6 October, 2022


Will Complying With UNHCR Settle Our Woes ?

By Upali Cooray –

Upali Cooray

Human rights groups in Latin America have filed lawsuits against a former Sri Lankan general who was the ambassador to Brazil and accredited to Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname.

Carlos Castresena Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort has said “This is one genocide that has been forgotten, but this will face democratic countries to do something.  The lawyer coordinating the lawsuit against Jagath Jayasuriya, has worked on international cases against war criminals in Gutemala, Argentina and Chile.

In the case of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet he ended up being arrested and held for a time in England because of international lawsuits filed against him.

The previous government of Sri Lanka which ended the almost thirty year old war against separatist in 2009 was re-elected by the vast majority of people as gratitude in liberating the country. However the post war government commenced violating of civil rights of the people by abductions of opponents, human rights activists, journalists and others with impunity. Thus the Human rights lobbies’ especially in Europe including LTTE diaspora campaigned to enforce sanctions against Sri Lanka. The government’s efforts such as assigning U.S. lobbying firms to counter the allegations by spending more than US $ five billion could have been done by the Sri Lanka embassy in Washington DC at no extra cost. Thus sanctions were being imposed according to the UNHCR resolution passed; spear headed by the US.

In 2015 the new Sirisena-Wickremesinhghe government cosponsored a resolution (30/1) with US and other member countries to address the Human rights violations in the country during the internal war and thereafter. It contains 25 key undertakings by the Sri Lankan Government across a range of human rights issues. Now the UNHCR has expressed its concern about the actual willingness of the government to fully implement all aspects of the resolution (30/1). A key element of the resolution consists of transitional justice promises: a special court including international judges and prosecutors to try all parties to the conflict, an office on missing and disappeared persons, a truth seeking and reconciliation mechanism and a reparations mechanism. The government has made only halting progress in fulfilling these commitments. The office on missing and disappeared persons is yet to be established. The ongoing resistance to any foreign involvement in the four mechanisms is coming not only from officials but also from the president and the prime minister. The will to implement any of the proposals is dwindling.

In an evaluation of the diagnosis for a negotiated settlement of the Sri Lankan conflict one needs to recognize certain other obstacles such as the increasing political unrest engendered by political volatility and economic sluggishness to a resumption of the related efforts. The upsurge of organized crime in its branched connections could be considered as representing the most pronounce elements in the prevailing trend of increasing social unrest. The devaluation of life and the deterioration of moral values resulting from more than three decades of almost ceaseless civil war, the heartlessly competitive culture created by the orientation of economy towards unhindered market forces, and the social isolation of youth caused by poverty and unemployment could all be considered as providing the general context of this phenomenon. Its specific causes include large scale desertions from the armed forces, estimated in excess of 40000,alongside the accompanying infiltration of small arms to the civilian population, and the advent of Sri Lanka as an transit point in the international trade in narcotics. It has thus possible for groups of persons, dehumanized by their military experiences, and trained in the use of modern weaponry, to engage in highly profitable crime such as trafficking of people, drugs and arms, money laundering and organized vice, and thus obtain ample wealth and prominence to wield considerable influence in political affairs of the country through inter symbiotic networks of contact with politicians, trade union leaders, media personnel and the police. Again army deserters who have found a safe haven in the underworld, have been observed to work as bodyguards of politicians. The underworld links which politicians so forge have contributed to phenomenon which many observers have referred to as ‘criminalization of politics’

The other prominent elements of social unrest in the country are the high rates of suicides, the high incidence of drug addiction, the endemicity of trade union unrest, especially government controlled services such as those of health sector and public transport, the repeated disruption of state sector higher education institutions through clashes among student groups, and frequent hartals and fasts staged by alienated segments of society such as the unemployed youth. These problems coexist with rampant violations of civil rights. The effectiveness of legal safeguards against such violations varies widely both with temporal changes in political scene as well as with status variations of individuals in society. Even in times of political stability violations of rights occur particularly in the course of law enforcement. Inoffensively called as “excesses of the security forces” these take the form of coercion, use of excessive force, extraction of information and confessions through  torture and the administration of summary punishment on those deemed to have committed a crime. Typically it is the poor who are more vulnerable to such violations, and also fail to obtain legal redress when rights are denied. When political upheavals occur, there is invariably an extension of civil rights violations towards the higher social strata even those of the elite do not remain entirely immune.

Thus one can categorically say that the panacea that is being prescribed by the UNHCR and the west is not a solution for all our ills.

As the Sinhala idiom goes”Vatath Niyarath Goyam ka nam, kata kiyamida me amaruwa ?” (To whom should I tell this woe, if the fence and ridge of the Paddy field meant for the safety of the field: is eating the Paddy ?)

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  • 1

    “Thus one can categorically say that the panacea that is being prescribed by the UNHCR and the west is not a solution for all our ills.”

    These are highest level of distraction to the real problem. War was for 30 years. Then why he is dragging Tamils plight into that? Tamils are oppressed minority from 1948 for 70 years. So the :Ours” is far away from “Tamils’ reality”. Without the involvement of IC, not even a hair can be moved to resolve Tamils’ problem. That is the only way possible. It has been so many times proved, not just with Indo-Lanka agreement, even from the promises given by Old King to UNSC and latter by Yahapalanaya to UNHRC.

    There was a report saying that Funny Ministry had informed the UNHRC that the resolution 30/1 will be implemented fully. It should have been completed by last March. EU naively extended(latter America took the responsibility to actual action of passing 34/1) it for until March 2019. Now the Funny Minister Marapana has said he has time until 2022. I don’t know from where this cheater is getting that date. This is the Game Yahapalanaya has been planning to dodge the UNHRC until the election in 2019.

    Now the question is. can UNHRC confirm what Funny Minister talking is backed by hem too?

    • 1

      Excellent Mr. Cooray!
      Please, Keep up your good work and analysis. Divide, Distract the masses with racism and RULE is the motto of corrupt politicians and the international Aid industry that furthers economic and social inequality and the rule of the Global 1 percent.
      Human Rights is a game for the government which sponsored the Geneva Resolution even as its aid promotes corruption through forced privatization of national assets of Sri Lanka and de-regulation in the name of attacking Foreign Direct Investment via policies drafted by Fake international development experts who drafter Ranils Vision 2025 fake development policy in a world of Fake news, post-facts and development disasters.
      Political Corruption and crony networks is the root cause of the various armed conflicts (JVP and LTTE) in Sri Lanka past and present, because it denies INCLUSIVE development, promotes massive economic inequality and social unrest.

  • 0

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  • 1

    Twist the tail of the bulls drawing the cart…………. the cart moves faster but the carter has no idea
    the bulls will run helter skelter crash owing to the pain………..

    This is what the diaspora is doing and the UNHRC in a blind run…………. Neither the carter nor the
    bulls have control of the direction.

    The real solution are with us within the country.
    We have lived together in the past & will continue to live into the furture.
    Its time Carters & Bulls & Diaspora leave us alone.

    • 0


      Is that not your feeling that your team & 32 nations supported the war twisted the tail of Old King’s bulls and his cart is now in the valley fallen down with the driver? So the others could not win the genocide war, but Old King won the war and become Hero?

      Sonia supplied free arms. Opposed every American and Norway negotiations at the last minutes because of Shiv Shankar Menon,who worked for Chitanta government, was the advisor to Sonia. Now Shiv Shankar Menon has told Modi government it is wrong for india to think that no others(especially America) should not get involved in Lankawe. The famous son of Sonia, Rahul Gandhi has said in America that China has footed in Lankawe in way that cannot be uprooted by India alone, so he likes to work with America on removing China.

  • 1

    If Sri Lanka actually implemented the full range of its commitments under 30/1 including importantly legal and security sector reforms aimed at non recurrence of violations like those listed above it might go some way to addressing many of the ills the author describes
    (notably for example the “excesses” of the police). And reparation includes much more than compensation and is supposed to help individuals and society heal and restore themselves using a variety of tools. The notion put forth by many that what is called for by the UN HRC is somehow a distraction, irrelevancy or imposition and that SL has other more important work to do (or no work to do at all) represents a fundamental misreading of the resolution and the tasks the state itself endorsed and vowed to enact. Of course fulfilling the promises of 30\1 would not solve all SL’s woes but if done properly it go quite a long way.

  • 0

    “Thus one can categorically say that the panacea that is being prescribed by the UNHCR and the west is not a solution for all our ills.”

    It will go a long way to provide some much needed relief for the oppressed Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

    No one solution can be expected to provide a panacea for all of our ills. Separate solutions must be proposed for the different ills. If one medicine could cure all ills then pharmacies will stock only that one medicine.

    Do you expect the solution proposed by the UNHCR to solve our garbage problem; or the SAITM issue?
    It is downright stupid to expect one solution to solve all problems.

  • 0

    The anxiety and sadness felt by Upali Cooray is clearly visible in the question ~ “Will Complying With UNHCR Settle Our Woes ?”
    There is a literal compliance and one coming from the heart. The latter will do it but politicians will not allow this because the maintaining the language/religion divide is an inexhaustible source of political power.

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