20 April, 2024


The Paranoid Perspective Of Ambassador Mohan Pieris 

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

A recent speech by Mohan Pieris, former Chief Justice and currently Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, illustrates that which is credible and correct about the position of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), that which is grossly inadequate, and that which is dangerously paranoid and totalitarian in implication. 

First for the legitimate, credible and truthful part of what he said, which is regrettably weakened by what he fails to see and say, and then negated by what he absurdly goes on to say. 

A news report in The Island says:

‘Speaking during consultations on the Seventh Biennial Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Pieris said: “For nearly 30 years, we tried a cocktail of mechanisms from peace talks to ceasefires with the aid of our interlocutors, however the high price, to bring the group of non-state actors responsible for their extremely brutal terror tactics to the table, into the democratic fold. Regrettably all these efforts did not work. Innocent men, women and children continued to be terrorized, lost their lives and we witnessed the loss of public assets. Their distorted ideologies continued to incite hatred along ethnic lines even as I speak sitting in the comfort of jurisdictions outside. Finally, the Government had no choice but to carry out the humanitarian operation in 2009 that finally liberated the people of Sri Lanka from the clutches of that group of non-state actors.”’ 

So far so good, though the embittered segment of the Tamil diaspora, the inveterate Western peaceniks, and the hardcore UNP fans of the CFA and PTOMS may say otherwise. What is stated above by Ambassador Mohan Pieris is a narrative on which one could secure a fairly broad consensus in the international i.e., inter-state system. 

The problems arise later. They are threefold. Firstly, he seems to assume that simply because it was unavoidable and legitimate to go to war against a terrorist militia which had initiated lethal military action whenever there was a ceasefire and peace negotiations, there is no need for accountability afterwards. He is obviously ignorant of the case of Peru’s (elected) President Fujimori who crushed an insurgency by two leftwing movements, one of which had a track record of barbaric brutality, the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). Years later Fujimori was extradited and jailed for two massacres committed by death squads of the Peruvian armed forces, for which he had command responsibility. 

Secondly, Mohan Pieris seems to think that terrorism can be sustainably combatted and prevented without addressing the root causes of the conflict, which in the Sri Lankan case would mean a political settlement with the elected representatives of the Tamil people; a settlement based upon a reasonable measure of autonomy with the 13th amendment as the baseline, as agreed upon by the Sri Lankan state during and immediately after the war, including in the joint statement of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 23rd 2009. 

Thirdly, and most dangerous of all, Ambassador Pieris articulates a paranoid theory of ubiquitous terrorist penetration, which if believed by the Sri Lankan state—and there is absolutely no reason to assume that he is not representing its views–can only result in a totalitarian policy and system, almost certainly reflected in the new constitution that is in the pipeline. 

This is the grotesque vision that Ambassador Pieris rolled out at the United Nations General Assembly:

‘Mohan Pieris said that Sri Lanka had come a long way since those dark days yet there were those who found peace an inconvenient environment.

“Peace is anathema to their geopolitical aspirations which are played out through the pawns of terror namely Non-State Actors. We see today that by far more sophisticated machinations terrorists have gained access to our governments, civil society organizations, private sector entities, religious organizations, the judiciary and the entire canvas of human activity,” he said.’ (The Island, ibid)

Whose geopolitical aspirations is he talking about? What is the link between them and “the pawns of terror”? How, on what basis, is it possible to name ‘Non-state actors’ as ‘pawns of terror’?  Which non-state actors are these? Can he give examples? Does he mean all non-state actors, including trade unions, student movements, women’s organizations, human rights organizations, civic associations, journalists associations and social movements? What about political parties? 

Worst of all is the grotesquely paranoid perspective he goes on to present, without adducing a single scrap of evidence.

‘“We see today that by far more sophisticated machinations terrorists have gained access to our governments, civil society organizations, private sector entities, religious organizations, the judiciary and the entire canvas of human activity,” he said.’ (The Island, ibid.)

Where pray, have “terrorists gained access to our governments…private sector entities… [and] the judiciary”?

Most incredibly, how on earth can he claim that ‘terrorists’ have “gained access” to “the entire canvas of human activity”?

This would be laughable if not for its implications. If ‘terrorists’ have gained access to “the entire canvas of human activity”, then it would almost certainly follow, that the state should gain access if not control to “the entire canvas of human activity” so as to prevent/pre-empt or counter the ubiquitous access of the terrorists!

This paranoia which is doubtless the doctrine of the regime he represents, is a clear warrant for and signal of a totalitarian state, likely to be created by the coming Constitution. 

The Sri Lankan citizenry and society, the democratic political parties, the United Nations in New York and Geneva and the international community ranging from states and legislatures to civic bodies, must surely take note of this dangerous lunacy and act before it is too late.  

*The writer was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva, a Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council, and a Chairperson of the ILO

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Latest comments

  • 24

    Gota FAIL! Not because of anything but because Gota appointed Chandraperuma a leader of a murderous gang during JVP times and Mohan Pieris who came out in the public asking pardon from the citizens of the country for illegally giving a court order to free Mahinda Rajapakse who stole money that was donated to Tsunami Fund.

    How can Gotabaya make such silly errors. Couldn’t he find more suitable respectable clean characters to come to UN?

    • 10

      Dayan, what Mohan Peiris said is applicable to Sri Lanka in the present context. International community will say ” For nearly 12 years, we tried a cocktail of mechanisms from consultations to coaxing with the aid of our fellow members however the high expenses, to bring the group of state actors responsible for their extremely brutal terror tactics to justice, into the civilized fold. Regrettably this has not worked. Innocent men, women and children are continuing to be terrorized and some killed and we are witnessing their land being appropriated under various ruses. Their distorted ideologies are continuing to incite hatred along ethnic lines and as we speak sitting in the comfort of being away from the theater of action. Finally we have no choice but to carry humanitarian operation now to liberate Tamil people in the clutches of those state actors”. This is going to happen.

    • 16

      Buddhist1, may I have your permission to point out that it was not Mohan Pieris “who came out in the public asking pardon from the citizens of the country for illegally giving a court order to free Mahinda Rajapaksa who stole money that was donated to Tsunami Fund”, but it was CJ Nanda de Silva (who was CJ before CJ Shirani B). Mohan Peiris is the one who went as emissary to Geneva and defended (before 2015) the disappearance of Pragneeth Ekneligoda a few years ago in Geneva, responding to a question by HRC that, “God Only Knows” and “He must have sought asylum in a foreign country and living comfortably”. he is the one pleaded with MS to retain him (2015) that he will “Ona Theenduwak Dhennang” (“will provide any verdict you want me to give”). what low level to go to by the chief of the judiciary, to “save the Bacon” and position.

      • 3

        Regret my error of quoting Mohan Pieris pardoning Mahinda. My apologies.

        • 2

          However, Mohan Pieris was the Chief Justice who was in power when Yahapalana Govt was elected and he ran to Maithripala and promised that he would give all decisions as per Maithripala’s wishes if he is continued to be kept as the CJ. This was in the public media and never rejected by Mohan or Maithripala.

    • 1

      According to Tamil Diaspora and racist separatist Malabar Vellala Demala politicians who suffer from ‘Defeat-Syndrome’, everything in Sri Lanka ‘FAIL FAIL FAIL’ after Rajapakshes returned to power.
      ‘Jadapalana’ Government that sent a traitor to UNHRC who co-sponsored the UNHRC Resolution admitting Sri Lanka committed war crimes, human rights violations without informing the Parliament and the President violating the Constitution ‘PASS PASS PASS’.
      Regime Change Mafia is back in action in full swing.

  • 23

    Dayan J is correct – this is dangerous fear-mongering by a totally discredited, malignant charlatan, who is nevertheless a “legitimised” representative of a desperate regime.

    This regime is floundering on the brink of catastrophic failure, and now poised to wreak untold injustices on a foolish electorate, based on nothing more than the whims of a psychopathic lunatic at the helm.

    At least the insanity of the man is now clear. Let’s just wait for the self-destruction.

  • 21

    DJ, this is called ,persecutory, nihilistic delusions in a paranoid person with antisocial, narcissistic, hysterical, borderline, passive aggressive traits
    But he is not the only one

    • 18

      He sure is an interesting case study. But what if he is lieing all the way just like Rajapaksas.

  • 1

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  • 23

    Mohan Pieris is an ideal representative of Gota style Psychopath. During the war period and after he end of war Rajapaksas focus turned into power greed and money greed. They were involved in large scale corruption from sale of armoury and selling lands to China. Those who exposed their crimes were labelled as LTTE and murdered them. Lasantha is one of them murdered by them. They spent millions in buying people like M.P to cover up their crimes. However, recently Gota exposed his real face to threaten Harin Fernando. Similarly, MP doing the same blame game of UN supporting LTTE. They forget that it is the UN that saved Rajapaksas from facing the death sentence. UNHRC and Western Nations have more about them than the people of Sri Lanka.

  • 8

    DJ is getting carried away to extremes to satisfy his political alliance…..

  • 17

    “We see today that by far more sophisticated machinations terrorists have gained access to our government, civil society, private sector entities, religious organizations, the judiciary and the entire canvass of human activity”. Thank you, Mr. Mohan Pieris for telling the “TRUTH”. This entire “Government” is composed of such “Sophisticated Terrorists” not “Excluding” you. When you look at the background of all those “Persons” and “Organizations” that brought “GR” to be the President and thereafter worked to bring about that “2/3rd” Majority in Parliament, what this Ambassador to UNO says it is nothing but the “TRUTH”. Check the “Credentials” of “Viyathmaga”, “Eliya”, “Yuthukama”, the “Sanga Peramuna”, “Artists Sansadaya”, “Independent Lawyers” and what they have done for the last fourteen months, nobody needs a “Rocket Science” education to know the “TRUTH” of your statement. This reminds me of my village folks simple way of expressing this, as: “Kata Boru Keewath, Diva Boru Kiyanne Nehe” ( The tongue wan’t tell a lie even if the mouth wants to tell a lie)

  • 8

    @DJ … “the entire canvas of human activity” – I believe this phrase not for the UN rather for all citizen of Sri Lanka. What they indirectly says is .. We need a Big brother style intuitive data collection, analysis and corrective measures (including prison terms) of every individual’s movement, activity and expression to detect anti-government and anti-military sentiments. The first step already in place .. that is to monitor social media activity of anyone who express or indicative of support as punishable offence. Do you get where we heading?

  • 4

    In other words, is the UNO Chief delegate and Representative for Sri Lanka, the ex CJ of SL in other words admitting that after 15 months + of the New governments administration came to power on the basis of strengthening security and eliminating any and all terrorism and security lapses, they have been unable to do so. What a pity and broken promise. No doubt people are clamouring “Sir fail”, which I don’t want to and don’t believe is correct. However, this statement coming from the Officially appointed spokesmen at the peak world body, by the government makes me feel, “that it may be true and/or believable as a Fail” So the terrorism is still there.

  • 6

    Ambassador Mohan Pieris may conveniently call the war against the LTTE a ‘humanitarian mission’. Ok, let that be. But the war crimes are ‘sandwiched’ within the humanitarian mission in between to hide these war crimes.

    During the war, many youths were taken away by the military from their homes in front of their parents assuring them, they are only taking them to check their credentials and will be sent back, but they never returned!

    The public announcement was made asking all the people in the war area to move into a designated ‘safe area’, and believing many obeyed but only later to bomb the so-called ‘safe area’ resulting in many deaths. The military aimed to make the killings easy and effortless!

    An agreed method of the surrender of the LTTE was drafted and announced for the fighters to gather in a designated location holding white flags, but that was only a trick to kill them all with the least effort.

    These all are war crimes, these cannot be negated by their so-called ‘good deeds’. We appreciate their few if any good deeds, and we will give them a trophy for it. BUT, war crimes also must be dealt with separately of course. They simply cannot cover their BAD using their ‘GOOD’.

  • 4

    My comment looks incomplete without a referral to “Business Entities” and “Religious Organizations” that Mr. Mohan Pieris has mentioned as “terrorists” who entered the Government. The most recent case is the “Sugar Deal” that is estimated to be around “Rs. 10 billion” i.e. next to the “Bond Scam” of Yahapalanaya. It was revealed in Parliament that the “Beneficiaries” who raked in that cool Rs. 10 billion were “Big Business” entities who provided “Facilities” supposed to be “Free” to those “Civil Societies” that brought this President and his Government. The estimates of that “Loot” are now before a Parliamentary Committee, officially submitted by the Ministry of Finance, Next to the “Religious Organizations. They are now in direct “Control” of the President having got “Officially” as the “Bikku Advisory Board”. The other day the Secretary Defense, Ltd. General Kamal Gunaratne, reportedly said: “Some of our own Buddhist Priest supporters are involved in destroying the forest”. Thank you, Mr. Mohan Pieris, for being so open of your own camp of “Terrorists” who have “Entered” the Government. Isn’t this worst than the 30 years of “War” with LTTE?

  • 2

    Sinhalayo who are the native people in Sinhale played the main role in kicking out traitors in ‘Jadapalana’ Government and electing Rajapakshes who restored peace in this country defeating LTTE Tamil terrorists that massacred Sinhalayo for three decades. They will decide whether Rajapakshe regime is ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ and not by descendants of people who came from Hindusthan, sought asylum in Sinhale and did not vote for Rajapakshes.
    Both Sinhala and Demala communities suffered due to decisions and actions taken by a very small group of racist separatists to realize their political aspirations. Sinhalayo appreciate if these people mind their business and allow Demala people to live in peace with Sinhalayo. Their aspirations are not the aspirations of a large majority of Demala people in this country.
    Those who are unhappy with the decision taken by their elders to live in Sinhale with Sinhalayo are free to return to their ancestral homeland without creating further problems. Sinhalayo did not invite Demala people to their country. They only helped them. So, do not create problems for those who helped!

  • 3

    What Mohan says is correct.

    Looks like terrorists are in panic! No country allows terrorists to live. How can SL be the exception?

  • 3

    So there is only one way to take this monkey off the Sri Lankan back! The island’s history of the Buddha is at the centre of all these troubles -> https://qr.ae/TUtFWm

    The monkey disappears when the govt accept the islands authentic history first. It’s only THEN there will be lasting peace.

  • 5

    Dr DJ why aren’t you follow the footsteps of Prof GLP and be be faithful to Rajapaksa clan and enjoy life. Weren’t you in the good books of Ex President and got the Ambassador post to Russia. MS was a very pathetic President we had. He dashed all our hopes of Good Governance Government in 2015. After accumulating enormous wealth he joined with SLPP to protect his future.
    When the Supreme Court Chief Judge is ‘appointed’ by the Politician’s (President) can the citizens believe that they aren’t going to be biased. They become TRAITORS of Mother Lanka eg Sarath N de Silva.
    DJ ,
    you may point out the errors the current Government is making but they are hell bent to bring more sufferings to the citizens of SL.
    Have you contributed to the development of the New Constitution that is being formulated. What guarantees are you offering to the minorities?
    DJ, if you had been given the chance to be the UN representative of SL what will you be saying at the current meeting of the UNHCR?

  • 9

    If a planned new constitution is carte blanche to foster a monarchical family administration, it does portend a tragic outcome for poor Sri Lankans. Although having a history of fiefdoms and tribalism at the core, the people must develop enough maturity to yearn for a secular democratic and fair constitution.

  • 15

    Mohan Peries is an opportunustc stooge without any principle and he has already done the damage at the UN. He has proved their guilt and absolute bluff. For GR he cant recruit any better persons as there are no capable people on his side except racists and fanatics and crooks. He is only good to satisfy some jokers who claim themselves as patriots and clever the moron Blind Eagle alias HLD. This clown is not tired of repeating the same stuff again and again.I dont know why they didnt send this joker too to the UN to do more damage to Gotta and co.

  • 7

    Myanmar has appointed an Israeli & his Canadian based PR company to lobby at the UNHRC & the world at large for a $2m fee. I am sure that is peanuts to the GR & they will do a better job than discredited bum suckers like Mohan Peris. Alternatively, maybe DJ can do it cheaper.

    • 3

      Raj-UK: The Government of GR (Sri Lanka) has already “RECOGNIZED” Myanmar “Junta”. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of “GR” Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena has invited the “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of Myanmar for a “Conference” to be held on 17 March. The “Invitation” is addressed as: ” H.E.U.Wunna Manng Lwin – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar”. The “Invitation” is to participate at the “BIMSTEC” (Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectional Technical and Economic Cooperation) and it is dated 2/3/21. Any idea, that a sizeable portion of that “$ 2m”, you mentioned above has already “Landed” into an “Off Shore” account of a “Sri Lankan”?

    • 2

      Raj-UK ,

      “Bum suckers” sounds too good ! Make it more specific ” Shit Eaters.”
      on silver plates ! Special Srilankan Variety of Distinguished Local
      Honourables and Excellencies !

  • 3

    I seriously believe in not wasting anymore of my time commenting on
    people like Sarath N Silva and Mohan Peiris who had been the subjects of
    public insult and humiliation in the past . Sarath N Silva admitted his
    wrong doing on public platforms and non other than the country’s former
    President Sirisena revealed to the press what Mohan promised to him in
    return for his appointment as chief justice . Why is Mohan P where he is
    now ? That is the Quality of our People and their Leaders !

  • 1

    People like Mohana Peries, Sarath Silva are some of the top class Sinhala political leaders, advisers and brains behind the government. The entire world knows their credentials. But these are the type of people needed to run or assist the anduwa. Brainy sinhalese are kicked out, locked up or totally side lined and made silent through physical threat. This Blind Eagle alias HLD was one time chief editor of Sunday Observer and a right hand man of Premadasa and he ran away Premadasa was killed. He thinks he is a Sinhala Brain and a leader. What a pathetic state for the Sinhala race.

  • 0

    oh gosh…. :) ……he’s play-acting the role of the Devil’s Advocate (like in the movie).

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