29 September, 2020

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Why India Needs To Vote For U.N. Resolution On Sri Lanka

By Alan Keenan –

Alan Keenan

With a vote due soon on a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), the Indian government has a chance to strongly encourage sustainable peace and political reform in Sri Lanka. Policy-makers in Delhi are clearly disturbed by the Sri Lankan government’s backsliding on promises of devolution of power to Tamil-speaking areas, its politically motivated impeachment of the Chief Justice there and its refusal to comply with last year’s HRC resolution on “Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka.” To maximise its ability to influence Sri Lanka towards a lasting resolution of its ethnic conflicts and a restoration of its democratic institutions, India should take the lead in developing a forceful, international strategy, first at the HRC, then through other multilateral bodies, to be able to hold Colombo to its promises.

Risks of instability

Some argue that India should avoid supporting the HRC resolution in order not to lose leverage with the Sri Lankan government. Unfortunately, the limits of India’s bilateral influence have long since been reached. Despite India’s unprecedented financial assistance to Sri Lanka over the past four years, the Rajapaksa government has made no genuine effort to treat Tamils as equal citizens, or to recognise their right to autonomy in the north and east. At the same time, as the International Crisis Group detailed in our February report on “Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn,” there has been a sharp deterioration in democracy and the rule of law and no accountability for human rights violations at the end of the civil war. The risks of eventual political instability and a return to violence are growing.

The Indian government finds itself in a challenging position. India has wisely tried to remain engaged in Sri Lanka and avoid inflaming Sinhala nationalist sentiments. Sinhalese fears about the role of India’s 70 million Tamils are being stirred by increasingly bellicose, at times irresponsible, rhetoric from politicians in Tamil Nadu, as well as violent attacks on visiting Sri Lankans. The active and emotional support of politicians and activists in Tamil Nadu for the HRC resolution, including the current intense pressure from the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s coalition partner, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, for the central government to support a resolution denouncing “genocide” in Sri Lanka, and the apparent effect this pressure has had on policy-makers in Delhi has led some analysts to argue that India risks having its foreign policy “hijacked” by “regional interests.”

Such arguments are exaggerated. Action on Sri Lanka’s human rights and governance crisis isn’t only in the interest of Tamils and Tamil Nadu. The Indian nation as a whole has every reason to prevent the further entrenchment of authoritarian rule in Sri Lanka, where Tamils and Tamil-speaking Muslims are being increasingly marginalised politically and the rights of all Sri Lankans are being undermined.

Consensus and persuasion

Beginning at the HRC, Delhi should lead in forging a strong international coalition to pressure the Rajapaksa government into reversing its most dangerous policies. This will require India modifying its long-standing reluctance to support country-specific resolutions at the U.N. and its preference for working through bilateral engagement.

India’s endorsement of a forceful HRC resolution, especially if it includes a call for an international war crimes inquiry, will send an important message to the Sri Lankan government that it cannot break promises, to India and its own people, and violate its international obligations without consequences.

Strong Indian action would also encourage other governments to toughen their own policies towards Sri Lanka. U.S. and European diplomats make it clear that they look to India as the key part of an effective international coalition, and India wields great influence among nations of the global south.

In addition to voting for a strong U.N. resolution, India should actively seek to bring others, particularly fellow Asian governments, on board. This includes supporting efforts of other Commonwealth members to ensure that its next heads of government meeting, currently scheduled for Colombo in November, is hosted by a government that respects Commonwealth values of democracy and the rule of law.

India should also work to persuade Japan, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to use their considerable collective financial leverage to reverse Sri Lanka’s dangerously militarised development policies in the northern and eastern provinces. All major donors should press for a return to civil administration and for fair elections to the northern provincial council. Without these minimal conditions in place, development assistance risks supporting an unjust, and eventually unstable, political order in traditionally Tamil areas and an unreliable authoritarian regime in Colombo.

Until India begins actively helping set the agenda for multilateral action on Sri Lanka, even its strongest messages to the Rajapaksa government will continue to be ignored. Voting for a strong U.N. resolution, including an international investigation, will be an important step in India assuming a real leadership role in international policy on Sri Lanka.

*Alan Keenan is senior analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director, International Crisis Group, this article is first appeared in the Hindu

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Latest comments

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    The illusion of winning has blinded the Rulers on the consequences of social harmony. OIC will join hands with India if the radical BBS is not tamed. life to a Muslim is his Honour and the right to his property.

    “Verily, that which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear. And between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour. But he who falls into doubtful matters [eventually] falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepard who shepards [his flock] around a sanctuary, he is certain to pasture [his flock] in it. And verily, every king has a sanctuary, and verily, Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. And verily, in the body there is a lump of flesh, which, if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and which, if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart.”

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      Maghribi

      Keep religion out please.
      This is a secular website.

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        Rambler

        “This is a secular website.”

        Best web to hammer all religious bigots.

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          Exactly Mr Dambane, I’ve never seen a website like CT, may be only web to hammer all religious bigots.

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            Nethra

            Thanks for your support.

            Lets start here and now.

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              Native Vedda

              First to be hanged should be you.

              Because you are worse than a bigot.

              You are a closet bigot.

              Out you go !

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        Rambler

        “First to be hanged should be you.”

        I rather die for my ancestral land than living with two stupid and murderous peoples.

        When do you want to hang me?

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    India has been exposed to be a weak country. But worse still, Sri Lanka is increasingly being seen as a villainous country.

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      You would be living in false paradise by stating this.

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    It is a well thought article. We both Tamils and Sinhalese should understand the reality that the way the mainstream political parties and religious leaders are responsible for the current state of Sri Lanka. It has become a habit within these players that in order to come to power they must use racial and religious trump card.We never understand the importance of rule of law and justice in a true democratic system. Unfortunately, the majority of the people both Sinhala and Tamils were not given a chance or space to think about true democratic values and always kept under dark using the racial card with constant and frequent reminders.In order to keep this momentum they kept all democratic institutions such as police, military, justice under their custody rather than independent. In fact, Sinhala majority were affected by this trend more than Tamils. For example, thousands of Sinhala youths who turned against the governments (both SLFP and UNP)were lost their rights of justice. Over, 60,000 disappearances and murders were happened during JVP insurgence and no one was brought under justice system.Over 30,000 Sinhala youths from poor Sinhala families who joined army lost their lives and the same number maimed and lost their lively hood. Another 60,000 ran away from army and hiding. How many of you realise that you have denied your basic rights? Why Because you never ask whether it is right to kill a Tamil person in Colombo? Is it right to burn a library in Jaffna? Is it right to abduct and murder a person in Colombo? You never got a chance to think. The powers you gave is now backfires you.

    It is now time to think. The US resolution is not to punish Sinhala people or against Sri Lanka. It is an opportunity to make it right and bring back to true democracy in Sri Lanka. What happened to Tamils will happen to Sinhalese and it is happening. That is the reality. People should know what really happened. You don’t hand over power to a family to deny your rights. You should not loose your mind for sensitive issues. Think twice and you will find the truth. We need a proper police and justice system. We need a disciplined unbiased institutions.

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      Ajith, your comment should be translated in to both Sinhala and Tamil and publicised widely in the Sri Lankan Media. Winning the war and Victory Parades will not keep the youth happy for very long. For the last 30 years the people understood that there was a war going on, and were willing to undergo difficulties. The Government will soon be brought to their senses when people begin to realise that this country was better off under the British. Unfortunately the younger generation do not remember it. Education, Justice, Police and the Health Systems are in a mess. Conspicuous consumption by the Politicians is creating discontent. The people will rise up against the Government, if they, who brought the Government into Power, are not given a share of the benefits, the Politicians now seem to be enjoying.

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      If you honestly believe that this resolution is fair and has a justified purpose you must be incredibly naive or stubborn. Why should the US bring a resolution on us when they have created an even bigger mess ON FOREIGN SOIL. 3 Trillion US dollars was spent killing innocent Iraqis yet they are using Sri Lanka as some sort of distraction and are pretty much taking the fictional film Team America-World Police into reality. Don’t get me wrong, I want change here as much as the next person. I think it’s ridiculous in the 21st century that the constitution still says that only a Buddhist can be president but there is a right and wrong way to go about this. Isn’t it blatantly obvious that they are just chasing the Tamil vote?

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    If there was any sense of reason in this regime it would have surfaced a long time back. Instead there is villainy and craftiness to deceive and delay. Lies and false promises made without an iota of shame by the highest in the land. So it is time to say enough is enough.

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    Yes, It is indeed an opportunity for India to wash at least little of its hand for its sinful support to Sinhala army. If only India is decisive in bringing a amicable solution to the plight of Tamils, it would have been restored now.

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    Personally I think a resolution should be drafted on the US regarding Iraq. Silly me, it was just a mistake that those WMD never existed and innocent civilians dying in the hundreds of thousands was just a little consequence of that. What a joke of an article. This website is turning out to be a mere anti-government rant page.

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    Why India Needs To Vote For U.N. Resolution On Sri Lanka ecause they are a poodle of the USA.

    The US resolution is not to punish Sinhala people or against Sri Lanka. However, it would have been better US brought a resolution on themselves & Britton first. That would have been more apporpriate.

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    Alan Keenan

    You sound desperate now that you couldn’t have your way in Geneva. You are now urging India to do the hatchet job against Sri Lanka you hate so much. This shows you have a fixation with the country. Don’t you see your preoccupation with Sri Lanka is making people at Geneva and other such international fora who are serious about human rights and good governance uncomfortable?

    You are trying to setup India, the big bully in the region, against a small country that had the audacity to stand up for its sovereignty and independence against your western imperial sponsors in Geneva. Will you tell India to act tough against Pakistan where there is no concept even of democracy or human rights. And India is one of the main reasons for the predicament in which Sri Lanka finds itself today. It took advantage of the ethnic conflict to destabilize the country and impose its hegemony in the region. It armed, trained and financed several Tamil terrorist outfits in mid 80s, and allowed the LTTE to use Tamil Nadu as its rear base against successive lawfully elected governments of Sri Lanka – not merely against the Rajapakse regime. And finally India pushed Sri Lanka to militarily destroy the LTTE at any cost. Where were you all those time?

    Yes, there are attempts to hijack India’s foreign policy. It is being done not only by regional interests such as the repulsive Tamil racists and their opportunistic leaders in Tamil Nadu, but also by global neo-colonial interests represented by your ICG.

    What right do you have to provoke another country against Sri Lanka? Is that how you manage a crisis? What right you have to tell Sri Lankans how to run their country? If you are a man with an iota of self-respect first you will hold your own imperial masters accountable for their war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries before that.

    Alan, your overzealous vendetta against one little vulnerable country is not good for the professional image of you and your ICG.

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      Rambler says:

      “the repulsive Tamil racists and their opportunistic leaders in Tamil Nadu,”

      Sinhala/Buddhist pot calling Tamil kettle racist.

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        Native Vedda

        The one-liner brigade is back in action.

        Here is a one-liner that sums you up well:

        “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

        Now get back to your plastic doll and leave me alone !

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          Maybe native vedda hurt your feelings with just a one liner and you just couldn’t come up with something better :)

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            PETER

            Keep talking; someday you’ll say something intelligent.

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          Rambler

          A group of idiots led by Native Vedda can defeat a group of wise people led by you although I am bit thick.

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      Dear Rambler,
      Don’t blame India for the mesh created by Sinhala political leaders. India didn’t tell to colonize the North-East with Sinhala thugs. India didn’t ask your leaders to introduce Sinhala only act and murder hundreds of innocent Tamils and destroy their properties all over the island in 1958, 1962, 1972 1977 and 1983. India didn’t tell you to introduce the standardisation for university admissions based on race. India didn’t tell your politicians and police to burn Jaffna Library. India didn’t tell you to brutally kill political prisoners including drilling eyes of the prisioners. It didn’t tell you to butcher passengers of Kumuthini boat ny Naval forces.India didn’t tell you to bomb Navali church after telling them to go to church. Can you give an example of how many of the crimes committed by your armed forces (police, army, Navy)and political thugs were brought under justice system.
      I am not telling that India is an ideal democratic nation. It is true that India helped Tamil insurgents until 1987. It is true that Indra Gandhi described your actions against as Genocide. It is true that Rajiv forcefully introduced Indo-Lanka accord which was not accepted by LTTE.
      After the 1987, India supported your governments even though JR Jeyawardena planned to Kill Rajiv when he came to Sri Lanka. The US and India helped Sri Lanka more than they helped LTTE. India gave you naval support and US gave you intelligence support. The west banned LTTE after they come to the Peace talks. It is the time you built up your armed forces and you won the war. You cannot deny the fact that you killed thousands of Tamil Civilian at the end of the war. They thought you will try to win the hearts and minds of the Tamils and go for a political solution based on principles of sharing the power. But you thought you can cheat IC and India as you did with Tamils and Sinhala. They expected a better and honest behaviour from you but you thought you can get away with it using the race trump card. You can cheat Sinhala masses saying India is interfering , US is interfering, Muslims are trying to take over Sri Lanka , Tamils are going to tak over Sri Lanka or forcefully force Tamils ans Muslims to protest against India and US but it won’t work with US and India.

      Don’t you think it is better to recognise that the law of law is far more important than depriving the rights of others. If you are right you don’t need to bother India or US or China.

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        Ajith,
        dont waste your time rampler allways rample, becos his background stupid sinhala budhist. Recently i met native vedda we had mutual under standing budhism must be liberated from sinhala..we will liberate soon just wait..ignore all ramblers…

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        Ajith

        Please see my response further down.

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    India has it’s geographical interests than the Tamils interests.India is also a country that cannot be trusted specially by Sri Lankan Tamils for historical reasons. India has now lost all it’s grips over Sri Lanka. SL is becoming strong with the support of anti Indian elements including Pakistan and China.India have no choice other than bowing his head to SL.India is not the same like Indra and Rajive Ghandi’s time.India is no more considered as a deciding factor in the South Asian region.Most of the countries around India are now in the hands of China.Now India has to think about its own security rather than shedding crocodile tears for others.The only guardian of India ,willingly or unwillingly,may be the US.

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      Bow their heads to Srilanka? Son you have to stop smoking weed and get back to reality. Do you know Srilanka is just a dot in the world map? If India decides to stretch its arms you will be squashed like a snail. Do you know India has one of the larges military’s in the world with cruise missiles armed with nuclear heads? What do you got? You have to put gotabaya’s face in the multibarrel ! haha

      I wouldn’t bet on China. They just want your ports and your country to use as a base for the domination of east Asia. They don’t love you lol

      People like you in Srilanka think your country is great. Here is a reality check. It’s not.

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    In the practical world, Each country’s action is governed by national concern and interests and not by pure principles. The stand of countries like India is understandable under the context. Conversely, so is Pakistan. But no one has ever made it clear why the US government is interested in putting Sri Lanka down.

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    It’s important for Tamils to understand the tactical moves by the International Community in regards to Sri Lanka.They are not easy tasks as shown by the events in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan. The current protests have been ignited by a US sponsored resolutions in the UN.

    These resolution’s , however much they are watered down, have in fact ignited flames against the Sinhala State and still keep going. What is now demanded by the Diaspora Tamil youth and Tamilnadu youth are the separate State of Tamil Eelam, which should be internationally sponsored and recognized on the basis of findings of an independent international war crimes investigation and e UN sponsored referendum in the North/East.

    Indian Central governments under Indira Gandhi,in the past has helped (not consistently) to Tamil militants in providing safe havens, training grounds, and other forms. True, this assistance was given under a differ set of circumstances.

    But India can go back to these basics again. If you look at the frame work of world Tamil youth protests, it is clear that if demands a solution,(that could have been provided and did not eventuate in 2009) engineered (by any means I would say) by the international community. What is wrong with for the IC using India as a tool in this process ? Turkey’s assistance to IC in the Syrian crisis is a classic example of similar situation. This is what Alan Keenan is trying to point out in the safest possible way.

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    Dear Ajith

    I’m not blaming India. I’m blaming Alan Keenan for running after India after the failure at Geneva. It’s like you make a complain to the police about something, and when it doesn’t work you seek the help of the local thug (oor chandiyan) to fix your problem. In my view the whole human rights regime that is in place today will work in a fair and impartial manner only if initiatives are taken multilaterally by the international community rather than by few parties with special interests like Alan Keenan’s ICG, India, DMK, Seeman, Nimalka, Sunila, Packiasothy and the US State Department. (Peeping through the window darling what will the people say, If you want to marry me darling, come in the proper way) Human rights outfits preach transparency and accountability to others but they flout these principles at every turn.

    You seem to suggest the Sri Lankan forces “built up” themselves after the LTTE came for peace talks, but my understanding is that Prabakaran was so scared of the Deep Penetration Attacks of the army that he quickly signed the ceasefire agreement.

    I agree during the final stages of the war everybody helped the government of Sri Lanka, but nobody helped the LTTE, because the whole world could see Sri Lanka was fighting a just war against the most brutal, cannibalistic and irrational terrorist organization the world had ever seen.

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      Dear Rambler,
      Don’t you think that Sri Lanka is doing the same thing. In my opinion there is no chance for those groups you listed to act against to your nation if the law of rule and independence of justice system played a fair and impartial manner over the past six decades. Even the chief justice and former military commander (both Sinhala)did not get a fair treatment by your state. Think what would have happen to those innocent Tamils who were massacred by Chinese cluster bombs and chemical weapons.

      Why did you go to India for help if you know that India has a special interest. Don’t you know your government gave arms and money to LTTE to fight India. Don’t you know JRJ attempted to murder Rajiv when he came to sign the accord. Don’t you know your government gave support to Pakistan when India was war with Pakistan.You must behave like a human being instead of animals. Why did you spend millions and begged western world to ban LTTE. They banned LTTE only after they started peace talks. LTTE was very strong at the time and they are almost captured whole North and Eastern Province and Sinhala forces are on the run and your government begged India to stop LTTE.

      The International community and India did not like LTTE to win the war for many reasons.It is there special interest that gave the support to your government though they didn’t like Rajapakse. When compared to your armed forces LTTE brutality is nothing. I don’t know you remember when passengers in a boat “Kumuthini” were butchered by Sinhala Navy. You may remember you thugs dragged and burned innocent babies and mothers using Petrol in the streets of Colombo. Do you know you guys butchered the train passengers in Anuradapura? Do you know how many Refugees in Navaaly church were killed by bombing the church. Every day Tamils were in bunkers to escape from shelling and bombing. Sinhala governments blocked food and medicine supply.

      In summary, The same world and countries who branded LTTE as a terrorist organisation for their benefit is now calling You Sinhala as brutal, cannibalistic and irrational terrorist government. The fact is now it is your time to face the reality.
      Why China, Russia, Iran and Libya were supporting you and they said they will use veto if US bring this matter to security council? Don’t they have a personal interest.

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        Dear Ajith

        You did a very good job defending your position. I think both of us are smart and so we cannot persuade each other to change our views. However I’m very much impressed – you being a foreigner – how much more passionate and emotional you are than me about the problems in “my” own country.

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    I’m sure there enough people in India and Sri Lanka who now realize that Alan Keenan and the International Crisis Group must be very pleased with the problems for India that are now building up in Tamil Nadu. The ICG’s main agenda is to seek out problems in developing nations so that Western governments can manipulate them to their advantage, in particular to find ways to hinder the rise of developing countries so that the West can continue to dominate them. A truly united India able to speak with one voice and enjoying harmonious relations with its neighbours, such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is a threat to Western dominance internationally. Hence the ICG’s urging for India to take a more interventionist line regarding Sri Lanka is aimed at inflaming Tamil nationalist tendencies in southern India and creating distrust between India and Sri Lanka.

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    How naive the Srilankan boasting that India is bowing down to Srilanka. SL GDP (just 64 billion dollars) is 1/60 of GDP of even one state like TN( 4.28 trillion) and thinking that China will help to combat India? China exports business with India is to the tune of 18 billion dollar, got it? My foot, neither China will support SL for the sake of couple of ports. And moreover India has intercontinental missiles with nuclear payloads. They will engage always cold war and never meet in war fields. The fools are pakistanis and now Srilankans to rely china support. Even in 1999 kargil war, china outright rejected the support to Pakistan which forced them to retreat. Friendship is only in words and not in deeds and definitely in war fields. Best for sensible srilankan to see amicable solution to end all issue with all communities. Remeber if you treat other minorities as small, to world you are minorities by all means

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