioned on 13 letters.

  • 3
    1

    Whether 40,000 persons were killed or 7,000 persons were killed, it is important to hold proper inquiries. R.J.’s argument is like that of a gunman who goes on a shooting spree and kills people, later saying ‘I shot and killed only 7 or 8 persons, not 40 persons, so it is not necessary to file charges against me or institute legal action against me’.

    • 1
      0

      Estate Labourer

      Stalin alleged to have said:
      “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.”

      Shankar Vedantam explained in Washington Post in early 2009:
      When a tragedy claims many lives, we often care less than if a tragedy claims only a few lives. When there are many victims, we find it easier to look the other way.

      Mass Suffering and Why We Look the Other Way
      By Shankar Vedantam
      Monday, January 5, 2009

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
      content/article/2009/01/04/AR2009010401307.html


      “Guns make small men feel big.”
      ― Oliver Gaspirtz

      I always thought for little men guns are the extension of their little Willi.

  • 1
    0

    Rajeewa
    High Commissioner
    “Getting distracted by arguments about the numbers that were killed or went missing during or in the immediate aftermath of the end of a near three decade war between the Sri Lankan security forces and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could ******easily distort the truth, ******the British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris said yesterday.”

    **** is mine

    So what we need is an international investigation.

  • 1
    0

    In 1971 during the first JVP uprising, it is estimated that over 10,000 young Sinhalese were killed. In the second JVP uprising, the ruthlessness was greater. It is said that over 70,000 young Sinhalese were killed. No one raised a finger to query these killings. In 1983 Black July over 3,000 Tamils were killed by the state. During Mullivaikal, there were according to the unwashed lord, 7000 Tamils killed. We are not going to keep quiet about that. We want justice in respect of all killings by the terrorist state and compensation paid. The killers must be identified and punished. There must be an end to this cycle of killings. If only 7000 were killed, why not have this established by a neutral group of judges? Why this great fear? There was a genocide. It simply needs to be inquired into and the perpetrators punished. Now, the government which has licked the arse of Naseby is locked into the admission that 7000 Tamils were killed. They are Sri Lankan citizens. The government has to account for them and ensure that the killers are punished. While we are at it. let it also account for the Sinhalese youth it had killed.

  • 1
    0

    In Sri Lanka, the state has become a killing machine. It killed Sinhalese and Tamils alike. Many murders of journalsts remain unsolved. The only deterrent to this spate of killings is external concern. There must be a change. Sirisena is a participant along with Rajapakse and his white van culture. Sirisena cannot escape complicity as he was minister for defence. Let us have an account for the deaths of 7000 people. The Paranagam Commission also agreed to this figure long before this white arse lord. So, we have to give an account for how such a large number of Sri Lankans came to die.

  • 0
    0

    Preventing the killing of innocents, whether Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslims, cannot be done in Sri Lanka by the internal machinery. The judges are not independent. They are corrupt. The politicians are thugs who inspire the killings. Often, they are the ones who create the groups that kill, like in 1983 and with the BBS. The executive simply to the line. The majority community, the Sinhalese, have not protested at the killings of their own youth, many of them innocent. In this situation, only the intervention of the international community can put an end to this callous state inspired killings. This is going to happen whether the likes of this writer wants it or not. It is to the good of all in the country when it happens.

  • 1
    0

    British MPs call on Sri Lanka to release list of surrendered Tamils CONTINUES

    British parliamentarians have called on Sri Lanka to release a list of all those who surrendered or were detained by the security forces during and after the armed conflict, in a message of support with families of the disappeared, as their protest passes 300 days. Noting that 300 days would have passed since the protests began, Paul Scully, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, said “it is a milestone which speaks to the immense bravery and courage of the families, who have continued their struggle despite the challenges of old-age, exposure to the elements and routine intimidation”. “But it is also one which reflects the government of Sri Lanka’s frankly shocking indifference to some of its most vulnerable and traumatised citizens.”

    “I was appalled to learn from the protestors deeply moving open letter last week, that seven individuals have passed away since the demonstrations began,” he added. In particular the parliamentarian highlighted the call for the release of all those who surrendered or were detained by Sri Lankan security forces. “Unfortunately, despite a pledge in June from President Sirisena that he would act on this key issue, little seems to have been done,” he added. “Meanwhile, doubts have continued to grow among families about what the government’s long promised Office on Missing Persons (OMP) can really deliver so long as access to this potentially vital evidence is denied.”
    “As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, I wish to extend my fullest support to the protesting families of the disappeared, and urge the government of Sri Lanka to take their grievances seriously. I have repeatedly stressed my belief that the government of Sri Lanka must speed up the pace of its reforms if it is to succeed in building a just and lasting peace and the release of this list is surely among the most urgent, yet achievable, steps that it could take.”

    • 1
      0

      Anpu

      Could you cite your source.

      • 1
        0

        NV,

        Sometimes CT does not publish the links and thanks to them sometimes they do.
        This time I forgot to add the link.

        http://www.seithy.com/breifNews.php?newsID=195876&category=EnglishNews&language=english

      • 0
        0

        [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

      • 1
        0

        NV,
        https://www.srilankacampaign.org/300-days-protest-message-support-british-mps/
        “Since the beginning of this year Tamil relatives of the disappeared have been protesting continuously across Sri Lanka’s North to demand answers regarding the fate of their missing loved ones. There are many individuals who have been missing since passing into government controlled areas during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war in 2009.
        This week, the longest-running of those protests will have surpassed the 300-day mark, with the others soon to follow. It is a milestone which speaks to the immense bravery and courage of the families, who have continued their struggle despite the challenges of old-age, exposure to the elements and routine intimidation. But it is also one which reflects the government of Sri Lanka’s frankly shocking indifference to some of its most vulnerable and traumatised citizens. I was appalled to learn from the protestors deeply moving open letter last week, that seven individuals have passed away since the demonstrations began.
        The families have made their demands very clear. Among them, they want the government to release a list – known to have been kept by the authorities – of all those who surrendered or were detained at the end of the war. Unfortunately, despite a pledge in June from President Sirisena that he would act on this key issue, little seems to have been done. Meanwhile, doubts have continued to grow among families about what the government’s long promised Office on Missing Persons (OMP) can really deliver so long as access to this potentially vital evidence is denied.
        As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, I wish to extend my fullest support to the protesting families of the disappeared, and urge the government of Sri Lanka to take their grievances seriously. ….

  • 1
    0

    Rajeewa,
    What do you think of the information given in this article
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/warning-disturbing-images-the-last-hours-of-the-son-of-prabhakaran/
    Is it all fake?
    Share this with Lord Nasty Boy.

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