23 November, 2019

Blog

WikiLeaks:Basil Discloses Plan To Decongest Manik Farm

By Colombo Telegraph

“Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa told Charge and A/DCM that the GSL planned to move forward with significant IDP resettlement before the monsoon season begins in October. When pressed, Rajapaksa said as many as 100,000 would be released, including students, religious leaders, the elderly, and others. It remained unclear, however, how the GSL would deal with the looming catastrophe of the those remaining in the camps. In response to Charge’s recent letter to the GSL noting that four de-mining partners receiving U.S. funding were not working to capacity, Rajapaksa claimed they had not finished the tasks assigned.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Basil Rajapaksa

A Leaked “CONFIDENTIAL” US diplomatic cable, dated August 24, 20o9, recounts the details of a meeting the US officials in Colombo has had with Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database which is written by Charge D’Affaires James R. Moore.

Under the subheading “The Blame Game” Moore wrote “On August 21, Charge and A/DCM met with Senior Presidential Advisor, Member of Parliament, and President’s brother Basil Rajapaksa to discuss Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) plans to deal with the potentially disastrous situation in the IDP camps at Manik Farm when monsoon rains arrive in early October. His initial response was to blame the UN for not installing the proper tents or toilets and claimed the UN had not reimbursed the GSL for its work in land clearing and road construction in Manik Farm. Mentioning A/S Blake’s interview that same day with CNN, he stated that the GSL had not received one cent from the international community for IDPs, only in-kind materials and it was not fair to blame the GSL for the situation in the camps.”

Placing a comment he wrote “Once again Rajapaksa seemed eager to convey the impression that the GSL was on top of the situation and now had in its hands the registration and other data needed for a resettlement plan. It remains clear, however, that the GSL is holding its plans very close to its chest and is not engaging the UN or international donors in its plans. In addition, by tightly controlling the tasks released to the demining organizations while continuing to state that demining is key, brings into question what the GSL’s real plans are and what the true rationale is for not releasing the IDPs. Post’s assessment is that it is possible up to 100,000 IDPs will be released before the end of September but highly unlikely that the GSL will allow freedom of movement for those remaining. While the GSL and the UN will strive to improve the conditions for those remaining in Manik Farm, it is not clear that a humanitarian catastrophe will be averted by those actions”.

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO9576
OO RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0827/01 2361224
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241224Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0425
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1861
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 8881
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7120
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5097
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3254
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5054
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1333
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0591
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4164
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9460
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6761
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1260
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3692
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000827 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: BASIL RAJAPAKSA DISCLOSES PLAN TO DECONGEST MANIK
FARM 

Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES JAMES R. MOORE.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D) 

1. (C)  SUMMARY:  Senior Advisor to the President Basil
Rajapaksa told Charge and A/DCM that the GSL planned to move
forward with significant IDP resettlement before the monsoon
season begins in October.  When pressed, Rajapaksa said as
many as 100,000 would be released, including students,
religious leaders, the elderly, and others.  It remained
unclear, however, how the GSL would deal with the looming
catastrophe of the those remaining in the camps.  In response
to Charge's recent letter to the GSL noting that four
de-mining partners receiving U.S. funding were not working to
capacity, Rajapaksa claimed they had not finished the tasks
assigned.  END SUMMARY. 

The Blame Game
-------------- 

2. (C)  On August 21, Charge and A/DCM met with Senior
Presidential Advisor, Member of Parliament, and President's
brother Basil Rajapaksa to discuss Government of Sri Lanka
(GSL) plans to deal with the potentially disastrous situation
in the IDP camps at Manik Farm when monsoon rains arrive in
early October.  His initial response was to blame the UN for
not installing the proper tents or toilets and claimed the UN
had not reimbursed the GSL for its work in land clearing and
road construction in Manik Farm.  Mentioning A/S Blake's
interview that same day with CNN, he stated that the GSL had
not received one cent from the international community for
IDPs, only in-kind materials and it was not fair to blame the
GSL for the situation in the camps. 

Claims to Have a Plan
--------------------- 

3. (C)  Rajapaksa said the solution to the problems in the
IDP camps was to resettle the people.  Two times he said, "we
have a plan."  Charge stated that it would be very helpful if
the GSL could release a one-page plan, even an executive
summary as there had not been adequate sharing of the GSL
plans with the international community.  Rajapaksa said that
the demining and resettlement plan would be presented to the
Cabinet the week of August 25, and following that, he would
release the plan. 

Taking Issue with Embassy Over Demining
--------------------------------------- 

4. (C)  Rajapaksa took issue with a recent letter from the
A/DCM stating that the four mine-action partners recently
funded by PM/WRA had excess demining capacity, countering
that they had not completed their current taskings.  A/DCM
committed to providing precise information outlining the
unutilized survey and demining capacity of the four partners.
 Rajapaksa raised again the GSL's urgent requirement for
flail machines for demining.  He stated that the GSL was
airlifting five flail machines from the Czech Republic at a
cost of USD 2 million.  He also said that Australia through
IOM was providing handheld equipment that would be used by
the GSL's humanitarian demining unit.  He asked for U.S. help
with the purchase of demining equipment and Charge stated
that we would convey this message. 

GSL Plans to Decongest Manik Farm
--------------------------------- 

5. (C)  Rajapaksa detailed the status of registration of
IDPs, noting that there were 145,011 registered and 105,000
with identification cards.  He said that with the cards, the
people would be able to move and to obtain rations when they
were resettled.  He stated that 1,036 orphans had been 

COLOMBO 00000827  002 OF 002 

registered and that their disposition was subject to court
order.  Approximately 300 cases were still with the courts.
The others would be released to orphanages in Vavuniya,
Mannar, and an SOS village.  The Social Services Ministry had
registered elders numbering 16,423.  As of August 19, of the
elderly, 9,426 have been approved for discharge from the
camps; 6,003 have left, and 1,318 were awaiting approval.  As
of August 19, there also had been 8,558 families unified.
With the 2,520 IDPs resettled in Musali in July and the 4,158
released to Jaffna and the East on August 5, Rajapaksa stated
that approximately 13,000 IDPs had been resettled.  (NOTE: It
was not clear that all came from Manik Farm.  END NOTE.) 

6. (C)  Rajapaksa described other categories of persons who
would be released.  Hindu and Catholic priests would be
released under the auspices of the Ministry of Religious
Affairs.  The Catholic priests would be released to the
Archbishop.  The disabled would be released under the
authority of the Ministry of Social Services.  University
aspirants who had been accepted would be handed over to the
vice-chancellor under the auspices of the University Grants
Commission.  IDPs not originating from the Vanni area had
been separated into those recommended for resettlement and
those who were not by the security services and their names
forwarded to the relevant Government Agent.  He had made a
proposal to the Security Council for clearance to advertise
for host family releases.  This would enable relatives of
IDPs to apply for and accept responsibility for, IDPs after
they had prepared and had an affidavit approved by the
Government Agent and received a clean police report.
Rajapaksa stated, when pressed, that their target was to have
between 100,000-150,000 persons remaining in Manik Farm when
the monsoons began.   He stated that the people remaining
would be the poorest ones and that no one would pay attention
to them. 

Comment
------- 

7. (C)  Once again Rajapaksa seemed eager to convey the
impression that the GSL was on top of the situation and now
had in its hands the registration and other data needed for a
resettlement plan.  It remains clear, however, that the GSL
is holding its plans very close to its chest and is not
engaging the UN or international donors in its plans.  In
addition, by tightly controlling the tasks released to the
demining organizations while continuing to state that
demining is key, brings into question what the GSL's real
plans are and what the true rationale is for not releasing
the IDPs.  Post's assessment is that it is possible up to
100,000 IDPs will be released before the end of September but
highly unlikely  that the GSL will allow freedom of movement
for those remaining.  While the GSL and the UN will strive to
improve the conditions for those remaining in Manik Farm, it
is not clear that a humanitarian catastrophe will be averted
by those actions.
MOORE
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.