22 October, 2020

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Wigneswaran, TNA’s Manifesto And War Crimes Investigation

By Amaravathi

Mr. Wigneswaran is widely acclaimed among all ethnic groups as a person of   honour, courage and integrity, and dedication  to democratic principles and rule of law.

These were also among the reasons why he was chosen by the TNA as the unity candidate for the post of Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council.

Wigneswaran

However, there were obvious warning signs – his  assertion that he does not “do politics”, and his tendency, therefore, to place himself above  lesser “political” mortals, and to offer freewheeling thoughts on what Tamils should or should not do etc – – most often to Indian news papers with known political agendas.

For example, in his early interviews – he sweepingly derided the role of the Tamil Diaspora, and Tamil Nadu politicians — all of which were the opposite of TNA’s declared  positions – without  having had an interchange with those persons.

More troubling is the fact, based on Google search, that there is no record of his publicly calling for an international investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by both sides – which is surprising given his long and distinguished record of upholding justice and the rule of law, and his fearless condemnation of the progressive loss of judicial independence in Sri Lanka, and his knowledge of alleged war crimes that  had occurred.

Whatever his personal views may have been in the past with regard to an independent international investigation, as TNA’s candidate  for Chief Minister, he had signed on to the comprehensive manifesto of the TNA.

TNA’s manifesto issued in on September 3, 2013, unequivocally gives central importance to an independent international investigation of alleged violations in “ matters of immediate concern for the Tamil People”.

The relevant part of the manifesto is given below..

““MATTERS OF IMMEDIATE CONCERN FOR THE TAMIL PEOPLE

In addition to continuing to pursue a just and lasting solution, we will actively engage in addressing the immediate and current concerns of our People. We will seek to enforce the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General and the Resolutions adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 and March 2013. The specific matters are as follows:

  • There must be meaningful de-militarization resulting in the return to the pre-war situation as it existed in 1983 before the commencement of hostilities by the removal of armed forces, military apparatuses and High Security/Restricted Zones from the Northern and Eastern Provinces
  • Tamil People who have been displaced in the North and the East due to the conflict must be speedily resettled in their original places; housing provided, their livelihoods restored and their dignity respected
  • An Independant International Investigation must be conducted into the allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws made against both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE during the last stages of the war, the truth ascertained and justice to victims and reparation including compensation must be ensured
  • Persons who are detained without charges must be released promptly and a general amnesty should be granted to all other political prisoners
  • There must be finality reached with regard to thousands of missing persons and compensation must be paid to the next of kin
  • Tamils who fled the country must be permitted to return to their homes and a conducive atmosphere created for their return
  • A comprehensive programme for the development of the North and East including the creation of employment opportunities for the youth will be undertaken with the active support of the Sri Lankan State, the Tamil Diaspora and the International Community”

The Google search also shows that Mr. Wigneswaran has not publicly supported an international investigation to date, even after TNA’s manifesto had been announced.

In fact, some of his statements have had the opposite effect, for example when he reportedly told the Hindu on September 12,” where the husband and wife are having a fight, the neighbor must not come and say that you must divorce. That is not your business”. Although his comment was directed at  Tamil Nadu politicians, he surely must have known that the same reasoning would be applied  to the international community as a whole, which would echo the view of the Rajapaksa regime.

In any event, it is striking that Mr. Wigneswaran’s comprehensive statement at the inaugural meeting of the Northern Provincial  Council  did not include a call for an independent international investigation.

This along, with his statements to the Indian Press, have caused unwanted and dangerous  confusion on such a central issue. It is vitally important that TNA, its Chief Minister and its Members of the Northern Provincial Council immediately make crystal clear  that their position on the central issue of an international investigation, remains exactly  same as in the Manifesto.

The issue of an international investigation is scheduled to come up for a decision by the UN Human Rights Council in a few months time in March 2014, and could well be also discussed at the imminent CHORG  Colombo.

Therefore, an immediate strong  affirmation of the commitment of the Chief Minister,  Northern Provincial Council and TNA to an international investigation  is urgently needed, to be  made immediately to Commonwealth Heads of State, as well as to the wider International Community, especially to the US and the UN Secretary  General.  Any   possible  participation of the TNA in the CHORG, should be contingent on it being allowed to make that proposal at CHORG.

A failure to do so, would be a betrayal of the trust that the Tamil people have so  overwhelmingly  placed in the TNA and its manifesto.

It  would also  be indefensible when the IC is finally taking  serious notice of its failure to protect the hundreds of thousands of  Tamil victims during  and after the war, as evidenced, for example,  by the recent admission by the UN Secretary General  at the UN General Assembly, that  there had been a UN  “systemic failure”, and by the candid statements by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay,  as well as US ambassador Sison, that there has been no progress on accountability, and little progress on human rights and democracy fronts, since the end of the war —  and even a deterioration  in the situation after the two US sponsored resolutions had been  approved by the UN Human Rights Council in March

It would also  be a betrayal  of   all those persons and organizations, including, for example UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,  leading international human rights organizations, British Channel Four, Tamil Nadu people, Tamil Diaspora , the British Labour Party  etc,  who have worked  tirelessly for truth, accountability and reconciliation.

Should India , US  and others still  decide not to support an international investigation, it should be solely  their responsibility. TNA as the Tamil people’s democratically elected representatives should not give them an excuse to escape their responsibility.

It seems clear that the Rajapaksa regime, along with some countries like India, US and UK , who have worked against an international  investigation for nearly five years, are seeking to exploit perceived differences  between Mr. Wigneswaran and  rest of TNA and his relative inexperience in diplomatic maneuverings.

It appears that those countries would  dearly  love to deal with Mr.Wigneswaran, rather than with  MR. Sampanthan  and  Mr Sumanthiran, let alone the other TNA members of the NPC.

Mr Wigneswaran’s recent letter to the Indian Prime Minister inviting him to visit Jaffna, at a time when the question whether the  Indian Prime minister should attend the imminent CHOGM  in Colombo was a contentious domestic issue in India, was a disastrous  venture. His subsequent explanation that the letter was unconnected  to the Prime Minister attending or not attending  CHOGM, only made  him look even worse.

The TNA may  want to write to the UN Secretary General expressing gratitude for his recent acknowledgement of UN’s “systemic failure” (1), during the final months of the war, and requesting that, in light of that failure , and the current dismal situation in  Sri Lanka on accountability and its other war end commitments made to him by President Rajapaksa , as reported  by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ,  he establish without delay an independent international mechanism to investigate the credible allegations of  violations of  international human rights and humanitarian law  by both sides , which  had been recommended to him by the UN Panel of Experts as early  March 2011. According to the UN Internal review of UN Actions in Sri Lanka, as early as June 2009, “ the UN Office of Legal Affairs (had ) advised the Secretary General that he had the authority, under Article 99 of the UN Charter, to establish Commissions of Inquiry.”

______________________

*Excerpt on Sri Lanka  from UN Secretary general’s report to the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013.

“The inability of Member States and the United Nations to prevent and put a stop to large-scale human rights violations has had disastrous consequences.

An internal review of UN action at the end of the war in Sri Lanka identified a systemic failure: Member States did not provide the UN system with support to meet the tasks they themselves had set; and the system itself did not adapt properly or deliver fully.

In this 20th anniversary year of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, we should renew our commitment to the UN’s founding principles. I intend to do more to help Member States reach early consensus to prevent large-scale violations, and I am implementing recommendations to ensure that the UN system upholds its responsibilities under the Charter”.

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Latest comments

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    Relax. Let events take it’s course.

    As first steps, the Govt should send the Governor on a diplomatic posting and hand over the role to a civilian administrator.

    I nominate Mr. Austin Fernando.

    The Army has n role in the North anymore. They should be returned to barracks, retrained in other skills and demobilized; or returned to the South.

    The people in the North must be allowed to recover after prolonged conflict. We need not push the elected for this or that from near and afar.

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    Mr.Wigneswaran knows what he is doing and I have the utmost confidence in his ability as CM to govern.. to me its seems that the author of this article is trying to provoke or push agenda.. I suppose all want to push their personal agenda, but if they are working for the benifit of the “Tamil people” they should put away thier pet project and concentrate on what is to be done now in reconcilation, education and development of the society and the Northern Province

    Tamil Nadu is a neigbour.. should keep its fishermen from expoliting the Sri Lankan waters and keep away from expliting Sri Lanka politics for its own political ambitions.. for the start as to been a good neigbour

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      What personal agenda are you talking about James? With the same breath that he wrote to the Indian PM, he should have written to Ban Ki Moon and Navi Pillay emphasising on the urgent need to call for an independent international investigation on alleged crimes and possible genocide. If Wigneswaran thinks that the Rajapakses are going to be moved by any of his statements, then he is going to be sadly mistaken. The call for the removal of the present governor got a response from Rambukwella in typical sarcastic way. Read it yourself and figure out what he is facing.

      Look at the confusion of his inviting Manmohan to visit Vanni. The Northern Indian newsmedia are having a field day, particularly Suhasini Haidar, that the NPC CM is in favour of the PM attending CHOGM,and this too after the subsequent statement by the CM. She (Suhasini) doesn’t even have the decency to mention the CM’s subsequent statement and these are type of vultures he will be facing. Just a stark reminder – if there is no Tamilnadu and diaspora pressure, the Congress govt will look the other way without any compulsion to even notice what and how the Sri Lankan regime is treating the Tamils.

      From the manifesto, the CM ought to have realised the challenges. More than food and water, what the people need are assurances, that would assuage the bleeding and wounded hearts and minds, ravaged by a brutal and repressive regime that even before investigating would deny everything, just like in the recent Isaipriya video case. A case in point is the recent talk show where Dayan Jayatileka also took part. When asked, he tacitly admitted to the atrocities committed by both sides but what he said next perplexed me – the measure he used was preposterous in the way he defended the regime – he cited Bangladesh and other countries that have taken so long to conduct war crimes trials and supposedly that ought to be the standard. In short, he, who shamelessly introduced a resolution and got it passed when he was at the UNHRC, while admitting that atrocities may have happened, wants the perpetrators of such heinous crimes to just walk away. Of course, being a Sinhala himself, that reminded me of the antagonistic attitude towards the Tamils. His masquerading as a social scientist, etc falls flat and to accord him such a status is a shame, who actively abetted the commission of grave murders and crimes and should be held as responsible as the Rajapakses.

      So, it is this scenario that the CM is facing and frankly he won’t even have a honeymoon period. Such statements would cause more anguish to the Tamils in Sri Lanka, more than it would hurt the sentiments of either Tamilnadu or the diaspora. Lest you forget, it is not simply a vote for Wigneswaran but rather what the people believed he would be able to do – more so what the manifesto entailed.

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      “Tamil Nadu is a neigbour.. should keep its fishermen from expoliting the Sri Lankan waters and keep away from expliting Sri Lanka politics for its own political ambitions.. for the start as to been a good neigbour”

      You are a dreamer unable to reason. The EU cannot have a functional fishing policy with Spaniards who relish small fish for tapas fishing in Scottish waters where they use conservation techniques and have to throw away the excess catch as per the policy- the thrown dead fish is enough to feed the malnourished Africans.Their fights are worse than SL/TN.

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    The Chief Minister of the Northern Council Mr Wigneswaran should in keeping with the TNA manifesto, which the people of the Northern Province voted on, should categorically demand that an independent international
    Investigation should be carried out. This should be made as soon as possible and before the Conference is convened in
    In Sri Lanka.

    • 0
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      “Conference is convened in Sri Lanka.”

      The conference is UK interest only in its domestic affairs- to bring back the Tories who have formed the extreme right wing UKIP.

  • 0
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    By Amaravathi –

    Mr. Wigneswaran is widely acclaimed among all ethnic groups as a person of honour, courage and integrity, and dedication to democratic principles and rule of law.

    AMARAVATHI:

    Not any more, He is now just another stupid Tamil [Edited out]

    That is why he is in the hospital for CHEST PAINS ?

    • 0
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      JimSoftly:

      I take it as a good sign-your display of anger and frustration, as is the case with regime. That we have achieved that is an indication we are digging deep into your closets.

  • 0
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    A sought after Tamil heart specialist, who now lives in an old peoples’ home in Sri Lanka is lonely and nobody goes to him for advise on cardiac matters. Of course he gives expert advice to his inmates and visitors.

    His days a renowned hear specialist is done; he is simply a common man with knowledge.

    Does the same apply to Wigneswaran? He has knowledge of legal matters and justice. Being a judge is different from being a politician. As a politician he has to follow the policies of the party he belongs to and make decisions and statements accordingly.

    Tamil people want justice, dignity and freedom from oppression by the Sri Lankan state. Justice includes justice for the innocent Tamil civilians massacred as shown in Channel 4 video recently about the infamous “No Fire Zones”.

    If he has independent contrary opinions, and if he articulates those without consulting with the party caucus he might lose the confidence of the Tamil people. Alienating the diaspora or Tamil Nadu is counter productive to Tamils’ interests.

  • 0
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    Mr Wignes must be give time to act.”slow and steady wins the game”. Further he is new in the political field.

  • 0
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    Amaravathi “It seems clear that the Rajapaksa regime, along with some countries like India, US and UK , who have worked against an international investigation for nearly five years…”

    Dude, if India, US and UK are against an international investigation, who is for it?!!! The TNA and all the Tamils in the world can stand on their heads, but there will be no international investigation if those three countries are against it. Do you think that Canada and Norway could get you an international investigation?!!

    The naivete or extremist agenda of this writer is very revealing.

    Come on Colombo Telegraph – when you are publishing anonymous articles or articles with pseudonyms at least make sure that they articulate cogent arguments. If a person is going to make ridiculous statements let them do it under their own name.

    S

    • 0
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      “The naivete or extremist agenda of this writer is very revealing”

      Amaravathi is the city adjoining the orange city Nagpur (where the naked fakir was shot) Nagpur was where Dr Ambedkar the father of India’s constitution asked all SC’s to become Buddhist- Sri Lankan Buddhist are at Amaravathi for ages living in rich SC homes than running a vihare. Nagpur is the second capital of Maharashtra and winter sittings are held there. Dia ass pora is too much of SC by the gun so they fail. Vidarbha region folk were the real soft spoken Hindustani fighters for independence. Modi was first groomed there.

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    Wigneswaran had also charged Genocide:

    http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=8766

    • 0
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      Amaravathi has let the cat among the pigeons by leaning on Dayan Jeyatileke for support by targeting the NPC CM who has a difficult job to do
      He is doing it presumably for people like Fathima Fukusima,Jim Softy in SL and others like Vaico,Jeyalalitha,Karunanithi,Seeman and others in India who have a common interest in preventing an international investigation into the atrocities committed by the SL army and the LTTE on the people in our island.

  • 0
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    Please post this comment on my earlier article

    Wigneswaran, TNA’s Manifesto And War Crimes Investigation

    Sulaiman

    Your comment is typical of what passes as intelligent discourse among Rajapaksa apologists.

    You scoff, why would India, US and UK , who have worked against an international investigation for nearly five years, change their position? The short answer is Rajapaksa himself, and, as noted in my piece, all three countries as well as the UN, have already hardened their positions on Sri Lanka. Also, please read Dayan Jayatileka’s piece “The ugly Sri Lankan” in today’s Colombo Telegraph.

    In my piece, I had referred a number of developments justthis year : the UN Secretary General’s admission of “systemic failure” of the UN in Sri Lanka, the comments of the UN High Commissioner for human rights, the harder line taken by the current US ambassador when she said that “depending on Sri Lanka’s response to UNHRC resolution of March 2013, the US “will examine our consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond.” , and the recent call by the Br itish Labor Party for an international investigation. As for India, as Dayan notes, should Narendra Modi win the forthcoming election India, it could be different ball game for Sri Lanka.

    This does not necessarily mean that those countries and the UN will immeditel support an international investigation , but the momentum is clearly in that direction.

    In any event, the main point of my piece was that TNA should follow its manifestoand press for an independent international investigation.

    Amaravathi

    • 0
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      “manifestoand press for an independent international investigation”

      Create Asia’s first “monkey court” (it springs like the kangaroo) and use it as precedence to go after Kashmir Nehru dynasty.

      When the Queen belches she issues a royal pardon!

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