Articles by Thambu Kanagasabai

   
WRITINGS ON HUMAN RIGHTS ACT                        
 
                                Mr Kangasabai Thambu
            LL.M (London)
(Former Lecturer in Law, University Of Colombo)

 
                  
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2014

ARTICLE 1
Search for an Escape Route
July 07, 2014  – (Colombo Telegraph)
ARTICLE 2
Sri Lankan Government’s Commissions and Omissions.
           Aug 4, 2014  (Colombo Telegraph)
         ARTICLE 3
         The Hidden Genocide of Tamils In Sri Lanka
         Oct 27, 2014  (Colombo Telegraph)
        ARTICLE 4
Old Mahinda or New Maithri Options For Tamils
Dec 13, 2014   (Colombo Telegraph) 
2015
          ARTICLE   5
Sri Lanka’s Historical Myths & Realities
           Apr 21, 2015  (Colombo Telegraph )
         ARTICLE  6
Wigneswaran: A Judicial Politician With A Mission
Apr 4, 2015 (Colombo Telegraph)

 ARTICLE 7
       
Maithiri – An Old Wine In A New Bottle
 Mar 13, 2015 (Colombo Telegraph]
ARTICLE 8

         The Inherent Concept Of Sinhala-Buddhist Domination In                      
         Sri Lanka
         June 25th 2015 (Colombo Telegraph)
 
ARTICLE 9
A Deflated UNOHRC Resolution
October 1, 2015  (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
 2016
ARTICLE 10
Testing Time for Sri Lanka and Tamils
January 25, 2016  (ஐடankai Tamil Sangam)
ARTICLE 11
Receding Hopes for Accountability, Reconciliation and Justice
March 2, 2016 (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
ARTICLE 12
Sri Lanka’s Sixth Amendment Violates UN Human Charter
 April 15, 2016 (Colombo Telegraph)

 ARTICLE 13
Rights of Tamils for Self-Determination
May 8, 2016 (Colombo Telegraph)
 
 
ARTICLE  14

Fading Hopes for Political Settlement
May 25, 2016 –(Tuck Magazine )
ARTICLE  15
Testing Time for United Nations & Sri Lanka 
Jun 14, 2016 (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
ARTICLE 16
Granting ample Space for Sri Lanka
 Jul 14, 2016  . (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
ARTICLE  17
The Never Dying Political Ills Of Sri Lanka
17 Aug 2016  (Colombo Telegraph)
 ARTICLE 18

Office of Missing Persons-Upholding or Denying Justice?
Sep 29, 2016  (Tuck Magazine)
       
          ARTICLE  19
Eluga Tamil a New Horizon
Oct 10, 2016  (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
            
            ARTICLE 20
Sri Lanka’s Fading and Ailing- Good Governnace  
 Nov 17, 2016 (Colombo Telegraph)
 
ARTICLE 21
Business as Usual for the Dying Good Governance
Nov 17, 2016 (Tuck Magazine)
 
 
 ARTICLE 22
Sri Lanka & UNHRC Session – March 2017
Dec 11, 2016  (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
 
          ARTICLE 23

Will UNHRC live up to its Commitments to Sri Lanka?
 Dec 16, 2016  (Tuck Magazine)
 
2017
 
ARTICLE  24

The Proposed Constitution in Sri Lanka…
Jan 6, 2017  (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE  25

GSP Plus for Sri Lanka: Testing EU’s Commitments
January 26, 2017  (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE 26

Sri Lanka & UNHRC Session –March 2017
February 14, 2017 (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE 27
Sri Lanka’s history of unfulfilled commitments
Mar 27, 2017 (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE 28

Sri Lanka and the International Criminal Court
 Apr 29, 2017 (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE  29

Genocidal War 2006 – 2009, As Seen by The World
May 30, 2017 (Iankai Tamil Sangam) 
ARTICLE  30
Holding Sri Lanka To Account: A Dream Or Reality?
Aug 10, 2017   (Tuck Magazine)
  
ARTICLE 31

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Holds Federation is Not Separation
Sep 1, 2017 (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE 32
Sri Lanka: War Crimes and Command Responsibility
 09/09/2017 (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE 33
Battling for a New Constitution and Dashing the Hopes of Tamils
Oct 20, 2017 (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE  34
Weak-kneed Political Opposition of Tamil Leaders
November 8, 2017 (Tuck Magazine)
 
ARTICLE 35
Sri Lanka and UNHRC Resolution 30/1 – No further forward
Dec 3, 2017 (Colombo Telegraph)
 
ARTICLE 36
Sri Lanka keeps Accountability and Justice at Bay
December 6, 2017 (Tuck Magazine)

 2018
ARTICLE 37
United Nations: Protectors or Watchers?
Jan 4, 2018 (Tuck Magazine)

ARTICLE 38
Sri Lanka: Time For Action – UN Feb/March Sessions
Feb 9, 2018 (Tuck Magazine) 
 
ARTICLE 39

Eroded aspirations and unity of Tamil political parties
May 9, 2018 (Tuck Magazine)
ARTICLE 40
Ensuring justice for Tamils by UN & International community
Jun8, 2018  (Colombo Telegraph)
ARTICLE 41
Will Justice for Tamils be Delayed for Denial?
May 16, 2018   – (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE  42
Justification for a Referendum for Tamils in Sri Lanka
 Jul 16, 2018 – (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE  43
Sri Lanka’s Tamils at  Crossroads
 Aug 18, 2018 – (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE 44
Daunting Challenges Facing The New UN HR High Commissioner
Oct 2, 2018 – (Iankai Tamil Sangam)
 
ARTICLE 45
Sri Lanka’s Genocidal Human Rights Violations
Oct 26, 2018    (Tuck Magazine )
ARTICLE 46

The Dictatorial and Discriminating Democracy of Sri Lanka
 Nov 29 2018  (Ilankai Tamil Sangam)
ARTICLE 47
Judging Sri Lanka’s Credibility and Commitments to Human Rights 
The crucial UNHRC March 2019 session
Dec 21, 2018  (Tuck Magazine )
 2019
ARTICLE 48
Time to deliver Justice for the War Victims
 Feb 1, 2019 (Tuck Magazine )
THANKS TO
 
        

FOREWORD
Being actively following the politics in Sri Lanka, particularly the trials and tribulations of Tamils encountered by them during the period from the year 2006 in their traditional homeland in the North and East of Sri Lanka including the roles of United Nations and OHCHR in handling our issues, I felt compelled to pen my thoughts and feelings through articles in various journals and websites. They include Colombo Telegraph, Illangai Tamil Sangam, Tuck magazine, Tamil Mirror and Voice for Justice, the last three being published in Canada.

Since 2014, more than 50 articles have been published which drew bouquets as well as brick-bats. I also wish to state that I am not affiliated with any political party in Sri Lanka as I wished to express an unbiased and frank opinion on political issues, developments occurring in Sri Lanka from time to time at various occasions which affect the Tamils.

The articles solely aimed at the purposes of “Expose, Inform” and Educate” and blended with constructive criticism. They can be considered as critical analysis to enlighten the readers who have access to them.

I hope that this compilation will serve the purposes and realize my goals. In this respect, I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciate Mr Pon Kulendran, a prolific dual-language writer who initiated this task and compiled the articles and to Mr Kumarathasan Rasingam an ardent Tamil activist who without any hesitation volunteered to do the computer typing of all my articles with full enthusiasm and dedication.

 
2014

ARTICLE 1
Search for an Escape Route
July 07, 2014, Sangam 
 
On March 27th, the Human Rights Council passed a US-UK originated resolution against Sri Lanka: Various opinions and concerns have been expressed by organizations and countries like US, UK, India, China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, including Tamil groups and members. The contents of the resolution including the powers of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Commission have evoked conflicting views among the concerned and affected parties.
The issues in focus are:
Has the resolution endorsed an independent international investigation against Sri Lanka for human rights violations and crimes committed during the period from 2002-2009, as covered by the LLRC?
What are the powers of the Human Rights Council and its Commissioner in this matter?
What will be the outcome of the report once submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Commissioner in 2015?
It has to be noted that the HRC resolution stresses the need for an international inquiry mechanism and to achieve this object has requested the Office of the High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties.
The resolution includes “crimes committed in relation to human rights”. Accordingly, all crimes including war crimes and crimes against humanity fall within the scope of this investigation. The complaint of not mentioning “genocide” does not carry much weight at this stage as this could be a conclusion after studying all the evidence by the proposed Commission. It is therefore important to mount pressure on the Council Members to include the crime of genocide against Sri Lanka at a later stage.
The resolution also targets the perpetrators of the crimes and their accountability preventing any impunity or escape from culpability.
The resolution does not specifically call for an independent investigation nor it is going to be an investigation ordered by the UN, or Secretary-General, or Security Council.
However, the Human Rights Council is an Agency and an arm of the United Nations and is empowered by the UN to
— “Address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations and make recommendations thereon”
                                            Para 3 of the UN resolution which created the Human Rights Council in 2006.
— “Promote the full implementation of human rights obligations undertaken by the States and follow up to the goals and commitments related to the promotion and protection of human rights” Para 5 (D)                                         
— “Make recommendations with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights” Para 3
— “Submit an annual report to the UN general assembly” Para 5 (J)
Functions and powers of the Office of High Commissioner for human rights are as approved by the UN general assembly. It is n agency of UN to promote and protect human rights guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
Some important functions of the Office of the Human Rights Commission are:
Promoting universal enjoyment of all human rights by giving practical effect to the will and resolve of the world community as expressed by the UN.
Responding to serious violations of human rights.
Undertaking preventive human rights action.
Undertaking human rights field activities and operations.

High Commissioner is responsible for all the activities of the office of UNHCHR, and also advises the Secretary-General on the policies of the UN in the area of Human Rights.
The HRC by its resolution on March 27th, 2014, has requested the Commission to undertake the above investigation with the assistance of relevant experts nominated by her. The Commissioner has to present on an oral update to HRC in October 2014 and a comprehensive written report in March 2015 for discussion and follow up.
The Council has the powers to address situations of violations and make recommend actions to the UN: Para 3: of resolution on Human Rights Council 60/25 – 03-04-2006- 60 session of UN. Accordingly, HRC has exercised its powers under this clause in relation to Sri Lanka and has requested the office of HCHR commission to look into and investigate the alleged human rights violations committed by Sri Lanka. The Human Rights Council will submit the report to the HRC which will also be submitted to the UN by the HRC. The office of Human Rights Commissioner works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Office of the UN high commissioner for human rights has the following rights and functions among others: This office was established on 20-12-1993 and it’s treated as an agency of UN. The Commissioner has the important following mandate among others.
Under resolution 48/141 of 20-12-1993
To respond to serious violations of human rights and to undertake preventive human rights action.
The High Commissioner is empowered to carry out the above functions among other twelve functions as special to him or her by the General Assembly under the above UN resolution.
The above provisions arm the HR commissioner to initiate any action on her own in response to serious violations of human rights. Under this clause the Office can take necessary steps, like visits, collecting evidence and obtaining statements from affected or other interested parties. The office can also appoint officials to investigate and also has the right to respond through necessary steps to stop and prevent those serious violations happening in any member country like Sri Lanka. The mandatory function of number 9 empowers the Commissioner to undertake preventive human rights action. This gives the Office blanket powers to initiate any steps aiming at preventing acts of human rights violations. This gives the Office, the power to monitor, report and recommend actions against any violating state or state officials.

It also empowers the office to appoint Commissions of inquiry for appropriate action against the offending State so as to prevent further human rights violations. In short, the Commissioner’s powers to respond and prevent human rights violations are absolute and can be exercised at the discretion of the Commissioner who is authorized to undertake human rights fact-finding while creating and supporting investigatory mechanism.
In view of the above empowering provisions authorized and granted to HRC and its commissioner, the statements of India, Pakistan, China, Russia saying that neither HRC nor the Commissioner has any powers to conduct inquiry and they are acting outside the scope of their powers, and devoid of any merit or substance and are merely blindfolded to please Sri Lanka. At the same time, Sri Lanka’s statement alleging that the resolution and any outside international investigation is a violation of its sovereignty is nothing but clumsy and derogatory to HRC and its Commissioner. Sri Lanka being a member of Un and HRC is only showing its back to these international bodies like an ostrich which sees the world after burying its head into the sand. However, the statement of president Rajapakse requesting an investigation from 1983 and not merely the last five days of the war (May-12-18,2009) is an acceptance of the legitimacy and justification of the investigation ordered by HRC. Undoubtedly, Rajapakse by making this statement successes with a vote of abstention by India which also for the time being escaped from an inquiry into its complicity with Sri Lanka during the war and as an accomplice to the war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This conflicting and confusing stand of Sri Lankan Gov’t will not bear any fruitful results in the days to come. On the contrary, Sri Lanka will have to live with the hazards of isolation while war criminals face possible trials in the International Criminal Court in the future. Sri Lanka not being a signatory to the Rome convention thus not submitting to the jurisdiction of ICC, will not hold ground indefinitely as the security council can refer the case to ICC when Rajapakse becomes ordinary citizen as ICC targets only individuals who commit war crimes. 

However, this resolution has shortcomings in relation to the affected Tamils who are the roots of the whole problems as well as being the victims of politics and war. They are sidelined and not offered with any concrete political settlement proposals, due to geopolitical and strategic interests of the USA whose priority is to remove  Rajapakse’s rule. Follow up action for the findings of the report is specifically mentioned in the Resolution. This merely states a discussion by HRC as to steps of implementation of the resolution. It is evident that once the report is submitted to the HRC, members will have to agree on the steps for implementation and have to pass resolutions to the effect including recommendations as to how best they could be implemented. The report will then be submitted to the UN and Security Council by the Secretary-General for discussion and endorsement or possibly with no action.

However, the probabilities of punitive measures in the form of political, economic or diplomatic sanctions could be enforced by US, UK, and European Union on their own to justify their role as sponsors of the resolution. But collective sanctions are only a distant possibility, and cannot be ruled out. In the meantime, Tamils can find solace and console themselves by the efforts of HRC and its investigation in exposing the partial war crimes and crimes against humanity, though not in full and complete by concerning the period of war from 2006-2009.

Sri Lanka as a member of HRC is bound to fully cooperate with the council under article 9. Under article 8 of HRC, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotions and protection of commitments made there too. If any member State commits gross and systematic violations of human rights, UN general assembly can suspend the rights of membership of that country by a two-thirds majority of members present. As such Sri Lanka is also running this risk of suspension due to its persistent adamant refusal of cooperation with HRC and continuous violations of human rights.

The HRC also requested the commissioner to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and to continue to assess progress on the relevant national process.
This is another pitfall for Sri Lanka which is still not free from complaints of violations of human rights, arrest and detentions, torture and allegations of rape. Using emergency regulations and continuing unabated even to the opposing Sinhalese parties.

All in all, nothing seems rosy. But a Pandora box is opened for Sri Lanka which appears to be going down the hill on a mission of self-destruction. Sri Lanka, having chosen the policy of confrontation instead of cooperation and reconciliation, is having the alternate escaping course of action which is to quit from UN and other allied agencies. Better late than never


 
ARTICLE 2

Sri Lankan Government’s Commissions and Omissions.

Aug 4, 2014  (CT)

Commissions:

International crimes – including genocide in all forms [structural, cultural, religious] Ref: Genocide Resolution passed unanimously in the Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka in February 2015.
Enforced disappearances.
Arbitrary arrests and detention.
Forcible return of internally displaced.
Culture of impunity.
Ongoing human rights violations
Dismissing and ignoring the daily and continuing cries and pleas of relatives of disappeared/owners of seized land.
 
Omissions:

Failure to implement the UNHRC Recommendations in the October 1st 2015 Resolution.
Failure to set up the Office of Missing Persons, The OMP legislation is likely to be shelved.
Failure to set up any judicial mechanism, internal or otherwise to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes etc.
Failure to honour several promises made to foreign dignitaries and local Tamil leadership like the:-

The irresistible and unavoidable solution for the Tamils to live with dignity, self-respect, human rights and freedoms while preserving their language and culture is nothing but self-rule based on self-determination under the provisions of UN Charter.
The process of genocide commenced in 1958 and it has been achieved successfully in May 2009 as evidenced by the above-mentioned list of crimes and ethnic destroying acts committed by successive Sri Lankan governments.

The above acts cumulatively prove the intent of Sri Lankan Govts to destroy in whole or part of a national ethnical or racial group, the Eelam Tamils. The volume of evidence, oral, documentary and graphic is confirmatory of the crime of consciously planned genocide targeting the Tamils.
The Acts and evidence are nothing but the external manifestations of the internal malafide intentions and motives to dissipate the political strength and power of Tamils through dismembering their identity language, history, culture and traditions and finally seeing off their gradual demise as a racial group in Sri Lanka
The appeal made before by Karen Parker and Andy Higginbottom sums up the position of Tamils. “We call on all people of conscience, social movements and states around the world to speak out against the genocide and recognize the legitimacy of Eelam Tamils to national self-determination. The prevention of genocide and realization of national rights are inseparable in this case”
 
 
 ARTICLE 4

Old Mahinda or New Maithri Options For Tamils
Dec 13, 2014   (CT)
The next Presidential Election has pitted two candidates both belonging to the same party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party. One is sitting and the other a choice from circumstances, arising from the divisive and divided opposing parties and groups who got united for the common purpose to defeat Rajapaksa’s family empire and their foothold in Sri Lanka while seeking personal revenge for the past acts of revenge.
As far as the Tamils are concerned, Tamils have no reasons to cheer about this election. However, one thing remains clear for them. There are thousands of reasons to oppose Mahinda while there is no one reason to support Maithri who is nothing but a proxy representing opposition parties, which are temporarily united with their communal politics, Buddhist –Sinhala concept intact coupled with an agenda to liquidate or destroy the political power, strength and identity of minorities, Tamils and Muslims along with their religions.

The past history of experiences of Tamils from 1956 need not be recounted here. The various communal riots and pogroms of Tamils amounting to genocide which commended from 1956 and still going on as structural genocide in the east and north are staring at the faces of Tamils. This agenda is the common goal of all south political parties. And if anyone thinks, there will be a change for the better with a new Maithri or old Mahinda they are sadly mistaken. It will be nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The one common thread running through the victories of UNP or SLFP parties in the general elections is the communal propaganda with cries of “Tamils are planning to divide the country” bogey of Tiger” Buddhism  in danger” though protected by constitution. Currently the main planks of south parties’ propaganda have been nothing but only based on sellout to the Tamils. The south parties are searching for any hints, expression, remarks or clues emanating from the opposing parties or TNA which touch on “solution to the problems of Tamils” whether “13” or “13 plus” which is a hollow solution for Tamils.
Mahinda and company are facing daunting task to win the election due to the gathering strength of opposing parties and organizations.
Thanks to his family rules, and the dictatorial attitude with bribery, corruption, acts of revenge and degrading his Ministers and MPs as non- entities and dumb heads. He and his clans are frantically searching for any communal issue for their support. And it will not be surprising if they cling on to the cry of opposition parties and minorities conspiring to give in to the Tamil’s demands of separation. It is to be noted that TNA has already given a written undertaking to parliament upholding the unitary Govt. and renouncing separation not withstanding the 1976 TUF resolution in Vaddukoddai.
Past experiences of promises, undertakings, joint statements, pacts and agreements being consigned to garbage, while some torn, some gathering dust, some forgotten or discarded as quickly as possible.

Example: Banda – Chelva facts, Dudly- Chelva agreement, Indo-Lanka Accord, 13thAmendment, a joint agreement with UN’s Ban-Ki-Moon, promises to Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, various  Foreign minister of India during the war and after the war beside seductive and deceptive promises to TNA,  Sampanthan,  Wigneswaran and others including foreign dignitaries which are varied and many. They have been conveniently forgotten and buried. Regarding the opposition candidate Maithripala Srisena there is nothing to tell at present, except he is described as a good man. The danger lying behind this “Good Man” qualities is the inability on his part to take bold action on his own as he will be tied up with and bound by the other seasoned cunning politicians like Ranil, Chandrika along with the Buddhist extremist groups who are emerging forces to scuttle any moves of president or Govt. if they feel anti- Buddhist or anti-Sinhala.



ARTICLE   5
Sri Lanka’s Historical Myths & Realities
Apr 21, 2015 


 There is the popular but mistaken belief among Sri Lankans and elsewhere that “Mahavamsa”, a chronicle composed and written by Mahanama Thera in the sixth century is a record of the history of Ceylon. Anyone who reads Mahavamsa will find, besides various historical data, stories of miracles and supernatural happenings on various auspicious occasions, like instant earthquakes, floods, storms etc. However, discarding these fables, one will notice the author devoting nine chapters, (out of thirty-three chapters) on Dutugamini, the Naga Buddhist king who defeated the Tamil king Elara in Anuradhapura in BC 101. While concentrating on Buddha’s visits to Sri Lanka, it has to be pointed out that Mahavamsa’s author Mahanama Thera concluded each chapter by stating, “ that this chapter is compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious”.

This statement expresses his motive and purpose, which was that Mahavamsa was meant and intended for pious and religious Buddhist devotees and their pleasure, and not meant to record the history of Sri Lanka. However, Mahavamsa, without doubt, records the historical data regarding the kings who ruled Ceylon starting from Devanampiya Tissa’s rule in BC 247, who introduced Buddhism in Ceylon, until the rule of Dhatusema in 351 AD.
 
Prof. G.C. Mendis, a well-known history scholar’s statement is relevant here, (Early History of Ceylon in 1948.); “Mahavamsa records is mainly traditional history, and its statements have to be carefully examined before they are accepted as historical evidence.” Consequently, various examinations supported by archaeological investigations and undertaken by local Sinhalese and foreign researchers have revealed and dissected the truths and myths recorded in Mahavamsa.
One of the unauthenticated stories is the much-believed Vijaya and his 700 friends landing in Sri Lanka by boats from North India in BC 483. Mahavamsa records this event as happening on the day of Lord Buddha’s attainment of Nirvana in North India. Undoubtedly this statement was recorded to glorify Vijaya. The story of Vijaya has long been doubted by various scholars including G.C. Mendis, S.P.E. Senaratne, H.W. Codrington, Susantha Goonetilake in their historical publications. (The Vijaya legend, Pre-Historic Archaeology of Ceylon, A Short History of Ceylon, The Formation of Lankan Culture, Ancient Ceylon).

It is mentioned that Vijaya’s grandparents were a wild lion and a Bengali queen who co-habited for sixteen years in a cave. This account is a piece of unconvincing imagination. There is also no account of Vijaya involving in Buddhist activities, and Vijaya even if this story is true was neither a Sinhalese nor a Buddhist, as Buddhism was introduced in Ceylon in BC 247 (not in BC 483), and the Sinhalese language grew to its full form in the 6th-7th centuries only.

Thus the story of Vijaya as the first settlers in Sri Lanka is nothing but a figment of imagination by the author. The absence of historical literature, records or writings regarding the history of Sri Lanka’s Tamils from BC 500 provided ample opportunities to Mahanama Thera and the previous monks to engage in recording eventful imaginary and mythical accounts in Mahavamsa, the sources of which are Jataka tales, Hindu Puranas and other epics like Ramayanam. It is to be noted that the history of Ceylon Tamils began to be researched and recorded only in the 1900s. Until this period, Mahavamsa and Vijaya were believed as true, and as sources of historical information for all Sri Lankans.

It is another piece of unauthenticated history which is woven around the lion grand-father, being the founder of the lion flag, and “Sihala” which got corrupted into “Sinhala” and then to “Sinhalese” as a race and language. Sinhalese race probably spoke Prakrit before the origin of Sinhalese language in 6th AD.

So who were the original inhabitants of Ceylon? They were the ‘Nagas’ or ‘Yakkas’ without any doubt and Ceylon was earlier called as ‘Naga Land’ and ‘Naga Deep’. Lord Buddha according to Mahavamsa made his second visit to Sri Lanka in BC 528 to settle the dispute between two blood-related Naga kings, Mahodaran and Chodotharan ruling different territories in the North. Nagas also lived in India as the names Nagpore, Naga land, and Nagapattinam in India vouchsafe this fact. Likewise, in Sri Lanka, one will find the Naga names for places, temples, and men and women especially among Tamils (Nagar kovil, Nagalingam etc). About the origin of Sri Lankan’s Tamils, history reveals that they lived in the north and northwestern parts of Ceylon more than 3000 years ago, as confirmed after the excavations of human remains, which were found in the buried urns in Anaicottai Manthai and Pomparippu. They were similar to the ones found in Tamil Nadu. The Nagas living in all parts of Sri Lanka also ruled Sri Lanka as many names of kings, confirm their names ending with ‘Naga’.
With the introduction of Buddhism, which was widely practised in Tamil Nadu from the 1st century to the 6thcentury, Buddhism came to be followed by the Tamils in the northern parts of Sri Lanka. Contribution to Buddhism by Tamil monks from Tamil Nadu is noteworthy. The most prominent Tamil monks who propagated Buddhism were Buddhamithira AD 5, Bodhidharma AD 6, who even went to China to propagate Buddhism like Vajirabodhi in AD 7. The Tamil epics of Kundalakesi and Manimekalai were purely Buddhism oriented. The Kandarodai excavations in Jaffna and the Buddhist remains confirm the practice of Buddhism by the Tamils in Jaffna. However, Buddhism lost its hold in Tamil Nadu, and among Tamils in the north due to the Saiva Bakthi campaign of Saiva saints particularly the four Nayanmars who spearheaded the emergence of Saivaism to control the influence of Buddhism and Jainism, which propagated down to earth radical policies and practices even denying the ‘existence of God’. Now, Mahavamsa’s account of Dutugemunu and how Dutugamini is now exploited by some politicians who conducted the wars against the LTTE deserves to be explained for the sake of truths.

Dutugamini who defeated the Tamil king Elara in Anuradhapura in BC 101 is portrayed as a ‘Sinhalese hero’ who saved the Sinhala race and Sri Lanka from the Tamil invaders. This distorted version of racism has been inserted in the school textbooks, and no wonder the seeds of communalism and racial hatred have been allowed to pollute the minds of students, readers and public.

The stark truth is Dutugamini was neither a Tamil nor a Sinhalese. He was a true Naga Buddhist whose parents were Hindus and even Dutugamini is said to have gone to worship the Hindu deity ‘Murugan’ at Kataragama, before proceeding to battle Elara.

His army commander was Velu Sumana, a Tamil and Dutugamini never killed civilian Tamils during his entire period of life as a king or youngster. He honoured the fallen Tamil king and was mourning the deaths of soldiers from both sides for some days until consoled by the Buddhist monks.

There is no record or evidence as to the famous statement purported to have been made by him to his mother about the reasons for his sleep with bended knees, which was due to threat from Tamils on one side and the sea on the other side. At the best, this was foisted or pasted to paint him as a Sinhalese hero and his battle as a communal one between the Tamil and Sinhalese Dutugamini. Like every king from the historical beginning, he nursed the ambition of ruling the entirety of Sri Lanka under his one and only throne. This could not be faulted with as world’s history and even Sri Lanka’s history is replete with assassinations, coups, betrayals and killings aimed to capture power or remove political rivals.
About the rulers of Sri Lanka from BC 247 up to Portuguese conquest in AD 1505, there were five Tamil rulers before Dutugamini’s rule and fourteen rulers including eight Naga rulers after Dutugamini from BC 50 to AD 295 in Anuradhapura from AD 1240 until AD 1618 eighteen Arya Chakravarthis ruled in Jaffna barring a period of seventeen years (AD 1450-67), when Senbagaperumal adopted son of Parakiramabahu the Sixth, who built the Nallur temple, ruled Jaffna. This Jaffna kingdom extended up to Puttalam, as the notes of Ibn Batuta an Arab trader who visited Puttalam in AD 1344 confirm.
In the Eastern province, Batticaloa figured as the capital for many rulers exercising their powers. Records show about eighteen Tamil kings ruled from AD 20 to AD 1360, which included the Kalinga king Mahon also called as Kulakottan from AD 1215-55. It is to be noted that Mahavamsa mentions about the thirty-two Demela kings who were defeated by Dutugamini on his way to reach Anuradhapura. There is no denying of the fact that during Dutugamini’s reign Tamil kings were ruling all the regions in Sri Lanka, except the Ruhunu south ruled by Dutugamini. Undoubtedly, the Tamils have been living from BC 500 in Sri Lanka, later swelled by immigrations from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The statements of renowned historian Paul E. Peiris are relevant in this respect. (Nagadipa and Buddhist remains in Jaffna 1917 JRA Journal No. 70 P 12-18)
“I suggest that the north of Ceylon was a flourishing settlement before Vijaya was born”. “ Long before the arrival of Vijaya, there were in Lanka five recognized Iswarams of Siva, which claimed and received adoration of all India. These were Tiru Keteeswaram Munneswaram, Tondeswaram, Thirukoneswaram and Naguleswaram”.
Historical evidence proves the existence of Tamils in all directions of Ceylon who followed Saivaism before BC 500 and also the rules of Tamils all over Sri Lanka, except during Dutugamini’s rule, and until ended by Portuguese in AD 1620, who overpowered a valiant King Sangili.

The present communal conflict centres around the policy of liquidation of the ancient Tamils as a race with their language and traditions. Tamils who are now living mainly in the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka are facing the lethal weapons of militarization, Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation, which were inaugurated by D.S. Senanayake in 1948. This has also resulted in the genocide of Tamils stretching from 1958 to 2009.

The Sinhalese fears of preserving Sinhalese language and Buddhism from Tamils are illusory and unfounded as religion and language can be best preserved only by those who follow and practice them. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world and when Periyar of Dravida Kalagam, an atheist started destroying statues of Vinayagar, he was not harmed and he lived up to 91 years, propagating anti-god policy.
The Tamils are now demanding only to live as equal citizens, managing their own lives, language and affairs in areas where they have lived for more than 2500 years, even though they were rulers of entire Ceylon at various historical periods. The fact is all Sri Lankans are Indians by origin until Sri Lanka got separated 7000 years ago and later all becoming Tamils and Sinhalese speaking Tamil and Sinhalese, and following Hinduism and Buddhism.

It is to be noted that the ancestors of two well-known families who changed the political history of Sri Lankans particularly the Tamils for the worse, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and JR Jayawardene migrated from Tamil Nadu in AD 15 and AD 17. Neela Perumal a Hindu priest appointed for Saman Temple in 1457 in Sri Lanka changed his name to Nayaka Pandaran and then to Bandaranaike.

JR Jayewardene’s family belonged to the Chettiar sect in Tamil Nadu, and their descendants later adopted the Sinhalese name Jayewardene. JR is the direct descendant of Don Adrian Wijesinghe Jayewardene, earlier called as Thambi Mudaliar who died in 1830.

The above Hindus later became Christians during colonial rule and became Buddhists to grab the political power in Sri Lanka.

It is apt to conclude this writing by quoting renowned Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese historians:
Prof S. Paranavitana’s comments on ‘Mahavamsa’ in his book ‘History of Ceylon VOL. 1, PART 1, 1959 P.83 confirm the evidential value of Mahavamsa as follows:
“These traditions have been handed down orally for nearly a millennium before they were recorded in chronicles’.

Prof G.C. Mendis (Problem of Ceylon history- Colombo lecture 1966)
“Many Dravidians who settled in Ceylon learnt Sinhalese language and became Sinhalese”.

Mudaliyar W.F. Goonewardene ( 1918 Colombo lecture on September 28)
“Sinhalese script is derived immediately from the Tamil to any reasonable mind. Sinhalese, which came from nowhere, had its origin in Ceylon and was built with Tamil as its framework. It must be said that Sinhalese is essentially a Dravidian language, child of Pali and Sanskrit, and daughter of Tamil with regard to its physical structure”. What the Tamils want is “ you live and leave us to live in our traditional homelands.”
 
          
ARTICLE  6

Wigneswaran: A Judicial Politician With A Mission

Apr 4, 2015 ( CT)

After retirement from the Supreme Court Bench, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran was hesitant to enter the political field which was once said to be an asylum of scoundrels. However, his deep dedication to the causes of which culminated in a genocidal war propelled him to plunge into politics. There was fresh breathing with his entry which was welcomed by the Tamils, as he would live up as an honest and bold politician quite differently from many others. When I met him at his residence in Colombo in October 2013 after he won the elections and became the Chief Minister, I posed the question of his political conduct would be in the further? he said “Do not consider me like other politicians and I will be different from others”

To be frank he has lived up to his words and his actions after becoming the Chief Minister have confirmed his stand Mahinda Rajapaksa promised many steps regarding the Northern Provincial Council. He believed Rajapaksa, as the promises were made by the President. As expected Rajapaksa doled out the promises as a cheap politician which were to please C.V. who served as a Supreme Court Judge upholding justice and truth while meeting out punishment to cheaters etc rightly felt his let down by a president.

C.V. in his battle with a military governor fought to assert his authority and rights but political power used against him did not bring the desired results until Maithiripala Srisena became the new President who is now trying to win the hearts and minds of Tamil people with some cooling measures but so far avoiding the sixty years …. malignant Tamils’ problems. Maithri is morally and duty-bound to solve his problem while in office and without delay, as he owes this responsibility as the President, as his victory was mostly achieved due to the backing of the Tamils.

This recent statement as to Sri Lanka belonging to Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslim shows a shift from the “Mahawamsa mentality” of past Sinhala political leaders. Maithiripala Srisena as a believer in a democracy should pursue and enforce the “Rule of law” Accountability for crime and punishment for perpetrators and “Good Governance”. Failing in any one of these cherished principles will only consign him as another political opportunistic having missed the chance to behave like a statesman C.V. Wigneswaran’s genocide resolution, though overdue is bold forthright and deserving. A process of genocide, overt and covert has been set, in motion from 1948, the year of independence. The failings and opportunistic politics of past Tamil political leaders coupled with the ruthless state suppression encouraged Sri Lankan state terrorism which emaciated the political power and strength of Tamils.

The hands of Tamils are now full with various issues glaring at their faces, most important are the militarization and land grabs by the Security Forces leaving the civilians, landless occupation less, livelihood less and at the mercy of Security Forces. The protests of civilians spearheaded by C.V. do not appear to be making any impact on the Govt.
To compound the problems and make matters worse, Maithiri’s partners like Ranil and Champika are coming out with conflicting and contradictory stands and statements which only cast doubt on the sincerity of Maithiri’s Govt.
While Maithri is praising C.V. as a good man with whom it is easier to solve North and East problems, Ranil blurts out saying ‘C.V. is a liar and is not worth talking to him’. While Maithri understands the judicial honesty of C.V, Ranil finds it difficult to stomach C.V.’s honesty in politics which is nothing but anathema for Ranil .

As far as Tamils are concerned, TNA the sole representatives are pursuing a path of wavering and indecisiveness while some are ‘advocating don’t displease Maithri by protests and opposition and trust Maithiri Mantram’ with some concentrating on ‘genocide’ and ‘International Investigation’. Mannar Bishop had fervently pleaded for a united Tamil national alliance and without doubt, his plea reflects the plea of all Tamils. TNA is better advised to become a ‘Tamil United front’ accommodating all the Tamil groups while removing the alliance’ one and for all.

The TNA leadership must be revamped to allow for highly motivated, fearless and truthful individuals fixed on a determined path to salvage the battered Tamils. The plain and stark truth is Tamil politicians have always been outmanoeuvred in the past despite the worldwide sympathy and support of Diaspora.

The current Maithiri’s Govt. is now on a diplomatic track to weaken and finally dismantling the international communities’ support to the Tamils and their determined efforts to haul up Sri Lanka. Maithiri’s soft comments on Wigneswaran appear and aim at breaking his defiant and realistic postures concerning the militarization and genocide issue, which is now in the records of Tamil’s history, awaiting proper justice. It is hoped that Wigneswaran, a past dispenser of justice and believer in truth will hold on to his principles to open a way for Tamils to live with dignity and self-respect. However, with no unanimity of support from the other TNA members, he is facing a tough task which, it is hoped will become easier due to the growing support of Tamils worldwide.

Wigneswaran’s outbursts at the Tamil Nadu politicians and Tamil people criticizing their emotional support, though tinged with some truth, is untimely and unnecessary. Tamils particularly, Tamil Nadu people have not forgotten the sufferings of Tamils and the state terrorism of Sinhala Govts. Their feelings for Tamils lie dormant and any expression of their feelings is simply their democratic right which cannot be condemned but only be used to support the causes of Eelam Tamils.
However, it is opportune time to extend full support to Wigneswaran’s pragmatic and unbending approach to stop the political debilitation of TNA which is now in dire need of many Wigneswarans to resurrect the dying Tamil race in Sri Lanka.
Maithiri’s latest act of conferring the highest military honour of Field Marshal to Sarath Fonseka who conducted the genocidal war and qualified as a war criminal shows the true colours of Maithiri and his determination to protect the war criminals. No wonder many diplomats boycotted the function of Maithiri and Sarath Fonseka voicing their disapproval.
Modi, the Indian Prime Minister who visited Sri Lanka including Jaffna promised many things to TNA even requesting TNA to trust him to solve the Tamils problems. Only time will tell whether his words will be translated into action which appear to be nil as Sri Lankan Govt. has already declared their stand by stating their rejection of any foreign Leaders or Govt’s interference with proposals to settle 60 year old problem
 

 
ARTICLE 7

        Maithiri – An Old Wine in A New Bottle
        Mar 13, 2015
The 2015 Presidential election dealt a deadly blow to Rajapaksa’s ambition of serving as a life term President a long with his family members controlling the destiny of Sri Lanka. His faith in astrology took a battering with even Thiruppathi Venkateswarar letting him down. Now he is silently plotting seeking an escape route to avoid the impending inquiries, accusations of bribery and corruption, not to mention the UN’s possible probe after the publication of its report in September 2015.

Eelam Tamils rightly and correctly gave a knockout punch to Rajapaksa family’s decimation. Tamils felt a sense of relief and fulfilment for his defeat, though the miseries they suffered from his hands lie with no healings. The defeat of Mahinda does not mean an endorsement of Maitiri who is just another side of the same coin. Maithri served loyally under Rajapaksa, even conducting the final phase of the genocidal war during the absence of Rajapaksa. His hands are also equally tainted due to his complicity in the commission of genocidal crimes in the 2009 war.

Maithri is a subtle executioner of war agenda, a man with a deceptively pleasing face and smile, a President who has so far not uttered a word about the Tamils problems not to mention any of his thoughts as to any solution excepting a mention of LLRC recommendations. It will be therefore foolhardy and naïve for Tamils to expect any acceptable political settlement proposals from Maithri.

To make the matters worse and compound the problems, Maithiri’s election allies are no better whose chauvinistic thinking and approach to the problems of Tamils go hand in hand with Maithiri’s thinking. Viz: General Sarath Fonseka, Champika Ranawaka, Chandrika and Ranil.

Maithiri reinforced his support for his brethren by publicly stating that Rajabaksa or any other Security or State officials involved in the genocidal crimes will be protected from any international indictments, inquiries or trials. This defying blunt statement is nothing but a stark contempt and disrespect and even challenging the UN, HRC and their Commissions stature and functions.

Inevitably, Maithiri’s hands of protection further extend to his companions as well as to himself. In this context, his statement that his Govt will conduct its own internal inquiry with his selected Commissioners is nothing but a travesty and insult to the cardinal principles of justice as the commission will assume the role of investigators investigating their masters’ war crimes. It will be futile to expect any impartial justice except eye washing trials where some junior security personnel could be hauled up and punished as scapegoats to cover up the actual perpetrators and main actors.
It can be stated that the US. UN and the world community are again lulled into a sense of false belief and hope which is nothing but surrealistic.

There is no denying of the fact that Maithiri’s Govt has opened up a charming diplomatic damage control offensive targeting USA, UK, UN and European Union. It appears Sri Lanka has so far succeeded in these efforts by postponing the submitting of UN Commission’s Report on war crimes etc until September 2015. Hand in hand, Sri Lankan Govts’ belligerent moves towards China, a Rajapaksa’s close ally, has warmed the hearts of the West particularly USA and India thereby relegating the Tamils’ cries for justice to the backstage. The stark truth is Eelam Tamils’ ethnic problem and the genocidal crimes are exploited to rein in Sri Lanka and to bring it under their orbit and influence.

The reality is Eelam Tamils have no permanent friends but only friends for acquiring benefits. China though disappointed and irritated with Mainthri’s Govt will only play a waiting game opting for silent diplomatic moves to maintain its close ties with Sri Lanka. As such one man’s poison is another man’s meat position will not apply for the Eelam Tamils. Any hope for the Security Council acting on the UN Commission’s findings due in September 2015 has also evaporated due to the shifting stands by the US and the West, who will certainly block any punitive actions against Sri Lanka based on the findings.

The stark reality is Eelam Tamils are back to square one situation at the mercy of Sri Lankan Govt whose agenda of Buddhisitation and Sinhalasisation will quietly and subtly proceed unhindered unless and until the Tamil population unitedly rise to stop the genocidal program. Mahinda himself has confirmed this position when he said after the defeat that “Tamils will not be better off by defeating me and nothing will change as far as Tamils are concerned”.

In this prevailing murky scenario, TNA, the Tamils only representatives appear to be sailing without direction and are also clueless as to what sort of political steps or agitations should be taken to salvage the Tamils from extinction Various plans, ideas and conflicting stands are emerging from the TNA’s top brass, some of beach is as follows.

1) TNA leader Sampanthan is still trusting and hoping for deliverance from Maithiri. He and his confidante Sumanthiran attended the Independence Day celebration of the Sinhala Govt as a sop which Northern Provincial Council’s Chief Minister Wigneswaran rightly and boldly boycotted.

2) Thamil Arasu Party’s Chairman Mavai Senathiraja in October 2014 declared that Satyagraha Campaigns would be launched in North and East in January 2015. So far there is no sign of any move towards this agitation.

3) Chief Minister Wigneswaran has forthrightly and befitting his past position as a Supreme Court judge adopted the overdue resolution accusing all the Sri-Lankan Govts of committing Genocide under an agenda initiated in 1948. This is a historical and brave resolution which has put Sri-Lanka and causing unease to the TNA’s leadership who still trust he the Sri- Lanka’s entrenched policy of promise and betrayal which has been in effect from 1923.

4) TNA has almost distanced away from taking political actions to remove the Sinhala Army and Camps from the North and East, to obtain the languishing Tamil political prisoners, to obtain the statistics and details of those who disappeared (about 90,000) and those killed about 100,000, to obtain suitable compensations, to give back the lands illegally appropriated by the Security Forces, to resettle the displaced Tamils and allow them to live in their own lands.

If the TNA fails or neglects to give priority to the above steps, they will go down in the history as complicit let-downers in the political history of Tamils. The need of the hour for the TNA is the mobilization for mass agitations and propaganda campaigns in support of a referendum and self-determination as allowed in the UN Charter for an ethnic group, like Tamil’s.

The recent outburst of Ranil regarding Tamil Nadu fishermen encroaching Sri Lanka’s fishing zones shows his arrogant slap on the face of India. His statement has indirectly authorized the Sri Lankan Navy to shoot any Tamil Nadu fishermen who enter Sri-Lankan waters even if it results in death. Under any of international law, a person can only kill another person when and if his own life is imminently threatened with death. As far as Ranil is concerned he seems to believe in instant shooting justice like shooting someone who breaks the door or enters a house without permission even if it causes death. Under international law, a violating fisherman can only be arrested and detained for a just trial in the proper courts. Ranil’s outburst is solely aimed at creating hostility and enmity between the Indian Tamils and the Jaffna Tamil fishermen so as to create and foster a political chasm or divide between them who are closely bonded by a common language, religion, culture and traditions.

TNA’s Sumanthiran’s recent derailing and deviant moves and gestures towards Maithiri only reflect the thinking and behavior of Colombo based Tamil politicians as experienced in the past. It is high time TNA clarifies its stand for its own and Tamil’s survival including Tamils for his following actions.

1) His participation with Sampanthan in the Sinhala Independence day celebrations.
2) His statement of support to Maithiri’s internal investigation which is aiming to weaken and even weakening the functions of the UN Commissions’ investigations
3) His appeal to British Tamil Forum not to stage demonstrations against Maithiri smacks of petty cheap pleasing of Maithri.

It is left only to Maithri as the President to show and prove his sincerity by taking acceptable political settlement proposals on his own determination and will undeterred by any Diaspora behaviour. So far he has carried out only cosmic changes like appointing civil Governors but not touching the core problems of Tamils which undoubtedly as in the past will be kept alive and kicking for the sake of political power.

Thiru / March 13, 2015
Thambu Kanagasabai,
You are absolutely correct, the Sinhala Buddhist thinking, state system and the political actors are the same: We can’t expect much from the present lot either.
TNA is in a false sense of complacency for reasons best known to them.
Mass agitation against the on-going oppressive conditions is the key:
If the present regime is for good governance, then they must demonstrate it by complying with the just demands of Tamils for justice.
Tamils are not asking for mercy as Kandiah has correctly shown in his article recently in the CT.
Tamils are asking for the removal of continuing injustices and distressing on-going oppressive conditions first before their political rights are addressed.
Victims are not asking for mercy from the oppressors, they want justice: Will the oppressors give justice?
o     
Lanka Liar / March 16, 2015
Lots of analysis and comments. But what is the alternate idea? Any solution. Or you want to do another experiment from a safe distance and kill thousands.
o     
Lanka Liar / March 16, 2015
You lost the power to ask even for mercy. Do you know who is the culprit? Ask them if you can find them? Try their followers as a second option.
 
msd / March 13, 2015
 
Can you please outline clearly the oppressive conditions you mention? We are not aware of any such conditions which are being imposed only on the Tamils so I would be very grateful to be enlightened. You also mention justice please explain.
Thank you.
o     
Rabok / March 15, 2015
After reading the comment of Irrational racist Thiru – same question came to my mind – what are the “oppressive condition” specifically applicable to Tamils in this country – if the Tamils are subjected to so much oppression – how the majority of Tamils are living among Sinhalese in the South of the country – these racist are paranoids who cannot stomach the humiliating defeat of their war load Prabakaran and his ruthless band of killers – it would be better for these idiots to list out all their so-called grievances and try to solve them through negotiation
 
Sylvia Haik / March 13, 2015
One of the core demands, among others, of the Tamil activists, appears to be the fragmentation of an already small island. I have my doubts if that is what the Tamil community wants. I wish their demands are realistic and to benefit the whole of Sri Lanka for all Sri Lankans. Taking a cue from the UK, the Scottish people rejected a separate Scotland in a referendum last year. It appears most are already pleased with the Devolution. This would suit our own North and East too, with a program of assimilation such as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Civil and Diplomatic Service recruiting the ethnic mix reflected in the whole of our society. We could also have anti-discrimination legislation and make incitements to racial and religious hatred a crime punishable very severely. A harmonious Sri Lanka is not that difficult to achieve.
 
Here is a Rip Van Winkle type puzzled and concerned if the Tamil demands would be for equal treatment, dignity, self-respect and safety for life in the land of their birth would be realistic and benefit him and others of his ilk.
I would suggest that he dozed off pondering on his question till a suitable answer comes up in his dreams.
The only condition is, until then he should not snore.
 
I totally agree with Sylvia Haik. People who can not live amicably in a country where Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, burghers all live and are encountering the same problems in their day to day lives, should leave Sri Lanka and not bother about what happens in Sri Lanka. These people who have emigrated to other countries are talking and interfering with the people living in Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka was bad for them they should thank god that they got away and let people who are happy here live here peacefully without causing problems. All this talk by people who are unhappy with themselves will not help anyone, not even themselves. By all this BS what you people try to do is make it impossible for any Tamil to live in Sri Lanka.

Tamils have equal dignity, self-respect and everything you mention. The problem is you do not respect yourself as a Tamil so keep struggling to bring others to your level. Please do not do that because most Tamils are respectable people. All people who promote separation should be punished.
 
My3 and Ranil may be history soon, the way things are going on…\
Ranil is anti-Tamil for sure. He’s a cunning guy, never a trustworthy person, rascal in a western suit..his days are numbered. He’s a snake in the grass sort.
My3 is not an innocent guy either, or Sarath Fonseka guy!
Mahinda is straight forward thuggish anti-Tamil, anti-Muslim,
but Ranil is not that type, very shrewd and he thinks he’s a smart ass 🙂
There is a fate for Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims to suffer for a long time.
We have no real LEADERS in our nation, the good ones are hiding..they don’t want to get into dirty politics of our country. So the thugs and imbeciles are allowed to rule us all…Miracle of my ass 🙂
 
It has already been mentioned by Gnanakone that they only wanted to get Mahinda out that is why they chose Maithri. This means they are looking forward to another round of violence!
Bottom of Form
 
There is the popular but mistaken belief among Sri Lankans and elsewhere that “Mahavamsa”, a chronicle composed and written by Mahanama Thera in the sixth century is a record of the history of Ceylon. Anyone who reads Mahavamsa will find, besides various historical data, stories of miracles and supernatural happenings on various auspicious occasions, like instant earthquakes, floods, storms etc. However, discarding these fables, one will notice the author devoting nine chapters, (out of thirty three chapters) on Dutugamini, the Naga Buddhist king who defeated the Tamil king Elara in Anuradhapura in BC 101. While concentrating on Buddha’s visits to Sri Lanka, it has to be pointed out that Mahavamsa’s author Mahanama Thera concluded each chapter by stating, “ that this chapter is compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious”.
This statement expresses his motive and purpose, which was that Mahavamsa was meant and intended for pious and religious Buddhist devotees and their pleasure, and not meant to record the history of Sri Lanka. However, Mahavamsa, without doubt, records the historical data regarding the kings who ruled Ceylon starting from Devanampiya Tissa’s rule in BC 247, who introduced Buddhism in Ceylon, until the rule of Dhatusema in 351 AD.
 
Prof. G.C. Mendis, a well-known history scholar’s statement is relevant here, (Early History of Ceylon in 1948.); “Mahavamsa records is mainly traditional history, and its statements have to be carefully examined before they are accepted as historical evidence.” Consequently, various examinations supported by archaeological investigations and undertaken by local Sinhalese and foreign researchers have revealed and dissected the truths and myths recorded in Mahavamsa.
One of the unauthenticated stories is the much-believed Vijaya and his 700 friends landing in Sri Lanka by boats from North India in BC 483. Mahavamsa records this event as happening on the day of Lord Buddha’s attainment of Nirvana in North India.

Undoubtedly this statement was recorded to glorify Vijaya. The story of Vijaya has long been doubted by various scholars including G.C. Mendis, S.P.E. Senaratne, H.W. Codrington, Susantha Goonetilake in their historical publications. (The Vijaya legend, Pre-Historic Archaeology of Ceylon, A Short History of Ceylon, The Formation of Lankan Culture, Ancient Ceylon). It is mentioned that Vijaya’s grandparents were a wild lion and a Bengali queen who co-habited for sixteen years in a cave. This account is a piece of unconvincing imagination. There is also no account of Vijaya involving in Buddhist activities, and Vijaya even if this story is true was neither a Sinhalese nor a Buddhist, as Buddhism was introduced in Ceylon in BC 247 (not in BC 483), and Sinhalese language grew to its full form in the 6th-7th centuries only.
Thus the story of Vijaya as the first settlers in Sri Lanka is nothing but a figment of imagination by the author. The absence of historical literature, records or writings regarding the history of Sri Lanka’s Tamils from BC 500 provided ample opportunities to Mahanama Thera and the previous monks to engage in recording eventful imaginary and mythical accounts in Mahavamsa, the sources of which are Jataka tales, Hindu puranas and other epics like Ramayanam. It is to be noted that the history of Ceylon Tamils began to be researched and recorded only in the 1900’s. Until this period, Mahavamsa and Vijaya were believed as true, and as sources of historical information for all Sri Lankans.
It is another piece of unauthenticated history which is woven around the lion grand-father, being the founder of the lion flag, and “Sihala” which got corrupted into “Sinhala” and then to “Sinhalese” as a race and language. Sinhalese race probably spoke Prakrit before the origin of Sinhalese language in 6th AD.
So who were the original inhabitants of Ceylon? They were the ‘Nagas’ or ‘Yakkas’ without any doubt and Ceylon was earlier called as ‘Naga Land’ and ‘Naga Deep’. Lord Buddha according to Mahavamsa made his second visit to Sri Lanka in BC 528 to settle the dispute between two blood-related Naga kings, Mahodaran and Chodotharan ruling different territories in the North. Nagas also lived in India as the names Nagpore, Naga land, and Nagapattinam in India vouchsafe this fact. Likewise, in Sri Lanka, one will find the Naga names for places, temples, and men and women especially among Tamils (Nagar kovil, Nagalingam etc).

About the origin of Sri Lankan’s Tamils, history reveals that they lived in the north and northwestern parts of Ceylon more than 3000 years ago, as confirmed after the excavations of human remains, which were found in the buried urns in Anaicottai Manthai and Pomparippu. They were similar to the ones found in Tamil Nadu. The Nagas living in all parts of Sri Lanka also ruled Sri Lanka as many names of kings, confirm their names ending with ‘Naga’.

With the introduction of Buddhism, which was widely practised in Tamil Nadu from the 1st century to the 6th century, Buddhism came to be followed by the Tamils in the northern parts of Sri Lanka. Contribution to Buddhism by Tamil monks from Tamil Nadu is noteworthy.

The most prominent Tamil monks who propagated Buddhism were Buddhamithira AD 5, Bodhidharma AD 6, who even went to China to propagate Buddhism like Vajirabodhi in AD 7.

The Tamil epics of Kundalakesi and Manimekalai were purely Buddhism oriented. The Kandarodai excavations in Jaffna and the Buddhist remains confirm the practice of Buddhism by the Tamils in Jaffna. However, Buddhism lost its hold in Tamil Nadu and among Tamils in the north due to the Saiva Bakthi campaign of Saiva saints particularly the four Nayanmars who spearheaded the emergence of Saivaism to control the influence of Buddhism and Jainism, which propagated down to earth radical policies and practices even denying the ‘existence of God’. Now, Mahavamsa’s account of Dutugemunu and how Dutugamini is now exploited by some politicians who conducted the wars against the LTTE deserves to be explained for the sake of truths. Dutugamini who defeated the Tamil king Elara in Anuradhapura in BC 101 is portrayed as a ‘Sinhalese hero’ who saved the Sinhala race and Sri Lanka from the Tamil invaders. This distorted version of racism has been inserted in the school textbooks, and no wonder the seeds of communalism and racial hatred have been allowed to pollute the minds of students, readers and public.

The stark truth is Dutugamini was neither a Tamil nor a Sinhalese. He was a true Naga Buddhist whose parents were Hindus and even Dutugamini is said to have gone to worship the Hindu deity ‘Murugan’ at Kataragama, before proceeding to battle Elara. His army commander was Velu Sumana, a Tamil and Dutugamini never killed civilian Tamils during his entire period of life as a king or youngster. He honoured the fallen Tamil king and was mourning the deaths of soldiers from both sides for some days until consoled by the Buddhist monks. There is no record or evidence as to the famous statement purported to have been made by him to his mother about the reasons for his sleep with bended knees, which was due to threat from Tamils on one side and the sea on the other side.

At best, this was foisted or pasted to paint him as a Sinhalese hero and his battle as a communal one between the Tamil and Sinhalese Dutugamini. Like every king from the historical beginning, he nursed the ambition of ruling the entirety of Sri Lanka under his one and only throne. This could not be faulted with as world’s history and even Sri Lanka’s history is replete with assassinations, coups, betrayals and killings aimed to capture power or remove political rivals.

About the rulers of Sri Lanka from BC 247 up to Portuguese conquest in AD 1505, there were five Tamil rulers before Dutugamini’s rule and fourteen rulers including eight Naga rulers after Dutugamini from BC 50 to AD 295 in Anuradhapura from AD 1240 until AD 1618 eighteen Arya Chakravarthis ruled in Jaffna barring a period of seventeen years (AD 1450-67), when Senbagaperumal adopted son of Parakiramabahu the Sixth, who built the Nallur temple, ruled Jaffna. This Jaffna kingdom extended up to Puttalam, as the notes of Ibn Batuta an Arab trader who visited Puttalam in AD 1344 confirm.

In the Eastern province, Batticaloa figured as the capital for many rulers exercising their powers. Records show about eighteen Tamil kings ruled from AD 20 to AD 1360, which included the Kalinga king Mahon also called as Kulakottan from AD 1215-55. It is to be noted that Mahavamsa mentions about the thirty-two Demela kings who were defeated by Dutugamini on his way to reach Anuradhapura. There is no denying of the fact that during Dutugamini’s reign Tamil kings were ruling all the regions in Sri Lanka, except the Ruhunu south ruled by Dutugamini. Undoubtedly, the Tamils have been living from BC 500 in Sri Lanka, later swelled by immigrations from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The statements of renowned historian Paul E. Peiris are relevant in this respect. (Nagadipa and Buddhist remains in Jaffna 1917 JRA Journal No. 70 P 12-18)
“I suggest that the north of Ceylon was a flourishing settlement before Vijaya was born”. “ Long before the arrival of Vijaya, there were in Lanka five recognized Iswarams of Siva, which claimed and received the adoration of all India. These were Tiru Keteeswaram Munneswaram, Tondeswaram, Thirukoneswaram and Naguleswaram”.

Historical evidence proves the existence of Tamils in all directions of Ceylon who followed Saivaism before BC 500 and also the rules of Tamils all over Sri Lanka, except during Dutugamini’s rule, and until ended by Portuguese in AD 1620, who overpowered a valiant King Sangili.

The present communal conflict centres around the policy of liquidation of the ancient Tamils as a race with their language and traditions. Tamils who are now living mainly in the north, and eastern parts of Sri Lanka are facing the lethal weapons of militarization, Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation, which were inaugurated by D.S. Senanayake in 1948. This has also resulted in the genocide of Tamils stretching from 1958 to 2009.

The Sinhalese fears of preserving Sinhalese language and Buddhism from Tamils are illusory and unfounded as religion and language can be best preserved only by those who follow and practice them. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world and when Periyar of Dravida Kalagam, an atheist, started destroying statues of Vinayagar, he was not harmed and he lived up to 91 years, propagating anti-god policy.

The Tamils are now demanding only to live as equal citizens, managing their own lives, language and affairs in areas where they have lived for more than 2500 years, even though they were rulers of entire Ceylon at various historical periods. The fact is all Sri Lankans are Indians by origin until Sri Lanka got separated 7000 years ago and later all becoming Tamils and Sinhalese speaking Tamil and Sinhalese, and following Hinduism and Buddhism.

It is to be noted that the ancestors of two well-known families who changed the political history of Sri Lankans particularly the Tamils for the worse, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and JR Jayawardene migrated from Tamil Nadu in AD 15 and AD 17. Neela Perumal a Hindu priest appointed for Saman Temple in 1457 in Sri Lanka changed his name to Nayaka Pandaram and then to Bandaranaike.
JR Jayewardene’s family belonged to the Chettiar sect in Tamil Nadu, and their descendants later adopted the Sinhalese name Jayewardene. JR is the direct descendant of Don Adrian Wijesinghe Jayewardene, earlier called as Thambi Mudaliar who died in 1830.
The above Hindus later became Christians during colonial rule and became Buddhists to grab the political power in Sri Lanka.
It is apt to conclude this writing by quoting renowned Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese historians:
Prof S. Paranavitana’s comments on ‘Mahavamsa’ in his book ‘History of Ceylon VOL. 1, PART 1, 1959 P.83 confirm the evidential value of Mahavamsa as follows:
“These traditions have been handed down orally for nearly a millennium before they were recorded in chronicles’.

Prof G.C. Mendis (Problem of Ceylon history- Colombo lecture 1966)
“Many Dravidians who settled in Ceylon learnt Sinhalese language and became Sinhalese”.
Mudaliyar W.F. Goonewardene ( 1918 Colombo lecture on September 28)
“Sinhalese script is derived immediately from the Tamil to any reasonable mind. Sinhalese, which came from nowhere, had its origin in Ceylon and was built with Tamil as its framework. It must be said that Sinhalese is essentially a Dravidian language, child of Pali and Sanskrit, and daughter of Tamil with regard to its physical structure”. What the Tamils want is “ you live and leave us to live in our traditional homelands.”
 

 
ARTICLE 8
The Inherent Concept Of Sinhala-Buddhist Domination In                       
Sri Lanka
        
The recent news feature in Colombo Telegraph spotlighted the Sinhala-Buddhist mentality of the President Maithripala Sirisena. To be precise, he is only following the footsteps of all his predecessors right from the first Prime Minister DS Senanayake in 1948, who without any delay targeted the Tamils in the East with Sinhalese colonisation and then killed the Indian Tamils’ representation in Parliament with two legislations.
This process has been faithfully followed and executed by the succeeding Prime Ministers and Presidents.
For recapitulation, the acts and deeds of the Sinhalese leaders are summarised as follows, which are featured with breach of pledges, pacts and betrayals.
The pledge given to Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in 1921 was the first breach when James Peiris and EJ Samarawickrema promised a seat from the Western Provincial to Arunachalam and then dishonoured it. This was also the first historical betrayal which sowed the seeds of Tamil nationalism and the starting point for the communal drift and mistrust. No wonder Arunachalam fired the first salvo of ‘Tamil land’ or Tamil Aham when he inaugurated the ‘Tamil Mahajana Sabhai’ Jaffna in August 1921.
JR Jayewardene proposed the “Sinhala Only” idea in 1944 before the Soulbury Commission which was rejected. JR thus pioneered the Sinhala Language domination as a communal politician.
DS Senanayake initiated colonisation schemes in the Gal Oya region in 1948 and his speech on that occasion to the settlers bares the naked Sinhalisation agenda. “One day the whole country will look up to you. You men and woman who will carry the Island’s destiny on your shoulders. One day the country will look up to you as the last bastion of the Sinhala.”
DS then targeted the Indians Tamils to ensure their non-entity in Sri Lanka’s politics and passed the Ceylon Citizenship Act in 1948 and Indian and Pakistan Resident’s Act in 1949. The toiling Indian Tamils were sacrificed to ensure Sinhalese domination in Parliament.
Then came SWRD Bandaranaike whose lust to become the Prime Minister propelled him to resort to communal politics. He used the ‘Sinhala language to attain this objective and was in a hurry to pass the’ Sinhala Only Act in June 1956, thus feeding the polarization and widening the rift between Sinhalese and Tamils. His efforts to satisfy the Tamils also ended in fiasco when Sinhala chauvinists killed the Banda- Chelva Pact in 1958. It was an irony of fate that SWRD who opened the gates of politics to Buddhist priests, who are prohibited to indulge in it according to Buddhist principles, was killed by a Buddhist Monk, like a ‘Frankenstein’. For his part, JR led the famous Kandy March to whip up opposition to kill the Pact in which he succeeded by harping on communalism.
Dudley Senanayake a gentleman by nature sought to solve the Tamils’ grievances by entering into an agreement with SJV Chelvanayakam who was then spearheading non-violent agitations in the North and East. The agreement called the Dudley-Chelva Pact made in 1965 suffered the similar fate of death inflicted by die-hard Buddhist monks and opposition parties. Even Chelva was let down and humiliated by this broken pledge. Buddhist-Sinhala domination was thus sustained and allowed to reign over reason and justice.
S.J.V. then prophetically commented ‘Only God can save the Tamils’. So far no god has got his message and one can only hope for it in the future.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike as the first world’s first woman Prime Minister on her part introduced the standardization formula in 1971 which reduced the deserving Tamil students’ admissions to Universities and also passed the legislation enforcing Sinhala only to be used in the courts. She also enshrined Buddhism as the foremost religion to be protected and preserved with provisions to this effect in the 1972 Constitution. She also removed Section 29(2) of the Soulbury Constitution which was the only safeguard to protect the rights and interests of the minorities.
JR Jayawardene dubbed as the “Fox of Asia” introduced the 1978 Constitution creating the Presidential executive system of governance like that of France. He engineered the communal riots in 1983 and enjoyed it for five days, justifying it as a natural public reaction of the Sinhalese majority. He staged various peace talks ensuring their failures, but finally caved into signing the limping Indo-Ceylon Accord, which is now functioning at the mercy of centre.
Ranasinghe Premadasa cleverly joined hands with the LTTE to send back the IPKF who was their common enemies. Various round of peace talks as with LTTE usually ended in failure.
Chandrika Bandaranaike on her part evinced her desire to solve the problems of Tamils by presenting a devolution package with wider powers. As usual, the UNP led by Ranil killed this package by organizing protests spearheaded by monks. The net result ended in a “war for peace” declared by Chandrika in 1995 while the Tamils were left in limbo.
Chandrika also caused the demise of the OSLO declaration, which was acceptable to the LTTE and also the Tsunami Funds Management Plan with the LTTE. The LTTE’s Interim Self – Government Proposal also met the same fate during Chandrika’s Presidency.
All the above scuttling actions were motivated due to the sole aim and intention of maintaining and ensuring the Sinhala – Buddhist reign and supremacy in Sri Lanka. Mahinda succeeded Chandrika who bettered others in feigning peace with Tamils while initiating time passing peace talks with LTTE. He found India and some other countries as allies to conduct an “Elimination of LTTE” war, using the US slogan of “war against terror”. He succeeded and positioned the Tamils as a conquered race to live under subjugation forever. He accelerated the Sinhala – Buddhism and Militarisation programs in the North and East unhindered and unstoppable by a feeble opposition from Tamil leaders. This process is proceeding with no brakes or disruptions.
Mahinda lost the Presidential elections due to the majority votes of Tamils and Muslims who were waiting for the opportunity to destroy his unbridled ambition to serve as a life term President after the due changes he made in the 18th Amendment, which is now curtailed by a 19th Amendment introduced by Maithri.
President Maithripala Sirisena: 2015 – to date
Maithri served as a loyal SLFP party member who was also a close pal of Mahinda, even acting as the Defense minister in-charge during the final phase of the war in May 2009 when Mahinda was out of the island. The looming question is whether he can be indicted for complicity for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed under his nose while serving Mahinda.
Leaving this issue for the future, the question is what are the expectations of Tamils from him? No answer seems to be visible from him or from his quarters. He won the Presidential election due to the minority votes – Tamils and Muslims who wanted to get rid of Mahinda. Even the Tamil National Alliance extended its support at the last-minute to Maithri.
However, for his part Maithri neither made any reference to the Tamils’ problems nor any public statement as to his ideas about a political settlement. The TNA also wisely avoided making any pacts with Maithri as “once bitten twice shy” weighed in their decision. Since Maithri has not promised anything for the TNA or Tamils, the question of betrayal does not arise with him for the time being.
However, Maithri will remain and continue to remain as another typical Sinhalese politician with an eye on his post and future. He has already indicated his stand on the following issues which are hostile to Tamils while underscoring the Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy:

  1. No withdrawal or reduction of the Army in the North. About 160, 000 soldiers are living among 700,000 civilians; thus keeping the Tamils under Army surveillance and control.
  2. No complete handing back of the lands to Tamil civilians. Out of 6200 acres seized by the Army in the North, only 400 acres have been returned to civilians so far.
  3. No conferring of powers and/or allowing the Northern and Eastern Provincial Council to function with their powers over land and police.
  4. No stopping of the illegal seizure of lands belonging to civilians by over-zealous monks who build Viharas and erect Buddha statues when there are only a few Sinhalese living around.
  5. Refused to hold an Independent International Investigation into war crimes etc.
  6. No halt to future Sinhalese settlements in Tamil areas.
  7. No speedy re-settlements of the thousands of displaced Tamil civilians. Lack of urgency and enthusiasm and a cavalier attitude towards the suffering Tamils.
  8. No proposals to solve the 60 year old ethnic problem have been laid out so far.
  9. No commitment to release the Tamil political prisoners languishing in jails for more than 20 years. Now they are dubbed as convicted criminals under the legal system with no prospects for release.
  10. No investigation or information as to the fate of 90,000 disappeared Tamils.
  11. Appointing alleged war criminals and conferring them with titles and ranks: E.g.: Jagath Dias and Sarath Fonseka.
    The Tamils can only continue to live at the mercy and dispensation of Sinhala governments unless and until the international community acts to bring about a just and durable political solution. It is the hope that political sanity and not political senility prevail in Sri Lanka from now on for its unity and prosperity.
    A recent news feature in Colombo media saying “President appears to be promoting the Sinhala- Buddhist supremacy” citing the Lion flag hoisted near him without the signs representing Tamils and Muslims is not a matter of surprise. This is just another piece of the confirmation of the hold and sway of Sinhala-Buddhist doctrine with Sinhala leaders.
    Maithiri’s backtracking of a promise to hold a war victim’s ‘Remembrance Day’ and switching to ‘War Heroes Day Celebrations’ on May 19th showed his true colours. Besides, his speech was devoted to praising the soldiers with no mention of consolation to the Tamil victims of war, or to the orphans and widows.
    To sum up, Tamils can expect neither justice nor good governance, solace or political settlement under any Sri Lankan government, not to mention the lack of upholding the law to enforce accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes etc.

 
ARTICLE 9

A Deflated UNOHRC 1, 2015 
 

In conclusion, it is the plain truth that unless Sri Lanka musters the political will and determination, shedding its majority dominant thinking and implements the mentioned encouraged fitting and just proposals fully and fairly, chances of true reconciliation will be a distant dream “Sowing the seeds for further conflict” as stated by the Commissioner.

The role of UN and Security Council is no less important. The UN and Security Council failed to stop the war and protect the Tamils by exercising their right under the RTP doctrine. If they fail again to uphold accountability and mete out justice, their credibility and relevance is at stake and will be open to question.

The much-awaited UN commission’s report released on 17 September by the HRC commissioner is a mixed bag of hopes and failings for the Sri Lankan Tamils. Without doubt, the report has exposed the details of various crimes, hitherto brazenly concealed and denied by the Sri Lankan rulers including the LTTE’s crimes.   The highlights of the most serious crimes committed between 2002-11 were:

 
 2016
ARTICLE 10
Testing Time for Sri Lanka and Tamils

 
How much longer can Sri Lanka, albeit old or new regime, cajole and fool the United Nations? While the world awaits with bated breath for the United Nations High Commissioner’s oral report on Sri Lanka, this article endeavours to list in brief the various United Nations Panels’ core findings from 2010 – 2016 as well as the findings of other international human rights agencies which conducted their own investigations as to the commissions and omissions of Sri Lanka’s security forces from 2006 – 2010 including various comments and statements of dignitaries and world leaders – only to show how much resources, time and energy has been invested so far and how much substantive proof has emerged with no avail!

In his opening remarks at the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, underway today June 13, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, His Excellency Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, had a paragraph on Sri Lanka:

“In Sri Lanka, the government’s efforts to implement its commitments in Resolution 30/1 will require a comprehensive strategy on transitional justice that enables it to pursue different processes in a coordinated, integrated and appropriately sequenced manner. This will require the inclusive and meaningful engagement of all Sri Lankans. I will present an oral update later in the session.”

It’s a general statement that has nothing new that hasn’t been said before; very little will be gained by decoding it; except that we got confirmation that the High Commissioner is scheduled to give his ‘oral report’ on Sri Lanka, “later in the session.”
Much rests on what the High Commissioner would say in this much-awaited oral report. Will he relent yet again when Sri Lanka, even under the new regime, the co-sponsor of the UN HRC resolution passed at the 30th session, has done nothing substantive to deliver on its promises. In fact, the government has rejected any question of involving any foreign judges in any domestic inquiry it contemplates – a domestic inquiry that it has done nothing about.

The armed struggle by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which commenced in 1976 with the failure of peaceful struggles initiated in 1956 by the past Tamil political leaders, reached its climax in the Eelam war IV from 2006 – 2009.
The war ended with a victory for Sri Lankan Government with the backing and silent consent of several countries including the United Nations. Even United Nations and Human Rights Council depravingly applauded the Sri Lankan Government for its success in 2009, which was achieved with the commissions of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. and harvesting 146,679 innocent civilian lives. The international community and United Nations woke up after independent western media and television channels exposed the horrific crimes committed by the Sri Lankan security forces including graphic live scenes of captured prisoners being summarily executed at point blank.

Worldwide agitations by Tamil Diaspora and condemnations by various countries and human rights groups forced the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint several Commissioners, Rapporteurs and internal panels to undertake comprehensive investigations into the war crimes conduct and actions of both Sri Lankan security forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Resources, Time and Energy Invested So Far
The year 2010 was the starting point for the international community and the United Nations to take notice of Sri Lanka’s human rights violations and initiating various steps to unearth the truths and expose the cover-ups and false propaganda of Sri Lankan Government.
The United State’s State Department’s report for the year 2010 published on April 8, 2010, among other matters stated “a disproportionate number of human rights violations were committed against Tamils. Security forces tortured and abused detainees, authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens”

The United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency Ban Ki-moon later appointed the United Nations Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka in 2010, to look into the allegations of human rights violations and submit a report. Evidence was collected from various sources and human rights groups.

The Unrow Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic of American University, Washington College of Law submitted evidence and even filed a lawsuit against Mr Shavendra de Silva, a military general who commanded the 58th division during the war.
Italy based Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka which held its first session in Dublin in 2010 confirmed “the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lanka Government which were continuing”

In June 2010, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a Panel of Experts on Accountability to advise him “regarding the modalities, applicable international standards and comprehensive experience of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.” The expert’s panel issued their report in March 2011, stating inter alia. “Indeed, the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.”

Following this report, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Mr Charles Petrie to examine the United Nation’s role in the conflict. This internal review, undertaken by Charles Petrie, reveals UN involvement in Sri Lanka to be a “grave failure” in preventing the mass atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity which occurred during the civil war from 2006-2009 amounting to genocide. This report also stated that “according to United Nations data most casualties were caused by Government’s fire.” Further, the report also condemns the “Sri Lankan Government’s obstruction and manipulation of United Nation’s personnel.” The report also states that there were “credible estimates for the civilian casualties 70,000.”

The European Parliament also passed a resolution in 2012 calling for a United Nations commission to inquire into all crimes committed as recommended by the United Nation’s Panel of Experts Report. Likewise, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group also called for an international investigative mechanism in 2012 while criticising flawed Sri Lanka’s LLRC Report.

Consequently in March 2013 United States of America tabled a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council which allowed the then UN Human Rights Commissioner Madam Navaneetham Pillai to continue her reports including visits to Sri Lanka. She visited Sri Lanka in August 2013 and presented an oral update to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013.

The 2013 US resolution in the UNHRC also called upon the Sri Lankan Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law as applicable.
Calls for international investigation were made by several human rights activists and organizations in 2014.
Northern Provincial Council, Sri Lanka in January 2014 passed a resolution unanimously to this effect.
Tamil Nadu State Assembly, India representing 75 million Tamils passed a similar resolution unanimously in 2014.
Mr Brad Adams, Asia director of Human rights Watch Organization stated: “it is clearer than ever that an independent investigation is needed to make genuine progress in providing justice for victims.”
Amnesty International urged the UNHRC to ensure an international investigation in 2014.
International Crisis Group called for a strong international mechanism to inquire into violations of international law by both sides in 2014.
International Criminal Evidence Project based in Australia described Sri Lanka in 2014 “as an Island of impunity and concluded” that vast majority of alleged crimes were perpetrated by Sri Lankan Security forces.

However, Sri Lankan government has brushed aside these calls and put an end to the ‘international investigation’ cry and process with statements from the Sri Lankan President and recently from the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on May 29th 2016 when he said that “judicial mechanism would be made of entirely Sri Lankan Judges,” which is already discredited in the UNHRC Commission’s report and rejected by the UN High Commissioner for Human rights.

ARTICLE 11
Receding Hopes for Accountability, Reconciliation and Justice

The much talked and discussed current burning issues of accountability, reconciliation and justice appeared to be facing a life and death battle, the contributors being Sri Lanka’s Government thriving on an uneasy alliance, the UN Human Rights Commissioner and the chauvinistic politicians, spearheaded by Mahinda, BBS and others struggling to revive their political fortunes – including the Prof. G. L. Peiris & ex Chief Justice Sarath de Silva – who were teaching principles of justice and fundamental rights to students and lawyers.
The Issue of Accountability And Justice
The UN Human Rights Office Report on Sri Lanka in 2015 stated that the ‘commitment by the new Government to pursue accountability through domestic process is commendable, but the unfortunate reality is that criminal justice system is not ready’ and also the inadequacy of Sri Lanka’s domestic legal framework to deal with international crimes of this magnitude.
The UN Human Rights Commissioner then ‘called for a’ Hybrid Special Court integrating International Judges, Lawyers and Investigators. He categorically stated that “a purely domestic court procedure will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fuelled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises” He thus ruled out even a reformed domestic system which can only function parallel to the special hybrid court, and not in place of it. This is needed to set Sri Lanka on a new path to justice, building public confidence along the way.
His Excellency Prince Al-Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein made the above statements identifying the patterns of grave violations between 2002 – 2011 consisting of two parts and running to 261 pages.  The Sri Lankan Government immediately launched a protest campaign opposing the special hybrid court and succeeded by co-sponsoring a resolution with USA recognizing “that accountability is essential to uphold the rule of law and affirming the importance of participation in a Sri Lankanjudicial mechanism including the Special Counsel’s Office of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators”
The present position of Sri Lanka appears to be a betrayal of its own resolution. The recent statements of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasingha, President Sirisena, Justice Minister and even the Mahanayaks [Buddhist Clergy] are indicative of the stand of Government to rule out any foreign judicial element in the participation of the internal mechanism,” but may decide to allow foreign observers. Above all, the  statements of the President and the Prime Minister, along with the appointment of Field Marshal Sarath Fonsekera, The Commander who led and conducted and concluded the war, now becoming a Member of Parliament and Minister, is a deadly blow to the principle of accountability while confirming the continuance of  the decadent past practice of impunity. This step is just foretelling what is in store and any hope of convicting any Army personnel for crimes committed during and after the war has become farcical.
Sri Lanka is set to wriggle out of this resolution by referring it to the Supreme Court for their approval to bring in foreign Judicial Officers. This is inevitably doomed to failure as the Sri Lankan Judiciary is reputedly politicized, as confirmed by the UH High commissioner for Human rights which is ingrained in the Sri Lanka’s judicial system.
The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s recent visit to Sri Lanka is timely giving him the opportunity to obtain first hand information and inter act with all segments of affected people, party leaders, Prime Minister, President, Citizens Committees, Civil Rights Groups, Northern Provincial Council Members, religious dignitaries. This was an exercise which he availed to feel the pulse of all those involved and affected by human rights. However, the recent statement of His Excellency Prince Al-Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein is disappointing to some extent on the question of participation of foreign judges. He said :” victims of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict must feel that justice is done, no matter the form of accountability mechanism enacted”. It appears that H. E Zeid has succumbed to the pressure of the Sri Lankan government and even of Mahanayakas [Buddhist Clergy] whose political advices carried some weight. He appears to have abandoned the involvement of foreign legal personnel and endorsed the pure Sri Lankan mechanism which he earlier dismissed as untrustworthy. Thus the concept of accountability will remain in theory and the principle of justice will also go along with it making a mockery of these two cardinal democratic principles for a government of good governance.  Lack of political will, electoral fortunes, menacing Mahinda family, back lash from security forces, chauvinistic politicians and opinions Mahasanga [Buddhist High Command] play the dominant and star roles in the politics of Sri Lanka, not to mention the penchant of breaking promises given to any country, organization, Leader or Party.

With accountability and justice hanging in the balance, the process of reconciliation is also doomed to failure destroying the hopes of enduring peace and harmony. For reconciliation to succeed accountability and justice must pre-succeed. Accountability must involve the wounded victims who cannot be allowed to live with lingering traumas, distraught feelings or minds yearning for justice. The longer the perpetrators live free from the judicial process with impunity the longing for vengeance will also grow to sow the seeds of violence.

Once an impartial accountability mechanism is set in motion to carry out its functions impartially to the satisfaction of victims who should be able to feel that justice has been done, the path to reconciliation will become smoother and easier. Winning the hearts and minds of victims must be the focus aiming to build trust and confidence to secure a permanent and durable solution.

However, the current ground political situation in Sri Lanka bodes well to achieve neither credible and successful accountability nor a satisfying justice nor a fruitful reconciliation. It is disappointing to note that the Sri Lankan government is yet to initiate any steps to implement the various encouraging proposals set out in the resolution, namely Introducing effective security sector reforms,  to reform domestic law to implement its own commitments including  LLRC recommendations, to investigate all violent attacks against all journalists, human rights activists, Religious places [Hindu temples, churches and mosques], allowing participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges etc.  Five months have elapsed since the passing of the resolution on October 1st 2015 and the Government of Sri Lanka being engaged in adopting a new constitution, the said proposals in the resolution are certain to lie unattended and uncared or ignored. It won’t be a surprise that some of them will be inevitably gathering dust. The accepted internal mechanism will certainly function without any foreign Judges or Lawyers participation to ensure an outcome granting of immunity and amnesty to the Army as already promised by the Sri Lankan government.

As for the Tamils, the 13th Amendment will remain as the solution with possibly some improvements, in the powers for the Northern Provincial Council. With India and USA supporting this position, Sri Lanka will adopt a unitary constitution, brushing aside any “Federal”  “Union” “Confederation” ideas while maintaining the status quo as it exists at present, this being the Government’s confirmed stand.

The proposals of OHRC will remain half or quarter fulfilled for UN to review its stand on Sri Lanka by March 2017, by which time Sri Lanka would have succeeded in its diplomatic campaign convincing the West, UN and India that all is well in Sri Lanka with a new constitution.

The Tamils and Tamil National Alliance will experience another phase of broken promises and let downs.  The polarization and political divide will survive possibly for another circle of unrest and violence sooner or later with the roots and seeds of the national diseases of Sri Lanka being left untouched to grow malignantly for the sake of political expediency and power. The ‘Good Governance’ will become irrelevant and falsifying leaving the quest of Tamils for accountability, justice and reconciliation. The Buddhisisation, Sinhalaziation and militarization will continue subtly hand in hand to reach end goal of SINHALA BUDDHIST STATE [The dream of the Sinhala Buddhist Clergy and extremist Sinhala Buddhists like BBS]

Various promises of the President and the Prime Minister will continue to remain unfulfilled and will probably remain as meant to promises, like the release of Tamil Prisoners, prompt return of lands, a Special Court to try the accused in Vidya’s rape case within six months. Promises to haul up the bribery and corruption-tainted politicians will be gathering momentum for political expediency and as a double-edged sword to put an end to the political rise and ambitions of Rajapakse’s while ensuring their image in the list of ‘War Heroes’  to placate the Sinhalese no matter the war crimes, crimes against humanity or accountability.

The much-battered promise of an acceptable and just political settlement to the Tamils will remain as elusive as ever and it is better late than never for the Tamils to mount agitations demanding self-determination and/or referendum as prescribed in the UN covenant, article “1”  The reasons justifying are:-
[i] Tamils constitute the peoples and qualify as a nation
[ii] Tamils have been victims of racial and language discrimination state-sponsored pogroms
against the Tamils in 1956. 1958. 1977, 1979, 1983, 2004 – 2009 and massacres by security
forces with nil accountability for the perpetrators and nil justice to the Tamils.
[iii] Tamils have been cheated politically with broken promises, pacts,  agreements etc since 1958
[iv] Tamil race facing eventual extinction through assimilation through Buddhisization and   Sinhalization.
The time has come for the world Tamils to call for self-determination and put an end to the subtle and deceptive diplomacy of India, UN, USA and other countries who exploit the problems of the Tamils for their political, economic, geographical or strategic interests like the curry leaves – used and discarded later – after cooking.  BETTER
Comments to “Receding Hopes for Accountability, Reconciliation and Justice”
Kumarathasan RasingamMarch 3rd, 2016

This is an excellent article covering all aspects of Tamils problems. The Tamils all over the world are eager to know the truth.- are we going to be cheated this time also, as usual, our Tamil Politicians promises and turncoats of the past and the fear of Tamils is reasonable. we must be alert and active to expose any false move by our Tamil politicians and also the UN and the International community. This type of articles will keep the Tamils informed of the situation and actions by UN, US, India and the International community.

 
ARTICLE 12

Sri Lanka’s Sixth Amendment Violates UN Human Charter.

Late President JR Jayewardene of Sri Lanka after allowing and being complicit in the massacres of Tamils in the 1977, 1983 pogroms and justifying them as a normal reaction of Sinhalese to take revenge on innocent Tamils, hurriedly passed the 6th amendment to the constitution in August 1983 to stifle the voice of Tamils. The amendment’s important sections are under:
Article. 157“No political party or other association or organization shall have one of its objectives or aims in the establishment of a separate state within the territories of Sri Lanka”
“No person shall directly or indirectly in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka which if found guilty could strip his/her civic rights etc.
Penalties include Loss of civic rights citizenship, confiscation of moveable and unmoveable properties etc. There is also a provision “requiring elected members of parliament to take oaths swearing allegiance and loyalty to the unitary constitution of Sri Lanka”It is relevant to note that a case against Tamil National Alliance Party is now pending in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka alleging their violation of the 6th amendment by indirectly and/or directly calling for a separate state for Tamils in their election manifesto. However, Tamil National Alliance Party has subsequently handed over a written undertaking to the Speaker in the Parliament of Sri Lanka owing their allegiance to a unitary state and renouncing a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka. This matter is thus silenced by the Tamil National Alliance Party for the time being and it is still open for Tamil National Alliance to raise the legality and validity of the provisions of the sixth amendment which flout the provisions of UN Charter and UN Covenant on Civil and Political rights 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic and Social rights 1966 to which Sri Lanka is a signatory.

Sri Lanka joined the UN in 1955 and is a member, being duty-bound to follow the principles and provisions embodied in the UN Charter and other conventions to which it signed and pledged to observe.
UN preamble of December 10, 1948, says: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of the freedom of justice and peace in the world” and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights December 10, 1948 lists the following rights to each individual of a member state.
The right to freedom of:

 ARTICLE 13
Rights of Tamils for Self-Determination

 The UN covenant on civil and political rights, which came into effect in 1966, lays down the right and principle of self-determination under Article 1 as follows:-
‘All people have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that, they freely determine their political status and thereby pursue their economic, social and cultural development’.
The UN adopted this principle bearing in mind the countries whose people were ruled by repressive dictators or colonial masters. This provision in addition targets “all people” living in all countries offering them the choice to exercise this right without any political hindrance from the rulers of those countries.
The recognition of self-determination rights was first applied successfully in the 1960s to several countries ruled by colonial powers, particularly in Africa. Since then several other countries like East Timor, Kosovo, and South Sudan exercised this right and earned the international endorsement and recognition. As such, this principle now is firmly established as an international legal principle.
The scope of this UN Article thus covers people who are victims of state discrimination, racially or religiously massacred, genocide or facing a slow and steady extinction due to overt and/or covert measures of the governments in power.
The non-application or denial of these rights of self-determination to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka who have been subject to an agenda of genocide since independence in February 1948 is deeply disappointing and defies reasoning. This Article goes on to point out the historical, political and legal justification for the Sri Lankan Tamils to exercise this right as a matter of legal principle.
 
 
Historical reasons
 
Legends of Sri Lanka mention the ‘Yakshas’, ‘Rakshas’ and Nagas as the original inhabitants of Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] living in all parts of the country. Chronicles of Sri Lanka however point to the existence of Nagas in the periods before BC 500. Sri Lanka was then called ‘Naga Land’ and in confirmation one can mention names and various places commencing with the alphabets ‘Naga’ like ‘Nagar Kovil’  ‘Nagamunai’, Nagalingam, Nagamma, etc. Nagas also inhabited various parts of India where names of places like Nagpur and Nagapattinam still exist. Nagas worshipped the snake Nagam or Cobra which practice is still followed by both Sinhalese and Tamils. Nagas in the process embraced Saivaism and continued the observance until Buddhism was introduced during the Devanampiya Tissa’s rule in BC 247. While Nagas in the south became Buddhists, and later Sinhalese speaking Sinhalese language which attained its full form, with a mixture of Pali, Sanskrit, Prakit and Tamil as Mudaliyar’s comments in his lecture in Colombo in 1918 stated “Sinhalese which came from nowhere had its origin in Ceylon and was built up with Tamils as its framework and Sinhalese is the child of Pali and Sanskrit.” Many Tamils in the North also became Buddhists and, with the rise of Saivism in South India during the 7th century, Tamil in South India, Tamils in Sri Lanka concentrated in the North East and West embraced Saivism, and have remained so.
As Professor Paul. E. Peiris stated in 1917 [Nagadipa and Buddhist remains in Jaffna  JRAS Journal No. 70  p12 – 18]: “I suggest that the north of Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] was a flourishing settlement before Vijaya was born.” According to Mahavamsa, 58 kings ruled Ceylon from BC 483 to AD 352 and out of these eight were Tamil Kings and seven Naga Kings. The Tamil Chiefs were also ruling the East with Batticaloa as the capital. The Tamils continued their rule until 1833 when the British got rid of the rules by Kings in the North and East, and brought under the control of Colombo based British officials and Governors, thus ended the sovereignty of Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
With the independence of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan successive Governments embarked on a programme of discrimination, marginalization, Sinhalisisation and Buddhisisation on aiming at assimilation, disintegration and ultimate disappearance of Tamils as a race and nation in Sri Lanka. History of Sri Lanka carries the rules and existence of Tamils for more than 3000 years and so their right to self-rule is not whimsical, illusory or fanciful.
 
 Political justification
 
Communalism and the concept of Sinhala domination in the politics of Sri Lanka were set in motion from 1921 when ”the pledge given by Sinhalese leaders James Peiris and Edmund Samarawickrema to the Tamil Leaders that a parliamentary seat would be reserved for a Tamil Representative, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in the western province was broken” which heralded the rift between Sinhalese and Tamils which led to the formation of Tamil Mahajana Sabai in August 21 headed by the cheated Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam who promoted the “union and solidarity of ‘Tamil Akam’ the Tamil Land.” Tamil Nationalism and Sinhala Nationalism thus began to grow menacingly and is now well rooted and firmly entrenched in the politics of Sri Lanka.
The following discriminatory legislation, pogroms, and violent acts directed against Tamils from 1948 to 2009 form part of the agenda of Buddhistsation, Sinhalisation and Militarisation being carried out by successive Sinhalese governments since independence.
[1] Citizenship Act 1948, Indian Pakistani Residence Act 1948 which snatched the citizenship and voting rights of Indian Tamil, thus weakening the political voice of Tamils.
[2] The initiation of Sinhala colonization by the United National Party Government in 1949 in the Eastern province to change the demographic pattern. From then on the Sinhala colonization schemes have been continuing unhindered and have now been extended to Northern Province.
[3] Buddhisisation is accompanying the colonization with buildings of Buddhist Viharas in Tamil areas and erection of huge Buddha statutes in Tamil areas where hardly any Buddhist worshipers exist. Building Buddhist Viharas and Buddha statutes adjacent to the ancient Hindu Easwaram Temples to belittle their sanctity and historical importance; eg. Katargamna, Thiruketheeswaram, Munneswaram, etc. A move is underway to erect a 61 feet Buddha statute in Nainativu [Northern Province] to demonstrate it as a landmark of Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country.
 
Militarization: Out of a total of 200,000 strong Army, 150,000 are stationed in the north, 30,000 in the east and the rest for the other seven provinces. The security forces are in control of 6740 acres of private land in the north, only 700 acres released so far after 2015. The process of seizure of lands is still continuing and 118 sites are now located to be seized for the use of security personnel. With a government of good governance in action and a country free from terrorism, with peace said to be prevailing, one wonders as to the need for the said heavy military presence in Tamil areas. Answer is – this forms part of the ‘Sinhalization’ agenda, and keeping the Tamils under check and surveillance.
The entrenched culture of impunity enjoyed by state and security personnel, only a handful convicted since 1958, makes ‘accountability‘ a dirty word in Sri Lanka.
The Sinhala only act of 1956 and the Standardization Act of 1972 further relegated the Tamil language with the Tamil students being denied admissions to universities on merit, leaving them angry, frustrated and resorting to militancy. 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977. 1983 massacres directed against the Tamils in all parts of the Island by the Security forces with state blessing and support and support were aimed to make them feel as unwanted inferior citizens or aliens in their own country.

The crushing of non-violent agitations with brutal force during the 1960s proved the determination of Sri Lankan Governments to nip in the bud any form of resistance. The disruption of Tamil Research Conference in Jaffna in 1974 and the burning of Jaffna Public Library [One of the best Library in the East – with volumes of old scripts in leaves of Palmirah] in May 1981 were acts of cultural genocide to obliterate the Tamils of their culture, learning and proud history.

The war between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] and the Sri Lankan armed forces from 2006 to 2009 provided the opportunities to wipe out as many Tamil civilians as possible, and the war harvested about 146,679 lives of innocent Tamils fully fulfilling the requirements of the crime of genocide. In the advancement of Buddhisisation, the constitution of 1972 guaranteed Buddhism as the foremost religion and imposed the duties to project and foster it on the state, as statutory duties. This provision has thus enabled the Buddhist Monks and state to take whatever steps in the name of Buddhism with no questions asked, enjoying the state patronage.
 
The draconian Prevention of Terrorism [PTA] Act of 1979 and the sixth amendment to the constitution in 1983 were acts targeting the Tamil youths and Tamil political agitations which blanketly licence the arbitrary exercises of powers by state personnel keeping the rule of law at bay and striking at the fundamentals and basics of judicial process and review.

The bitter experiences of Tamils from 1958 to 2004 at the hands of Sinhala political leaders, who exhibit good political will at first and then succumbing to chauvinism, are many. Breaches of Pacts, Accords and Agreements like Banda-Chelva pact, Dudly-Chelva Agreement, Premadasa-LTTE and Chandrika, Ranil-LTTE Accords, besides various peace talks held in various cities in and outside Sri Lanka until 2006.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979 specifically targeting the rebelling Tamil youths and the sixth amendment which was enacted after the mayhem in 1983 were aimed at the Tamil polity to silence their voices for equal rights and justice and thus further alienated the Tamils from national and mainstream politics.

All the above recorded political events were calculated deliberate acts committed by state and its security forces along with the supporters against the Tamils only with the objective to ensure the severance and gradual disappearance of an ancient race and nation in Sri Lanka.

The Tamils are thus now left to ensure their existence with no other alternative but to resort to the right of self-determination granted in the UN Covenant. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 has its preamble even endorsed the right to rebellion against tyranny and repression so that human rights should be protected by the ‘rule of law’.

The legitimacy to call for self-determination is further buttressed by the commission of the crime of genocide by the Sri Lankan Governments with acts of commission and commission inflicted since independence as part of the agenda of genocide involving culture, language, religion and history.

Genocide, as defined in the UN Convention, covers any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or part of a national ethnical or religious group which includes;
 
Killing members of the group or Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group or Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of the life calculated in whole or in part.
 
Without any iota of doubt, Tamils are falling within the ambit of the above provisions, namely, Tamils are members of an ethnical group who have been killed and are victims of serious bodily and mental harm. In addition, they also suffered intolerable conditions of life during the war causing destruction of their lives, like the blockade of food and medical supplies to more than one hundred thousand in the last stages of the war. The whole world witnessed the genocidal war, but closed their conscience and mouths to speak out and so far has not recognized it as ‘genocide’, despite the USA calling massacres in Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda and Cambodia and even ISIS killings of Yazidis as genocide.

The calls for justice for and self-determination for Tamils are just and lawful which need to be addressed without delay. Exercise of this right does not mean the only secession but could opt for confederation, Union of Regions or even Federalism.
Tamil National Alliance has called for self-determination, as also has the Tamil People’s Council. The Labour Party Leader of the opposition in England, as well as the political leaders in Canada, have also recently endorsed the right of self-determination.
The Tamils in the 1977 general election gave the mandate for self-rule. The INDO-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 [signed by the then Prime Ministers of India and Sri Lanka] recognized the North and East of Sri Lanka as the historically habituated traditional homelands of Tamils.
Ranil Wickremesinghe – Prime Minister during the period when the 2002 Peace Accord was signed with LTTE recognized and demarcated the boundaries of North and Eastern Provinces in the 2002 peace accord recognizing the de-facto Tamil State of LTTE. Tamils have ruled the Island in BC 177 with Senan and Guttikan as Kings until AD 295. 14 Tamil Kings ruled Sri Lanka at different periods. From AD 1240 to AD 1618 Twenty Tamil Kings ruled the North as the Kingdom of Jaffna until the entry of Portuguese while various Tamil district rulers also remained at the helm in the Eastern province.
With all options of struggles unarmed and armed snuffed out by the Sri Lankan Security Force, the only option is to agitate for the right of self-determination. The UN and international community will be discarding their duties and responsibilities if they fail to call for the exercise of this right of self-determination to the Tamils who otherwise are doomed to be written off as a chapter in the history of Sri Lanka.
Call for referendum to determine the political status of people based on self-determination is not an infringement of the provisions of the sixth amendment which only prohibits  political agitations calling for a separate state. A Nation which is a victim of pre-programmed genocide is hoping for justice from the UN and International community to ensure its survival and preservation of its culture, language, history and religion in Sri Lanka.
 

 
ARTICLE  14

Fading Hopes for Political Settlement
 

The Tamils in Sri Lanka are being pushed back to square one yet again by the present government of good governance.
The Tamil National Alliance openly called on the Tamil voters to vote for this government who decided, however, to vote against the Mahinda family as a token of vengeance for the wholesale massacres and destruction of their lives during the genocidal war. The Tamil National Alliance genuinely believed and trusted the innocent smiling Maithri and elusive Ranil who play the game of chess in politics. India and USA wanted to get rid of Mahinda, who was becoming closer and closer to China.
The war was won with the assistance of twenty-two countries, Mahinda conducted the war under the label “war against terrorism” coined after 9-11. Terrorism is a word of convenience used to suit the occasions calculated on the basis of geopolitics and strategic considerations.
In this process, Tamils and liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were good enough to achieve their desired goals. After all “the end justifies the means.”
Now the Tamils, who are the victims of war crimes, crimes against Humanity, etc, as exposed by the UN’s Panel report of 2014, and having lost 146,679 innocents during the war, are still searching for about 20,000 missing and or disappeared while in the hands of security forces with no hope as the present government has requested their relatives forget about them as they are dead and gone; and not to ask questions like “when, how, where, or by whom.”
Carrying these bundles of unanswered painful questions, and unsolved issues the Tamils hoped that the present government will genuinely exhibit political will and determination to offer a dignified, just and permanent political settlement to activate the process of reconciliation along with justice. However reconciliation must go hand in hand with accountability. Now with accountability hanging in balance, a decent political settlement might be a first step to move forward for meeting the other issues.
After more than one year of “good governance” the record of this government is sadly dismaying and does not hold much hope for the Tamils to expect an acceptable political settlement. The present government is also just following the footsteps and precedents of all the previous governments dishing bits and pieces of acts of reconciliation. There is no dearth for promises and there is only dearth of actions on promises. The following actions speak for themselves:-
 
1.            The promise to release the Tamil political prisoners has disappeared and now they have become criminal prisoners, destined to remain in jail under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act.
2.            Another promise given to the International community is the repeal of the draconianPrevention of Terrorism Act 1979.This act flouts all norms of justice like indiscriminate arrests, search at any time and place, arrest and detention up to 18 months, and prolonging the detention to an indefinite period with involuntary confessions admissible as evidence for conviction. The burden lies on the suspect to disprove the nature and contents of confession, the courts being denied of the right of challenge and review, of the arrest and detention. The suspect can be kept in undisclosed detention centers unknown to the relatives. The promise to replace it with another act is yet to be fulfilled, and it appears that the new act could make some cosmic changes of mitigation leaving the core provisions intact.
3.            The continuing sluggish judicial process in cases involving security personnel and politicians. eg. Trincomalee massacre of five students, massacre of seventeen French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF) Thirty media workers and journalists have been killed since 2005 with no arrests so far, with cases remaining unsolved.
4.            The promise ofMithirito release the civilian owned lands in the north and east and to resettle the replaced within six months still remains a promise. Only about 700 acres have been released with about 4,700 acres still in the hands of the security forces in the north, with some moves to grab more lands stalled due to public protests. In the east, 7000 acres are in the hands of the security forces.
5.            The promise to remove the Army in the north is as good as dead. On the contrary the Army is strengthening their presence to remain as permanent resident, having their hands in civil administration and engaging in surveillance of local population instilling fear and insecurity among the civilians [The army consists of 99% Sinhalese speaking Buddhists whereas the population in the north is Hindu/Christian Tamils and few Tamil speaking Muslims].
6.            Sri Lanka has simply and rightly discarded the ‘encouraged matters’ detailed in its co-sponsored resolution passed on October 01, 2015 in the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution is not legally binding on Sri Lanka. It only encourages it to implement it and Sri Lanka knows pretty well as to how to convince the UN as to its failure or delay to implement the same. Dying along with these proposals is the much expectedLLRCrecommendations.
7.            The hope that the proposed new constitution will include and guarantee proposals to solve the Tamils’ problems has evaporated as one of the preambles’ objectives, namely “to solve the national ethnic question and issues” has been deleted to accommodate Sinhalese extremists who protested it as irrelevant, being a non-issue.
8.            The inordinate delay in filing charges against past politicians for corruption, misuse of power, instead some of them being appointed to positions of power in party and offices. Reluctance and dilly-dallying to haul up the alleged past ruling family members who are accused of corruption.
9.            Continuing abductions and detainment of rehabilitated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam members under the provisions of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. So far 33 Tamil persons have been taken into custody in the months of March and April. The past era of fear is returning in the Tamil areas, with security forces flouting the procedures by carrying out arbitrary arrests, etc.
10.         So far no specific proposals have been placed to meet the ethnic issues. Only the outright rejection of a Federal System is declared by the President, and a subtle campaign is underway to kill the ‘Federalism’ proposals.
11.         Continuing violent acts against the Tamil detainees including rape and torture of women and men as disclosed to Human rights Agencies by the victims who were interviewed by the UN Commissioners who visited Sri Lanka recently and confirmed the torture etc of Tamil prisoners.
12.         The irony in Sri Lanka’s politics in that those who agitate for political and human rights and justice are branded as communalists, breeding hatred and communalism in the south, while those who perpetrated the injustice and destroyed lives of Tamils are patriotic nation builders. The bogey of Tigers is now propped up to stall any settlement proposals and to sustain the communal grip. Federalism has now been given a new definition and meaning by the south politicians equating with ‘secession’ or ‘separation’ discarding the true definition of “a system of government in which power is divided between Government and several regions.”
 
As usual some politicians in the south put the entire blame on the Tamil politicians for the rise and growth of communalism while playing the ostrich game, hiding the initial anti-Tamil legislations, Buddhsisasition  Sinhalization promoted by the past communal politicians like. late K.M.P. Rajaratna, Mettananda, Cyril Mathew and many others who spearheaded and natured the hate campaign which is now followed by groups like Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya, Patriotic National Movement, Pivithuru Urumaya and Sinhala Ravaya.
From 1948 onwards Tamil political leaders offered their co-operation and trusted the Sinhala Governments at various periods, and the net result was betrayals and breaches of trust. Once bitten and twice shy and enough is enough as the writer of this article pointed out earlier in another article in the March issue of the Tamil Mirror. “As for the Tamils the 13th Amendment will remain, as the solution with possibly some improvements.”
The Tamil National Alliance on their part extended their goodwill and gestures of co-operation and the signs are “history is repeating” and it is high time the Tamil National Alliance assess the realities and embark on peaceful agitations while mounting pressure on the International Community and United Nations to come to terms with Sri Lanka on the plight of Tamils and to prevent them from being discarded as curry leaves.
If the western countries place their priority to prop up and protect their friendly Government, abandoning the Tamils, Sri Lanka will continue to remain as a hot bed for militancy and uneasy peace, shaking the stability of the region.
If the present coalition Government which is enjoying the warm friendship and goodwill of western countries, Tamil National Alliance and Tamils, fails to deliver the denied and delayed justice and equal rights along with a dignified permanent political settlement, the prophecy of the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister HonourableC. Wigneswaranas to the probability of a “REINCARNATION OF PRABAHARAN’ could sooner or later become an unavoidable reality.
The Financial Times – London of May 15, 2009 in its editorial confirmed the same opinion as follows “The Tamils’ cause will ignite from embers of this war unless the Sinhalese show magnanimity and gives the Tamils control of their own lives.”
History will repeat itself if lessons of history are not learnt.
“BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.”
 

ARTICLE  15
Testing Time For United Nations & Sri Lanka 
How much longer can Sri Lanka, albeit old or new regime, cajole and fool the United Nations? While the world awaits with bated breath for the United Nations High Commissioner’s oral report on Sri Lanka, this article endeavours to list in brief the various United Nations Panels’ core findings from 2010 – 2016 as well as the findings of other international human rights agencies which conducted their own investigations as to the commissions and omissions of Sri Lanka’s security forces from 2006 – 2010 including various comments and statements of dignitaries and world leaders – only to show how much resources, time and energy has been invested so far and how much substantive proof has emerged with no avail!
In his opening remarks at the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, underway today June 13, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, His Excellency Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, had a paragraph on Sri Lanka:
“In Sri Lanka, the government’s efforts to implement its commitments in Resolution 30/1 will require a comprehensive strategy on transitional justice that enables it to pursue different processes in a coordinated, integrated and appropriately sequenced manner. This will require the inclusive and meaningful engagement of all Sri Lankans. I will present an oral update later in the session.”
It’s a general statement that has nothing new that hasn’t been said before; very little will be gained by decoding it; except that we got confirmation that the High Commissioner is scheduled to give his ‘oral report’ on Sri Lanka, “later in the session.”
Much rests on what the High Commissioner would say in this much awaited oral report. Will he relent yet again when Sri Lanka, even under the new regime, the co- sponsor of the UN HRC resolution passed at the 30th session, has done nothing substantive to deliver on its promises. In fact the government has rejected any question of involving any foreign judges in any domestic inquiry it contemplates – a domestic inquiry that it has done nothing about.
The armed struggle by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which commenced in 1976 with the failure of peaceful struggles initiated in 1956 by the past Tamil political leaders, reached its climax in the Eelam war IV from 2006 – 2009.
The war ended with a victory for Sri Lankan Government with the backing and silent consent of several countries including United Nations. Even United Nations and Human Rights Council depravingly applauded the Sri Lankan Government for its success in 2009, which was achieved with the commissions of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. and harvesting 146,679 innocent civilian lives. The international community and United Nations woke up after independent western media and television channels exposed the horrific crimes committed by the Sri Lankan security forces including graphic live scenes of captured prisoners being summarily executed at point-blank.
Worldwide agitations by Tamil Diaspora and condemnations by various countries and human rights groups forced the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint several Commissioners, Rapporteurs and internal panels to undertake comprehensive investigations into the war crimes conduct and actions of both Sri Lankan security forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Resources, Time and Energy Invested So Far
The year 2010 was the starting point for the international community and the United Nations to take notice of Sri Lanka’s human rights violations and initiating various steps to unearth the truths and expose the cover-ups and false propaganda of Sri Lankan Government.
The United State’s State Department’s report for the year 2010 published on April 8, 2010, among other matters stated “a disproportionate number of human rights violations were committed against Tamils. Security forces tortured and abused detainees, authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens”
The United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency Ban Ki-moon later appointed the United Nations Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka in 2010, to look into the allegations of human rights violations and submit a report. Evidence was collected from various sources and human rights groups.
The Unrow Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic of American University, Washington College of Law submitted evidence and even filed a lawsuit against Mr. Shavendra de Silva, a military general who commanded the 58th division during the war.
Italy based Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka which held its first session in Dublin in 2010 confirmed “the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lanka Government which were continuing”
In June 2010, the United Nations Secretary General appointed a Panel of Experts on Accountability to advise him “regarding the modalities, applicable international standards and comprehensive experience of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.” The expert’s panel issued their report in March 2011, stating inter alia. “Indeed, the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.”
Following this report, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Mr Charles Petrie to examine the United Nation’s role in the conflict. This internal review, undertaken by Charles Petrie, reveals UN involvement in Sri Lanka to be a “grave failure” in preventing the mass atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity which occurred during the civil war from 2006-2009 amounting to genocide. This report also stated that “according to United Nations data most casualties were caused by Government’s fire.” Further, the report also condemns the “Sri Lankan Government’s obstruction and manipulation of United Nation’s personnel.” The report also states that there were “credible estimates for the civilian casualties 70,000.”
The European Parliament also passed a resolution in 2012 calling for a United Nations commission to inquire into all crimes committed as recommended by the United Nation’s Panel of Experts Report. Likewise, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group also called for an international investigative mechanism in 2012 while criticising flawed Sri Lanka’s LLRC Report.
Consequently in March 2013 United States of America tabled a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council which allowed the then UN Human Rights Commissioner Madam Navaneetham Pillai to continue her reports including visits to Sri Lanka. She visited Sri Lanka in August 2013 and presented an oral update to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013.
The 2013 US resolution in the UNHRC also called upon the Sri Lankan Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law as applicable.
Calls for international investigation were made by several human rights activists and organizations in 2014.
1.                  Northern Provincial Council, Sri Lanka in January 2014 passed a resolution unanimously to this effect.
2.                  Tamil Nadu State Assembly, India representing 75 million Tamils passed a similar resolution unanimously in 2014.
3. Mr Brad Adams, Asia director of Human rights Watch Organization stated: “it is clearer than ever that an independent investigation is needed to make genuine progress in providing justice for victims.”
4.                  Amnesty International urged the UNHRC to ensure an international investigation in 2014.
5.                  International Crisis Group called for a strong international mechanism to inquire into violations of international law by both sides in 2014.
6.                  International Criminal Evidence Project based in Australia described Sri Lanka in 2014 “as an Island of impunity and concluded” that vast majority of alleged crimes were perpetrated by Sri Lankan Security forces.
However, Sri Lankan government has brushed aside these calls and put an end to the ‘international investigation’ cry and process with statements from the Sri Lankan President and recently from the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on May 29th 2016 when he said that “judicial mechanism would be made of entirely Sri Lankan Judges,” which is already discredited in the UNHRC
Commission’s report and rejected by the UN High Commissioner for Human rights.
ALLEGATIONS OF GENOCIDE: The war from 2006 to 2009 between Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam and Sri Lankan government ended with 146,679 Tamil civilians killed and or missing. The International community later accepted commissions of war crimes and crimes against humanity etc., which could be proved as genocide after credible investigations into the modus operandi of security forces during the final stages of war which included bombing and shelling of hospitals, humanitarian objects and in places declared as a no-fire zone where many thousand sought safety.
The Permanent Peoples Tribunal in its verdict after its hearings in Bremen, Germany in 2013 reached a consensus ruling that “the state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing acts of genocide against the Tamils.”
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Honourable Selvi Jayaram Jayalalitha characterised the 2009 atrocities as genocide and called for an international investigation to punish the war criminals.
The UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic urged the UNHRC to investigate and report on the charge of genocide, which is acknowledged by most of the members of the international community “with the request to UN Security Council to refer the matter to International Criminal Court.”
The California based Oakland Institute in a report in May 2015 “finds that a silent war is still continuing after 2009, in which thousands of Tamils are still internally displaced and subject to military occupation and fierce discrimination by the Buddhist Sinhalese majority with about 70,000 missings.”
Honourable Patrick Brown, Leader of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in a statement on 18th May 2016, “regretted the insufficient progress in seeking justice for the victims of genocide”.
The Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka passed a unanimous resolution in February 2015 confirming the commission of the alleged crime of genocide.
The UN Panels final report on human rights situation in Sri Lanka was published in the UNHRC session in September 2015. The report dealt with the alleged violations said to have occurred between years 2002 – 2011. The report “identified grave violations which strongly indicated that war crimes and crimes against humanity were most likely committed by both sides of the conflict.” The report as stated by the Commissioner “reveals violations that are among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.” The report was compiled after the UNHRC appointed Commissioners conducted extensive investigations for more than eighteen months from March 2014.
The comprehensive and damning report resulted in the USA and Sri Lanka’s joint resolution in the 30th UNHRC sessions in September 2015. The resolution made six proposals encouraging Sri Lanka and ten proposals welcoming Sri Lanka’s proposed actions which almost diluted the provisions of the earlier UN’s report and making them sterile and emaciated to enforce with fruition.
The High Commissioner made an official visit to Sri Lanka in February 2016 to see for himself the progress regarding the implementation of the October 01, 2015 resolution. At the end of the visit the High Commissioner emphasized that “it is the victims who must determine and feel that justice is done”. The High commissioner “called for an impartial and independent court” without insisting on the hybrid court proposal which he strongly recommended in September 2015. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has thus acquiesced to the setting up of an internal mechanism by Sri Lanka which should be “impartial and independent” despite his earlier admitting the flawed functioning of the Sri Lanka’s judicial process reputed for impartiality and state bias.
In the meantime, UN Special Rapporteur Parlo de Greiff at the conclusion of his visit to Sri Lanka in February 2016, made the following observations among others. He warned about “the high degree of polarization, and questioned the Government’s willingness to abide by the commitments undertaken at an international platform.” He emphasized that “comments and statements of Prime Minister and some ministers about the fate of the disappeared also created consternation amongst family members of victims” Finally he emphasized that “Sri Lanka needs to avail itself of every possible means of demonstrating to all its citizens that the equality of rights is a meaningful motion in the country.”
Following his visit two UN Special Rapporteurs Honourable Monica Pinto and Honourable Juan Mende visited Sri Lanka in May 2016 and made the following important comments and recommendations. Among others Monica Pinto “requested more acceptable Tamil speaking Judges and police.” “Appointment of more state counsels and qualified translators to be assigned to tribunals to ensure fair trials and verdicts.” “Confessions under Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979 should be coupled with supporting evidences,” to ensure truth in the judicial process. “To ensure that every person detained has access to a lawyer from the moment of arrest” which right should also be enshrined in the constitution and embodied in the legislation”.
Honourable Juan de Mende made the following recommendations among others. “Repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1979 and replace it with another act after engaging in a national debate allowing full participation of civil society.”
He lamented the culture of impunity and lack of accountability with only six prosecutions against security officials initiated since 1994 and without a single conviction so far. “He also confirmed the consistent practice of torture of detainees under Prevention of Terrorism Act.”
Honourable Brad Adams of Human rights Watch Organization criticized the recent setting up of an “office for missing persons without the promised consultations with families of the disappearance,” which has also been condemned by other civil groups.
Now, after the lapse of eight months since the UNHRC resolution of October 01, 2016, Sri Lankan government has neither initiated nor discussed the implementation of any of the recommendations of the resolution and this is not surprising in the face of the time buying tactics Sri Lanka employs and has employed successfully in the past. International scholars from various countries have already vouchsafed these deluding tactics of Sri Lanka and have called for the implementation of the resolution without delay.
Amnesty International in a report on May 30, 2016 has called for an “increase of pace transparency and visibility of reform efforts ensuring these are undertaken with genuine cross-community collaboration.”
Professor Steven Ratner of University of Michigan a member of the UNSO Panel in a Journal of Law stated in 2012 “ there is no environment to address accountability and dispense justice for war crimes etc domestically in Sri Lanka.”
The Law and Society Trust in 2010 stated that “commissions of inquiry in Sri Lanka have been more political exercises than genuine attempts to reconcile a traumatised nation.”
Asian Human rights Commission papers 71, 75 – 2010 commented: “these commissions were not meant to engage in any genuine truth-seeking and this country has no tradition in truth-telling and reconciliation.”
The LLRC [Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission] Recommendations published in 2011 which are still kept untouched is one recent example to confirm the above allegations.
From 1977, thirteen State Commissions of inquiry into various issues were appointed and their reports and recommendations found their safe place as archives only as stated earlier.
Sri Lankan government has now out-rightly rejected international participation thereby derailing a genuine process of accountability, besides foreign dignitaries and organizations have voiced their criticisms and scepticism as to the proposed actions of Sri Lankan government regarding question of justice, accountability and reconciliation.
Honourable Hugo Swire of UK, Minister of State in charge of Commonwealth while in his visit to India on May 30, 2016 said Sri Lanka is “yet to fulfil the commitments made to the international community.”
British Conservative Party MP Berrie in a meeting with UK Tamil Groups in May 2016 stated that “the process of accountability is completely stalled in Sri Lanka.”
Prime Minister of Canada Right Honourable Justin Trudeau on May 18, 2016 emphasized the “involvement of foreign judges into the war investigations.”
Deputy Prime Minister of Penang, Malaysia, stated in May 2016 that “Sri Lankan Government is yet to prosecute members of armed responsible for the crimes.”
Making promises is a past time for Sri Lankan government and ministers which has been happening since 1948, the most recent being the promise to repeal of Prevention of Terrorism Act made by Prime Minister Honourable Ranil Wickremasinghe and foreign minister Honourable Mangala Samaraweera which also appears to be hanging in balance.
Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem and past actions of Sri Lanka towards Tamils are now internalized with United Nations, and United Nations Human Rights Council toiling to solve them, while Sri Lanka is expressing optimism to outmanoeuvre any UN or UNHRC actions against it through promises and cooling diplomatic gestures. The world community will surely believe Sri Lanka while deserting the Tamils and allowing justice and accountability to lie in state prolonging their desperation and yearning for justice. Justice can only be achieved when accountability is upheld and dispensed with allowing room for reconciliation.
The duty and burden to achieve the above solely and squarely lies on the United Nations and world community to translate their resolutions and calls with fruitful actions and results, thereby upholding human rights and mete out justice to the Tamils, not allowing political and economic interests to prevail over humanitarian issues.
The High Commissioner, the UNHRC and UN thus carry out the duty and responsibility to ensure Sri Lanka`s compliance without any excuses. This is all the more urgent, as the UN targeted objectives of accountability, justice and reconciliation appear to be losing their hold on Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also seems to have successfully cold shouldered the accountability and justice issues and is presently hanging on reconciliation which could also end up with half-hearted and unacceptable proposals for inclusion in the proposed new constitution.
Thanks to opposition within and out of the Government, Buddhist clergy, Buddhist extremists and chauvinistic organizations which are mushrooming and always voicing protests and opposition whenever any remedial measures are offered to Tamils.
Will the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner rein in on Sri Lanka or continue to rely on its promises and allow it to continue the non-compliance and flouting of its own UNHRC resolutions with impunity?
The ball is in United Nation’s court
Reference:
United Nations Panel of Experts Report 2011
UN Internal Review Panel Report 2012
LLRC Report 2011
UNHRC Resolution 19- 2 2012
UNHRC Resolution 22-1 2013
UNHRC Resolution 30-1 2015

 
ARTICLE 16

Granting ample Space for Sri Lanka

In the much expected 32nd session of Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights High Commissioner delivered his oral statement evaluating the progress made by Sri Lanka regarding the implementation of various matters outlined in the Sri Lanka-US sponsored resolution passed on October 01, 2015. Nine months have elapsed since then. Nothing is more obvious than the almost zero ground action taken by Sri Lanka towards implementing the core recommendations. On the contrary, instead of implementing the said steps, Sri Lanka is facing allegations of continuing arbitrary arrest, torture and sexual violations, so also the military surveillance and harassment. “Slow release of some lands.” On the contrary, more lands are under seizure in the North and East with scant respect to the accusation of the UN High commissioner.
The UN High Commissioner has forthrightly voiced his concern over the following matters in his own words and suggested Sri Lanka Agree to:-
“international participation in accountability mechanism which would be a necessary guarantee for independence and impartiality of the process.”
“The structures and institutions culture that promoted these practices be dismantled to show there will be no tolerance for practices of the past”
“to take concrete steps to address impatience, anxiety reservations towards the process.”
“constitutional changes will not involve trade-offs and compromises on core issues of accountability, transitional justice and human rights”
“concerned about stoking nationalism against ethnic, religious and other ethnic minorities”
“new evidence of the usage of banned cluster bombs needed an independent and impartial investigation”
“current judicial institutions still lack credibility which is needed to gain the trust of the victim community.”
“magnitude, and complexities of the international crimes need to be investigated which the OHCHR investigation could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”
“militarization with heavy military presence in the North and East, surveillance and harassment still persisting which needs to be swiftly addressed”
“use of prevention of terrorism act 1979 still going on – torture and ill-treatment of detainees is still continuing – including the Tamils returning to Sri Lanka”
“should include voices abroad and further outreach in the diaspora in the process of implementation”
“military engagement in commercial activities including farming, tourism is giving rise to new levels of frustration and disenchantment”
“early successful prosecution would mark a turning point from the immunity of the past”
“more rapid and sustained progress could have been made on other issues by release of land, detainees, PTA and Witness Protection Law”
“establishment of full transitional justice mechanism will be needed”
“current unwieldy co-ordination, arrangements within Government should be changed for integrated co-ordination with participation of civil society, consultation process with victims and civil society”
“new office of missing persons will hopefully provide at least a form of immediate redress”
“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterates the importance of all Sri Lankans to rally behind the process”
“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights commended the restoration of the Constitutional Council, an independent Human Rights Commission and the ratification of the Disappearance Convention and described them as important achievements that will leave a legacy for the future.”
After having made the above details of the above unattended and still lying in limbo matters, the UN High Commissioner for Human rights in his conclusion says
“overall the Human Rights Council should be encouraged thus far by the steps that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken to implement some of the key commitments made in resolution 30/1”.
Firstly one has to look at the steps taken by Sri Lanka to implement some of the key commitments as mentioned by the UN High Commissioner. The key commitments can be listed as follows: Requesting Sri Lanka to
[i] “Implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Government’s own LLRC commission.” The report of Verite Research, an independent think tank has just reported that “only 20% of the 189 recommendations of LLRC have so far been implemented after a lapse of more than four years.
[ii] Allow participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”
The fate of this proposal is already sealed by the President who has repeatedly declared his position and has vowed that “he will not allow any foreign elements in the investigation as long as he is in power” claiming that the Sri Lankan judicial system, structure and judges are fully competent to conduct the investigation into all allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. It is to be noted that Sri Lankan criminal laws have no provisions or chapters to deal with international crimes and the Government of Sri Lanka has yet to initiate any steps to incorporate these laws into its system. This core commitment is already buried in total defiance of the 30/1 Resolution. The call to reform the domestic laws is also hanging in balance thereby negating the effectiveness called for in the resolution of 30/1.
[iii] Call to introduce effective security sector reforms is yet to materialize and hardly any moves appear to have been initiated so far.  This inaction is facilitating the retention of persons into the security forces who are involved in the violations of human rights, abuses and international humanitarian laws. This commitment is yet to see its serious consideration from the government.
[iv] 258 political prisoners detained under the DRACONIAN PTA LAW are languishing for several years with no hope of any judicial process to decide their fate despite the repeated promises given by the President and Prime Minister on various occasions.
[v] The call to accelerate the return of lands to its rightful civilian owners is another recommendation which is being handled willy-nilly almost as eyewash.  In the Northern Province, out of the 69.992 acres seized by the security forces until 2015 only 2565 acres released end of 2015 leaving about 67,427 acres in the hands of the military where thousands of families are still homeless and landless. While some lands are released, moves are afoot to size more lands which are underway in other areas for military use.  The President’s promise to release the land and resettle those displaced within six months ended with a whimper when the period ended on June 30, 2016. The request to end military involvement in civilian activities, running hotels, restaurants, cultivating vegetables in displaced civilians lands and marketing them, running schools for pre-school children etc. are continuing  with scant respect to this recommendation. Business continues as usual depriving livelihood for the civilians in the North and East.
[vi] The call to investigate attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, members of minority groups as well as places of worship and to hold perpetrators of such attacks is still unheeded not to mention the various such investigations into some killings and even court proceedings are either stalled or moving at snail’s pace like Journalist Lasantha Wickremasingha and the brutal killings of five university students in Trincomalee [these are few the Government agreed to investigate in the LLRC Government’s own findings] eg. The recent attacks on Muslims and Mosques are an example where the perpetrators are moving freely until now without any prosecution.
[vii] The long time promised repeal of dreaded draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act 1983 is hanging in balance while it is vigorously enforced currently.  So far 42 new arrests have been made in 2015 and ending July 6, 2016 when a Tamil couple were arrested in Mullaitivu.
[viii] Call “to fulfill commitments on the devolution of political authority and ensure all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively in accordance with 13thAmendment.” This commitment is struggling between life and death with no visible signs of any political moves. The only commitments implemented are the setting up of an Office of Missing Persons, without consulting the involved victims, civil groups as requested in the resolution. As such hope of full justice from this office is in doubt and at the most this office will function to record statements of victims without powers to punish the guilty if any. The Government of Sri Lanka has ratified the convention relating to enforced disappearances and also passed the Witness Protection Law. However the Government of Sri Lanka has already made guarantees of protection to the security forces to shield them from any punishment for crimes and violations committed during the war.  Field Marshal Sarath Fonsekera who conducted the war is a Minister now and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is relying on his political support to counter the former President Mahinda Rajapakse who was the commander-in-chief. Mahinda Rajapakse along with his brother Gotabaya Rajapakse are currently engaged in resurrecting their political fortunes with the group of SLFP [Sri Lanka Freedom Party members] and it will be a wonder if they are charged for any war crimes not to mention any punishment for them.  The core of the resolution is elimination of the entrenched impunity practice in Sri Lanka for state officials, political big wigs and security forces and this core commitment appears to be doomed to meet its failure, as can be seen in the lukewarm and half-hearted steps and initiatives taken against the alleged past corrupt politicians who are flexing their muscles against the Government with total contempt.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights avoiding any castigation of the Sri Lankan Government has welcomed the following steps initiated by Sri Lankan Government which are encouraging for Human Rights council as he declared:-
[1] The setting up of the Office of Missing Persons is a welcome measure which as stated earlier had been set up without any input from the affected victioms is yet to commence its function and only time will tell how far it has served the causes of justice bearing in mind the futile outcome of numerous commissions set up by the Governments of the past. The UN High Commissioner has rightly stated that “this office will hopefully provide at least a form of immediate redress”, a hope against hope.
[2] Sri Lanka’s recent ratification of convention dealing with enforced disappearances is another welcome step of the government of Sri Lanka which can only succeed only when there is political will and complete commitment to carry out its provisions. It is to be noted that Sri Lanka has earlier ratified various conventions, particularly Convention Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1994 and the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial discrimination in 1982. The provisions of these conventions mostly lie as instruments of records without any dedication or commitment to follow or enforce their provisions as do happen in various other countries that have also ratified them. As such this ratification will continue or be treated as an addition to the other ratified and unenforced UN Conventions.
An independent Human Rights Commission set up by the government of Sri Lanka is another good step which it is hoped will function independently without any pressure or interference from any affected parties or influential politicians.
UN High Commissioner’s call for inquiry into the use of cluster bombs is a bold demand which is as usual met with hostile reaction and denial from the Government of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka always has the habit of denying all wrongs like the denial of a single civilian death in the war from 2006 – 2009.
The UN High Commissioner has also solidly expressed his position in relation to the Sri Lankan military when he said that “Government of Sri Lanka has to assert full control over its military intelligence establishment.” Example of military assertiveness is its continued non co-operation with inquiries relating to political assassinations, besides the mysterious disappearance of military records relating to these cases and record of missing persons. Another irritant is the military’s unwillingness to release the occupied land disregarding Government’s stand on this matter.  On the contrary continuing to size more lands shows the military’s hold on the Government. The Jaffna Army Commander Mahesh Senanayaka as reported recently by “Colombo Page” media has said “that there will not be any Army or Camp reductions in the North and East for another five to ten years, and government can then analyze the requirement’ This clearly shows the Army’s grip in the Government.
The UN High Commissioner also rightly concluded by saying that the “Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures.”
The lapse of nine months since the resolution mattered him in this conclusion.
Think tank ‘Verite Research” has in a statement on July 4th said “only 20% of LLRC and 11% of UNHRC have only been implemented.” The Foreign Minister Mangala has now come out with his own “promise of complete resettlement and handing over all lands before 2018”.  Only time will tell the fate of this promise. With about 8218 acres of civilian lands still occupied by the military in Jaffna with only 4, out of 30 resolutions of UNHRC have been implemented.
The prestigious ‘Hindu’ Newspaper in its editorial on July 03, 2016 stated “Sri Lanka must stay the course and ensure implementation of the resolution,” thereby doubting its sincere commitments.
The UK based “Freedom from Torture” body has lamented “the continuing Sri Lankan government failure to involve international involvement.”
Human Rights Watch has stated that “several of Sri Lanka’s key commitments remain unfulfilled’.
As such the overall picture is not rosy for the Tamils and their victims viewing the ground realities prevailing in Sri Lanka. While the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera true and loyal to his portfolio is making his own promises to  calm the foreign countries even dismissing the contrary statements of the President and Prime Minister,who are declaring the true position for the consumption of locals mixed with empty promises to satisfy the Tamils during visits to North and East.
The UN Commissioner’s statement that “inevitably the transformative process on which Sri Lanka is embarked will take time” has provided the shield to employ their official delaying tactics “and use it as a defence and answer to any allegations of undue delay, stalling or dilly dallying in the process of implementation of the resolutions. To expect all Sri Lankans particularly Tamils to rally behind the process which is not backed with any punitive actions or sanctions for non-compliance will only hardly succeed.
It is suggested that an independent accountability mechanism must be evolved by United Nations and put into place for enforcement by UN Human Rights Council or Security Council against rogue members who indulge in violations of the provisions of United Nations conventions with impunity including UN Charter. As long as this mechanism is absent, member states will continue to commit human rights violations with impunity avoiding accountability.
As for the Tamils, they can give only a guarded and cautious optimism while in the process making every efforts and encouraging the UN High Commissioner to live up to his commitments, also living up in maintaining HRC’s goals and objectives which are to ensure the compliance of the core issues of human rights which is the bedrock of UN and Human Rights Council. UN, HRC and Security Council have to function as the watchdogs of human rights with the duties to rein in violators giving no room or reliance on haphazard half-baked measures, empty promises or time buying tactics designed to hoodwink the international community at the expense of the victims.
The violations of human rights have to be judged on equal scales with no room for consideration of their political strength, clout or power wielding positions.
Accountability, justice and rule of law must prevail and be dispensed with allowing no room for flexibility, relaxation or half-baked palliative measures. The fate of any UNHRC resolution expected to be passed during the 34th session in March 2017 ultimately lies in the hands of Security Council and it is anybody’s guess as to its outcome. This depends on its members’ assessment of their political-economic, geographical strategic interests as well as the extent and level of friendship maintained by Sri Lanka with its members.
Despite the calls by various countries including USA, EU, UK, Canada etc. to allow participation of international judges to show credibility, Sri Lanka has declared its determined position to flout its own resolution, testing the will and determination of UNHRC.
For the Tamils, it is hoped that it would not end up as ‘a community with’ “JUSTICE  DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED”
It is hoped that the USA as a co-sponsor of the resolution will not shirk or shed its responsibility in the implementation of all recommendations in the resolution by Sri Lanka, and not to allow or condone any delay, deviation or dereliction.
 

ARTICLE  17
The Never Dying Political Ills Of Sri Lanka
Communalism and Majority Hegemony 
One can hardly deny the fact of various political ills plaguing and denting Sri Lanka’s image since 1956. A nation labelled as peaceful and prosperous until 1956 shed this image from then on to become a nation wracked with communalism, hegemony and ethnic strife promoted by power-seeking politicians to score election victories.
Sinhala Only Act 1956–  it is not just a Sinhala Act but ‘Only Sinhala Act’ which effectively sealed the marginalisation and exclusion of the Tamil Language and by extension Tamils. This piece of politically motivated and necessitated legislation heralded the polarisation and unbridled growth of Sinhalese nationalism allowing for the rise of Tamil nationalism and an ethnic rift with extremists taking the upper hand and exploiting the opportunities, whipping up hatred and hostility between the two communities which have been hitherto living happily and socially mixing with no hidden feelings of fear or suspicion.
1956 was an important year which also thrust the Buddhist monks into politics and opened up a third front in the running of governments. The prescribed role of monks as advisors to rulers in times of need, preachers of Buddhism, has now extended to full-blown political activities including contesting elections to win seats while indulging in unsavoury political propaganda and even in violence like other die-hard politicians. As a fallout, this act gave way to discrimination of Tamils in employment, appointments to state institutions, including recruitment in the security services. Even in education, this discrimination is continuing and universities functioning in the North and East which foster and preserve Tamil culture and traditions are now facing a policy of planned increasing of Sinhalese students in the universities in the North and East [Tamils traditional and historical homeland] creating tension and clashes as to who should have the right of decision in university functions and related matters.
These ills of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination have taken a heavy toll on the Tamils in all sectors of appointments and employments, like judiciary, security sector, public service, state institutions and banks, etc. There is also no sign of any redemption or removal of this injustice and it appears almost irretrievable and entrenched.
Another ill is the detestable practices of favouritism, nepotism and politicisation which have been continuing with common acceptance and even endorsing it as part and parcel of political lives in Sri Lanka. These malpractices always accompany persons holding political power particularly soon after they capture power. Their rule commences with appointments of family members, personal friends, loyalists and political stooges to top positions in state Institutions, Judiciary, Boards, Banks, Ministries and Missions abroad including Cabinet positions. Due to this unhealthy practice, efficiency, eligibility, merits and even seniority are discarded while opening the gates for abuse of power and position, bribery and corruption and even disregarding  rules of procedure. A change in Government can only bring an end to this sad state of affairs while allowing a new front for the above malpractices to resume. As an example, family members of former president Mahindaare facing investigations for bribery and corruption with an uncertain outcome.
 
Breach of Promises, Agreements, Pacts and Understandings

This is a much ingrained habitual trait consistently and uninhibitedly practised by Sri Lanka’s political leaders since 1957 and this unholy attitude is still continuing with contempt and disregard of healthy democratic political norms. The following are some of the major dishonoured acts of various leaders since 1957 which centered on Tamils’ problem:
 
[a] Bandaranayaike – Chelvanayakam Pactin 1957
[b] Dudley Senanayake – Chelvanayakam Agreement 1965
[c] Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Peace Proposals in 1995
[d] Ranil Wickramasinghe – LTTE  Ceasefire Agreement 2002
[e] Ranil  Wickramasinghe – LTTE  Oslo Accord 2002
[f] Mahinda Rajapaksa’s  13+ plus[Full implementation of the Indo/Sri Lanka Pact of 1997+
Upper House –  in 2009]
 
There was also the promise of former president Premadasain 1990  – who promised to give “everything to Tamils except Tamil Eelam.”
The recent promises made byRanil WickremesingheandMaithripala Sirisenain relation to the release of Tamil political prisoners, release of seized civilian lands, resettlement of the displaced, reduction of army and disengagement of military in civilian matters, including businesses, farming in Tamils legal lands, running hotels and tourism activities, running primary school for Tamil Children etc.
Promise to repeal the draconianPrevention of Terrorism Actstill remains as a promise and it is anybody’s guess as to when these promises will be fulfilled in future.
The latest is the Government breaking its own undertaking to the United Nations by refusing any international participation in the internal mechanism to investigate crimes committed during the war. This breach casts doubt on the sincerity of the government to honour the other undertakings in the UNHRC Resolution 30/1.
 
 
Absence of Accountability, Justice and Impunity

Absence of accountability, justice and impunity is the disease striking at the roots of the principles of rule of law and independence of judiciary. Accountability for criminal acts of omission and commission committed by anyone is the cornerstone of justice to punish the criminals and provide the judicial relief and satisfaction to those affected by the crimes. If one is not held accountable for his wrongs, the consequences are inevitably loss of faith in the judicial process and states law enforcement machinery resulting in encouragement for the criminals, while nursing feelings of anger, desperation and thirst for revenge against the perpetrators.
It is sad to state that in Sri Lanka, accountability is rarely dispensed with when offenders are security personnel, state top officials and political stooges, particularly when the victims belong to the minority communities. The history of Sri Lanka confirms this malady as only a few have been convicted for the hoards of crimes committed against the Tamil civilians since 1958 and during the various pogroms [in 1956, 1958. 1977, 1983] and until the end of war in 2009.
The various commissions appointed to identify the offenders and serve justice to the victims wound up their missions without any follow-up or action but only allowing for cover-ups. The failure for accountability along with justice has also given way for growth and promotion of the culture of impunity which is also now confirmed by the United Nations.
The United Nations Internal Panel’s Report published in September 2015 confirms this continuing practice in Sri Lanka. “Years of denials and cover-ups, failure to carry out prompt investigations, stalled investigations, failure of successive domestic inquiries, systematic weakness in addressing crimes especially when military or security forces are involved.” As Professor Steven Ratner, a member of UNSC Panel stated “ there is no environment to address accountability and dispense justice for the crimes committed domestically in Sri Lanka. Absence of political will and institutional disability are the hall marks of Sri Lankan justice dispensation system.”
The recent acquittal of six soldiers accused of rape and massacre of twenty six [26] Tamil civilians including 13 children in 2006 at Kumarapuram, after having cleared of the 101 indictments and despite the evidences of 108 eye witnesses speaks for itself the loss of faith for Tamil victims in the Sri Lankan  judicial process.
The Muslims, who are the victims of the recent violence and killings in the Western province, are yet to see the faces of those involved in the courts charged for those crimes. Accountability has thus become a rare commodity with the governments in power which also openly promise and guarantee protection for security personnel with pardon and or impunity. The only safeguard to uphold justice through accountability is an independent impartial judiciary. However the independence and impartiality of judiciary in Sri Lanka has been compromised by the Executive Presidents who have been appointing the judges, particularly the position of Chief Justice based on political or personal leanings. The Sri Lankan judicial system has thus lost its credibility particularly after the introduction of Executive President System in 1978. This breach of independence has given way to the culture of impunity keeping accountability at bay.
United Nations Panel of Experts confirmed this position by stating that “government has to break the mold of impunity once and for all. So many years of unbridled human rights violations and institutional impunity must be fundamentally addressed.” Despite this criticism, the present government does not appear to be moving in the direction of preserving an independent and impartial judiciary. The recent statement of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on July 07 2016 speaks for itself the volatile position of judiciary due to the veiled threats thrown from the ruling government. Wickremasinghe stated “Judicial power of the people is not exercised by the Supreme Court but by Parliament through courts and directly by Parliament.” This view clearly undermines and strikes at the role of judiciary to a position of subjugation to follow and act in accordance with the wishes of Parliament. This statement is asserting a subservient role for the judiciary which is the last resort of public to seek justice for omissions and commissions of government while upholding the rule of law and constitution striking down legislations passed in violation of the constitution.
This being the impending affairs, to expect accountability and justice for Tamil victims of massacres, rapes, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, etc, is like chasing a mirage as water in the desert. The international community and United Nations are now fully aware of the human rights violations including war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war. Thus a failure to deliver justice to the Tamils by the UN and the international community without delay will leave the wounds of Tamils remaining unhealed but only allow festering to seek their own remedies.
 
 
 
State Supported, Encouraged, Assisted and Organized Killings and Violence
 
State supported, encouraged, assisted and organized killings are another deadly ill which have been the scourge and curse of Governments in power since 1956 and a bane of a democratic government.
The common thread that is running through the violence and killings which commenced in 1958 is the state’s failure to enforce law and order thus directly or indirectly involving in the violence as complicit parties and/or accomplices:
[ i ] 1958 violence against the Tamils. It was not quelled at the earliest opportunity.
[ii] 1961 non-violent campaign of Tamils brutally suppressed by the state employing the military.
[iii]  1977 communal violence was allowed to continue for some days thus encouraging the perpetrators
[iv]  1983 violence and killings were pre-planned well co-ordinated and organized with active support of state and its security forces. President Jayewardeneallowed the killing spree and kept mum and later justified it by saying  “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people… now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion… the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here… Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.” 
– President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, July 1983
 
[v] 1979-1981 –JVPuprising by Sinhalese youths was ruthlessly crushed with no concern for the surrendered and captured youths. At that time several dead bodies were floating in the Kelani River, suspected to be the members of the JVP.

[vi] 2006-2009 – brutal war withLTTEresulted in the disappearances of about 65,000 and killings of more than 70,000 civilians. The Government conducted the war without witness kicking out UN Officials, NGOs, Media & Journalists who are overall stationed in the war zone. These acts of government were intended to hide the heavy death toll and the usage of banned cluster bombs and chemical weapons. This clearly shows the pre planned genocidal agenda to wipe out the Tamil population without any concern for the death of thousands of civilians. The Government later glorified its victory with state celebrations.
 
[vii] Between 2002 and 2011 more than 19 journalists who dared to criticise the ruling governments mainly through media were killed mostly after abducted in white vans by the government’s henchmen. So far no justice has been done to the families of victims, not even one convicted. White van abductions are still continuing but on a lesser scale under the present government of good governance. Besides 156 massacres of Tamil civilians by security forces were reported between 1983 – 2010.
The state’s failures to hold the scales equally for all citizens has been a feature of Sri Lankan governments. Allowing the perpetrators from the holds of judicial process and accountability is just another continuing malady striking at the roots of rule of law and undermining the role of the judiciary in Sri Lanka.
            
[viii] The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the VAT bill declaring it as null and void due to a procedural flaw in the Parliament gives a tiny hope on the judiciary asserting its authority, but PM Rt. Hon. Ranil’s outburst against the Supreme Court’s ruling in this matter smacks of unhealthy contempt while degrading the role of judiciary and trying to maintain ‘Parliaments’ supremacy even to pass any laws in violation of constitutional provisions flouting procedural rules, leaving the Supreme Court similar to the role of back benchers of a ruling government who sit, watch and assent the moves of government.
 
 
Righting the Wrongs

Sri Lanka is duty bound to honour its own commitments and undertakings made in the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 on October 01, 2015. However, still no visible moves have been made by the government to implement the proposals. Accountability and justice should stay as the top priority for action by the government. Reconciliation will succeed only when accountability is upheld. Accountability is the medicine to heal the wounds of Tamil victims and reconciliation is like a plaster, which, if used alone will only a cover up of the wounds without medicine. This will only allow the wounds to fester and grow sowing the seeds for future conflicts.
It is surprising to note that the present government of good governance is also following the footsteps of  Former President Mahindra Rajapaksha’s government and is trying to make the judiciary inter-dependant and subservient to the parliament which is only supreme to make or unmake legislations complying with constitutional provisions. The independence and judiciary’s role as the guardian of constitution, rule of law and dispensers of justice without fear or favour cannot be allowed to be eroded or interfered with by any government either by direct or indirect veiled threats.
Another depraving approach by some extremists in the south is to label anyone who speaks out exposing the human rights violations, state crimes and government’s discriminatory policies and actions as a ‘terrorist’ or a ‘tiger’ as happened toErik Solheimwho was branded as a ‘white tiger’ and former UN High Commissioner for Human rights Navanethem Pillayas a ‘confirmed ‘tiger’ now the NPC Chief MinisterJustice C. Wigneswaranhas joined the group as a ‘terrorist’. His sin is only speaking out loudly for justice and equal rights to Tamils.
Those who sowed the seeds of communalism and racism right from 1956 and until now hail themselves or are hailed as saviors of the nation, while those who speak out for the victims and agitate for the lost rights of Tamils and accountability are branded as racists and communalists.
This is not a surprising allegation as Nelson Mandela, who was branded as a ‘terrorist’ when he launched the freedom struggle even endorsing violence, later became a Nobel prize winner and was finally hailed as the worlds ‘most outstanding statesman’.
As long as this mindset thrives and survives, the opportunities for co-existence will also be lost and wasted. As stated earlier, if the courts choose ‘political expediency and fortunes’, justice for Tamils and not to mention a durable permanent political settlement can only be a distant dream.
 
The much misunderstood and maligned system of ‘Federalism’ has to be explained through media and public discussions to the Sinhalese to dispel their misgivings and imaginary fears. This task has to be taken by the government along with opposition and civilian groups provided government is also endorsing the federal system as a once and for all solution to the ethnic problem.
Another thorny issue which is preventing the winning of hearts and minds of the Tamils is the continuing overt and covert Sinhalisation , Buddhisistion and militarisation in the North and Eastern provinces – the historical and traditional homeland of the Tamils. This UN announced programme is unabatedly continuing even under the present government without any vociferous protests by Tamil leaders.  Unless and until this is brought to a halt, mistrust, suspicion and insecurity of the Tamil civilians will continue to grow with potentials for future conflicts.
The United Nations and International community being fully aware of the issues particularly the sixty years ethnic problem without ignoring the Tamil problems, or relying on Sri Lanka’s sugar-coated promises must prevail upon Sri Lanka and ensure the implementation of the UNHRC proposals while guaranteeing a permanent political solution.
The government of Sri Lanka should honour its commitments by allowing the participation of international judges in their internal judicial mechanism to restore the stained and battered image of the judiciary to allow it to dispense full justice to victims leaving no room for impunity. False sentiments and distorting misconceptions as to international jurists have to be scotched in the bud for the sake of a clean image of the country.
The Government’s recent legislation to set up an Office of Mission Persons [OMP] is a welcome step raising some hopes to ensure accountability and offer justice to the families affected by the disappearances of more than 60,000 during the war. It is hoped that the promised follow-up by establishing a judicial mechanism and Truth Commission will live up to its objectives and functions with transparency leaving no room for doubt in their search for the identities of the perpetrators and prove itself as an Office of Justice for the Missing Persons.
In the face of promises of protection from culpability given to security forces including former President Mahinda and his loyalists, hopes for accountability and justice appear as elusive as ever.
This Office of Missing Persons surely satisfy the United Nations and International community for its intent and purposes, but it is hoped that it would not end up as another breach of undertaking by the Government and a letdown for the victims to continue living with grief stricken heavy hearts with denial of justice due to the absence of criminal liability provisions in the Bill.
The United Nations should not hesitate to take proper punitive actions against Sri Lanka if Sri Lanka continues to adopt the time buying tactics or shelve the accountability with promises of political settlement in the proposed new constitution when already a federal system with a merger of Northern and Eastern provinces called by the Tamils has been flatly and repeatedly rejected by the Government.

 
ARTICLE 18

Office of Missing Persons-Upholding or Denying Justice?
 
Sri Lanka ranks second in the list of countries after Iraq to record the largest number of disappearances with unofficial estimated numbers of about 90,000 since the 1980s. From these disappearances, enforced or involuntary disappearances are reported to be around 65,000.
Enforced Disappearances always involve state officials and/or security forces. They happen when a person is illegally arrested and detained in undisclosed centres where torture and other ill-treatment including killing and disposal of the dead takes place. The arrest and detention is carried out violating all rules and procedures including court process.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, [WGEIDc/oOHCHR] in its report on July 08, 2016, after staying in Sri Lanka from 09 – 18 November 2015, has plainly made the following damning statement “Enforced disappearances have been used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent, counter-terrorist activities or in internal conflicts, and many enforced disappearances could be considered as war crimes or crimes against humanity if addressed in a court of law.”
The UN working Group received 12,000 cases of enforced disappearance related to Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna [JVP] uprisings and during the armed conflict between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] and government forces from 1980 to 2010. ‘Missing Persons’ includes those who are arrested, surrendered or summoned for inquiry and detained by the security forces during the war. These persons finally suffer disappearances mostly by killing and are generally untraceable. About 19,000 persons were reported to the Paranagama Commision confirmed as missing.
Due to international and United Nations concerns in this serious human rights violation, thisBillwas passed in haste ignoring the protests and concerns of affected parties who demanded prior consultation and their input as called for in the UNHRC Resolution in October 2015. The final outcome will be ‘haste makes waste’ and one could obviously realise the ineffectiveness and toothless powers of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) to mete out justice to those victims whose involvement was avoided.
This Act has also excluded the participation of international experts and this glaring omission has prompted the UN Working group [WGEID] asking Sri Lanka to “allow them to take part in any Judicial Accountability Mechanism for human rights abuses including disappearances. Furthermore, as long as the Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] 1979 remains in force, the OMP will have to work avoiding conflicting positions over persons detained under the PTA confining to the limits of its powers over them.
 
The OMP for its intent and purpose is a positive step to trace, search, and collect information as to the circumstances which led to disappearances, but it is just an inquisitional mission without any powers on its own to prosecute those involved in the disappearances after identifying them.
Furthermore, there is a lurking danger of its process being torpedoed or stymied from the hardcore elements in the south raising cries of “betrayal of the armed forces” and leading up in complete impunity for the perpetrators, which is the hallmark of the judicial mechanism in Sri Lanka for the last 60 years in history.
It is to be noted, only a handful have been convicted for crimes committed during the past pogroms and massacres of civilians since 1956. [Mostly state organized pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 and from 2004 – 2009].
The Sri Lankan Government as an undertaking in the UNHRC resolution of October 01, 2015 introduced the Office of the Mission Persons Act No. 14 of 2016 which was passed in Parliament and is now in the statute books with effect from 26th August 2016.
The main objectives of the Office of the Missing Persons [OMP] are “To take all necessary measures to search and trace missing persons including those missing as victims of abduction, persons missing in action or in connection with armed conflicts, political unrest and civil disturbances including conflicts of North-East, to know the circumstances in which persons went missing and the fate and whereabouts of such  missing persons. To clarify the circumstances in which such persons went missing and their fate. To identify proper avenues of redress to which such missing persons or their relatives may have recourse.”
The OMP shall be a corporate body having perpetual succession and may sue and be sued in its corporate name. This section confers permanent status to OMP which can also be sued in its capacity as a corporation and for liabilities as incurred by a corporation. However no action is possible against any member of OMP for any acts or acts omitted while discharging his/her function as a member. This is specifically mentioned under Sec 2J [1] except by way of writ filed in Supreme court. The right to sue OMP for any of its findings is denied under Section [13-[2].
 
Composition:- It will consist of seven members including a Chairman appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.
Full Discretion to OMP is given to do all such other necessary things that may become necessary to achieve the objectives under the Act. This confers full freedom to OMP to decide which is necessary and it even need not act on this matter if it decides so. The mandate of the OMP shall extended to missing persons notwithstanding the period in which such person became a missing person. This provision could cover up periods from 1980s to current period.
Investigative powers of the OMP are to receive from any relative of a missing person or any other person or organization complaints relating to missing persons. Under this section anyone can make a complaint without any condition including groups and organizations.
The provision of selecting the seven members of the OMP by the Constitutional Council which includes seven parliamentarians and three other eminent members from public is as duty which must be properly carried out giving priority to well-known independent and qualified, excluding persons with political leanings. Impartiality, absence of bias and pre conceived interests, must be the guidelines in selecting the seven members who also should be above suspicion.
It is also a welcome feature to include all missing persons notwithstanding the length of time such person became a missing person. This period could cover 1980s to current period including JVP risings besides the periods of armed struggle between LTTE and other movements with the state’s security forces during the past thirty years or more.
 
Under Section 12  [Mandatory]: OMP should initiate inquiry or investigation into the whereabouts and/or circumstances of disappearance of a missing person following a complaint received by previously established Commissions which have inquired into allegations relating to disappearances or missing persons. This  requirement must be complied with by the OMP as a mandatory one and if it fails or omits to perform this duty in relation to a missing person, it could be sued through the writ process in the Supreme Court as stated under Section  25 [2].
Section 12 [1] [Discretion]: “Where it appears  to the OMP that an offence under penal code or any other law has been committed, the OMP may report same to the relevant law enforcement or prosecuting authority.” This section is only directory, the exercise of this power of OMP is subject to its discretion. – [The words] – it “may refer” indicate its absolute discretion to do or omit to do and this cannot be questioned by any court or any affected person even if it fails to exercise this power.
Section 13 [1] [Discretion]: Where the OMP has sufficient material to conclude that the complaint relates to a missing person, an interim report will be issued to issue a certificate of absence by the Registrar General.”
This is another section which grants the OMP the discretion and judgement as to the question of sufficiency of material for a conclusion and this is a subjective power and decision which will not be easier to challenge through a writ in the court by a missing person. If the material falls within “confidential information”  a missing person will have no avenue open to demand a certificate of absence as stated under section 15 [1].
Section 15 [1] [Mandatory]: ‘OMP shall preserve and aid in preserving confidentiality with regard to matters communicated to them in confidence. Right of Information Act 2016 shall not apply with regard to such information.’
This section completely prohibits from giving to relatives etc. all information requesting confidentiality relating to the circumstances in which a person went missing.
Thus Section 15 [1] grants complete non-disclosure of all information communicated in confidence even prohibiting the applicability of rights under the Right of Information Act 2016. This section is a sweeping denial of a person’s right to access the information, verify its truth and nature and by whom and against whom it was given. This denial of a fundamental right weakens the provisions of section 13 [1] which requires OMP to inform victims, relatives, witness and other informants their right to directly refer matters to relevant authorities, to report serious crimes  nor ordinary crimes. As such this right to initiate any action through Police or State Prosecutors is a much curtailed one barely serving the needs for justice to the affected parties including informants, and complainants.
Under Section 15:-  only matters communicated to them in confidencecannot be disclosed under the Right of Information Act 2016 – Under 15 [2] OMP shall not be required to produce whether in any Court or otherwise all materials communicated to them in confidence.
Under Section 15:- only confidential information will be kept secret and OMP is also given immunity from any legal challenge to disclose all matters communicated to them in confidence in person or in absence.
All in all, the above sections do not in any way help the complainants to seek judicial remedies, which is a denial of a citizen’s fundamental right of freedom to seek redress through courts. It is natural that all the information to be disclosed will be in confidence.
 
OMP will also have a Victim and Witness Protection Division to protect the rights, concerns ect. of victims witnesses and relatives of missing persons.
This is a welcome feature allowing all witnesses to give evidence without fear of reprisals or blackmailing. The success of this section depends on the steps of OMP taken without favour or bias. Under Section 23, OMP is not bound to submit annual reports containing confidential information received under Section 15 [1]
Under this Section, confidentiality even extends to its annual reports as well which also fortifies the duty of non-disclosure of information given in confidence reducing the opportunities of an affected party to seek legal remedies.
Section 25 [1] “ No order, decision, act or omission of OMP or member, officer, servant shall be questioned in any court of law except in proceedings under Article 126 or 140 of the constitution. The writ jurisdiction under act 140 shall be only exercised by the Supreme Court.” This section provides a relief only by way of writs like mandamus prohibition, certiorari quo warranto or injunction field in a Supreme Court which is cumbersome for an ordinary litigant.
Article 25 [2] :- grants protection from civil, criminal or administrative action. All acts of an OMP member or OMP done in good faith or omitted to be done, report made in good faith or any person providing evidence or documentation to the OMP are protected except under Article 126 – 140 by way of writ in the Supreme Court.
Section 25 [2]:- This section also allows only writ remedies through Supreme Court, which is a tedious and expensive matter viewing the challenges facing a litigant to prove bad faith which is a subjective test and difficult to prove in any Court.
Section 27 – [Discretions]: “Missing Person means a person whose fate or whereabouts are reasonably believed to be unknown and which person is reasonably believed to be unaccounted for and missing.”
This section also implies subjective tests to decide if a person is missing or not, depending on the OMP’s discretion to conclude the question of ‘reasonable belief’ which will prove to be a contentious issue in a Court. All in all, OMP is a welcome move but with discretionary deceptive provisions shutting out the core concept of judicial accountability through non-liability for the perpetrators and granting impunity with criminal non liability which is stated in Section 13 [2] as follows:-
“The findings of the OMP shall not give rise to any civil or criminal liability.”
Armed with various discretionary powers, the OMP’s success depends on how far these discretions are exercised honestly and in good faith to uphold justice which an aggrieved litigant can attempt to achieve through the writ remedies to challenge an act, omission, order, or decision of OMP or acts of members, excluding the findings of the OMP and closing the avenues of civil or criminal liability proceedings against identified perpetrators. 
This act was intended to placate the United Nations and International Community hoping to ride over the gathering stormy waves expected from the forthcoming UNHRC sessions particularly the one in March 2017 when Sri Lanka is in the agenda for a final evaluation and assessment report about its progress as regards the October 2015 UNHRC Resolution the recommendations of which except OMP remain untouched and intact. Most of these resolutions are worded with [encouraging] Sri Lanka to implement without any coercive effect as the writer mentioned in an earlier article  [A Deflated US Resolution & Tamils’ Quest for Justice and Accountability by Thambu Kanagasabai, October 1, 2015].
Whether or not the findings of the OMP based on undisclosable confidential information will be of any value to the affected is the six million question.
 
      
        

 ARTICLE  19
Eluga Tamil a New Horizon

The ‘Eluga Tamil rallies held in Jaffna on September 24, 2016 received overwhelming response and ended with astonishing success beyond the expectations of many, belying the pessimists. The success of this event was due to the undaunted efforts of Tamil Peoples’ Council spearheaded by Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran, Suresh Premachandran, Siddharthan with other commendable input by other members of the Tamil Peoples Council, Jaffna University students, Civic Groups including TNPF’s Gajendrakumar.  This success has awakened the politicians from all parts of Sri Lanka.  As usual and expected, bouquets and brickbats are being hurled from both affected and applauding parties, making it as a hot issue to advance their political goals  and aspirations or agenda by either exploitation or more enthusiasm and vigor.
The stark reality and truth behind the success of this agitation is simple and clear.  This was neither a spontaneous reaction of the Tamils nor a pre-planned programme, but only a natural outburst and reaction for which the Tamil Peoples’ Council provided the outlet and opening to express the suppressed dormant and pent up feelings of traumatised Tamils being the sum total of ignored feelings arising from disillusionment, injustice, disappointment, frustration, let downs, desperation, dejection and cheatings, the seeds of which were sown right from 1956 with the introduction of Sinhala Only Act,  as conceded by former President Madam Chandrika which in fact is still continuing.  Eluha Tamil was not born out of the figment of imagination of anyone but only a consequential product due to prevailing compelling dire situation facing the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Another unpalatable truth is the continuing vacuum of a vibrant and dynamic leadership for the Tamils since 2010.  This only forced the affected Tamils to form, organize and stage their own demonstrations and protests in small scales.  This helpless situation resulted in the formation of Tamil Peoples’ Council and the Eluga Tamil movement which provided them the much needed opportunity to rally around under one front with united voice to reach the ears of the United Nations and International Community and even Sri Lanka.  This movement was not organized out of love or hatred to anyone as Chief Minister of Northern Province pointed out. Not against the Sinhalese people, or security forces or any political party or Government or Buddhist monks etc.  The object was to highlight the grievances of Tamils with calls for justice and accountability, a permanent acceptable political settlement, besides expressing the concerns due to Sinhalisation and Buddhisiation and or desecrating Temples and Churches and Tamil culture, reduction and/or withdrawal of armed forces in the North and East including return of seized civilian lands and setting up an international investigation into the war crimes, crimes against humanity etc.
It is apt to quote what Dr. Martin Luther King stated “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Remaining silent and watching injustice is worse than an actual commission of crime. There is not an iota of doubt that ‘Eluga Tamil’ movement is a better late than never wakeup call to the International Community, United Nations and complacentTamil leaders. This has further more opened the route to the Tamils to unite under one umbrella and banner to carry forward and press their demands calling for just and right remedies and political solution.
The victimised Tamils were side-lined and ignored by the United Nations and the International Community from 1956 and also during the pogroms against the Tamils in 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 and 2004 – 2009 who only opened their eyes and ears to take notice of the war crimes and crimes against humanity.etc. including political grievances only after the genocidal war which concluded in 2009.  The United Nations and International community’s long arm of justice and accountability has finally reached rather reluctantly and slowly, which is always expected when the victims are from third world countries particularly in Asia and Africa with human values based on the economic and strategic interests of these countries.
The Tamils are however relieved to note the United Nations and Human Rights Council getting involved with both the parties of the conflict , Sri Lanka and Tamils. Vigilance and continued pressure on the International Community by the Tamils is a must, viewing the past deplorable conduct of Sri Lanka as far as its commitments, promises and undertakings given orally, co-sponsored or written and signed pacts.
The formation of Tamils People’s Council and the ‘Eluha Tamil’  rising on 24th September 2016  provoked the communal politicians and hardcore anti-Tamil elements in the South including Buddhist monks who are supposed to follow, practice and preach the teachings of Lord Buddha and have launched mudslinging campaigns, hurling abuses and unjust baseless criticisms labelling the organizers, particularly the Chief Minister of Northern Province as a communalist, rabble-rouser and racist promoting and feeding communalism in the South, the foundation of which was laid by none other than late S.W.R.D. Bandaranayakae in 1956 and later embraced and propped up by various Sinhalese politicians like late K.M.P Rajaratna, late Cyril Matthew, late C.H.Mettananda and top Buddhist clergies. According to their distorted thinking, Tamils call for justice is communalism while those who chose communal politics and caused the injustice to the Tamils are nationalists and patriots.

In this respect, it has to be stated that Honourable Wigneswaran’s  [CM/NPC] role in this campaign is plain and simple. He acted as a friend, guide and philosopher being considered as the most fitting and suitable person to advance this campaign due to his past career as a Judge who seeks to right the wrongs and provide remedies. He only provided the right direction to the Tamils who were desperately looking for an aggressive leader to organize, unite and co-ordinate all those affected and left in lurch including others who wanted to join hands expressing their support and solidarity. The embers of racism and communalism are being fed by ultra-nationalists and hate mongers from South and the recent utterance of the leader of a political party calling on Tamils to go back to India or Tamil Nadu is nothing but a provoking statement of hatred adding fuel to the already fostered communalism in the South. The recent speech in the United Nations by the President of Sri Lanka Rt. Hon. Sirisena stating “Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country” bares the hidden agenda of Buddhisisation of Sri Lanka and it will be foolhardy to keep silent without alerting the Tamils in the North-East to the ongoing process of cultural genocide. In response, this duty to awake the Tamils is now taken up by the Tamil Peoples Council and their members including Hon. Wigneswaran. His contribution along with many other leading Tamils have resulted in only slandering and vilifying Hon. Wigneswaran as a racist and communalist which is only a cowardly exercise hiding or refusing to acknowledge the realities of the sixty years old lingering issues and grievances of Tamils for which there are still no signs of any redress or political solution.

The motive of South politicians and the stark truth is to keep the issues alive to reap political gains and mileage and to advance their political power base without any concern for reconciliation, national unity and peaceful co-existence, communal harmony, equality of rights and recognition of and upholding justice and accountability with respect for the rule of law.

Sri Lanka’s political leaders whether in Office or not, excel in dishing out promises to suit the occasion, place and people, including United Nations, Human Rights Council, Foreign diplomats and Heads of Government, not to mention their own undertakings in the United Nations. With a sordid history of breaches of promises, written agreements etc, to expect trust and confidence on Sri Lankan governments is nothing but unrealistic. If any of the past promises, pacts or undertakings have been implemented by Sri Lanka, one would not have come across persons like Hon. Wigneswaran to fight for justice and human rights. Lack of political will and statesmanship are the hallmarks of Sri Lankan leaders, while thriving on communal politics using Tamils as pawns and tools to climb the ladder of power which is the bane and tumbling block for Sri Lanka’s political, racial and religious harmony and progress towards a peaceful nation embracing and recognising multiracial, multi cultural and multi religious values and concepts.
In this respect, Tamil National Alliance shoulders heavy duties and responsibilities to fulfil and honour the trust and faith reposed on them by the Tamils who chose and elected them as the sole representatives of Tamils following Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam defeat in 2009. Seven years have passed since the war ended, and the promise of a political solution and not a military solution was given to the United Nations and International Community by Sri Lankan governments during the war and even after the war. These promises enabled the Sri Lankan government to decimate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with more than 100,000 killings of civilians while keeping the United Nations and others silent with Western powers even offering military and logistical assistance. Now all have been let down and writings are on the wall as to the nature of political settlement for the Tamils. It is clear that the proposed new constitution will strengthen the existing unitary government without a merger of North-East provinces. The proposal of Tamil National Alliance, Tamil Peoples’ Council and other Tamil parties calling to set up a Federal form of government has been flatly rejected by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister and the President with Buddhist Mahanayakas adding their opposition to it. As such, this solution is as good as dead. With Federalism ruled out, the Government is already indicating its wish to devolve some powers to the local councils to administer infrastructure powers.
The call for International Investigation will have a same doomed fate, making justice and accountability with impunity a mockery. The recent statement of President of Sri Lanka in the United Nations alleging that “displaced Tamil civilians are refusing to resettle due to extremist threats in the North” will not have any buyers.  The truth is, the displaced want to resettle only in their own lands which are still in the hands of security forces. However, this statement reveals the Government’s stand as to ‘no reduction, no withdrawal of security forces, no return of lands and the permanent residence of the security forces in the North and East, thus enabling the subtle execution of Sinhalisation, Buddhisiation through and with the assistance of Security forces. Furthermore, a new political front is now opened by the defeated former President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksha with his supporters clutching to racism and communalism, opposing a political settlement and using these slogans as a political route to bolster his political strength and power to shut out the doors of any judicial investigation in to the allegations of bribery and corruption under his rule besides war crimes etc.
Faced with these communal forces, bent on sustaining communal disharmony, hatred and racist propaganda, one cannot expect the traumatised Tamils to keep mum and allow the elimination of their race, culture, language, religion and identities which are in existance for more than 2500 years in Sri Lanka.
Blaming Tamils, Tamil National Alliance, Hon.Wigneswaran, Tamil Peoples Council or Eluga Tamil is neither the answer nor the solution to the past and immediate problems faced by the Tamils. Instead this is only adding fuel to the fire of racism and communalism set in motion from 1956.
It is also high time for Tamil National Alliance to not to place full trust and confidence on the Government, but to act without any delay and reservations by forging a united front with one voice, bringing all Tamil Leaders including Hon. Wigneswaran under one umbrella. The recent Eluha Tamil agitation and its success cannot be ignored or belittled by one unless they are deaf and blind to the realities.
A cautious optimism is welcome but only with pessimistic predictions. The argument by Tamil National Alliance and some hopeful politicians that ‘no one should take any counterproductive steps like misleading the Tamils or any actions to displease the present government’, does not hold good in any sense, as it is the past governments and present government who have faltered in their numerous promises  and undertakings.
It is the government’s responsibility to reveal the political proposals before too late and engage the Tamils to work out a permanent and just political settlement. It is all the more important for United Nations or other third parties to act as guarantors to ensure implementation.
The door will open when you knock it and a grinding iron stone will move only after repeated blows. Keeping silence without loud cries will end up only in disastrous outcome.
In conclusion, it is hoped that the new constitution expected to contain provisions of panacea to the problems facing Sri Lanka will successfully cross over the hurdles of 2/3 majority in Parliament, possible legal challenges, opposing public and Buddhist monks agitation and the final big hurdle of a referendum which is a double-edged weapon which will either make the referendum a success for the southern politicians or disappointment for the Tamils.
It is the duty of the government to keep its citizens live happily and contented and not the victimised Tamils to keep the government happy and contended. In this respect, witch-hunting Hon. Wigneswaran is not only counter-productive but will also provide the impetus for a more vigorous and aggressive campaign. After all, this is not a personal struggle belonging to Hon. Wigneswaran but a struggle of the entire Tamils seeking justice which must be transformed into action with a united mass struggle. Learning the past lessons of history and guiding the Tamils is the need of the hour and not to follow a path of hope and complacency resulting in another repetition of history.
In this respect, it is apt to quote the view of Kenneth Rogoss – A Harvard University Professor on referendum:=  “ To conclude any decision reached any time by majority rule is necessarily ‘democratic’ is a perversion of the term. It is not a democracy but a Russian roulette for Republics” as happened when former President of Sri Lanka late J. R. Jayawardena sabotaged the democratic process of public elections and exploited the referendum to extend his term of office for another six years in 1982.
   

 ARTICLE 20
Sri Lanka’s Fading and Ailing- Good Governnace    
With the support of 6.2 million, the present Sri Lankan Government swept into power, winning both the presidential and general elections on the slogan of ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ – it was believed, to end, the ‘Bad Governance’ of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Mahinda Rajapaksa hugely energised by his victory over the LTTE in 2009 – embarked on a path of family dictatorial rule, self-glorification and abuse of power. Rajapaksa’s victory, albeit not won solely by his effort alone but one that was a combined and co-ordinated one, with military and logistical assistance coming from twenty two countries who were united in their quest to get rid of the LTTE and its leadership at any cost and price. Hailed as a hero and wallowing in his military success and in the popularity he enjoyed among the Sinhalese and the Buddhist clergy, Rajapaksa exploited the euphoria of victory to the maximum. Impeaching the Chief Justice and seizing control of the judiciary and all other independent commissions, he was able to consolidate power and as a consequence strengthen his presidency. While corruption became rampant, an atmosphere of fear and insecurity began enveloping the country where human rights activists, political opponents and journalists who exposed the truth faced possible death, the killings in all cases, carried out by agents of the state, after abductions in ‘White Vans’.
With democratic values in jeopardy, the literate and politically matured Sri Lankan voters waited for the elections to remove the increasingly unpopular Rajapaksa clan. Sensing island wide resentment and opposition to Rajapaksa’s rule, Maithripala Sirisena jumped from the Rajapaksa band wagon and joined hands with Ranil Wickremesingha to get rid of Rajapaksa and his all powerful, no questions asked family rule. ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ was the coined slogan of ‘Maithri’ and ‘Ranil’, a term that mesmerised and won over the public. The western powers also lent their backing to unseat Rajapaksa who was an irritant to them for leaning on and hobnobbing with China.
The ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ election manifesto of ‘Ranil’ and ‘Maithri’ who led this unique rainbow coalition contained many promises – those which the public trusted and voted for, key amongst them:
1.      Promotion of rule of law
2.      Ending the culture of impunity
3.      Eradication of bribery and corruption
4.      Punishing corrupt politicians and officials particularly those who held high offices and those who controlled the state machinery in the past
5.      Promoting accountability, justice and reconciliation and solving the ethnic problem.
The vast majority of Tamils in the North and Eastern provinces also voted for the newly formed Ranil/Maithri coalition reposing faith on the promises made – It could be said the coalition virtually won the elections on the back of the Tamil vote.
Tamils had high hopes on the coalition, delivering solutions to a community ravaged and traumatised by a genocidal war, that ended (according to UN estimates) in 70,000 civilians killed and about 65,000 missing – and amongst the living, many still not having recovered from their harrowing experience, widowed, orphaned, disabled and internally displaced.
Since winning, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera have doled out various promises to the Tamil people that haven’t been honoured and the important and pressing ones amongst them are:
The demilitarization of the North, a promise made by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on January 20, 2015 at a press conference in Delhi; while a reduction in military presence was made by both the President and the Prime Minister on occasions. Contrary to such rhetoric, the military is in reality taking steps to strengthen and reinforce its position, confirming its permanent presence in, and occupation of the North & East.
The return of land seized by the military within six months, a promise made by the President, the time line of which ended in June 2016. Contrary to such a promise, the concern now is the seizure of more lands by the security forces.
The release of political prisoners: Both the President and the Prime Minister promised to release all political prisoners, first within one month, then within three months and later within six months all of which until now remain on paper, and there is still no sign or hope concerning their release, except for a few conditional releases.
Investigation into the missing: The promise to fully investigate what happened to the involuntarily disappeared, the missing or unaccounted for including investigations into the killings of Journalists hasn’t been fully realised. The ‘Office of Missing Persons’ not only didn’t come up to expectations, it is yet to function. It must be noted that the Prime Minister himself had pre-empted the Office’s findings by his confession that most of the disappeared are probably dead.
It is relevant to mention some of the acts of ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ along with various acts of the old ‘BAD GOVERNANCE’.
ACTS OF ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’:
Enacting the 19th Amendment to the constitution and the setting up of aConstitutional Council as well as the setting up of various commissions including an ‘Independent Commission to investigate allegations of Bribery and Corruption’. Amendments were also enacted restricting the powers and duration of office by the President – permitting only two terms.
Passing of the Right to Information Act on July 01, 2016 and the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons in August 2016. This office is yet to function and the efficacy of this office and the lack there was detailed by the author in an earlier article on September 30, 2016. The atmosphere of fear and extra-judicial killings including political enemies and dissenters are now reduced appreciably including white van abductions.
Freedom of movement, expression and speech is not under any state restrictions but surveillance is enforced through the security forces in the North and Eastern Provinces during protests, demonstrations, and meetings and in places where the public gather and meets like for example the market.
If one looks at the track record of the ‘GOVERNMENT OF GOOD GOVERNANCE’, some election promises have been partially activated with some aborted and some still-born. The question of their implementation – particularly promises given to Tamils remain unfulfilled.
The vital promise to haul up and indict all those involved in bribery, corruption and abuse of power and position, is already broken and indeed reversed by the President who has gone to the extent of criticising his own Minister and officials, for following normal procedure, condemning their actions to haul before the courts, top security personnel including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The President’s open critical statements have now resulted in the ‘security personnel being released on bail’, almost guaranteeing their impunity. This unacceptable development is the foreboding for future non initiation or stalling of prosecutions. The President also directed his anger at the CID, FCID and Bribery and Corruption Commissions, casting aspersions on them, while undermining their independence as guaranteed in the 19th Amendment. It’s clear he has thus used his position to influence and interfere with their entrusted functions which is a mockery of the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’, his own ideal, one which the president often boasted of.

The fall out of this interference has cast doubts on the other election promises of ending impunity, the eradication of bribery and corruption and punishing the corrupt – which can only be seen as heralding the end of ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’.
The prosecution and/or trials of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members are being allowed to drag on to reach a stage that would amount to, in all probability, absolving them of all culpability, but only to stymie the political rise and ambitions of Rajapaksa and his family members against whom numerous corruption and bribery allegations are floating with several millions of rupees involved in various shady deals and transactions during the last ten years. Any and all promises made towards accountability and justice are almost defunct with the President openly declaring his intention to protect all members of the security forces from any prosecution or culpability for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity amounting to what’s believed to be ‘mass atrocity’ crimes including genocide.
As an extension of this blanket impunity, the much talked of and boasted of ‘reconciliation’ has also suffered near demise, since no reconciliation will last or succeed until and unless accountability and justice is achieved. In addition, the President has conveniently omitted to initiate investigations into the killings of about 15 Tamil journalists killed since 1990 for reasons known to him. However, his initiation of investigations in to the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the disappearance of cartoonist Eknaliyagoda, to mute the popular outcry for justice is also proceeding on a zigzag course, obviously to reach a dead end or cover up.
As stated earlier, the return of seized lands, the release of political prisoners, the reduction of a strong military presence in the Northern Province have remained on paper and certainly will remain so, due to lack of political will and courage to exercise ‘Executive Presidential Powers’ and discretion, particularly considering the state’s agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalisation that’s going on in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
With respect to the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, even if it is repealed, it is learnt that the new ‘Counter Terrorism Act’ which is expected by the end of the year will come out more like a carbon copy of the existing PTA, only worse.
Besides, Sri Lanka’s ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ is on course to solidify Sri Lanka as a Buddhist country which is already declared and underwritten by the President in his statement at the United Nations at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly – 22. 09. 2016:
“Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, where Theravada Buddhism is practiced.”
It is to be noted that 28 Buddha statues have been erected along A-9 Highway since the war ended in May 2009. (More on the ongoing attempts to erect Buddha Statues can be found here. Thus a new phenomenon has emerged where Buddha statues are being erected along the A9 route that leads to Jaffna where hardly Buddhists reside. Very recent attempts to erect a Buddha statue in the hill top in Amparai District in Batticoloa where Muslims and Tamils live, is causing tension in these areas. The Chief Minister of Eastern Province, a Muslim, and Minister Rauf Hakeem along with other Muslim politicians from the district and in the province have condemned the installation of the statue.  This Buddhisisation simply and plainly breeds disharmony and not reconciliation.
The clause in the constitution specifying Buddhism as the foremost religion in Sri Lanka with the duty to foster and protect being mandated on the state is nothing short other than confirming the statutory duty of state to carry out Buddhisisation, leaving the other religions to fend for themselves. Even the common term ‘secular state’ is yet unable to find its place in the constitution.
This provision by implication allows Buddhist extremists and the state machinery to engage in further acts of suppression and discrimination against the minorities and their religions to advance the process of Buddhisiation. In short, Sri Lanka is now facing the twin evils of racism and religionism which are also fostered by the Buddhist clergy giving rise to mushrooming religious groups and extremists. The recent formation of a group called ‘Shiv Sena’ is one example among many others which are in the making.
Another episode that has thwarted ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ is the inordinate delay in prosecuting those involved in the Central Bank Security Bonds scam which was exposed by COPE, implicating former Governor of Central Bank Mr Arjuna Mahendran, a close friend of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – who is still pleading innocence. The matter is in the hands of Attorney-General and the prospect of any prosecution could take many years in all likelihood, orchestrating its natural death.
As for the Tamils, they have already lived under the ‘DHARMISTA’ slogan of the late President J.R. Jayewardene (architect of the existing Sri Lankan constitution consolidating all power under him and saying that except to change a man to a woman or change a woman to man, he has all the powers under his constitution) and the ‘TRIPLE GEM’ slogan of Chandrika Kumaratunaga, the  former President of Sri Lanka – who was responsible for the breakdown of the peace process undertaken by Norway, which have only compounded miseries for Tamils and worsened their lives in all spheres including language, religion, equal opportunities, human rights etc.
The present ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ slogan is just a continuation of the majority hegemonic rule that Tamils have been subject to and no different than Rajapaksa’s rule as far as the issues confronting the Tamils are concerned.
In the main, promises made by Sri Lankan Governments always vary and differ from each other, depending on the place, the occasion and people: The promise given to United Nations and world dignitaries would differ from promises given to Tamils in the North and East and vary quite drastically from those given to the Sinhalese in the South. Out of these, only promises to Sinhalese are intended for fulfilment, while others remain mere opportunistic statements, meant only for consumption for that moment.
Looking back at all the betrayals and the sufferings undergone by them, Tamils must, including their political leaders and parties, rise to the occasion to have their voices and grievances heard by the international community including the United Nations. Confining the concerns that Tamils have within Sri Lanka and heaping faith on promises by the President and/or Prime Minister will end up like the story of the parrot waiting in vain for the ripening fruit which when ripe bursts out and the cotton inside gets blown away by the wind.
Thus, for Tamils, it has been a waiting game ever since. The Tamil National Alliance Leader, Mr. R. Sampanthan keeps moving the timeline for a political solution – and according to his latest remarks, he has again categorically stated a solution will come by next ‘Deepavali’ in 2017, without disclosing any clues as to how it would occur and what it would be like. One lives in hope that there won’t be many more similar ‘Deepavalis’ before any still hitherto unknown and undisclosed, hopefully correct and just solution for the Tamils finally arrives, thanks to some progressive Sinhala leader.
It’s becoming more and more evident that Sri Lanka’s ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ project is two-faced and fast fading into oblivion leaving the fate of the Tamil people up in the air. That’s why, now more than ever, much hope is being placed on the international community to protect the interests of Tamils.

Even on that front, Sri Lanka appears to be ahead. The dubious commitments of Sri Lanka to justice and accountability can be observed from the South’s reaction, especially the Sri Lankan government’s response to Donald Trump’s victory. The rush to send congratulatory messages is indicative of the hurry to seek the President-elect and through him America’s support for Sri Lanka’s continuing impunity.
Although President Trump sure has his hands full at home, it is nevertheless hoped both his Secretary of State and he would build their foreign policy on valuing, upholding, defending and promoting human rights and the rule of law, around the world and be vigilant against abuses and not be a party to protecting alleged absconders and perpetrators of human rights abuses. With America elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly, the expectation is that America would live up to its principles and commitments and Sri Lanka would be called to account and Tamils would get the political solution they’re are seeking and rightfully deserve – that of the right to self-determination. The statement of Pearl –S Buck is worth quoting here: “WHEN GOOD PEOPLE IN ANY COUNTRY CEASE THEIR VIGILANCE AND STRUGGLE, THEN EVIL MEN PREVAIL”

 
ARTICLE 21

Business as Usual for the Dying Good Governance

 With the support of 6.2 millions, the present Sri Lankan Government swept into victories at the both Presidential and general elections on the slogan of ‘Good Governance’ to remove the ‘Bad Governance’ of former President Mahinda Rajapaksha who was hailed as a ‘War Hero’ after defeating the ‘Do or Die’ LTTE in 2009. His victory was not a solo effort but a combined and co-ordinated one with the military and logistical assistance of twenty two countries who were united to get rid of the LTTE and its leadership, at any cost and price. Mahinda Rajapaksha wallowing in this military success and popularity among the Sinhalese and Buddhist clergy captured the power and exploited the euphoria of support to embark on a path of family dictatorial rule, self-glorification with abuse of power, and seizing controls over judiciary and all other independent commissions to consolidate the power and position resulting in rampant corruption, while an atmosphere of fear and insecurity began enveloping the country where human rights activists, political opponents and journalists who exposed the truth faced killings carried out by state agents after abductions in ‘White Vans’.
With all norms of democracy in tatters, the literate and politically matured Sri Lankan voters waited for the elections to remove the Mahinda Rajapaksha’s regime. Sensing the Island wide resentment and opposition to Mahinda Rajapaksha’s rule, Maithiripala Sirisena jumped from the Mahnida Rajapaksha’s wagon and joined hands with Ranil Wickremasinghe to get rid of Mahinda Rajapaksha and his all-powerful no questions asked family rule. ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ was the coined slogan of Maithiri and Ranil which mesmerised the public. The western powers also lent their backing to unseat Mahinda Rajapaksha who was an irritant to them for his closer and closer relations and hobnobbing with China. The ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ election manifesto of Ranil Wickeremasingha and Maithirtipala Sirisena contained many promises for fulfilment in justification of the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’. Some of the promises which the public trusted and voted for this unique coalition are:-
1.Promotion of rule of law
2.Ending the culture of impunity
3.Eradication of bribery and corruption
4.Punishing the corrupt politicians and officials particularly those who
held high offices and those who controlled the state machinery in the past
5.Promoting accountability, justice and reconciliation and solving the
ethnic problem.

The vast majority of Tamils in the North and Eastern provinces also voted for the newly formed Ranil/Maithri coalition reposing faith on their promises made during the election campaign in the North and Eastern provinces. They [Tamils] had high hopes on the coalition of Ranil/Maithiri for delivering solutions to recover from the harrowing and traumatising experiences underwent during the genocidal war which ended in 2009 where more than 70,000 civilians killed and about 65,000 missings. [UN estimate}
President Maithiripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera doled out various promises concerning the Tamils and the important and pressing ones were:-
1.Demilitarization of North made by the Foreign Minister Mangala
Samaraweera on January 20, 2015 at a press conference in Delhi
while Maithiri and Ranil promised reduction of Army and its presence. On the contrary the military is taking steps to strengthen and reinforce its positions confirming its permanent presence in the North & East
2.President Maithiri’s promise of return of seized lands by the Military
within six months which ended in June 2016.
3.Both President and PM Ranil promising to release all political prisoners
first within one month, then within three months and later within six
months all of which until now remain on paper, and there is still no sign
or hope concerning their release. On the contrary, more lands are seized
by the security forces now and also promised that those who involuntarily disappeared, missing or unaccounted would be fully investigated including investigations into the killings of Journalists.
It is relevant to mention some of the acts of ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ along with various acts of the old ‘BAD GOVERNANCE’.
 
ACTS OF ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’
1.Enacting the 19th Amendment to the constitution and setting up a Constitutional council and setting up of various commissions including Independent Commissions to investigate allegations of Bribery and Corruption.
Amendments were also enacted restricting the powers and duration of office by the President – permitting only two terms.
2.Passing of the Right to Information Act, July 01, 2016 and the Office of Missing Persons – August 2016. This office is yet to function and the efficiency of this office was detailed by the author in an earlier article on September 30, 2016
3.Atmosphere of fear and extra-judicial killings including political enemies and dissenters are now reduced appreciably including white van abductions.
4.Freedom of movement, expression and speech are not under any state restrictions but surveillance is enforced through the security forces in the North and Eastern Provinces during protests, demonstrations, and meetings and in places where public gather and meets like a market.
If one looks at the track record of the ‘Government of good governance’, some election promises have been partially activated with some aborted and some still-born. The question of their implementations particularly promises given to Tamils remain with more and more promises of hope and zero exhibition of concrete measures.
The vital promise to haul up and indict all those involved in bribery, corruption and abuse of power and position, is already breached and reversed by the President who has gone to the extent of criticising his own Minister and other officials and also condemning their hauling up of top security personnel including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya before the courts which is the normal procedure.
The President’s open critical statements have now resulted in the ‘security personnel released on bail’ and almost guaranteeing their impunity. This unacceptable step is the foreboding for future non-initiation or stalling of prosecution and the President also directed his anger at the CID, FCID and Bribery and Corruption Commissions casting aspersions while undermining their independence as guaranteed in the 19th Amendment. He has thus used his position to influence and interfere with their entrusted functions which is a mockery of the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ often boasted.
The fall out of this interference has cast doubts on the other election promises of ending impunity, eradication of bribery and corruption, punishing the corrupt which are only heralding the end of ‘good governance’.
The prosecution and/or trials of former President Mahinda Rajapaksha and his family members is allowed to drag on to reach a stage of either absolving or withdrawing only to stymie the political rise and ambitions of Mahinda Rajapaksha and his family members against whom numerous corruption and bribery allegations are floating with several millions of rupees involved in various shady deals and transactions during the last ten years. Besides, the promises of accountability and justice are almost defunct with President Maithiri openly declaring to protect all members of security forces involved in the war from any prosecution or culpability for the alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity committed during the genocidal war. As an extension of this blanket impunity, the most boasted reconciliation has also suffered its death, and no reconciliation will last or succeed before dispensation of accountability and justice to the desperate Tamils In addition, President Maithiri has conveniently omitted to initiate investigations into the killings of about 15 Tamil journalists killed since 1990 for reasons known to him. However, his initiation of investigations in to the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha and the disappearance of cartoonist Eknaliyagoda, to mute the popular outcry for justice is also proceeding on a zigzag course obviously to reach a dead end or cover up.
As stated earlier, the return of seized lands, release of political prisoners, the reduction of military in the Northern Province have remained on paper and certainly will remain so due to lack of political will and courage to exercise the Executive Presidential Powers and discretion particularly viewing the state agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation going in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
Regarding the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, even if it is repealed, it is learnt that the new ‘Counter Terrorism Act’ which is expected by the end of the year will come out as a photocopy of the existing PTA with added countering features when viewing the title word ‘counter’ which implies counter moves as well as retaliatory steps while the word ‘prevent’ implies stopping from happening but not allowing retaliatory steps.
Besides, Sri Lanka’s ‘Good Governance’ is on its course to solidify Sri Lanka as a Buddhist country which is already declared and underwritten by the President in his statement at the United Nations at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly – 22. 09. 2016
“Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, where Theravada Buddhism is practised.”
[The ongoing attempts to erect Buddha Statute http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/8355 ]
It is to be noted that 28 Buddha statutes have been erected along A-9 Highway since the war ended in May 2009.
Thus a new phenomenon has emerged where Buddha statues are being erected along the A9 route that leads to Jaffna where hardly Buddhists reside. Very recent attempts to erect Buddha statue in the Hilltop in Ampara District in Batticoloa where Muslims Muslims and Tamils live is causing tension in these areas. The Chief Minister of Eastern Province, a Muslim, and SL Minister Rauf Hakeem along with other Muslim politicians from the district and in the province have condemned the installation of this Buddha statute.  This Buddhisisation simply and plainly breeds disharmony and not reconciliation.
  The clause in the constitution specifying Buddhism as the foremost religion in Sri Lanka with the duty to foster and protect being mandated on the state is nothing short other than confirming the statutory duty of the state to carry out Buddhisisation, leaving the other religions to fend for themselves. Even the common term ‘secular state’ is yet and unable to find its place in the constitution. This provision by implication allows Buddhist extremists and state machinery to engage in further acts of suppression and discrimination against the minorities and their religions to advance the process of Buddhisiation. In short, Sri Lanka is now facing the twin evils of racialism and religionisim which are also fostered by the Buddhist clergy giving rise to mushrooming religious groups and extremists. The recent formation of a group called ‘Shiva Sena’ is one example among many others which are in the making.
  It is another episode of the ‘Good Governance’ to pinpoint  the inordinate delay in prosecuting those involved in the Central Bank Security Bonds scam which was exposed by COPE, implicating former Governor of Central Bank Mr. Arjuna Mahendran a close friend of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasingha. The matter is in the hands of Attorney-General and the prospect of prosecution could take many years likely to orchestrate its natural death.
  As for the Tamils, they have already lived under the ‘DHARMISTA’ slogan of the late President J.R. Jayawardena [architect of the existing Sri Lankan constitution consolidating all power under him and saying that except to change a man to a woman or change a woman to man he has all the powers under his constitution] and ‘TRIPLE GEM’ slogan of Madam Chandrika Bandaranayaka former President of Sri Lanka – who was responsible for the breakdown of the peace process undertaken by Norway, which have only compounded miseries for Tamils and worsened their lives in all spheres language, religion, equal opportunities etc. The present ‘Good Governance’ slogan is just a continuation of those majority hegemony rules and no different than the Mahinda Rajapaksha’s rule as far as the issues confronting the Tamils are concerned. Sri Lankan Government’s promises always vary and differ from each other, depending on the place, occasion and people. One promise given to United Nations and world dignitaries, another promise in the North and East to the Tamils and yet another promise given to the Sinhalese in the South Out of these, only promises to Sinhalese are intended for fulfilment while others remain as inactive and opportunistic statements meant for instant consumption.
Viewing the past record and experiences undergone by the Tamils, the Tamils including the political leaders and parties must rise to the occasion to have their voices and grievances heard all over the concerned countries including the United Nations. Confining within Sri Lanka and heaping faith on promises by the President and/or Prime Minister will end up like the story of a parrot waiting for the ripening fruit which when ripe burst and flew out as wool.
Tamil National Alliance Leader Sampanthan is still hoping for a solution by the next ‘Deepavali’ in 2017and all hope that there won’t be many more similar ‘Deepavalis’ offering the unknown and undisclosed correct and just solutions to the Tamils.
The dubious commitments of Sri Lanka to justice and accountability can be observed from the relishing of the success of President elect Donald Trump by the Sri Lankan Government and others in the south rushing in sending congratulatory messages expecting his rescuing action from war crimes and international investigation etc. without bearing in mind that his hands are full with several serious commitments regarding US economy, illegal immigration, unemployment, untying US from some international commitments and his goal to make “AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’ by asserting its own uniqueness, strength and ability to stand on its own feet. To cast doubts on his vigilance and concern for human rights violators and even his condoning them to go scot free is nothing but casting doubts on his down to earth approach to problems while being the leader of the world’s most powerful democratic country which values, upholds and defends human rights and rule of law.
The statement of Pearl –S Buck is worth quoting “WHEN GOOD PEOPLE IN ANY COUNTRY CEASE THEIR VIGILANCE AND STRUGGLE, THE EVIL MEN PREVAIL”
So, it is now or never and better late than never.

 
ARTICLE 22

Sri Lanka & UNHRC Session – Will Justice for Tamils be Delayed for Denial?
TheUNHRC’s session in March 2017 is going to be crucial for the Tamils concerning the following matters:-
 
Fate of itsResolutionpassed on October 01, 2015 sponsored and endorsed by USA & Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s track record and review as to how far and whether its proposals have been implemented.
The credibility of UNHRC and Sri Lanka in their commitments to ensure the full implementation of the proposals in the Resolution.
In the Resolution of October 01, 2015, Sri Lanka on its own and with US sponsored, supported and agreed to implement the various proposals in the said Resolution as recommended by the UNHRC, some of which are:-
To adopt a comprehensive approach to deal with the past incorporating full range of judicial and non-judicial measures including inter alia ‘individual prosecutions, reparations, truth seeking, institutional reform, vetting of public employees and officials in order to ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, promote healing and reconciliation, establish independent oversight of the security system, restore confidence in the institutions of the state and promote rule of law in accordance with international human rights law.
Recognising mechanisms to redress past abuses and violations work best when they are independent, impartial and transparent, and utilising consultative and participatory methods that include the views from all relevant state holders.
A credible accountability process for those most responsible for violations and abuses.
To comply with a State’s obligation to prosecute those responsible of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law constituting crimes under International Law with a view to ending impunity.
Review of high security zones.
Commitment to the devolution of political authority.
Implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report ofLLRC.
Due to the absence of a credible national process of accountability, must explore appropriate forms of international support to and participation in the Sri Lankan process for seeking truth and justice.
The commitments to establish a commission for truth, justice, reconciliation and non-recurrence, an Office of Missing Persons and an Office for Reparation and to implement fully and credibly to advance accountability for serious crimes by all sides and help achieve reconciliation.
Proposing to establish a judicial mechanism with the special counsel to investigate human rights violations and abuses, etc, and affirms that.
A credible justice process should include independent, judicial and prosecutorial institutions, and affirming the importance of participation in Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsels of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors.
Encourages the Government to reform its domestic law to ensure it can effectively implement its own commitments and to introduce effective security sector reform as part of its transitional judicial process and ensuring no scope exists for retention in or recruitment into the security forces of anyone credibly implicated through a fair administrative process in serious crimes involving human rights violations including members of security and intelligence unit.
To accelerate the return of land to its rightful civilian owners, end military involvement in civilian activities, resumption of livelihood and the restoration of normality to civilian life.
To investigate and hold to account the perpetrators of attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups and other members of civil society as well as places of worship.
Commitment to repeal the draconianPrevention of Terrorism Actand replace it with legislation in line with contemporary international best practices.
To criminalize enforced disappearances, and to begin issuing Certificates of Absence to the families of missing as a temporary measure of relief.
To release publicly previous Presidental commission Reports.
Commitment to a political settlement by taking necessary constitutional measures, and fulfills the commitments on the devolution of political authority which is integral to reconciliation, ensures all provincial councils are able to operate efficiently in accordance with the13th Amendment.
Prohibit violations of human rights, etc, including torture by all branches of security forces and those responsible will be investigated and punished, while addressing all reports of sexual and gender-based violence and torture.
 
 
OHCHRto assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant process, and present a comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of this resolution at its34th Sessionin March 2017. The resolution obliges the Sri Lankan Government to implement more than twenty recommendations which Sri Lanka has accepted as its commitments to UNHRC, the United Nations and the International Community. In pursuance of its commitments Sri Lanka has so far implemented the following recommendations, leaving others hanging in the balance:
 
[1] Setting up of an Office of Missing Persons which is yet to start functioning. The OMP will however function as an inquisitorial body without any judicial or quasi-judicial powers to extend its jurisdiction to charge and indict anyone who deserves to be tried for the listed criminal offences. Besides, the powers of OMP are also discretionary which would be difficult to challenge in courts for lack of faith, abuse of discretion, or failure to exercise.
[2] The Government has also passed a bill aimed at protecting the victims of crime and witness and a Right to Information Act in 2017.
[3] The Government has also signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances in August 2016.
 
Among other matters, this UN Convention commits a State to investigate acts of enforced disappearance and bring those responsible to justice, and ensure that victims of enforced disappearance or those directly affected by it have a right to obtain reparation and compensation. Furthermore the crime of enforced disappearance is defined as a crime against humanity.
When one reviews the track record of Sri Lanka regarding the implementation of all the recommendations after a lapse of seventeen months, one can only observe a dismal and depressing performance coupled with a defiance of UNHRC and rejection of its own commitments.
 
The failures are as follows:
 
The recommended comprehensive approach to dealing with the past incorporating the full range of judicial and non-judicial measures has not materialized so far.
Sri Lankan Government initiated a Consultation Task Force on reconciliation mechanism which submitted its report in January 2017. The Government has already rejected some of the recommendations of this commission especially setting up of a hybrid judicial mechanism. In the face of this negative stand, it will be foolhardy to expect the Government to act on any recommendations of any or all of its commissions to seek justice truth or reconciliation. The setting up of Commissions has so far been considered as eyewash to placate the affected, United Nations and International Community.
The recommendation to fix accountability to those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against international law – war crimes and crimes against humanity, etc, is almost as good as dead as the President and Prime Minister have openly declared that ‘they would not allow any member of Security Forces to be charged and brought before courts, thus ensuring their protection from any judicial process fixing culpability.
There is no progress in the review of high security zone and still 4,300 acres of private lands are in the possession and control of security forces in the North as admitted by the Jaffna Army Commander who also reiterated that there will not be any reduction in the numbers of armed forces in the North. This confirms the permanent residence and stay of army living among civilians.
UNHRC’S statement of welcoming “the Government’s commitment to the devolution of political authority” is yet to materialize and is still an unborn foetus without movement as the Government is battling to reach a consensus in this matter as to how far and to what extent devolution of powers can be effected. However, the emerging clear position of the Government is centering around to devolve some additional powers to the Provincial Councils within the 13th Amendment without any merger of the North and East, while maintaining the center’s concurrent list and its whip hand over the Provincial Councils making them function with hands and legs tied.
The UNHRC’S recommendations to implement effectively the LLRC’S constructive recommendations is no more an issue as most of the recommendations are lying as frozen matters since published in 2012.
Similarly, the reports and recommendations requested in Human Rights resolution 25/1, the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 27th session, which aims at truth seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, are also awaiting implementation.
The other recommendation requesting Sri Lanka to explore appropriate forms of international support to and participation in Sri Lankan processes for seeking truth and justice is yet another one awaiting initiation and may not see the light in the foreseeable future.
The most important reconciliation deals with the Government’s proposal to establish a judicial mechanism, with a Special counsel, including independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality, including the Special Counsel’s Office of Commonwealth and other authorized prosecutors and investigators. As far as this proposal is concerned, the Government has totally rejected it wholesale and outright and also has failed so far to move an inch forward in this matter, even setting up its own judicial mechanism. Due to this inaction, the whole question of accountability, justice and reconciliation is left in limbo and will unlikely be implemented to uphold these concepts proving its credibility, while belittling their importance and values for humans.
The recommendation requesting Sri Lanka reform its domestic law to ensure that it can effectively implement its own commitments including all recommendations of OHCHR. 25/1 and LLRC, is yet to see the light and no move in this direction has so far been initiated by the Government and there is every possibility that it could be shelved, to protect the security forces and ensure their impunity, as promised by the Government.
The recommendations to introduce security sector reforms as part of its transitional justice process is yet another one which could be shelved as well to avoid possible discontent among the security forces as well as disruption of the present structure and chain of the security forces and intelligence units, the underlying reason being projection of the security forces from any judicial process for alleged crimes committed during the war, as exposed in the independent reports of several UNHRC and UN Emissaries.
The recommendation to accelerate the return of land to its rightful civilian owners, ending of military involvement in civilian activities, restoration of normality to civilian life is yet another which is being carried out haphazardly, and in piecemeal with neither ceasing of military involvement in civilian activities nor full restoration of normality to civilian life. The unreduced heavy presence of army [to a ratio of one soldier for every five civilians 1: 5] is sustaining an atmosphere of unease, insecurity and fear among the civilians whose free movements and freedom of association and expression appear to be under the surveillance of the security forces. The Government has also failed “to expedite the process of delivery of durable solutions for all internally displaced persons as recommended.”
The recommendation to hold perpetrators of attacks including killings of journalists, activists and attackers on religious sites, minority religious groups is another proposal which remains untouched and while some initiatives have been taken to prosecute those involved in the killings of Journalists like Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, Tamil Parliamentarian and human rights activistRavirajincluding disappearance of Journalist  [for exposing the usage of chemical weapons by the military during the last stages of war in 2009]. The process and progress of these cases is moving at a snail’s pace. The prospect of initiating investigations into the killings of about seventeen journalists so far from 1993, along with other activists and those involved in attacks on Churches, Mosques and Temples and killing of Muslims is almost dim and appears to be swept under the carpet forever. Despite the recommendation of UNHRC to address the issues, the practice of torture and other abuses of human rights is still continuing as confirmed recently by UN independent reports.
With the efforts to fulfill the commitments on the devolution of political authority remaining stalled, uncertain and unclear, the recommendations to ensure an effective functioning of all Provincial Councils complying with all the provisions in the 13th Amendment is also struggling between life and death, the indications pointing to its non-fulfilment due to political compulsions, interests, fear of backlash from opposing chauvinists and hard line Buddhist monks.
 
The recommendation prohibiting Security Forces from human rights violations including humanitarian law and to investigate and punish those responsible is another which will remain only in paper as a recommendation, as past experiences confirm the Government’s reluctance to not to embark on full scale prosecutions of Security Forces for crimes allegedly committed by them unless forced by public and media outcry including Human Rights Organizations worldwide.
In the face of the non-compliance of all the above core recommendations in the Resolution, any delay to take the Sri Lankan Government to task will only confirm the Government’s policy of defying and encouraging non-observance including rejection of its own appointed Commissions’ recommendations. It therefore lies on the UNHRC the right and duty to uphold its stature, objectives and duties and vindicate its name and reputation by exposing the real scenario in relation to Sri Lanka’s defiant and disrespectful conduct in relation to the compliance of this resolution, and not choosing to travel along with Sri Lanka’s policy of promises and deceptive tactics to make the Resolution stale and to be later kept in limbo. Sopping and token measures like ‘singing national anthem in Tamil’, endorsing Tamil National Alliance leaderR. Sampanthanas Leader of the Opposition are measures which arose from constitutional necessity while the November 27th commemoration was allowed to placate the UNHRC and grieving Tamils as a belated opportune measure.
In the absence of any convincing and comprehensive honest progress and performances by Sri Lanka so far to confirm its commitments in the Resolution, even after the lapse of seventeen months, it will be defying logic and serve no purpose to grant any more additional extension of time to Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments. If UNHRC agrees to any further extension, the whole question of credibility of the UNHRC will be at stake with its human rights provisions degraded and desecrated, while making UNHRC function as a ‘Talking shop’  without carrying out the objectives and principles  entrusted on it, while making accountability, justice and reconciliation as mere slogans leading to licensing the nations guilty of human rights violations to go scot free with impunity, and free from its radar. As a result, UNHRC could become an accessory to sow the seeds and breed extremism even terrorism springing from the victims’ families and youths affected by the criminal acts of a member nation.
It is hoped UNHRC will do justice to the Reports of various UN and UNHRC Special Rapporteurs and Special Commissioners who visited Sri Lanka and confirmed the ground situation by detailing the various human rights violations committed on civilians.
It is the hope of all people and victims of human rights violations, that UNHRC will live up to discharge its functions in the interest of the affected and bring to book the offenders, buttressing its credibility and protective role.
If UNHRC opts to agree to another extension of time, without doubt, this lapse of responsibility will only sound the death knell for human rights and extending impunity for States that violate human rights.
Equally, TheTamil National Alliancecarries the burden and responsibility to fight for justice to the Tamils and not to succumb to the charming deceptive diplomacy of Sri Lanka, besides refraining from committing a historical blunder for the Tamils as a whole.
If USA as a co-sponsor of the Resolution also shirks its commitments and responsibility to ensure the implementation of this Resolution, it will stand to lose its status and power as the world’s most prominent Nation to fight for and uphold human rights all over the world.
It is therefore important for UNHRC and USA not to abandon this resolution and if they do so, it will result in the encouragement of human rights violations by countries with impunity and free from accountability while casting doubts on the reliability and credibility of their role in the International Community.

When accountability is shielded, justice dies – making reconciliation      

ARTICLE 23

Will UNHRC live up to its Commitments to Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka became a member of the United Nations in 1955, bound with obligations to observe the provisions of the United Nations and other United Nations Conventions, and as a member of the Human Rights Council.
Some of the most important Conventions ratified by Sri Lanka are as follows:-
 
International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination 1982
International Convention for the Protection of all persons from Enforced Disappearances 2016.
United Nations Convention against Torture, Cruel and Inhuman Treatment -1984
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights 1980
International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – 1980
 

The United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) has maintained inexplicable and depressing silence over the several incidents of massacres, racial pogroms, including extra-judicial killings and torture which were blatantly carried out by the security forces and political party hooligans in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1971, 1977, 1983, 1989 and from 2006 to May 2009. The United Nations and other Western democratic countries watched those crimes committed by Sri Lankan Armed Forces against its own citizens and chose to ignore them with no concern. Most probably the involved parties did not carry any political, economic, military or strategic interests to impact their countries’ interests. Western countries however adopted the policy of accommodating the Tamil refugees fleeing to save their lives from the rampant security forces and hoodlums.
More than one million Tamils are now said to be living in various countries with the first wave of migration starting in 1983 after the racial violence which engulfed Sri Lanka with the active support of the rulingUnited National PartyGovernment led by the late presidentJ. R. Jayawardene.
 
The 2006-2009warbetween Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) owed its origin due to the Governments’ betrayals, breaches of pacts, and resultant failures to offer a just durable and permanent political settlement by the Sri Lankan governments’ in power since 1956. LTTEChief Prabhakaranhad another reason to justify the armed struggle when he attributed it to the failure of Sinhala leaders to follow the path and principles of Buddhism, laid down by the greatest saint Lord Buddha.
So far, an estimated 150,000 Tamil civilians have lost their lives from 1956 to 2009, which also includes several massacres commencing from 1956 in Gal Oya in the Eastern Province and Colombo.
With the Buddhisisation and Sinhalasisation agenda, set in motion in 1948 by the late Prime MinisterD. S. Senanayake in the form of Sinhala colonization in the Eastern province and discrimination in employment and university admissions, the marginalization of Tamils and reducing their status to second class citizens was complete despite various non violent and peaceful agitations by Tamil political leaders. The alternative armed struggle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was snuffed out with the complicity of some foreign powers, while the United Nations played the role of spectator of the GENOCIDAL killings which were watched with unconcern and disdain by the world’s communities.
The war without witness conducted by the Sri Lankan government ended in May 2009, with UNHRC passing aresolutionin May 2009 praising Sri Lanka for finishing the ‘war on terrorism’ against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam without any discussion or hindsight as to the root causes of the war and why the Liberation Tigers of T’amil Eelam resorted to armed struggle.
 
 
UNITED NATION’S ACTIONS ON SRI LANKA
 
Thanks to the painstaking efforts of the British media, particularly Channel 4 and other human rights groups, the United Nations and UN Human Rights Council found themselves at the receiving end, after seeing and hearing the graphic gruesome killings and inhuman sufferings of the Tamil civilians. Due to the widespread protests and condemnations from several human rights groups including theDiaspora Tamils, United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon appointed a panel of experts on June 2010. Prior to this move, the UN Secretary General made a visit to Sri Lanka immediately after the end of war in May 2009 touring selected areas and viewing from the air. He later expressed his opinion by describing the ‘situation of refugees as unprecedented.’ This Panel of Experts was headed by Hon.Marzuki Darusman.
TheReportwhich was issued on March 31, 2011, stated among other things:
‘Indeed the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.’
Following this report, the UN Secretary General appointed Hon.Charles Petrieto examine the United Nation’s role in the Sri Lankan conflict.
The Internal Review Panel made its report in November 2012. The report, inter alia stated that ‘According to the UN data, most casualties are caused by government’s fire.’ It also stated that ‘The UN headquarters and staff were subjected to the Sri Lankan government’s obstruction and manipulation.’
This report also mentioned that there were ‘credible estimates for civilian casualties of 70,000.’ The report also confirmed ‘that the events marked a grave failure of United Nations to adequately respond to early warnings.’
Following the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution in March 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human RightsNavanethem Pillayvisited Sri Lanka in August 2013. Despite protests by Sinhala extremists and branding her as ‘Tigress’, she completed her mission undeterred as mandated.
On September 25, 2013, she made a 27 point oral update to the UNHRC. Consequently, UNHRC’s Resolution No. 22 “called upon the government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.”
The UN High commissioner for Human Rights on February 2014, after noting the failure of Sri Lanka to ensure independent and credible investigations recommended the “establishment of an Independent International Inquiry Mechanism which would contribute to establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed.”
In response, UNHRC adopted a resolution in March 2014 requesting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka from 2002 to 2011. Three experts undertook the task of preparing this report [OISL] which was published in September 2015 which among others recommended a hybrid mechanism and mandating for a set up of special court in Sri Lanka pointing out that the “violations are among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.”
 
For the sake of information, some of the important persons who have undertaken visits to Sri Lanka from May 2009 until now and their reports are as follows:-
 
United Nations Secretary General HEBan-Ki-moonMay 20, 2009 and September 16, 2016
Special Rapporteur of Promotion of Truth, Justice Etc. HEPablo De GreiffMarch 2015 and January 2016.
US Assistant Secretaries of State MadamBiswaland Hon.MalinowskiFebruary 14 and July 2015.
Special Rapporteurs on Torture, Inhuman treatment etc. Hon.Juan Mendezand Hon.Monica PintoMay 2016.
United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances Hon.Tae-Ung-Baik, Hon.Bernard Duhaimeand Hon.Ariel Dulitzkyfrom November 9 to 18, 2016.
United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner HEZeid Ra’ad al-HusseinFebruary 2016.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Rights Hon.Rita Izsak NdiayeOctober 2016.
 
 
HE Ban-Ki-moon and Hon.Mahinda Rajapaksaissued a joint statement on May 21, 2009, where Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to address the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution. Rajapaksa also expressed his firm resolve to proceed with the implementation of the 13th Amendment and engaging in dialogues with all parties to bring about lasting peace including commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’ s international obligations.
This joint statement and Hon. Mahinda’s undertakings faced their inevitable demise as usual and expected ending in an insulting breach.
 
Some of the important Reports issued by United Nations, UNHRC and UN Special Rapporteurs are:-
 
UN Panel of Experts on Accountability March 31, 2011
UN Internal Review Panel – November 2012
UN’s Final Report to UNHRC [OSIL] – September 16, 2015
Working Group on Enforced Disappearances – July 18, 2016
Special Rapporteur on Torture etc. May 17, 2016
Special Rapporteur on Minority Rights October 20, 2016
United Nations Human Rights Council 2016
UN Committee Against Torture and its observations in Geneva in November 2016.
 
So far, the United Nations Human Rights Council has issued eight reports from 2011 to 2016 [The numbers being 22, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 07, 08], besides reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Oakland Institute and other groups dealt with the human rights violations in Sri Lanka and called for redress, remedies, reparation, accountability and justice.
Some of the findings and comments of the UN Personnel who visited Sri Lanka are worth repetition.
The UN Report [OSIL] published in September 2015 “ has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011.”
The Experts Panel Reports published in March 2011 stated that “the conduct of the war represented a grave Assault on the entire regime of International law designed to protect individual dignity during war and peace.” The report also revealed “United Nations involvement in Sri Lanka to be a grave failure” in preventing the atrocities and crimes which occurred during the war from 2006 to 2009.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights HE Zeid Al- Hussein while in Sri Lanka stated in February 2016 “that having an impartial and independent court is fundamental because it must address the needs of victims on all sides and victims must feel justice is done.”
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture & Inhuman Treatment Hon. Juan De Mendez who visited Sri Lanka in May 2016 “lamented the culture of impunity and lack of accountability with only six prosecutions against state security officials since 1994 and without any conviction so far.”
The Permanent Peoples Tribunal in its verdict after its hearing in Bremen, Germany in 2013 reached a consensus ruling that the “state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing acts of genocide against the Tamils.”
The Oakland Institute’s independent report published in May 2015, confirmed the “systematic violations of human rights of Tamils and other minorities which also exposed the military occupation and colonization of Tamils areas in Sri Lanka.”
UN Sectary General Ban-Ki-moon while in Sri Lanka in September 2016 stated that “something more terrible serious happened in the past in 1994, In Rwanda, there was a massacre. More than one million people were massacred. United Nations felt responsible for that. We said repeatedly ‘never again, never again. It happened just one year after in Srebrenica. We did again in Sri Lanka.”
By this statement, UN Secretary General has made a sweeping statement by bracketing Sri Lanka along with Rwanda and Srebrenica for having committed the international crime of genocide.
Thus, Sri Lanka stands accused of ‘GENOCIDE’ by the UN Secretary General whose firm conclusion should not be brushed aside or treated lightly. On the contrary, the UN Secretary General is legally and morally duty bound to take up this matter in the United Nations Security Council and or UN Human Rights Council for a follow up process.
During its fourth visit to Sri Lanka, the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances made its report on July 08, 2016 confirming the following: “Enforced disappearances are being used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent, counter terrorist activities or in the internal armed conflict.” Given the context in which they occurred, many enforced disappearances could be considered as war crimes or crimes against humanity if addressed in a court of law.”
The UN Report on Minority Issues was published on October 20, 2016. Among various concerns highlighted in the report it concluded “there is a trust deficit vis-a-vis state as well as between the communities in Sri Lanka.” “Government should publicly condemn religious intolerance and hold perpetrators of hate crimes and violence accountable.” “The Government must put in place some urgent, important and concrete measures to clearly demonstrate its political will and commitments to better protect Sri Lanka’s minorities including continued return of lands to their owners, charging or releasing all security-related detainees, making progress in finding disappeared persons and taking visible steps to gradually transfer military powers to civilian authorities.”
It is to be noted that all the UN Reports have called for the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Actand replace it with another which is in conformity with international obligations reiterating that the chronic pattern of impunity still exists with regard to cases of enforced disappearances.”
The Working Group also requested Sri Lanka to submit a timetable within 90 days, showing the steps it will take to implement the present recommendations once the report is submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.
The UN Report on September 2015 resulted in the passing of a resolution sponsored by USA, UK, Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro and Sri Lanka on October 01, 2015. The Resolution had proposals encouraging Sri Lanka to implement them, without any legally binding effect or any sanctions if Sri Lanka fails to comply with these recommendations.
 
 
 
SRI LANKA’S RESPONSES AND REACTIONS SINCE 2009
 
The UNHRC Resolution passed on October 1, 2015 still remains intact and unimplemented except for the setting up of the Office of Missing Persons which is without any teething provisions to haul up and convict perpetrators involved in the disappearances as the process and procedure to hold them liable is also lengthy and cumbersome for a complainant.
The other proposals in the Resolution are gathering dust and it is most likely that they will remain so until and unless mandatory directives are issued by the United Nations and/or other countries, which scenario is also unlikely to happen in the near future.
The Sri Lankan government has on various occasions declared its stand very strongly on the following issues and allegations against it.
Sri Lankan President HEMaithripala Sirisenahas stated that “no general amnesty will be granted to the Tamil political prisoners” languishing in jail for more than ten years. Minister of Justice Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapakse further stated that “there are no political prisoners in the country”.
The government has also rejected the hybrid court mechanism as well as participation of international judges, lawyers, etc. Even the internal judicial mechanism promised by Sri Lanka is yet to see its light.
About the approximately 65,000 disappeared persons, Prime Minister Hon.Ranil Wickremesinghehas stated that “most of them are probably dead” and “many have left the country”. The President and Prime Minister have again and again reiterated that ‘soldiers who participated in the war against LTTE will be protected at any cost from any prosecution for crimes committed during the war.’ As such a blanket advanced impunity has been granted to the security forces defying and ignoring the criticisms of United Nations, UNHRC and other bodies.
Reforms on domestic laws have also not been initiated so far which should include amendments to criminal laws to incorporate war crimes and crimes against humanity in compliance with international obligations to conduct prosecution against war criminals.
Return of lands to the rightful owners in the North and East is proceeding at a snail pace with uncertainty and in piecemeal while moves are afoot to size more lands by the security forces. The security personnel’s numerous earlier business activities have now extended to running kindergarten schools in the North which show no sign of halting any activities but only signs of expansion visible.
The Sri Lankan government has again and again reiterated that it will never withdraw the security forces from the North. Therefore the presence of security forces in the North is confirmed permanently disregarding the calls of UNHRC and UN Secretary General.
No measures have been taken to reverse and halt the atrocious practice of torture which has been practised for decades as confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Jens Molding and also by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Council in their report to the United Nations Committee Against torture in Geneva in November 2016. The Committee has confirmed that “Torture was a common practice in Sri Lanka” and called for an independent investigation in to allegations of torture and sexual violence in the rehabilitation program of 12169 suspected former carders.”
The much maligned Prevention of Terrorism Act is still in force and a new act replacing it is in the cards, the details of which are yet to be published.
The continuing erection of Buddha statues and buildings of Buddhist Viharas in Tamil areas without worshipers is condoned and encouraged by the state which also casts doubts on the reconciliation genuineness of government. A free run by some extreme Buddhist Monks indulging in violence, and hate speeches against the minorities particularly against the Muslims in recent days does not add anything to the sincerity of government and its duty to uphold the rule of law to punish those who engage in acts promoting communal hatred, disharmony and desecration of religious sites and shrines.
Sri Lanka’s political ills of communalism, racism and religionism appearing to be rising and spreading unchecked, also fueled by opposition group along with patronised extreme Buddhist monks. If these inimical forces are allowed to pursue a majority Buddhist, Sinhala agenda program of hegemony the prospect of a just, political settlement for the Tamils in the proposed new constitution will be like chasing a mirage as water in the desert.
It is high time for the United Nations to act with firm resolve, commitment and will to ensure its recommendations and resolutions are implemented by Sri Lanka without leaving any room for excuses, delays and empty promises and surface level gestures.
It can be stated that the United Nations failed to protect the minorities since 1958 and most horribly during the genocidal war as admitted by the UN Secretary General after his visit to Sri Lanka in 2016.
So far Sri Lanka has failed to implement most of the UNHRC’s and other dignitaries’ recommendations and has also not initiated any palpable moves in this direction. On the contrary, compliance of recommendations is observed with defiant breaches thus throwing challenges to the United Nation’s credibility, foundations, determination and adherence to its principles.
It is the hope of the Tamils and Muslims that the United Nations and UN Human rights Council will live up to maintain, uphold and enforce the human rights provisions embodied in their charters without faltering or succumbing to diplomatic pressure from any quarters, intending to sabotage the process by adopting time tactics, particularly during the forthcoming Human Rights Council Session in March 2017, when Sri Lanka is coming up for review as to its actions regarding the implementations and compliance of the UN and UNHRC recommendations.
It is not an exaggeration to state that the United Nations is morally and legally duty bound to do justice to its own Special Rapporteurs and Experts’ recommendations while dispensing the long delayed justice to the Tamils.
It is hoped that the United Nations will demonstrate its commitments to protect victims and punish offenders and upholding its universal human rights principles without giving much weight and importance to the veiled and hollow recent gestures of Sri Lanka, like allowing the observance of remembrance day for those killed during the war, singing of the national anthem in Tamil which is a constitutional requirement and the release of some lands while entrenching its firm hold on the majority of seized lands.
The recent apology of the Prime Minister for theburningof the Jaffna public library in 1981 after 35 years is nothing but a shoddy exhibition of genuine regret by the government to placate and mislead the Tamils and particularly the United Nations, UNHRC and the International Community.
In conclusion, it is hoped that the US Government will stand firm and resolute in the full implementation of its own UNHRC resolution of October 1, 2015, and not to join hands with Sri Lanka which is straining its muscles to make its own co-sponsored resolution irrelevant and impotent by adopting time buying tactics and trying to create a precedent of only a paper value for any UN or UNHRC resolutions.
The statement of Madam Rita Ndiaye, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues sums up the causes of malady in Sri Lanka:
“A dominant Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarian leadership and the failure of successive governments precipitated the conflict and a long civil war that seriously damaged the social fabric.”
 

 
2017
 
ARTICLE  24

The Proposed Constitution in Sri Lanka…
 
Will it accommodate the just demands of the Tamils or abandon them to choose their own destiny?
Sri Lanka, the tear-shaped island, according to researchers, came into existence about 7,000 years ago when the island separated from the Indian subcontinent while the narrow strip of shallow water mass known as Palk Strait came into existence after a powerful tsunami or earthquake. Before the separation, and after the separation, Tamils lived in various parts of the Island, as evidenced by the burial sites and urns found by researchers in Pomparippu [Puttlam district], Anaicottai [Jaffna district], Manthai [Mannar district] and some other sites. Similar urns were unearthed in Tamil Nadu Arichanallur in [Thoothukudi District] and very recently in Kanchi District. These belonged to the period before 5000 years [Iron Age] as researchers revealed.
The Sinhalese race evolved in Sri Lanka with the emergence of the full form of Sinhalese language in AD 6, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Pali and Tamil. Ancient inhabitants of Sri Lanka spoke Prakirit and other dialects until the introduction of Tamil and Sinhalese. Pali remained the written language by the Buddhists, this being the language of Mahavamsa written in AD 6 by Mahanama Thera, as Sinhalese language was in the stage of formation.
Sri Lanka was subject to several invasions by the South Indian Chola and Pandiyan Kingdoms with Chola rule lasting from AD 993 until AD 1070. The rule of Arya Chakravarthies which lasted from AD 1215 to AD 1624 in Jaffna as the Kingdom of Jaffna ended when the Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka in 1619 and captured the Jaffna Kingdom in 1624 followed by the Dutch from AD 1638 to AD 1796 and then the British from AD 1796 to 1948.
A full-blown constitution came into being after Independence in 1948, the architect of the constitution being Lord Soulbury. The Kingdoms of Jaffna, Kandy, Kotte, Polonnaruwa, which were recognized by the Portuguese and Dutch invaders ceased to exist thereafter when the British rulers brought Sri Lanka under one centralized administration based in Colombo which ended the sovereignty of Tamils in the North and Eastern Provinces and their entity as a separate nation in the North and East.
TheSoulbury Commissionearlier rejected the 50 – 50 representation demanded by late Tamil leader G. Ponnambalamfor the Sinhalese and other minorities. Even the suggestion of Federal form of government by late PMS.W.R.D Bandaranaikein 1927 was also rejected by the Soulbury Commission. As a compromise to allay the fears of minorities in the prospective Sinhala majority government’s domination and discrimination against them, Lord Soulbury’s constitution incorporated Section 29 which provided a safety valve to the minorities from discriminatory legislation and other measures targeting the minorities.
This constitution lasted until 1972. However, an agenda ofSinhalisationand discrimination was set in motion from 1948 on the helpless minorities and this process is still continuing unhindered by any challenges legal or otherwise. TheIllankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi[Federal Party] under the leadership of late Tamil leader Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayagamboycotted the consultative sessions after their demand for a federal form of government was rejected.
Adding insult to injury, after removing the statutory protection given to the minorities and their religions, this 1972 constitution introduced the specific provisions granting Buddhism “the foremost place” mandating the state “to foster and protect it”. The irony of this constitution is that it was mooted and drafted by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s coalition stalwarts Lanka Sama Samajst Party [LSSP] members lateDr. Colvin R de Silvaand lateDr. N. M. Pereraand others who until then fought for equal rights of the minorities in religion and language from 1948. Political opportunism and survival forced them to resort to communal policies prevailing over national interests. Besides, this constitution also changed the name of the country from ‘Ceylon’ to ‘Sri Lanka’ a Sinhala name and also declared it as a Republic.
This constitution lasted until 1977 when theUnited National Party under the leadership of late. R. Jayewardenecaptured power when he introduced the Executive Presidential System of Government, similar to that of France’s De Gaulle system’.
This constitution dealt a deadly blow to the freedom of speech and political expression by incorporating the Sixth Amendment which outlawed anyone advocating self-determination, self–rule including separation and made them punishable offences.
 
It is to be noted that the Tamils were granted several legislative measures as the panacea for all their sufferings and problems. It is also apt to mention the various demands by the Tamil political leaders since independence in 1948, which were outrightly rejected by the Sri Lankan governments since then.
 
Late Tamil Leader G. G. Ponnambalam demanded the 50/50 basis representation right from the Donoughmore constitution in the 1940s but later abandoned it after the independence in 1948.
Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi [ITAK] –Federal Party- [FP] formed in 1949 in their conference in Trincomalee in 1952 called for the Federal form of Government in the North and Eastern provinces based on their sovereignty in these historically and traditionally inhabited lands.
The demand for a Federal System of Government was again made in 1972 when a new constitution was discussed in the constituent assembly. As this demand was rejected as expected, the Federal Party [ITAK] boycotted the constituent assembly, but the constitution was adopted in the Parliament.
This led to the formation of Tamil United Front [TUF] which changed its name in 1973 to Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF] uniting all Tamil Parties. TULF called for a separate state for Tamils in their resolution on May 14, 1976 at Vaddukoddai called as Vaddukoddai Resolution, reiterating this demand based on the sovereignty of a Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka’s North and Eastern Provinces.
 
The 1977 general elections brought the United National Party [UNP] under late J. R. Jayewardene in power while the Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF] became the opposition party under lateA. Amirthalingam. To appease the Tamils, JR Jayewardene introduced the District Council System of administration in 1981, and this was backed by TULF which then dropped the demand for a separate state mooted in 1952 by late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam [Thanthai Chelva]
With the introduction of the Presidential system of Government in 1978, the demands of Tamils for self-rule, separation and even Federal form of Government were laid to rest until the rise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] underVelupillai Prabhakaranin 1976.
J.R Jayewardene however placated the Tamil leaders by signing an agreement with Indian Prime Minister lateRajiv Gandhi[Indo/Sri Lanka Accord], in July 1987 after the mayhem in 1983 which targeted the Tamils all over the island.
This agreement resulted in the introduction of Provincial Councils with limited powers and subject to the discretionary powers of the Governor and Centre. It is almost a lame duck entity still in existence in all the provinces in Sri Lanka plodding and prodding.
With the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the demand for a separate state is lying in a moribund state due to the Sixth Amendment which has outlawed demands or agitations for separation by any person or party, locally or abroad. The Sixth Amendment is in effect a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech, expression or association underlying a democratic system of Government including the provisions of the UN Charter.
It has always been a political tantrum by the major political parties, UNP and SLFP to dish out promises of a just political settlement to the Tamils, before and during the elections. Following the victory, measures offering settlement proposals would also be announced like former PresidentChandrika Bandaranaike’s ‘Union of Regions’ former/present PM Ranil’s Interim Government proposals including exploring Federal System and former President Mahinda’s 13+ proposals.
As usual, these proposals met their inevitable demise in the hands of chauvinists and extreme Buddhist Monks who heat up the political climate of South instilling fear with the prospect of a Tamil separate state if the proposals are implemented, thereby scuttling the chances of any peaceful political settlement.
The scenario after the defeat of LTTE changed to the detriment of Tamils who felt politically defeated while the southern politicians and their supporters celebrated it as a victory in a war between two nations, and the security forces, in spite of the war crimes committed on the orders of commanders and politicos, they are being labelled as war heroes who should not be subject to the law of the land and face any charges thus offering blanket impunity.
The mantle of leadership of Tamils fell into the hands of the Tamil National Alliance from May 2009 under the leadership of Sampanthanwho was following the directives and fortunes of LTTE and Pirabaharan.
The electoral victory of the major parties, UNP and SLFP under a coalition formula, in January 2015, HEMaithripala SirisenafromSLFPwas elected as President and Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe from UNP was elected in August 2015 as the Prime Minister. They changed the political atmosphere to reduce tension and feelings of insecurity and fear among the civilians in addition to the unrestricted free exercise of democratic freedoms.
The Coalition Government is now working on a new constitution promising to reduce the powers of the President and even if necessary to abolish this position. Six sub-committees, a Steering Committee, Constituent Assembly, Parliament and possibly a Referendum will decide the fate and shape of the new constitution. The final say is in the hands of Parliament which has to pass the drafted constitution with a two-thirds majority. A referendum if held will most probably approve the constitution if it is passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament. However, the prospects of crossing these two hurdles, Parliament and Referendum will not be easy if the draft constitution adopts provisions containing Tamil’s political settlement proposals unacceptable to Buddhist Monks and chauvinists and hence it would be another ‘history repeating’ event as in the past.
It is relevant to mention that the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who promised 13+ has also joined the chorus of opposition groups crying foul of the devolution proposals new being discussed when he recently stated “The Government’s package to divide the country into “distinct spheres of authority” is one of the unwelcome changes that the Government has planned in the New Year.” This is nothing but just another crass political opportunism to advance his political status and fortunes sacrificing national unity, harmony and peace.
Viewing the mounting opposition arising in the South from various inimical forces, it is unlikely that the new constitution would be better than the existing one even to meet the minimal demands of the Tamils.
The Tamil National Alliance [TNA] representing the Tamils appear to be firm in their demand for a Federal System of Government including the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces. Although confusing mixed signals and wavering stands were made in the past, TNA leadership in recent days has expressed their firm position and determination for a Federal form within a united Sri Lanka including the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. This stand is a confirmation and follow-up of their election manifesto promise which called for “a Federal System based on a shared sovereignty including the merger of North and Eastern provinces.”
Tamils all over the world expect the Tamil National Alliance to stick on to this proposal and position and not to compromise or sacrifice this commitment for anything less. The prevailing international support and awareness of the problems and sufferings of Tamils coupled with the solid backing of Diaspora Tamils should be utilized by the Tamil National alliance without any reservations.
In the event of the rejection of their demands, the Tamil National Alliance is morally, politically and historically duty-bound to boycott their participation in all the consultative sessions, even resigning their parliamentary seats to launch non-violent agitations which will have the full backing of Tamils all over the world without any reservation. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka will come under the radar and close watch of the international community of its handling of the problems and issues of Tamils.
If the Tamil National Alliance falters or lets down the Tamils in this matter at this crucial period, without any doubt, they will be committing a historical blunder, besides digging their own political grave. This desolate situation may open up the gates for another round of extremism which could be viewed differently with sympathy, understanding and justification by the International Community.
 
The present Sri Lankan government has got the last and rare opportunity to once and for all solve the sixty year old dragging and cancerous ethnic problem, viewing the goodwill it is enjoying among the international community. What is needed is political will and iron fist determination to solve the problem while not allowing chauvinism, racism and political opportunism to prevail over reason and good judgement.
Already some Buddhist Monks with narrow personal interests and some politicians to further their political ambitions at the expense of national harmony are voicing their opposition to any proposals sharing powers with Tamils.
Adding fuel to the fire are the disturbing statements emanating from the President, Prime Minister and some Ministers confirming “the unitary form of Government without merger of Northern and Eastern Provinces”. These statements do not bode well for the Tamils and their demands.
In the face of this already declared position of the UNP, SLFP, BBS & JHU, etc, the Tamil National Alliance continuing participation in the constitution process is nothing but a futile and meaningless exercise as a continuation and making of another chapter in the ‘deceived political history of Tamils’.
It is suggested that The Tamil National Alliance place its political settlement proposals to the government and to the people for discussion, debate and enlightenment, rather than keeping everyone in the dark and guessing as to its commitment, dedication and standing.
In conclusion, if the Sri Lankan government fails to set up a federal form of government with the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces, [traditional and historical homeland of the Tamils], it is for the United Nations and the international community to step in and ensure that the Tamils are allowed to exercise the right of self determination including a referendum in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka to decide their political status in Sri Lanka.
It is now time for the majority of Sinhalese people to decide whether they want to live united under one country under a Federal System of Government or allow the Tamils to break away and form a new state for them. It is high time for the Sinhalese people to choose the right decision. Better late than never.
 
 
 
 

 
ARTICLE  25

GSP Plus for Sri Lanka: Testing EU’s Commitments
 

Under this scheme, the European Union grants additional tariff reductions to developing countries for imports eligible to qualify for these duty concessions. This scheme, enjoyed by Sri Lanka until 2010, was suspended due to the ‘failure of Mahinda’s government to address reported human rights violations in the country”.
The proposedGSP+would consist of the full removal of duties of “66% of tariff lines covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries.” The European Union has recommended the restoration of this status noting the present Government ‘taking important steps to improve respect for human rights and extend good governance. The Commission has mentioned the following steps of the present Government justifying the restoration of this imports preferential treatment to Sri Lanka and for a final decision by the European Parliament.
 

 
ARTICLE 26

Sri Lanka & UNHRC Session –March 2017
 
TheUNHRC’s session in March 2017 is going to be crucial for the Tamils concerning the following matters:- 
Fate of itsResolutionpassed on October 01, 2015 sponsored and endorsed by USA & Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s track record and review as to how far and whether its proposals have been implemented.
The credibility of UNHRC and Sri Lanka in their commitments to ensure the full implementation of the proposals in the Resolution.
In the Resolution of October 01, 2015, Sri Lanka on its own and with US sponsored, supported and agreed to implement the various proposals in the said Resolution as recommended by the UNHRC, some of which are:-
To adopt a comprehensive approach to deal with the past incorporating full range of judicial and non-judicial measures including inter alia ‘individual prosecutions, reparations, truth seeking, institutional reform, vetting of public employees and officials in order to ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, promote healing and reconciliation, establish independent oversight of the security system, restore confidence in the institutions of the state and promote rule of law in accordance with international human rights law.
Recognising mechanisms to redress past abuses and violations work best when they are independent, impartial and transparent, and utilising consultative and participatory methods that include the views from all relevant state holders.
A credible accountability process for those most responsible for violations and abuses.
To comply with a State’s obligation to prosecute those responsible of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law constituting crimes under International Law with a view to ending impunity.
Review of high-security zones.
Commitment to the devolution of political authority.
Implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report ofLLRC.
Due to the absence of a credible national process of accountability, must explore appropriate forms of international support to and participation in the Sri Lankan process for seeking truth and justice.
The commitments to establish a commission for truth, justice, reconciliation and non-recurrence, an Office of Missing Persons and an Office for Reparation and to implement fully and credibly to advance accountability for serious crimes by all sides and help achieve reconciliation.
Proposing to establish a judicial mechanism with the special counsel to investigate human rights violations and abuses, etc, and affirms that.
A credible justice process should include independent, judicial and prosecutorial institutions, and affirming the importance of participation in Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsels of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors.
Encourages the Government to reform its domestic law to ensure it can effectively implement its own commitments and to introduce effective security sector reform as part of its transitional judicial process and ensuring no scope exists for retention in or recruitment into the security forces of anyone credibly implicated through a fair administrative process in serious crimes involving human rights violations including members of security and intelligence unit.
To accelerate the return of land to its rightful civilian owners, end military involvement in civilian activities, resumption of livelihood and the restoration of normality to civilian life.
To investigate and hold to account the perpetrators of attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups and other members of civil society as well as places of worship.
Commitment to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with the legislation in line with contemporary international best practices.
To criminalize enforced disappearances, and to begin issuing Certificates of Absence to the families of missing as a temporary measure of relief.
To release publicly previous Presidental Commission Reports.
Commitment to a political settlement by taking necessary constitutional measures, and fulfils the commitments on the devolution of political authority which is integral to reconciliation, ensures all provincial councils are able to operate efficiently in accordance with the13th Amendment.
Prohibit violations of human rights, etc, including torture by all branches of security forces and those responsible, will be investigated and punished, while addressing all reports of sexual and gender-based violence and torture.
 
 
OHCHR to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and another relevant process, and present a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of this resolution at its34th Sessionin March 2017. The resolution obliges the Sri Lankan Government to implement more than twenty recommendations which Sri Lanka has accepted as its commitments to UNHRC, the United Nations and the International Community. In pursuance of its commitments Sri Lanka has so far implemented the following recommendations, leaving others hanging in the balance:
 
[1] Setting up of an Office of Missing Persons which is yet to start functioning. The OMP will however function as an inquisitorial body without any judicial or quasi-judicial powers to extend its jurisdiction to charge and indict anyone who deserves to be tried for the listed criminal offences. Besides, the powers of OMP are also discretionary which would be difficult to challenge in courts for lack of faith, abuse of discretion, or failure to exercise.
[2] The Government has also passed a bill aimed at protecting the victims of crime and witness and a Right to Information Act in 2017.
[3] The Government has also signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances in August 2016.
 
Among other matters, this UN Convention commits a State to investigate acts of enforced disappearance and bring those responsible to justice, and ensure that victims of enforced disappearance or those directly affected by it have a right to obtain reparation and compensation. Furthermore the crime of enforced disappearance is defined as a crime against humanity.
When one reviews the track record of Sri Lanka regarding the implementation of all the recommendations after a lapse of seventeen months, one can only observe a dismal and depressing performance coupled with a defiance of UNHRC and rejection of its own commitments.
 
The failures are as follows:
 
The recommended comprehensive approach to dealing with the past incorporating the full range of judicial and non-judicial measures has not materialized so far.
Sri Lankan Government initiated a Consultation Task Force on reconciliation mechanism which submitted its report in January 2017. The Government has already rejected some of the recommendations of this commission especially setting up of a hybrid judicial mechanism. In the face of this negative stand, it will be foolhardy to expect the Government to act on any recommendations of any or all of its commissions to seek justice truth or reconciliation. The setting up of Commissions has so far been considered as an eyewash to placate the affected, United Nations and International Community.
The recommendation to fix accountability to those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against international law – war crimes and crimes against humanity, etc, is almost as good as dead as the President and Prime Minister have openly declared that ‘they would not allow any member of Security Forces to be charged and brought before courts, thus ensuring their protection from any judicial process fixing culpability.
There is no progress in the review of the high-security zone and still, 4,300 acres of private lands are in the possession and control of security forces in the North as admitted by the Jaffna Army Commander who also reiterated that there will not be any reduction in the numbers of armed forces in the North. This confirms the permanent residence and stays of army living among civilians.
UNHRC’S statement of welcoming “the Government’s commitment to the devolution of political authority” is yet to materialize and is still an unborn foetus without movement as the Government is battling to reach a consensus in this matter as to how far and to what extent devolution of powers can be affected. However, the emerging clear position of the Government is centring around to devolve some additional powers to the Provincial Councils within the 13th Amendment without any merger of the North and East, while maintaining the center’s concurrent list and its whip hand over the Provincial Councils making them function with hands and legs tied.
The UNHRC’S recommendations to implement effectively the LLRC’S constructive recommendations is no more an issue as most of the recommendations are lying as frozen matters since published in 2012.
Similarly, the reports and recommendations requested in Human Rights resolution 25/1, the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 27th session, which aims at truth-seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, are also awaiting implementation.
The other recommendation requesting Sri Lanka to explore appropriate forms of international support to and participation in Sri Lankan processes for seeking truth and justice is yet another one awaiting initiation and may not see the light in the foreseeable future.
The most important reconciliation deals with the Government’s proposal to establish a judicial mechanism, with a special counsel, including independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality, including the Special Counsel’s Office of Commonwealth and other authorized prosecutors and investigators. As far as this proposal is concerned, the Government has totally rejected it wholesale and outright and also has failed so far to move an inch forward in this matter, even setting up its own judicial mechanism. Due to this inaction, the whole question of accountability, justice and reconciliation is left in limbo and will unlikely be implemented to uphold these concepts proving its credibility, while belittling their importance and values for humans.
The recommendation requesting Sri Lanka reform its domestic law to ensure that it can effectively implement its own commitments including all recommendations of OHCHR. 25/1 and LLRC, is yet to see the light and no move in this direction has so far been initiated by the Government and there is every possibility that it could be shelved, to protect the security forces and ensure their impunity, as promised by the Government.
The recommendations to introduce security sector reforms as part of its transitional justice process is yet another one which could be shelved as well to avoid possible discontent among the security forces as well as disruption of the present structure and chain of the security forces and intelligence units, the underlying reason being projection of the security forces from any judicial process for alleged crimes committed during the war, as exposed in the independent reports of several UNHRC and UN Emissaries.
The recommendation to accelerate the return of land to its rightful civilian owners, ending of military involvement in civilian activities, restoration of normality to civilian life is yet another which is being carried out haphazardly, and in piecemeal with neither ceasing of military involvement in civilian activities nor full restoration of normality to civilian life. The unreduced heavy presence of army [to a ratio of one soldier for every five civilians 1: 5] is sustaining an atmosphere of unease, insecurity and fear among the civilians whose free movements and freedom of association and expression appear to be under the surveillance of the security forces. The Government has also failed “to expedite the process of delivery of durable solutions for all internally displaced persons as recommended.”
The recommendation to hold perpetrators of attacks including killings of journalists, activists and attackers on religious sites, minority religious groups is another proposal which remains untouched and while some initiatives have been taken to prosecute those involved in the killings of Journalists like Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, Tamil Parliamentarian and human rights activistRavirajincluding disappearance of Journalist  [for exposing the usage of chemical weapons by the military during the last stages of the war in 2009]. The process and progress of these cases is moving at a snail’s pace. The prospect of initiating investigations into the killings of about seventeen journalists so far from 1993, along with other activists and those involved in attacks on Churches, Mosques and Temples and killing of Muslims is almost dim and appears to be swept under the carpet forever. Despite the recommendation of UNHRC to address the issues, the practice of torture and other abuses of human rights is still continuing as confirmed recently by UN independent reports.
With the efforts to fulfil the commitments on the devolution of political authority remaining stalled, uncertain and unclear, the recommendations to ensure effective functioning of all Provincial Councils complying with all the provisions in the 13th Amendment is also struggling between life and death, the indications pointing to its non-fulfilment due to political compulsions, interests, fear of backlash from opposing chauvinists and hard line Buddhist monks.
The recommendation prohibiting Security Forces from human rights violations including humanitarian law and to investigate and punish those responsible is another which will remain only in paper as a recommendation, as past experiences confirm the Government’s reluctance to not to embark on full scale prosecutions of Security Forces for crimes allegedly committed by them unless forced by public and media outcry including Human Rights Organizations worldwide.
In the face of the non-compliance of all the above core recommendations in the Resolution, any delay to take the Sri Lankan Government to task will only confirm the Government’s policy of defying and encouraging non-observance including rejection of its own appointed Commissions’ recommendations. It, therefore, lies on the UNHRC the right and duty to uphold its stature, objectives and duties and vindicate its name and reputation by exposing the real scenario in relation to Sri Lanka’s defiant and disrespectful conduct in relation to the compliance of this resolution, and not choosing to travel along with Sri Lanka’s policy of promises and deceptive tactics to make the Resolution stale and to be later kept in limbo. Sopping and token measures like ‘singing national anthem in Tamil’, endorsing Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthanas Leader of the Opposition are measures which arose from constitutional necessity while the November 27th commemoration was allowed to placate the UNHRC and grieving Tamils as a belated opportune measure.

In the absence of any convincing and comprehensive honest progress and performances by Sri Lanka so far to confirm its commitments in the Resolution, even after the lapse of seventeen months, it will be defying logic and serve no purpose to grant any more additional extension of time to Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments. If UNHRC agrees to any further extension, the whole question of credibility of the UNHRC will be at stake with its human rights provisions degraded and desecrated, while making UNHRC function as a ‘Talking shop’  without carrying out the objectives and principles entrusted on it, while making accountability, justice and reconciliation as mere slogans leading to licensing the nations guilty of human rights violations to go scot-free with impunity, and free from its radar. As a result, UNHRC could become an accessory to sow the seeds and breed extremism even terrorism springing from the victims’ families and youths affected by the criminal acts of a member nation.
It is hoped UNHRC will do justice to the Reports of various UN and UNHRC Special Rapporteurs and Special Commissioners who visited Sri Lanka and confirmed the ground situation by detailing the various human rights violations committed on civilians.
It is the hope of all people and victims of human rights violations, that UNHRC will live up to discharge its functions in the interest of the affected and bring to book the offenders, buttressing its credibility and protective role.
If UNHRC opts to agree to another extension of time, without doubt, this lapse of responsibility will only sound the death knell for human rights and extending impunity for States that violate human rights.
Equally, TheTamil National Alliancecarries the burden and responsibility to fight for justice to the Tamils and not to succumb to the charming deceptive diplomacy of Sri Lanka, besides refraining from committing a historical blunder for the Tamils as a whole.
If USA as a co-sponsor of the Resolution also shirks its commitments and responsibility to ensure the implementation of this Resolution, it will stand to lose its status and power as the world’s most prominent Nation to fight for and uphold human rights all over the world.
It is therefore important for UNHRC and USA not to abandon this resolution and if they do so, it will result in the encouragement of human rights violations by countries with impunity and free from accountability while casting doubts on the reliability and credibility of their role in the International Community.

When accountability is shielded, justice dies – making reconciliation meaningless.
ARTICLE 27
Sri Lanka’s history of unfulfilled commitments
Extending the never ending history of grievances and sufferings of Tamils 
Now, Sri Lanka’s request for two years extension to implement the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of 2015 which has more than twenty recommendations has been unanimously approved in the UNHRC Session on March 23, 2017. The Resolution was sponsored by USA and Montenegro and co-sponsored by UK, Macedonia, Ireland and Sri Lanka. It is pertinent to analyse the implications of this Resolution which has been lying on paper for the last eighteen months and has now been brought back for fulfillment before March 2019.
Sri Lanka’s political history since independence in 1948 is dotted with a plethora of breaches of pacts, accords, promises and agreements mainly dealing with solutions to the ethnic problem which was given birth in 1956. Added to this, is its dishonoured commitments to UN, UNHRC and even UN Secretary General including the Tamil political leaders.
 
 A short list is as follows:-
 
Bandaranayake – Chelvanayagam Pact 1957
Dudly Senanayake – Chelvanayagam Agreement 1965
Indo-Sri Lanka Accord  1987
Chandrika’s Devolution Package  1995
Ranil Wickremasinghe – Oslo Accord  2002 – 2004
Post Tsunami Management Agreement 2004
UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of Oct. 2015
 
Besides, thirteen Commissions were appointed beginning from Sansoni Commission in 1977 and ending recently with the Paranagama Commission to investigate disappearances during the period from 2011 – 2015 which presented its report in 2016. Added to this is the recent Consulting Task Force [CTF] consisting of eleven prominent citizens appointed in February 2016 to report on reconciliation which held its sittings all over the island, heard oral statements including about 7, 300 written submissions from all walks of life. The CTF submitted its report in January 2017. The Report comprehensively dealt with all the issues affecting the process of accountability, justice and reconciliation.
Added to the above are other joint and oral statements and undertakings dished out to UN Officials, Tamil Leaders and to the public during public and private meetings.
Former PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa’sjoint statement with former UN Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon on 23rd May, 2009 was meant to suit that occasion. The statement committed Mahinda to carry out the following matters:-
 
“To ensure the economic and political empowerment of the people of the North through its programmes.”
“To work towards a lasting political solution and a national solution acceptable to all people to be evolved.”
A firm resolve to proceed with implementation of 13th Amendment and consultation with all parties to further enhance this process to bring about lasting peace in Sri Lanka.”
 
 
These commitments met their expected fate of death sooner than expected and Mahinda is now showing his real face to advance his political fortunes banking on communal politics by keeping the Tamils at bay.
Though the above-mentioned pacts, agreements, etc, were offered to the Tamils to solve the ethnic problem created by the offerers, the said pacts and agreements except for the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord which is breathing for life were scuttled by the opposition party in power either byUNPorSLFPgenerously assisted by extremist and leading Buddhist clergy members.
The betrayed Tamils were further humiliated by pogroms initiated and conducted by the extremists holding a position in the ruling party. For example:- The then President of Sri Lanka [late]J. R. Jayawardenesaid, “The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.”
[President J.R.Jayawardene’s interview with Ian Ward July 26th 1983 Daily Telegraph.] – This utterance clearly shows the mindset of Sinhalese leaders.
 
The leftist parties, LSSPandCommunist Party who championed the causes of Tamils until the 1970s also somersaulted their position to taste the political power when they formed a coalition government with SLFP led by the lateSrimavo Bandaranaikein 1970. They caused immense harm to the Tamils by enshrining Buddhism as a state-sponsored religion thereby strengthening the Sinhala-Buddhisisation agenda which was set in motion from 1948, and being vigorously pursued since then.
It has always been a trade mark for the Sinhalese leaders to make different commitments and promises when in Tamil areas to suit occasions while revealing their true position and intention in the south to preserve and advance their political fortunes and base. This double speaking strategy commenced withSir John Kotelawalawhen he promised parity of status for Sinhala and Tamil language at a public meeting in Jaffna in 1954 and  later on his return to the south denied his promise. This deceptive tactics is still continuing undeterred and unashamedly. The present President is no exception as he has made several promises to the Tamils as well as to the Tamil leaders on various occasions which are the release of all political prisoners, release of all civilian lands in the North and East, resettlement of the displaced and reduction of Army all promised within a time frame. Only time will tell the fate of these promises.
The hidden genocidal war without witness conducted by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother and Defence SecretaryGotabhaya Rajapaksawith the Army Chief GeneralSarath Fonsekahas resulted in unforeseen consequences to the Sri Lankan Government when the foreign media exposed the war crimes, crimes against humanity involving wholesale massacre of unarmed civilians, all of which fit the crime of ‘GENOCIDE’ as defined in the UN Convention on GENOCIDE in 1948.
The International Community and the United Nations watched the genocidal war with their eyes closed and kept mum but later awoke due to worldwide hue and cry raised against the brutal war of this century.

There were hurried visits to Sri Lanka by UN Officials who were busily compiling the statistics and details of the war crimes, etc, committed while collecting evidence from the affected victims and relatives. Six UN Special Rapporteurs have so far undertaken visits to Sri Lanka from 2011 to 2016, besides the visit of Human Rights High Commissioner for Human Rights His ExcellencyZeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein 2016.  Their reports comprehensively detailed the war crimes committed by the security forces, the plight of the victims and displaced, the continuing practice of torture, culture of impunity, including the sufferings of the minority communities. All their reports with their findings, conclusions and recommendations have been submitted to the Human Rights Council for proper action and resolution, followed by further action by the UN and/or Security Council at their discretion.
 
The Special Rapporteurs who visited Sri Lanka are:-
 
Marzuki Darasman            …        …        …        2011
Charles Petrie          …        …        …        …        2012
Pablo de Greiff        …        …        …        …        2015 – 2016
Juan Mendez/Monica Pinto        …        …           2016
Tae-Unq-Baik/Bernard Duhaime/
Ariel Dulitzky           …        …        …       …        2016
Rita Izak Ndiaye      …        …        …        …       2016
 
In addition, Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director representing International Truth and Justice Project [ITJPSL] Sri Lanka has issued eight reports since 2014 and ten Press Releases with precise and unchallengeable details as to the war crimes, etc, committed by security forces even identifying the perpetrators.
The above Reports also detailed the progress made by Sri Lanka since the resolution on October 01, 2015 [30/1]. The Reports, without doubt, highlighted the Sri Lankan failings as to the implementations of the 30/1 UNHRC Resolution. There is almost unanimity as to Sri Lanka’s non-compliance with the twenty recommendations of UNHRC Resolution. Even the recommendations as to the Office of the Missing Persons and Right of Protection to Witness Act which were initiated for implementations by the Government are now kept in limbo with an uncertain outcome as to its implementation.
Sri Lanka having now successfully manoeuvred to stalemate the said recommendations, is now getting another two year extension by the UNHRC to out manoeuvre and engineer and finally free itself from its commitments of the UNHRC Resolution and stultifying the implementation.
This extension of two more years despite the worldwide protests of Tamils is clearly a runaway victory for Sri Lankan’s diplomacy and a dismal failure and disappointment for the Tamils and victims who are crying for justice in Sri Lanka. The suffering of the Tamils is further compounded by the disunited Tamil National Alliance [TNA] who appears to have given their approval for the said extension, calling for conditions of review by a UN Office in Sri Lanka which has been ignored by the sponsors.
The said two-year extension is not only inimical to the Tamils but also an endorsement and express approval to prolong and allow the sufferings of the victims. There is not an iota of doubt that Western countries are determined to protect and ensure the survival of the present pro-West friendly Government while keeping the tenets of justice, accountability and reconciliation at an arm’s length. Sri Lanka is thus emboldened by this stand and posture of Western countries whose dictates only usually prevail in the UNHRC and/or Security Council.
 
Sri Lanka has already declared its defying stand over the following issues: –
 
[1] No Hybrid Court and no foreign legal personnel will be allowed in Sri Lanka to participate in the internal judicial mechanism if and when set up.
[2] Government has promised 100% [one hundred per cent] protection to the security forces involved in the war as they are ‘war heroes’ and would not be allowed to be dragged to courts for any crimes committed during and after the war.
 
Viewing the above-said contentions of Sri Lankan Government, the question arises as to the necessity for an internal judicial mechanism in the face of the impunity granted to the security personnel and those involved in the “command responsibility”. As such any internal judicial mechanism, even if it is set up, will not serve the goals of justice and accountability clamoured by the victims for the last ten years or more.
For the Tamils, the hopes of justice and accountability being laid to rest, the only option is to agitate for action by the UN to initiate suitable measures to hold Sri Lanka accountable for the war crimes, crimes against humanity as confirmed by their Special Rapporteurs in their various damming reports.  Waiting for another two years to obtain justice is seemingly a futile exercise viewing the internal climate which prevails in Sri Lanka, where communalism chauvinism and extremism continue to hold sway over the Sinhala voters who only determine the political fortunes of the main Sinhala parties. The powerful Buddhist clergy’s influence and involvement in support of a Buddhist ONLY Sri Lanka is another key factor which ties up the major parties in the South from offering any political rights or even concessions to the oppressed Tamils.
The avenues open for the victims to hold Sri Lanka accountable are a referral to the International Criminal Court or set up an ad hoc International Tribunal by UN or Security Council.
 
There is little chance to initiate a trial before and by ICC as three conditions have to be met before it can exercise its jurisdiction.
 
[1] When national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or
[2] When UN Security Council refers to ICC
[3] Individual states refer the matter to ICC
 
Since Sri Lanka has not signed the Rome Statute of 1998, which created the ICC in 2002, it is not bound by the provisions of the ICC. Likewise, there is little chance that the Security Council will refer Sri Lanka to the ICC, as Russia and China will certainly block their move, viewing their cordial relationship with Sri Lanka. In the same manner, the Office of the Prosecutors initiating investigations and prosecutions is not possible unless a member state or ICC or the Security Council refers Sri Lanka for investigation. Another option is the creation of ad-hoc Tribunals which are created for a special purpose. These are Special Tribunals dealing with persons accused of international crimes, namely genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. They can be created by the Security Council like the ones for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Likewise the UN has been involved in the creation of Special Courts in consultation with the affected states like the ones in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lebanon and East Timor.

Another option is the doctrine of Universal Jurisdiction which allows national courts to try cases of gravest crimes against humanity even if these crimes are not committed in the national territory, and even if they are committed by government leaders of other states. This option is not pursued by states as the affected states have prevailed upon to stall any investigation and prosecution by another national court after the failure of a case against Chilean DictatorPinochetwho could not be brought to trial in the UK while he was residing in Spain.

To summarise, unless and until the Security Council and/or UN initiates proper measures like referring Sri Lanka before the ICC or setting up a Special or Mixed Tribunal by the UN with the participation of local judges, the prospects of accountability followed with punitive measures against Sri Lanka appear bleak and dim.
 
The said approved extension of another two years for Sri Lanka in the UNHRC is a confirmation of the following positions and matters:-
 
Sri Lanka has successfully delayed the implementation of the recommendations allowing for its lapse with passage of time. It is also doubtful that the Office of the Missing Persons [OMP] will properly function due to the mounting opposition from extremists who oppose it by harbouring a suspicion that it will result in hauling up security personnel involved in the disappearances said to be about 65,000 during the ten year period.

Sri Lanka has also engaged in a game of duplicity by sponsoring the Resolution which calls for a hybrid court with the participation of foreign jurists and prosecutors while on the other hand declaring its true intention to defy it with open statements from President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister who have confirmed the shut out of foreign legal personnel setting foot in Sri Lanka. This provision of a hybrid court to ensure accountability and break the culture of impunity is going to be a non-starter by all means. The question also arises as to the necessity for even an internal justice mechanism advanced by Sri Lanka in the face of the “guarantees of impunity” for security forces declared by the President and Prime Minister.

The proposed internal judicial mechanism, if set up will only end up as a white horse and an eye-wash cheating the Tamil victims, like closing the stable after the has the horse bolted.

The Western countries and their allies are determined and united to protect the present friendly Government, no matter about its history of human rights violations and defiance of UNHRC’s recommendations. Political, geographic and strategic considerations and interests take precedence in deciding the nature of the treatment of a country by the West. Sri Lanka thus enjoying this warmth of western countries is emboldened to steer its own agenda with wholesale denials of all allegations and criticisms. In this shady game of double standards, Tamil victims are left behind and abandoned to fend for themselves without any relief in sight and forcing them to take the matters in their own hands willy-nilly.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein and UN Special Rapporteurs must be commended for their dedicated and sincere efforts in compiling their Reports which exposed the war crimes, crimes against humanity, culture of impunity, torture, rape and disappearances etc. They have fulfilled their functions of ‘exposing and informing’ the world for follow up action which appears to be hanging in balance in the hands of UNHRC, UN and/or Security Council as options at the end of the two-year extension ending in March 2019.
 
Expecting Sri Lanka to implement the said 20 recommendations within another 24 months which have been breathing for life for the last 15 months is like chasing a mirage as water in the desert.
The main pillars of Sri Lankan politics are communalism, chauvinism, Buddhisisation and Sinhalasisation. Coupled with lack of political will and good faith, no Sinhala party or its leaders will dare to dismantle these entrenched traits ruining their race for political power. Sri Lanka’s rejection and disregard of its own Commissions like LLRC and Consulting Task Force stand as solid evidence of its lack of political will and bad faith.
It is the fervent plea of Tamils that ‘do not let human rights become a pawn in the game of politics’ as when accountability is shielded, justice dies leaving reconciliation meaningless while paving way for the rise of militancy and extremism’.
The UN High Commissioner’s oral statement on March 22, 2017 is unequivocal, frank and forthright, when he stated “A general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system in the country regarding past violations and continuing ‘unwillingness or inability to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism. It is important for the country’s future to send the signal that impunity is no longer tolerated’.
 
The troubling question is ‘are there any takers of this last-minute appeal and realise this goal in Sri Lanka?’
 
Above all, a heavy burden on responsibility lies on the shoulders of the US and other sponsors to ensure the full implementation of the said recommendations within this two year period, failing which an added more onerous duty and responsibility rests on them to take either punitive or cautionary measures in Sri Lanka for its failures and non-compliance.
 
ARTICLE 28

Sri Lanka and the International Criminal Court
 
There appears to be some confusion as to the scope of functions and jurisdiction of the ICC, and more particularly its jurisdiction over Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes.
The ICC is an Inter Governmental Organization and an International Tribunal which sits in the city of Hague in the Netherlands. Due to the demands of various countries which suffered war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly Israel who faced the Nazi war crimes, the idea of an ICC was mooted in 1975 by Benjamin Ferencz, a war crime investigator, and the UN General Assembly began preparing the draft for an ICC with the help of International Law Commission. As a result the General Assembly convened a conference in Rome in June 1998 where the Treaty was finalized and was formally adopted by the UN on 17th July 1998 with 120 countries voting in favour with 7 countries opposing and 21 countries abstaining.
TheRome Statutecame into force on 1st July 2002 and the ICC was formally established. 124 countries signed and ratified it. However, Sri Lanka is one country which did not sign and ratify the Treaty, whenRanil Wickremesinghewas the Prime Minister. The reasons for not signing are obvious, viz the ongoing war between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government which involved serious human rights violations, with prospects for more violations.
It is to be noted that the large scale atrocities committed by the armed forces during the Yugoslav wars and the genocide in Rwanda in the early 1990s prompted the UN Security Council to establish two Ad Hoc [special purpose] International Criminal Tribunals to try the war criminals.
The passing of the Rome Statute of 1998 was a remedy for the above flaw in universal justice. Unless a state signs and also ratifies the Rome Statute, a state not will be legally bound or responsible under the provisions of the Statute. It is to be noted that 41 UN members including Israel, Sudan, USA and Russia have signed the Treaties, but have not ratified the Treaty, thus freeing themselves from the legal obligations under the Statute.
The Court primarily deals with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Genocide involves five crimes, crimes against humanity sixteen crimes, and war crimes involving eleven, besides other crimes involved in international and non international armed conflicts.
The Office of the Prosecutor, [Chief organ of the ICC] is responsible for conducting investigations and prosecutions. This provision applies only to states which have ratified the Rome Statute. The Office may open an investigation under three circumstances.
 
[1] When a situation is referred to the Office by a state party which has signed and ratified it.
[2] When referred by the UN Security Council acting to address a threat to international peace and security.
[3] When the pre-trial chamber authorises the opening of an investigation on the basis of information received from other sources, such as individuals or non-government organizations.
 
So far this office has indicted 39 individuals including Sudan’sOmar al-Bashirand is now conducting ten investigations. It has to be stated that the Rome Statute Art. 13B recognises that the Security Council has the authority to refer cases to the ICC in which the Court would not otherwise exercise jurisdiction. This provision allows the Security Council to haul up countries which have not signed and ratified the Rome Statute, like Sri Lanka. This power was exercised by the Security Council for the first time in 2005 when it referred the Darfur massacre in Sudan in 2002, a second referral by the Security Council made against Libya for its crimes committed during the Libyan civil war in 2011, when Libya and Sudan were not signatories to the Rome Statute like Sri Lanka. The Security Council by itsResolution 1706in August 2006 also bears responsibility and take action to protect civilian populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity during an armed conflict. [Responsibility to Protect] [R2P]
Another provision which can haul up individuals who are accused of war crimes, etc, is the ‘Universal Jurisdiction clause’ This provision allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the accused crime was committed and regardless of the accused’s nationality, country of residence or any other relation with the prosecuting entity. This clause reinforces the concept that ‘no place should be a safe haven for those who have committed genocide, crimes against humanity, extra judicial executions, war crimes, torture and forced disappearances.’ It is to be noted that the Security Council uses this provision to refer specific situations to the ICC like Darfur and Libya in 2005 and 2011. Likewise the UN under this clause has authority to set up specific courts to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia in 1994 and 1993.
Universal Jurisdiction can be requested by a particular nation as well as by International Tribunal. Under this clause any member state can initiate prosecution against person/persons accused of war crimes, etc, and can detain him if he is present in that state or can demand his extradition from the state where he is residing. The source for this principle is the concept that any serious crime like war crimes against international law must not be allowed to go unpunished, as such crimes harm the international community or international order. In the case of Chilean ex- DictatorAugusto Pinochetagainst whom prosecution was initiated in UK in 2002, Britain could not succeed in extraditing him from Spain where he was residing and was still at large avoiding trial and conviction. The main drawback of this provision is the reluctance or refusal of a state to extradite an accused person who is residing in that particular state, unless the accused voluntarily visits or presents himself in the state which initiated the prosecution. This is always unlikely to happen.
In view of this drawback, it is not a sure guarantee that any one accused of war crimes, etc, in Sri Lanka can be successfully prosecuted outside Sri Lanka by a state invoking this Universal Jurisdiction clause unless that person visits that state or is extradited from the state where he is residing.
However, the ICC can initiate prosecution by setting up a special Ad Hoc Tribunal. Another authority vesting provision on UN is Article.22 of the UN Charter authorising it to establish a Special Ad Hoc Tribunal in the exercise of its powers in fulfilment of its functions and purposes as laid down in Article 1.
Viewing the above alternatives available, the affected Tamil victims can opt to choose one or more of the following to advance their causes for justice and remedies for their grievances.
 
[a] To lobby and agitate for the International Criminal Court to set up a special Ad Hoc Tribunal to try those involved in the war crimes, viewing the Security Council’s discretionary power under Article 13B of Rome Statute, while exerting pressure on Security Council to apply this power.
[b] To lobby and agitate in the UN to pass a resolution recommending the Security Council to refer the Sri Lankan war crimes, etc, for adjudication before the ICC.
[c] To canvass a UN member state which has ratified the UN Conventions to initiate prosecution under the Universal Jurisdiction clause to expose the crimes committed by an individual and declares him as a wanted person.
[d] To press the ICC to set up a special court invoking and applying the Universal Jurisdiction clause as it has done before to Sudan and Rwanda.
[e] To canvass for diplomatic, political and/or economic measures with pressure to take appropriate steps to uphold accountability and justice.
[f] To solicit the support of one or more UN member states or Security Council member states to look into the causes of Tamils and canvass the support of other member states for the setting up of Hybrid Courts like the ones for Sierra Leone in 2002, Kosovo, Cambodia and East Tumor where local and international judges participated after consultations with those states.
 
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is taking credit for not signing the Rome Treaty and claims as the saviour of former PresidentMahinda Rajapaksafrom the electric chair, but it is clear Sri Lanka can be brought before an International Tribunal if and when the UN and/or Security Council passes a resolution to that effect after exercising the powers given to them under the UN Charter and Rome Statute.
 
“WHEN ACCOUNTABILITY IS SHIELDED, JUSTICE DIES LEAVING RECONCILIATION MEANINGLESS AND IRRELEVANT”
 
“Justice grinds slowly but surely”
 

 
ARTICLE  29

Genocidal War 2006 – 2009, As Seen by The World
 
Though Sri Lanka unleashed its agenda of marginalization of Tamils, from 1956 through a program of Budddhisisation and Sinhalisation and a hidden genocide process, the climax was reached during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from 2006 – 2009 culminating in the genocide of Tamils, keenly watched by the United Nations and the International Community.
Their deadly and deliberate silence encouraged Mahinda Rajapaksa who rightly construed it as a tacit approval to proceed with the massacre of innocents in this war without witness.
Once the genocide was accomplished, the International Community and United Nations rushed for the damage controlling actions, statements, accusations, resolutions, investigations, etc, all of which were only condemning and consoling messages for the lives of more than 100,000 Tamil civilians who were cut down for no reason except because they were Tamils, targeted for liquidation to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala-Buddhist State.
This article quotes the numerous comments and statements of various International Organizations, UN Officials, Human Rights Activists, and intellectuals, etc. It is the hope of the traumatised Tamils that at the least, accountability followed by appropriate punishment will be meted out to the perpetrators of the crime of genocide and upholding justice as a minimum to heal the wounds of victims who are still waiting and hoping against hope for appropriate remedies and justice.
The crown of all statements is that of the late President of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, the world’s second best statesman after Nelson Mandela who created one of the world’s most prosperous nations Singapore from scratch. He methodically and meticulously bonded the Chinese, Malays, Indian and others numbering three million [77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians & 1% others] as Singaporeans and not as Chinaporeans by weeding out racism, communalism, chauvinism or majority hegemony which are the hallmarks in Sri Lanka since independence from 1948.
In 2010, immediately after the war Lee Kuan Yew, who in 1948 wished to make Singapore like the prosperous and peaceful Ceylon, made his correct assessment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in ten words. “Rajapaksa is a Sinhala extremist and he will never change,” an opinion all the Tamil leaders and all communities must keep in mind when dealing with Rajapaksa, as judged by Lee Kuan Yew.
However, the proximate cause of all the political turmoil in Sri Lanka was the unrealistic and parochial blunder committed by Great Britain when it dismantled and destroyed the separate Kingdoms of the then existing Kingdom of Jaffna, Kotte and Kandy which existed until 1833 and brought the Sinhalese and Tamils under one central rule in Colombo.
This was admitted by the UK Conservative party member Dr. Rachel Joyce who apologised on March 2009 and admitted the “error of colonial Britain in making a unitary Ceylon out of two nations the Tamil and Sinhalese. The Tamil people have lived on the island for millennia in their own contiguous, distinct geographically territory. The three million Tamils of the island constituted a self-governing nation until occupied by colonial powers in particular Britain who amalgamated them with the Sinhalese nation purely for convenience and administration”.
 
 
COMMENTS AND/OR ACCUSATIONS:
 
Philip Alston: UN Special Rapporteur on September 2006:
“Police and Military investigations in to the killings of Tamils and deaths in custody have too often been handled and remarkably few convictions have resulted. The criminal justice system – police prosecutions, investigations and trials has utterly failed to provide accountability.”
“It is an enduring scandal that there have been virtually no convictions of government officials for killing Tamils, and many Tamils doubt that the rule of law will protect their lives.”
 
Louise Arbour: United Nations High commissioner for Human rights: December 11th 2007:
“There is yet to be an adequate investigation or credible public accounting for the vast majority of abductions and disappearances.”
 
Human Rights Watch Report August 2007
“The government has displayed a clear unwillingness to hold accountable those responsible for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law.”
 
Manfred Nowak: – February 26, 2008 UN document;
“Torture is widely practised in Sri Lanka. Torture becomes a routine practice, both by the Police and the Armed Forces.”
 
Noam Chomsky: Philosopher and Activist 2008
“The fate of Tamils in Sri Lanka has been a shocking story of mounting errors. It would be unconscionable to stand by in silence as the remnants face still torture and disaster.”
 
Brahma Chellaney: Professor, Centre for Policy Research
“Even in victory, the Sri Lankan government is unable to define peace or outline a political solution to the long standing grievances of Tamils.”
 
Antony Loewenstein: Freelance Journalist and Author
“The Tamil struggle for justice and self-determination is a cause that should be supported by all citizens of good faith.”
 
Bruce Haigh: former Australian Diplomat in 2010
“If you see the justice of the Tamils quest for equality in Sri Lanka and do nothing about it you stand condemned.”
 
Stuart Rees: Professor Emeritus – University of Sydney
“Respect for universal human rights is the test for any government which claims to be civic and democratic. The Government of Sri Lanka is failing the test.”
 
Le Monde: Phillipe Bolopian May 28, 2009
“The United Nations deliberately hid the number of Tamils civilians being killed during the Sri Lankan Government’s offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. High ranking officers including Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon chose to keep silent about the high civilian death toll so as to avoid offending the Sri Lankan government.”
 
Dublin Tribunal: January 18, 2009
“The International community, particularly United Kingdom and USA share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.”
 
Richard Dixon: Daily Telegraph 2010
“Story of Sri Lanka in the last sixty five years is simply the repetition of hundreds and thousands of similar horrific events at different scales. 99% of the victims were innocent Tamils.”
“Sinhala chauvinism is the mother of all evils that is destroying this beautiful country. It is built on ignorance, arrogance, jealousy, insecurity, anger, lies and deception. This is a dangerous disease that has blinded the hearts and minds of the extremists Sinhala chauvinism or Sinhala extremism. It has nothing to do with ordinary Sinhala people.”
“International elements hid their faces in the sand when thousands of innocent were murdered in cold blood. United Nations, who is supposed to be a guardian for the oppressed and vulnerable in the world had in the past assisted Sri Lanka in mass murdering innocent Tamils, simply by ignoring the cries of the dying at the crucial hours.”
 
Jake Lynch: University of Sydney 2011
“Time to bring about real negotiations over how to recognise and implement the Tamils legitimate right to self-determination. As long as it remains unfulfilled, the people of Sri Lanka will be condemned to endure a repeating cycle of violence and abuse. The International community must be honest and take responsibility for the collaboration with the Sri Lanka regime and party to the crimes against humanity.”
 
International Commission of Jurists: 2012
“The Government of Sri Lanka has a long history since 1977 of using National Commissions of Inquiry as a means of circumventing the Criminal Justice System and of not implementing Commissions of Inquiry recommendations.”
 
United Nations Internal Review Panel Report – 2012 
“Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the United Nations to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the United Nations. It was exacerbated by the inaction of member states who failed to take up the escalating crisis in the Security Council, Human Rights Commission and General Assembly.”
 
Richard Dixon: 2012
“Unless the root cause of the ethnic problem is dealt with, Sri Lanka will face another wave of violence that could even be detrimental to the peace and stability in the whole south east Asia.”
 
Amnesty International – 2012
“A Government inquiry Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [LLRC] into Sri Lanka’s civil war is flawed at every level providing to accountability for atrocities. The government used the LLRC as its trump card in lobbying against an Independent International Investigation.” [Sam Zafiri – Director AI].
 
United Nations Panel of Experts on Accountability – 2011
“The conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of International Law  designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.”
 
United Nations Review Panel: 2012
According to United Nations data most casualties are caused by Government fire.”
 
Professor Steven Ratner [Member of UNSG Panel – 2012
“There is no environment to address accountability and dispense justice for these crimes domestically in Sri Lanka”
 
Richard Dixon: Telegraph 2012
“Sri Lanka defends its atrocities by non-compliances, denials, refusals, justifications, black mailing and other techniques to escape justice.”
 
Human Rights Watch: 2013
“We found disturbing patterns, strongly suggesting that [sexual violence] was a widespread and systematic practice.”
 
Yasmin Sooka: United Nations Report 2014
“Widespread and systematic violations by the Sri Lankan security forces occur in a manner that indicates a co-ordinated, systematic plan approved by the highest level of Government from 2009 – 2014.”
 
Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka Bremen Germany: 2013
“On the strength of the evidence presented, the Tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the State of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing  acts of genocide against the Tamils. The International community particularly the United Kingdom and USA share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.”
 
Rose Dimanno: Toronto Star Political Analyst November 20, 2012
“There is a hidden genocide in Sri Lanka.”
 
International Crisis Group: in 2014 – commented on the
“Escalation of militarisation, colonisation and forcible imposition of Sinhala Buddhist culture.”
 
International Crimes Evidence Project Report: 2014
”Evidentiary material and the analysis highlight the likelihood that international crimes were committed during the period from Sept. 2008 to May 2009.”
 
Geoffrey Robinson QC: Australia May 28, 2014
“If Tamils are not accorded equal rights in Sri Lanka – and they never have been – then they are entitled to autonomy. If the repression continues they are entitled to independence. Nothing succeeds like secession.”
 
Patrick Brown: Opposition Leader Ontario Province Legislative Assembly, Canada on May 6, 2015
“Terrible human rights crimes have been committed and still there is no justice to the thousands of Tamils who lost their family members in the Sri Lankan genocide.”
 
Juan Mendez: United Nations top official on torture etc. on May 7, 2016
“Torture is a common practice inflicted in the course of both regular criminal and national security related investigations.”
 
Global Justice Centre: Blog – May 18, 2016
“The United Nation cannot fail the Tamils in Sri Lanka again, real justice for Tamils must include investigations into and prosecutions of genocide crimes including ongoing torture and gender-based violence committed with genocidal intent.”
 
Professor Jude Lal Fernando: Exiled Sinhala Academic May 30, 2016
“There are two strands of the United Nations. One is the human rights and the humanitarian strand that genuinely represents the concerns of the people affected by wars. The other strand represents the powers who lead the wars and selectively applies human rights standards to suit their agenda, Ban-ki-Moon works for the powers who orchestrate wars even though he is supposed to represent the United Nations.”
 
Working Group on Enforced Disappearances – July 8, 2016
“Enforced disappearances are being used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent or in the internal armed conflict.”
 
United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki-Moon: September 2016 while in Sri Lanka
“In 1994, in Rwanda, there was a massacre, more than one million people were massacred. After Srebrenica massacre, UN felt responsible for them and we did again in Sri Lanka.”
 
United Nations Report on Minority Issues: October 20, 2016
“There is a trust deficit vis-a-vis state as well between the communities in Sri Lanka.”
 
Oakland Institute: Canada March 20, 2017
“Sri Lankan government fails on promises of resettlement, demilitarisation and reconciliation. The attitude of the Sirisena administration makes a mockery of its international commitments.”
 
Patrick Brown: Leader of the Opposition, Ontario Legislative Assembly, Canada – May 18, 2017
“It was estimated that approximately tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in the final months of the conflict, eight years later there has been insufficient progress in seeking justice for the victims of genocide. In 2009, I was, the first Canadian Member of Parliament to speak out in the House of Commons about the genocide.”
 
Chris Alexander: Former MP and Minister of Immigration, Canada, Conservative Party
“We remember the genocide that preceded the brutal tragedy in Sri Lanka and hundred thousands of lives lost in the tragedy.”
 
Noam Chomsky: Professor of Linguistics emeritus; commenting on the book “CAGE” written by Gordon Weiss – a former UN official who worked in the conflict areas including Bosnia, Darfur.
“A shattering, heartbreaking tale of savagery and sufferings lifts the veil that conceals one of the most awful tragedies of the current era.”
 
Gordon Weiss: Former UN Official and author of the book “CAGE” [Page 233} Sums up Sri Lanka’s debacle in the Comity of Nations as follows:
“Moral authority is both possible and regarded as beneficial in mutually co-operative Union of Nations, the alternative is Sri Lanka’s model, a society sliding into tyranny where myth-making, identity white washing and political opportunism have defeated justice and individual dignity.”
 
Devon Haynie – US News & World Report – May 18, 2017
“Sirisena had no plan to quickly pursue recommendations. If anything, the President seemed to backtracking from his pledges, seeking in support of military leaders charged with crimes. UN deadline came and went in March 2017 with the Government making scant progress in any of its key pledges.”
 
Lord Shiva: Oxford University, Law Faculty – May 30, 2017
“Successive oppressive Sri Lankan Regimes commits heinous crimes against Tamils, Humanity, Genocide and Denial of Justice.”
 
 
All the above statements and quotations point to the following irrefutable conclusions based on facts & evidence collected and analysed with no room for doubt.
 
 
Sri Lankan Government’s Commissions and Omissions:
 
Commissions:

International crimes – including genocide in all forms [structural, cultural, religious] Ref: Genocide Resolution passed unanimously in the Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka in February 2015.
Enforced disappearances.
Arbitrary arrests and detention.
Forcible return of internally displaced.
Culture of impunity.
Ongoing human rights violations
Dismissing and ignoring the daily and continuing cries and pleas of relatives of disappeared/owners of seized land.
Omissions:
Failure to implement the UNHRC Recommendations in the October 1st 2015 Resolution.
Failure to set up the Office of Missing Persons, The OMP legislation is likely to be shelved.
Failure to set up any judicial mechanism, internal or otherwise to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes etc.
Failure to honor several promises made to foreign dignitaries and local Tamil leadership like the:-

  1. Release of political prisoners, and lands unjustly occupied by security forces, no reduction of the Army presence in the Northern Province.
  2. Repeal of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] is yet to materialize according to international norms.
  3. Foot dragging in the making of new constitution.
  4. No clear stand or proposal to solve the ethnic problem.
  5. No investigation as to the 65,000 or more missing, possibly it will never be.
     
     
    It is time for the International Community and United Nations to come to terms with Sri Lanka’s real intention, lest another round of turmoil may become to unstoppable.
    The comments of the following Statesmen are worth quoting also:
    Martin Luther King:
    “We shall have to repent in this generation not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked, but of the silence of the good people.”
    Edmund Burke: 
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
    Will Sri Lanka continue to pursue the present policy of majoritarian hegemony leading to ultimate national disintegration or switch to the pragmatic policy of true reconciliation towards building a united Sri Lanka under a two nations federal system?

 
ARTICLE  30

Holding Sri Lanka To Account: A Dream Or Reality?


 

Sri Lanka’s political and economic history from the day of independence in 1948 until 1956 was considered a role model for the developing countries even envied by the late Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew. Communal harmony and economic prosperity were the keys of its success. The whole peaceful scenario was turned upside down with the entry of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who chose the Sinhalese language as a useful political weapon and a convenient and easy mean to reach the goal of political power. The Sinhala Only Act 1956 heralded the beginning of a divided Sri Lanka with communal tensions, the polarization of communities and mistrust between the majority and minority communities. There was no let-up in the process of majority domination along with the growth of communal politics. The inevitable consequences were the pogroms against the Tamils in 1958, 1977, 1983 and 2006-2009. These pogroms harvested more than 100,000 lives lost mostly during the 2009 war as a result of war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc. Tamil civilians were the target who bore the brunt of the hidden genocidal war with more than ten thousand Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters also killed during the war.

Sri Lankan security forces who also carried out more than 156 massacres from the late 1980s to 2009 have so far avoided any judicial process to determine their culpability. The culture of impunity is well entrenched in the judicial and security system and there is no hope that it would be eliminated unless United Nations or UN Security Council takes steps to rein in the Sri Lankan Government to carry out appropriate judicial reforms. Mere recommendations like the UNHRC Resolution of 30/1/2015 do not hold any leverage on the Sri Lankan Government unless accompanied by enforcement measures like political, diplomatic or economic sanctions or referral to UN Security Council as suggested by UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson.
Sri Lanka has successfully obtained a two-year extension up to March 2019 to implement the recommendations passed in October 2015 UNHRC Resolution. It is now 22 months since the passing of the Resolution and Sri Lanka is yet to show its sincerity and determination to implement the recommendations except the passing of the Office of the Missing Persons Act which will function only to solicit information as to the more than 65,000 disappeared. It will conclude as an office of compilation and not as an office to invoke judicial process to haul up the perpetrators, the security personnel to face prosecutions. Already the victims of disappeared have voiced their rejection of this office and it is likely that the victims will boycott this office once it is set up.
The Sri Lankan government is now in the radar of the United Nations and UNHRC and is facing numerous reports compiled by various UN special Rapporteurs UNHRC Officials and UN High Commissioner throughout from 2011 to 2017 until recently in June 2017, by Ben Emmerson – A UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism.
It is to be noted that Sri Lanka never admits any commission of crime by its security forces. It is always outright denial at first and then buckles down to partial admission, later resorting to time buying and delaying tactics including stalling and/or making the recommendations stale and possibly forgotten with the passage of time.
 
SOME OF THE LATEST CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS MADE DURING 2016 AND 2017
 
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues: Rita Izsak Ndiaye who visited Sri Lanka in October 2016, among other matters, emphasized the following in her Report in February 2017. “It is important for the Government to put in place some important and concrete measures to clearly demonstrate its political will and commitment to better protect the country’s minorities”.
“Must step up the release to the civilians’ populations of the remaining 6,124 acres of land currently held by the military in the North as well as other lands and coastal areas occupied by the military.”

“The representatives of smaller minority groups should participate in a meaningful way in all stages of policy formulation, programs design and implementation of decisions that affect them”

The Special Rapporteur also recommended the immediate repeal of PTA.
 
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture etc. Juan Mendez who visited Sri Lanka during April and May 2016 submitted his report in December 2016. Some of his conclusions are:- “The issue of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is part of the legacy of the country’s armed conflict, and citizens of Sri Lanka to live without minimal guarantees of protection against the power of the state, in particular, its security forces PTA allows for prolonged arbitrary detention without trial. This enables an open door policy for Police investigators to use torture and ill-treatment as a routine method of work’.

The Rapporteur recommended “The establishment of a transitional justice mechanism as an important aspect of the reform process in Sri Lanka and may contribute to the elimination of torture and provide for reparations to be effective. It must be implemented in good faith and trusted by victims and other stakeholders, without this, there will be a lack of confidence in the transitional justice system.”
 
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth – December 27, 2016 Focuses on national consultation process and emphasizes the importance of broad participation in transitional justice measures, including by victims. They are intended as contributions to clarifying the rhetoric of transitional justice and matching it in practice.”
 
The United Nations Committee Against Torture:  “Has called on Sri Lanka for an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of torture and sexual violence in the Rehabilitation Program for 12,000 suspected cadres.” The Committee says “Allegations of unlawful detention, torture and sexual violence by Security Forces in Sri Lanka should be investigated by an independent body and torture is a common practice in Sri Lanka.”The committee “Also calls for revision of the Witness Protection Act  – saying the Protection authority needs to be independent of police.”
 
The Report of Working Group on enforced Disappearances: Published in Geneva in July 2016 Among other matters it concludes that “Enforced disappearances have been used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent, counter – terrorist activities or in the internal armed conflict. Given the contest in which they occurred, many enforced disappearances could be considered as war crimes or crimes against humanity.”
The Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges – Monica Pinto – After her visit to Sri Lanka in May 2016 among other matters, made the following observations and recommendations:-
[a] Need for a justice system reflecting the diversity of society.
[b] Must strengthen an independent administration of justice.
[c] There should be independent, impartial and transparent institutions.
[d] Ensuring fair and proper judicial accountability.
[e] Implementation of International Human Rights Law.
[f] Ensuring access to a lawyer and other due process guaranteed.
[g] Unfettered access to justice.
[h] Independent and impartial transitional justice mechanism.
 

 
ARTICLE 31

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court  Holds Federation is Not Seperation
 
 Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, delivered a politically historical judgement dispelling the doubts and paranoia of some Sinhalese extremist politicians and a few Buddhist Clergy surrounding the concept of a federal form of government in Sri Lanka as advocated by the Tamil National Alliance who have abandoned the demand of a separate state of Tamil Eelam which was mandated by the Tamil voters in 1977 elections by endorsing the Tamil Liberation Front’s Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976.
A private citizen, Chandrasoma, petitioned the Supreme Court in 2014 calling for a declaration under Article 157 A [4] of the Constitution, alleging that Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [ITAK] is a political party which has its “aims and ‘objects’ the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka. ITAK’s objective is to establish political, economic and cultural liberation of Tamil speaking people by forming an autonomous Tamil government and autonomous Muslim government as part of united Sri Lanka in accordance with the principle of self-determination stating that “there will be a full guarantee in regards to religion, language rights and fundamental rights for the minorities residing in the states which will be connected.”
The petitioner contended that the ITAK and its members have violated the provisions of Article 5 of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and violating the declaration issued under Article 4 of the Sixth Amendment, all provisions falling under Article 157A of the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment, in brief, prohibits any person, organization or party promoting a separate state in Sri Lanka.
It is relevant to view this article by the writer Sri Lanka’s Sixth Amendment: a Violation of the UN Charter.
 
The petitioner’s main contention is that the ITAK, when considering its “aims and ‘objectives’, is only seeking a ‘confederation’ form of government which connotes the unity of two separate states, instead of a ‘federal form of Government.”
The court unanimously among other matters made the following decisions;
 
[1] “Samasti” [Federal Form} does not mean Confederation. “Samasti” and “Inaippatchi” [United] means the same concept.
[2] Federation and confederation differ on various matters.
 
Confederation denotes a permanent alliance between fully sovereign and independent states, yielding to the Centre authority a controlling power for a few limited purposes, such as External and Diplomatic Relations. Central government acts upon the States and not on citizens.
In a Federal Form of Government, the allied states form a Union [eg. The USA] with quasi sovereignty with respect to the administration of their purely local concerns, with Central Government possessing both external and internal sovereignty, with Central Power erected into a true National government, and National Affairs directed and its effects felt not by the separate states deliberating as one, but by the people of all, in their collective capacity “as citizens of the Nation.”
It is to be noted that the Black’s Law Dictionary 6th Edition [P- 611] defines Federal Form of Government as follows:
“The system of government administered in a nation formed by the Union or Confederation of several Independent States.”
Former Chief Justice Sarvananda, defined Federalism as “merely a distribution of sovereign powers between the units and the Centre, unlike in a Unitary State where sovereignty is undivided.”
 
The essential qualities of a unitary state are:-
 
[a] The supremacy of the Central Parliament
[b] Absence of a subsidiary sovereign bodies
[c] Powers of the Central Government are unrestricted
[d] Subsidiary bodies that may exist can be abolished at the discretion of the Centre.
 
 
It is to be noted that the ITAK in its Affidavit dated 16-09-2014 has stated under oath that “it is axiomatic that neither the ITAK nor the TNA can be said to have as its aims and/or objects the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.”
The Election Manifesto of TNA in 2013 and in 2015 under the heading “Tamil people and the present constitutional arrangements” mentions its position as follows:
“We as a people are thus concerned about our historical habitats, our collective rights that accrue to us as a people and as a national and our entitlement to our right to determine our destiny to ensure self-government in the Tamil speaking North-East of the country within a united and undivided Sri Lanka.”
 
The petitioner alleged that “self-determination involves attaining an independent state or reciprocally, if the people asserting self-determination freely choose to remain as part of another state, they retain the right to secede at their will, because the only reliable way for a people to fully control their political status, as well as their economic, social and cultural development is in an independent state. Therefore the right to secede is an integral component of the right to self-determination.”
The right to secession based on self-determination and International Law arises in the following circumstances as stated by the Canadian Supreme Court in the case  “Secession Of Quebec Province In 1998”

[i] Where a “people is governed as a part of colonial empire.
[ii] Where a “people” is subject to alien subjugation, domination or exploitation.
[iii] Where a “people” is denied any meaningful exercise of its rights of self-determination within the state of which it forms part.
[iv] In other circumstances, people, are expected to achieve self-determination within the framework of their existing state.
 
 
The Kosovo Advisory opinion – 2010 delivered by the International Court of Justice [Judge Canbcad Trindaoe] laid down two dimensions of the right of self-determination – one Internal and the other External as developed by Contemporary International Law.
Internal refers to the right of every people to be free from any foreign domination.
The external self-determination refers to the right of every people to choose their destiny in accordance with their own will, if necessary – in case of systematic oppression and subjugation against their own government.
Thus the International Law is as now developed and evolved to legitimise the right of self-determination of people who are subject to unequal and discriminating treatment from their own government. Hence this right is fully applicable and exercisable by the Tamils who have been at the receiving end since Independence in 1948 from the British.
The Judge concluded that “In the current evolution of International law, International practice [of states and of International organizations] provides support for the exercise of self-determination by people under permanent adversity or systematic repression, beyond the traditional confines of the historical process of de-colonization. Contemporary International Law is no longer insensitive to patterns of systematic oppression and subjugation”
The following remarks of the Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court are confusing and appear to be blurring the distinction between a Unitary form of Government and Federal form of Government:
 
It says:-
“In a unitary state if more powers are given to the units, it could be considered as a Federal State. Similarly in a Federal state if the centre is powerful and the power is concentrated in the centre it could be considered as a unitary state.”
 
Oxford Dictionary Defines:
“Federal form of government as a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and several regional ones.”
“Unitary form of Government as a system of government in which the powers of the separate constituent parts are vested in a central body.”
 
The essential features of a federal state as defined and accepted according to norms of International Law and practice is the existence of several independent states with quasi sovereignty over pure local affairs and concerns, with centre possessing the external and internal sovereignty.
On the contrary, in a unitary state the center may devolve some powers to units, but with its powers unrestricted, it even has the powers to abolish those units at any time at its discretion.
According to Sri Lankan Constitution, the Government has the powers to abolish the Provincial Councils even if they possess wider devolved powers from the centre. Hence it could not be considered as a Federal State as commented by the Supreme Court as in a unitary state there is no sharing of sovereignty with the centre.
The Tamil National Alliance in its manifesto is calling for a Federal form of Government under a united Sri Lanka and not under a unitary Sri Lanka. What is called for is a Federal form with shared sovereignty over various local concerns and affairs/and functioning as a semi-autonomous unit within a united and undivided Sri Lanka, thus ruling out a separate sovereign and fully independent state. United denotes ‘joining together for a common purpose’. This implies a union with the centre for prescribed purposes like external matters Example:- Defence, Security, Railways, and Custom, etc.
All in all the demand for a federal state within a united and undivided Sri Lanka is justifiable and practicable as found in USA, Switzerland and Australia.
Another matter which was discussed by the Supreme Court was the right of Self-determination as laid down in the UN Covenants in 1966, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International covenant on Economic, Social and cultural Rights under Article 1, which states as follows:-
“All people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural developments.”
Though the first respondent emphasized the right of self-determination for the people [Tamil people] inside the country for their benefit, the court has not discussed this right and its applicability for Tamils, though the Contemporary International practice and law clearly allows this right for the Tamils on the grounds of discrimination, subjugation and systematic policy and agenda of marginalisation and commission of war crimes, crimes against humanityamounting to GENOCIDE as exposed by several UN Rapporteurs who visited Sri Lanka after the war in 2009.
Read also this article by the writer which explains in detail the legal aspects and legitimacy for self-determination
 
It has to be stated that the ITAK is not advocating for Federal form of Government by devolving more powers to the provinces within one framework of a unitary state, but only within a united and undivided Sri Lanka.
A Federal system of Government functions with different characteristics and it cannot function under a unitary Government where the centre is vested with full sovereignty and controls over a unit or units like the Provincial councils. They are defined, accepted and practised as entirely two different systems of Government. The Supreme Court appears to have omitted to pinpoint the ITAK’s demand for a Federal Form within a united Sri Lanka. Instead it has substituted the word ‘unitary’ which is at variance with the scope and definition of a united Sri Lanka.
However, the court has clearly stated that Federation does not imply the formation of a separate state, fully sovereign, independent and free from any control by the centre and Federation neither implies separation or secession.
It is however to be noted that the court in the concluding paragraph has stated clearly that “It is established that the ITAK supports or advocates the establishment of a federal state within the united Sri Lanka” which is contradicting the preceding statement that “ITAK’s  advocating for a federalist form of government by devolving more powers within a unitary government.” Obviously this does not constitute a federal form of government as each stands uniquely with characteristics and functions of their own as defined and practised according to accepted International Laws and norms.
It therefore lies on TNA’s shoulders to carry forward their agitation for a federal form of government as pledged in their manifesto while enlightening the public particularly the people and politicians in the south, citing this judgement to dispel the doubts and mistaken beliefs and suspicions prevailing in the south who have been fed to believe that federalism will lead to separation.
TNA also has the added burden and responsibility to agitate for the right of self-determination allowed in the UN Covenant of 1966 Article 1. This right exists for the Tamils who qualify as a ‘People’ as mentioned in the said Article.
It is to be noted that the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1967 and Indo-Ceylon Accord of 1987 have recognised the historical habitat of Tamils as “people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces,
It thus falls on the shoulders of TNA to discharge their responsibilities and stand firm in the fulfilment of their commitments as mentioned in their election manifesto. Any shirking or compromising the pledges for concessions instead of rights, will only pave the way for the extinction of Tamils through assimilation, and TNA recording its political blunder in history as betrayers of trust and killing the aspiration of Tamils;
 
For the sake of clarity, a short definition of the following terms is as follows:-
 
UNITARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT
A system of Government in which the powers of the separate constituent parts are vested in a central body.
 
FEDERAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT
A system of Government in which powers is divided between a central Government and several regional ones possessing quasi -sovereignty.
 
CONFEDERATION
A union of alliance of countries, peoples, states fully sovereign and independent.
 
UNITED
Joining politically as separate units
 In the light of this politically significant judgement which is impacting all the communities in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Government must not miss this rare and final opportunity to adopt a Federal System of Government and once and for all settle the ethnic problems and march towards building a peaceful and prosperous united Sri Lanka.
Failing to do so will only keep the communal fire burning and later exploding while paving the way for international interventions and even resorting to external self-determination leading to secession at a future time.
 

 
ARTICLE 32

Sri Lanka: War Crimes and Command Responsibility
 09/09/2017
 
 
The current hot topic which has generated fire and heat among the military’s high ups and is dragging the Sri Lankan government to answerability is the war of words with allegations and counter allegations hurled against each other by the former Army commanders Sarath Fonsekaand Jagath Jayasuriya who left Brazil on July 28, 2017 where he served as Ambassador from August 2015.
The reasons for the incriminating statements by Sarath Fonseka stemmed after Jayasuriya was appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the advice of Gotabaya Rajapaksa [brother of then President and Defence Secretary at that time], after by-passing 14 other senior military commanders, despite objections by Fonseka. Another reason was the failure by the Government to inquire into allegations of various crimes committed in various Camps when he was serving as the Vanni Commander.
General Sarath Fonseka claims to possess evidence involving the various crimes committed and the identities of those who committed them. He further stated his readiness and willingness to give evidence if and when proper investigations are initiated in respect of the crimes committed during the war by the few military personnel. As expected, Jagath Jayasuriya has denied all the allegations of Fonseka and further went on to say that Fonseka, in his capacity as the Army Commander, should bear responsibility for any crime committed during the war.
The emerging accusations have confirmed the commission of war crimes by Sri Lanka’s Security forces which need to be further investigated by independent bodies.
 
Under International Law, the principle of command responsibility for war crimes lies from the top to bottom covering the President, Minister of Defence, Defence Secretary and Commanders of various Battalions and Brigades. It is to be noted that under the Constitution, the commander-in-charge of the Sri Lanka armed forces is the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka who only appoints the Army, Navy and Air Force Commanders, and Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Commander-in-Chief from November 2005 until December 2015.

He also held the Office of Minister of Defence who also appointed the Secretaries to Government Ministers. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Secretary of Defence from November 24, 2005 a post he served until December 2015. The Secretary of Defence exercised supervision of Government Departments in the charge of Minister of Defence and was subject to the direction and control of the Minister of Defence, former President Mahinda.
The Army Commander reported directly to the Secretary of Defence, Gotabaya who was responsible to the President.
 
It is to be noted that the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc, have already been highlighted in the various reports of United Nations, UNHRC and Independent Human Rights Groups.

Yasmin Sooka of the International Truth and Justice Project [ITJP] filed a lawsuit in Brazil on July 28, 2017 and charged Jagath Jayasuriya for committing the following war crimes by his subordinates while serving as the Vanni Commander during the war:
Sexual Assaults
Extrajudicial killings
Torture, Enforced Disappearances, all against the detainees in Vavuniya Camps
Indiscriminate shelling of hospitals
Preventing Humanitarian Assistantance reaching civilians.
 
In denying these allegations, Jagath Jayasuriya made the following statements in an interview in Colombo [Ceylon today] |”I was never the fighting Commander, I was the Vanni Commander. Orders to fight came from the Army Commander. I looked after the internally displaced persons providing logistic supplies [about 300,000] internally displaced people.”
“War crimes if at all had happened someone must specify it. I never know of any atrocities. About Jossoph Camp, Air force was using it. There were other camps in the same premises. If something happened there, I am not responsible.”
“How can I be responsible if someone else doing it? The entire camp was not under my command. I did not know what was going on in that part of the camp.”
Jagath Jayasuriya also stated the following in his interview among other matters:- “I deny anyone carried white flags, we used to report or inform Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary also if something was happening.” “Sarath Fonseka used to call from China and verified reports when he was in China from May 11, 2009 to May 15, 2009.”
“About war crimes allegations, President Rajapaksa’s Government was in the process of doing something about it, and also in their case they also did not take a concrete action. That Government was sort of in denial not allowing anything to happen. This Government has a different approach, but nothing is happening. All of them are answerable. The Government must seriously attend to these issues.”
“I do not know of war crimes because I was near the Vavuniya Airport and Nandikadal was 100 kms away. How will I know what was going on there?”
 
It is to be noted that Defence Ministry’s communiqué in 2013 regarding Jayasuriya is confirmation of his role in Vanni. “He has been the Commander of Security Forces in Vanni since August 2007, before he took over the mantle of the Army: To his credit, General Jagath Jayasuriya has been actively engaged in the overall military planning and operations in Vanni.”
In 2010, Jagath Jayasuriya is reported to have stated:
“As the Security forces Commander Vanni, the entire Northern operations was conducted in the tactical area of responsibility that came under my command. I was actively involved in the ground operations executing the directives from Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence from the very inception of the humanitarian operations, starting from Mannar in 2007 right up to the very end, May 2009. Overall I was responsible” [SP’s land forces 2010 – ICEP 2014]
However General Sarath Fonseka on 1st September 2017 at a press conference in Colombo has come out with statements hurling various accusations of war crimes committed when Jagath Jayasuriya was the Vanni Commander. His statements appear to bare the false hood of most of Jagath Jayasuriya’s press statements as mentioned above.
Excerpts of General Sarath Fonseka’s statements are as follows:-
“Jagath Jayasuriya was not assigned to any front line military operations. He was involved in the logistical supply of goods to the war front and rehabilitation tasks.”
“Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres and civilians were sent to the Vavuniya Camp which was under the command of Jegath Jayasuriya.”
“Information reached me as to the approval granted to kill Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres and civilians by Jegath Jayasuriya in collusion with Gotapaya Rajapaksa [then Defence Secretary] besides allegations of torture of detainees in Jossoph Camp.”
“Jagath Jayasuriya did not compile the list if detainees in the Vavuniya camp, in order to facilitate the killings ordered by the top defence officials. This is totally illegal.”
 
“Jagath Jayasuriya  says he did not want to know what happened to the Tamils detained in the Jossoph camp, at the same time he did not tell as to their ultimate fate in the camp.”
“I have sufficient information as to the persons who committed the crimes. I am prepared to furnish the details if a proper investigation is instigated on these matters.”
“I tried to initiate investigation against Jagath Jayasuriya after the war and arrested the assistant of Jegath Jayasuriya to commence the investigation. However, I was not allowed to complete the investigation. Besides, I was removed from the position of Army commander.”
“It is possible to try those who committed crimes under the Military Laws.”
“President should be held responsible if Jagath had involved in such a cowardice act which affected the people when I was giving orders to an Army of 200,000. The Army Commander is responsible for lawful acts only.” [Courtesy Daily Mirror]
However, the principle of command responsibility applies to all those involved in the war on the strength of evidence and facts presented.
 
 
Meaning of Command Responsibility:

The term broadly refers to the duty to supervise subordinates and liability for the failure to do both in Government and Military Law. This doctrine was established by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.
“Command responsibility is an omission mode of individual criminal liability. The superior is responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates and for failing to prevent or punish – as opposed to crimes he ordered.”
 
 
Commands include the following:

Policy Command: By Heads of State, High Government Officials
Operational and Tactical Command: Direct command over troops on the ground and military leadership. War crimes and crimes against humanity constitute the major offences which bring in the concept of command responsibility.
The modern doctrine of command responsibility can be defined as “the responsibility of Commanders for war crimes committed by subordinate member of their armed forces or persons subject to their control.”
“Rule 153 of International Law deals with doctrine of commander or superior responsibility. Commanders and other superiors are criminally responsible for war crimes committed by their subordinates if subordinates were about to commit or will be committing war crimes.”
War crimes include torture, extra-judicial killings, massacres, enforced disappearances, attacks on civilian buildings and civilians, execution of combatants and prisoners of war and rape.
 
 
Under Act 28[A] of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Military Commanders are imposed with individual responsibility for crimes committed by forces under their effective command and control if they
“either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes.”
Regarding Sri Lanka, the war between the Sri Lankan Security Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] from 2006 to 2009 ended with victory for the Government forces who are accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity as reported by the UN Panel of Experts, who found “credible allegations” for the commission of those crimes. The report also accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] of committing war crimes like conscription of child soldiers.
The crucial Commanders involved in the war between 2006 and 2009 were:
From December 6, 2005, to 13th July 2009 Lt. General Sarath Fonseka served as the Army Commander being “responsible for operational decision making from Army Headquarters in Colombo, and Major General Jagath Jayasuriya who served as Commander for Vavuniya District from August 6, 2007, to July 14, 2009. This district covered Puttlam, Mannar, Anuradhapura including Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. Military operations in North-East were co-ordinated by Major General Jagath Jayasuriya. Also involved were 57, 58 & 59 Divisional Commanders – Jagath Dias, Shavendra Silva and Prasanna Silva. Perpetrators of crimes and those coming under the chain of command responsibility can be tried by the International Criminal Court as stated by UN Rapporteur Ben Emmerson [on July 14, 2017] and also under the Universal Jurisdiction Clause as remarked by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights HE Al-Hussein in his report on September 11, 2017 at the UNHRC Council Session.
“Universal Jurisdiction allows States or International Organizations to claim criminal Jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed and regardless of the accuser’s nationality, country of residence or any other relation with the Prosecuting entity.”
“States have a logical and moral duty to prosecute an individual responsible and therefore no place should be a safe haven for those who have committed genocide, crimes against humanity, extra-judicial executions, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances.”
Besides, all State parties to the Convention Against Torture are obliged whenever a person suspected of torture is found in their territory to prosecute or extradite that person.”
This principle is based on International Norms owed to the entire world community and States being bound by the International obligations to prosecute the accused who committed crimes which are too serious for toleration within a jurisdiction.
 
Since Sri Lanka has not signed the Rome Statute 2002 which created the International Criminal Court, only the Security Council can authorise the set-up of this Court to try Sri Lanka for the international crimes of genocide including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In addition, under Article 99 of the UN Charter, the Security Council also has the authority to appoint an International Commission of Inquiry.
 
Setting up of an International Criminal Court is possible if and when Russia and China support which appears uncertain. As such, the only viable option is the exercise of Universal Jurisdiction by the 124 countries who have signed the Rome Statute and accepted the moral responsibility to indict war criminals. So far the South American States Mexico & Colombia have done their part by allowing lawsuits against Jagath Jayasuriya. However Jegath Jayasuriya and Major Generals Shavendra Silva, Jagath Dias, Prasanna Siva avoided the lawsuits and left Brazil, USA, Switzerland & England. It is to be noted that the command responsibility, as well as individual responsibility, rests on all the divisional commanders who operated the war in Vanni.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa bears the responsibility for war crimes in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and as the Minister of Defence. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa bears responsibility as the Official who supervised the war operations. The Army Commander directly made reports to Gotabaya and “there was some information that in relation to the surrender of senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leaders, Gotabaya by passed regular command lines to convey orders directly to a Senior Field Commander Shavendra Silva. {ICEP 2014]
In corroboration, the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka told the Sunday Leader on December 13 2009 that “Gota ordered them to be shot” [order given to Savendra de Silva to shoot the surrendees]” In an interview in 2012 Jagath Jayasuriya also stated that “I still remember President personally giving me a call instructing me to pursue the operations as planned.”
 Sunday Leader on January 8, 2010 reported the statement of Gotabaya as follows.
“Gota ordered troops under his command to “kill them all’ when the troops on the ground asked him for direction for handling the surrendering Tamil combatants.”
After his return from China on May 17, 2009 Sarath Fonseka stated “I led the operation until the victory on the 19th of May 2009.”
 
On the basis of above facts and admission of command responsibility for the entire war operations, Sarath Fonseka and Jagath Jayasuriya are liable for the war crimes committed by the soldiers under their command as an omission of criminal responsibility. Gotabaya assumes liability for issuing orders to Army commanders including illegal orders “to kill all” which falls as a policy command of State. So also liability falls on Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Supreme Commander of Security Forces at times personally directing the operations.
Recent statement of President Sirisena “granting protection to all members of Army including Jagath Jayasuriya” has closed the doors for any International Investigation against security forces. This position has also closed doors of co-operation with outside investigating bodies or courts which is in fact a slap on the concept of Universal Jurisdiction.
The duty therefore lies on International Organizations like Human Rights Groups including States who signed the Rome Statute to invoke the Universal Jurisdiction Clause as endorsed by Human Rights High Commissioner against anyone involved in the commission of war crimes in Sri Lanka.
 
Unless and until an independent and impartial investigation is initiated to bring to light the actions of all commanders by word and or conduct including the orders issued by the Defence Secretary and President, accusing each other or passing the blame on others will not go to absolve the war commanders from command responsibility.
 
Liabilities of the commanders involve the following crimes of omissions and commissions.
[i] Actual or constructive knowledge of the crimes committed by the subordinates.
[ii] Failure to prevent the commission of crimes which they ought to have known. [about to be committed or likely to be committed]
[iii] Failure to supervise the subordinates and failure to punish the perpetrators.
[iv] Issuing illegal orders to commit war crimes [like killing the surrendered and detainees]
 
Tamil Diaspora’s continuing efforts are all the more important and crucial in this matter to pursue the Universal Jurisdiction wherever possible.
Facts Give Rise To Truth And It Never Fails
Sources:
International Crimes Evidence Project February 2014 – Sydney Australia

 
ARTICLE 33

Battling for a New Constitution and Dashing the Hopes of Tamils

The Proposed Constitution in Sri Lanka…
Will it accommodate the just demands of the Tamils or abandon them to choose their own destiny?
 
Sri Lanka, the tear-shaped island, according to researchers, came into existence about 7,000 years ago when the island separated from the Indian subcontinent while the narrow strip of shallow water mass known as Palk Strait came into existence after a powerful tsunami or earthquake. Before the separation, and after the separation, Tamils lived in various parts of the Island, as evidenced by the burial sites and urns found by researchers in Pomparippu [Puttlam district], Anaicottai [Jaffna district], Manthai [Mannar district] and some other sites. Similar urns were unearthed in Tamil Nadu Arichanallur in [Thoothukudi District] and very recently in Kanchi District. These belonged to the period before 5000 years [Iron Age] as researchers revealed.
The Sinhalese race evolved in Sri Lanka with the emergence of the full form of Sinhalese language in AD 6, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Pali and Tamil. Ancient inhabitants of Sri Lanka spoke Prakirit and other dialects until the introduction of Tamil and Sinhalese. Pali remained the written language by the Buddhists, this being the language of Mahavamsa written in AD 6 by Mahanama Thera, as the Sinhalese language was in the stage of formation.

Sri Lanka was subject to several invasions by the South Indian Chola and Pandiyan Kingdoms with Chola rule lasting from AD 993 until AD 1070. The rule of Arya Chakravarthies which lasted from AD 1215 to AD 1624 in Jaffna as the Kingdom of Jaffna ended when the Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka in 1619 and captured the Jaffna Kingdom in 1624 followed by the Dutch from AD 1638 to AD 1796 and then the British from AD 1796 to 1948.

A full-blown constitution came into being after Independence in 1948, the architect of the constitution being Lord Soulbury. The Kingdoms of Jaffna, Kandy, Kotte, Polonnaruwa, which were recognized by the Portuguese and Dutch invaders ceased to exist thereafter when the British rulers brought Sri Lanka under one centralized administration based in Colombo which ended the sovereignty of Tamils in the North and Eastern Provinces and their entity as a separate nation in the North and East.
TheSoulbury Commissionearlier rejected the 50 – 50 representation demanded by late Tamil leader G. G. Ponnambalamfor the Sinhalese and other minorities. Even the suggestion of Federal form of government by late PMS.W.R.D Bandaranaikein 1927 was also rejected by the Soulbury Commission. As a compromise to allay the fears of minorities in the prospective Sinhala majority government’s domination and discrimination against them, Lord Soulbury’s constitution incorporated Section 29 which provided a safety valve to the minorities from discriminatory legislation and other measures targeting the minorities.

This constitution lasted until 1972. However, an agenda of Sinhalisation and discrimination was set in motion from 1948 on the helpless minorities and this process is still continuing unhindered by any challenges legal or otherwise. TheIllankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi[Federal Party] under the leadership of late Tamil leaderSamuel James Velupillai Chelvanayagamboycotted the consultative sessions after their demand for federal form of government was rejected.

Adding insult to injury, after removing the statutory protection given to the minorities and their religions, this 1972 constitution introduced the specific provisions granting Buddhism “the foremost place” mandating the state “to foster and protect it”. The irony of this constitution is that it was mooted and drafted by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s coalition stalwarts Lanka Sama Samajst Party [LSSP] members lateDr. Colvin R de Silvaand lateDr. N. M. Pereraand others who until then fought for equal rights of the minorities in religion and language from 1948. Political opportunism and survival forced them to resort to communal policies prevailing over national interests. Besides, this constitution also changed the name of the country from ‘Ceylon’ to ‘Sri Lanka’ a Sinhala name and also declared it as a Republic.

This constitution lasted until 1977 when theUnited National Party under the leadership of late J.R. Jayewardene captured power when he introduced the Executive Presidential System of Government, similar to that of France’s De Gaulle system’.
This constitution dealt a deadly blow to the freedom of speech and political expression by incorporating the Sixth Amendment which outlawed anyone advocating self-determination, self–rule including separation and made them punishable offences.
 
It is to be noted that the Tamils were granted several legislative measures as the panacea for all their sufferings and problems. It is also apt to mention the various demands by the Tamil political leaders since independence in 1948, which were out rightly rejected by the Sri Lankan governments since then.
 
Late Tamil Leader G. G. Ponnambalam demanded the 50/50 basis representation right from the Donoughmore constitution in 1940s but later abandoned it after the independence in 1948.

Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi [ITAK] –Federal Party- [FP] formed in 1949 in their conference in Trincomalee in 1952 called for the Federal form of Government in the North and Eastern provinces based on their sovereignty in these historically and traditionally inhabited lands.

The demand for a Federal System of Government was again made in 1972 when a new constitution was discussed in the constituent assembly. As this demand was rejected as expected, the Federal Party [ITAK] boycotted the constituent assembly, but the constitution was adopted in the Parliament.

This led to the formation of Tamil United Front [TUF] which changed its name in 1973 to Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF] uniting all Tamil Parties. TULF called for a separate state for Tamils in their resolution on May 14, 1976, at Vaddukoddai called as Vaddukoddai Resolution, reiterating this demand based on the sovereignty of a Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka’s North and Eastern Provinces.
 
 
The 1977 general elections brought the United National Party [UNP] under late J. R. Jayewardene in power while the Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF] became the opposition party under lateA. Amirthalingam. To appease the Tamils, JR Jayewardene introduced the District Council System of administration in 1981, and this was backed by TULF which then dropped the demand for a separate state mooted in 1952 by late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam [Thanthai Chelva]
With the introduction of the Presidential system of Government in 1978, the demands of Tamils for self-rule, separation and even Federal form of Government were laid to rest until the rise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] underVelupillai Prabhakaranin 1976.
J.R Jayewardene however placated the Tamil leaders by signing an agreement with Indian Prime Minister lateRajiv Gandhi[Indo/Sri Lanka Accord], in July 1987 after the mayhem in 1983 which targeted the Tamils all over the island.
This agreement resulted in the introduction of Provincial Councils with limited powers and subject to the discretionary powers of the Governor and Centre. It is almost a lame duck entity still in existence in all the provinces in Sri Lanka plodding and prodding.
With the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the demand for a separate state is lying in a moribund state due to the Sixth Amendment which has outlawed demands or agitations for separation by any person or party, locally or abroad. The Sixth Amendment is in effect a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech, expression or association underlying a democratic system of Government including the provisions of the UN Charter.

It has always been a political tantrum by the major political parties, UNP and SLFP to dish out promises of a just political settlement to the Tamils, before and during the elections. Following the victory, measures offering settlement proposals would also be announced like former PresidentChandrika Bandaranaike’s ‘Union of Regions’ former/present PM Ranil’s Interim Government proposals including exploring Federal System and former President Mahinda’s 13+ proposals.

As usual, these proposals met their inevitable demise in the hands of chauvinists and extreme Buddhist Monks who heat up the political climate of South instilling fear with the prospect of a Tamil separate state if the proposals are implemented, thereby scuttling the chances of any peaceful political settlement.

The scenario after the defeat of LTTE changed to the detriment of Tamils who felt politically defeated while the southern politicians and their supporters celebrated it as a victory in a war between two nations, and the security forces, in spite of the war crimes committed on the orders of commanders and politicos, they are being labelled as war heroes who should not be subject to the law of the land and face any charges thus offering blanket impunity.
The mantle of leadership of Tamils fell into the hands of theTamil National Alliancefrom May 2009 under the leadership ofR. Sampanthanwho was following the directives and fortunes of LTTE and Pirabaharan.
The electoral victory of the major parties, UNP and SLFP under a coalition formula, in January 2015, HE Maithripala Sirisenafrom SLFP was elected as President and Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghefrom UNP was elected in August 2015 as the Prime Minister. They changed the political atmosphere to reduce tension and feelings of insecurity and fear among the civilians in addition to the unrestricted free exercise of the democratic freedoms.
The Coalition Government is now working on a new constitution promising to reduce the powers of the President and even if necessary to abolish this position. Six sub-committees, a Steering Committee, Constituent Assembly, Parliament and possibly a Referendum will decide the fate and shape of the new constitution. The final say is in the hands of Parliament which has to pass the drafted constitution with a two-thirds majority. A referendum if held will most probably approve the constitution if it is passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament. However, the prospects of crossing these two hurdles, Parliament and Referendum will not be easy if the draft constitution adopts provisions containing Tamil’s political settlement proposals unacceptable to Buddhist Monks and chauvinists and hence it would be another ‘history repeating’ event as in the past.

It is relevant to mention that the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who promised 13+ has also joined the chorus of opposition groups crying foul of the devolution proposals new being discussed when he recently stated “The Government’s package to divide the country into “distinct spheres of authority” is one of the unwelcome changes that the Government has planned in the New Year.” This is nothing but just another crass political opportunism to advance his political status and fortunes sacrificing national unity, harmony and peace.

Viewing the mounting opposition arising in the South from various inimical forces, it is unlikely that the new constitution would be better than the existing one even to meet the minimal demands of the Tamils.

The Tamil National Alliance [TNA] representing the Tamils appear to be firm in their demand for a Federal System of Government including the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces. Although confusing mixed signals and wavering stands were made in the past, TNA leadership in recent days has expressed their firm position and determination for a Federal form within a united Sri Lanka including the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. This stand is a confirmation and follow-up of their election manifesto promise which called for “a Federal System based on a shared sovereignty including the merger of North and Eastern provinces.”

Tamils all over the world expect the Tamil National Alliance to stick on to this proposal and position and not to compromise or sacrifice this commitment for anything less. The prevailing international support and awareness of the problems and sufferings of Tamils coupled with the solid backing of Diaspora Tamils should be utilized by the Tamil National alliance without any reservations.
In the event of the rejection of their demands, the Tamil National Alliance is morally, politically and historically duty bound to boycott their participation in all the consultative sessions, even resigning their parliamentary seats to launch non-violent agitations which will have the full backing of Tamils all over the world without any reservation. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka will come under the radar and close watch of the international community of its handling of the problems and issues of Tamils.
If the Tamil National Alliance falters or lets down the Tamils in this matter at this crucial period, without any doubt, they will be committing a historical blunder, besides digging their own political grave. This desolate situation may open up the gates for another round of extremism which could be viewed differently with sympathy, understanding and justification by the International Community.
 
The present Sri Lankan government has got the last and rare opportunity to once and for all solve the sixty-year-old dragging and cancerous ethnic problem, viewing the goodwill it is enjoying among the international community. What is needed is political will and iron fist determination to solve the problem while not allowing chauvinism, racism and political opportunism to prevail over reason and good judgement.
Already some Buddhist Monks with narrow personal interests and some politicians to further their political ambitions at the expense of national harmony are voicing their opposition to any proposals sharing powers with Tamils.
Adding fuel to the fire are the disturbing statements emanating from the President, Prime Minister and some Ministers confirming “the unitary form of Government without the merger of Northern and Eastern Provinces”. These statements do not bode well for the Tamils and their demands.
In the face of this already declared position of the UNP, SLFP, BBS & JHU, etc, the Tamil National Alliance continuing participation in the constitution process is nothing but a futile and meaningless exercise as a continuation and making of another chapter in the ‘deceived political history of Tamils’.
It is suggested that The Tamil National Alliance place its political settlement proposals to the government and to the people for discussion, debate and enlightenment, rather than keeping everyone in the dark and guessing as to its commitment, dedication and standing.
 
In conclusion, if the Sri Lankan government fails to set up a federal form of government with the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces, [traditional and historical homeland of the Tamils], it is for the United Nations and the international community to step in and ensure that the Tamils are allowed to exercise the right of self determination including a referendum in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka to decide their political status in Sri Lanka.
It is now time for the majority of Sinhalese people to decide whether they want to live united under one country under a Federal System of Government or allow the Tamils to break away and form a new state for them. It is high time for the Sinhalese people to choose the right decision. Better late than never.
 

 
ARTICLE  34

Weak-kneed Political Opposition of Tamil Leaders
 
In Sri Lanka’s last Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2015, the majority of Tamils and Muslims voted for the ‘good governance’ promised by the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP led by Maithripala Sirisena who wisely broke free from the hold of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The International Community greeted the victories of these leaders with much relief resulting in the ouster of a hostile and dictatorial Rajapaksa.
The Tamils also felt relieved and hoped for the deliverance of promises made during the election campaign by the new leaders. The Tamil National Alliance [TNA] for the first time called on the Tamils and Muslims to vote for the coalition parties though Tamils were already determined to vote out Mahinda Rajapaksa for conducting the genocidal war with the support of 22 countries and caused the worst sufferings for the Tamils.

Now, after two years in power, the record of ‘good governance’ is disappointing and deceptive as a whole, except the removal of fear and insecurity among the civilians who now enjoy the freedom of speech and expression.
TNA’s Leader Sampanthan became the official Opposition Leader, a post which was earlier held by the Tamil United Liberation Front’s [TULF] late Amirthalingam during the UNP’s rule in 1977 by the late J.R. Jayawardene.

The defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] in the 2006-2009 war who dominated the Tamil’s political scene and power has resulted in a complete change of equations. The fall from a commanding position of the Tamils has now resulted in a fall into divisive dismal politics and policies among the Tamil Parties and leaders.
TNA comprised of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization [TELO] People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam [PLOTE] Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front [EPRLF] and Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [ITAK] opted to support the ‘good governance’ of coalition Government without joining it and without any written agreements laying down conditions of support.  Oral and gentlemen’s promises and undertakings were preferred and relied on by TNA despite the fact that earlier written agreements were treated with scrap values, while oral promises also suffered similar fate like Mahinda’s offering of 13+, with more powers in the 13th Amendment for the Northern Provincial Council] for the Tamils.
 
It has always been the habit and practice of Sinhalese leaders to pour out promises on occasions whenever they appear in the Tamil areas and cities, Jaffna, etc, and during election time. The classic example is former Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawala’s promise in Jaffna in the 1950s to grant parity of status to Sinhalese and Tamil Languages. In general promises given to Sinhalese in the South are mostly honored to keep alive the chances of political success. Similarly the written Pacts made with Sinhalese leaders also suffered the same fate for political expediency and fortunes like:- Bandaranayake/Chelvanayagam Pact of 1957. Dudly/Chelvanayagam Pact of 1965, Indo/SriLanka Accord of 1967, Oslo Agreement of 2002, etc.
Political opportunism always prevails over political stability and national reconciliation. The present Government of ‘good governance’ deservedly justified the hopes of Tamils for a permanent and acceptable political settlement, viewing the historical but uneasy alliance of the two major political parties, UNP and SLFP who always earlier played the role of killing each others’ political proposals, true to the spirit of opposing them for political opportunism and gains.
These two parties with their absolute majority in Parliament along with the unconditional support of TNA appear to be wavering, bickering among themselves, showing the lack of commitment and political determination to end the ethnic problem once and for all. The present opportunity could be the last and if missed, it will never materialize in the future as ‘opportunity only knocks once and if missed it is lost forever’. It appears to be that this opportunity is being frittered away.
The past two year’s rule of the government is surely disappointing for all but more for the Tamils. As for the Tamils, the writing was on the wall when the 100-day program first mentioned and included the settlement of ethnic problems and later deleted it as a non-priority.  The hopes of the Tamils and even the TNA’s expectations were dealt a blow by this deliberate action which was in fact like the Tamil proverb “the sound of bells comes first signalling the after the arrival of an elephant”. True to the policy of following the precedents of earlier Sinhalese leaders, several and various promises were made by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil to Tamil leaders, Tamil demonstrators, Tamil delegations even to the International Community and foreign dignitaries. Some of them are related to the release of political prisoners and the fate of missing and/or disappeared persons and seized civilian lands.

As expected these promises remain unfulfilled so far and hopefully they will remain as they are now, ignored and considered as casual.
 
TNA’s leader Sampanthan who is also the Leader of the Opposition crowned with the leadership of Tamils reposed full trust and confidence on the dual leadership of President Maithri and Prime Minister Ranil. He also made strong and convincing statements with full confidence that an acceptable political settlement would be forthcoming within 100 days and then promised it before the Diwali in 2016 and then again before the Diwali in 2017.  Now he is expressing his hope to celebrate the next 2018 Diwali with happiness and joy, believing that the evasive political settlement will materialize by then. On all occasions, he requested for patience and not to spoil the present climate which is seemingly muddy and pessimistic.
The ongoing episode involving the political prisoners who are locked up without going through the judicial process of trial, bail, conviction or release is simply a mockery of justice and rule of law inflicted by this ‘good governance’ The pathetic scenario concerning the three political prisoners whose trials which were conducted in Vavuniya and now ordered to be transferred to Anuradhapura is just another hallmark of this ‘good governance’ aided by the favourable Attorney General’s office.
The obvious unjustifiable fear is that the trial in Anuradhapura will lead to conviction influenced by the ethnic factors and spoiling and damaging situations for the prisoners and Tamil lawyers. This is another assault on the judiciary and the lack of faith on Tamil Judges or jury while expecting a sure conviction to follow if the trial is conducted in Anuradhapura possibly before a Sinhala Judge. The ‘good governance’ has thus indicated its ‘continuance of the policy of justice based on ethnic factors’. [It is to be noted these political prisoners were arrested on suspicion under DRACONIAN Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] and most of them are in jail for more than 10 years with delayed hearings and inaction of the Governments in power].
 
It is all the more sickening to note the disappointing TNA leadership to remedy this simple and unjust procedural step. It appears that he has now folded his opposition role and has opted to treat the promises given by the President as lighthearted empty statements with no value or seriousness while being careful to maintain the policy of collaboration and co-operation with the Government.

The TNA’s performance in the other serious matters affecting the Tamils is far from satisfactory. The Interim Committee’s Constitutional Proposals are just formulations and suggestions without any finality. The proposals like the rejection of a unitary form of Government and a shared sovereignty for the North and East have not been accepted by the committee which is confirmed by the TNA’s footnote to the proposals which bares the truth that there was no 100% consensus for the proposals by those participated excepting the UNP.

The TNA Leader is now asking Tamils not to mention the word ‘federal’ as it would antagonize the Sinhalese. It is to be mentioned that late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam formed the Federal Party advocating federalism as the final and only solution to the Tamils political grievances. Even the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in its judgement confirmed the position that ‘federalism is not separation and it would not lead to separation’, thus once and for all put an end to this unfounded controversy and confusion surrounding federalism which is prevailing among the Sinhalese.
 
It is all the more pathetic to note the unbelievable silence of TNA to launch an awareness campaign for the people in the South and mobilize the support of both Tamils and Sinhalese to endorse federalism, besides pressing the ‘good governance’ to take meaningful steps towards a federal system justifying its position morally, legally and politically suitable for Sri Lanka.
TNA has also unreasonably failed to fully identify itself with the peaceful protesters campaigning for ‘the disappeared and missing’, ‘political prisoners’, and release of lands seized by the security forces’. TNA has now opted and chosen the role of spectators and as random face showing participants instead of acting as leaders to spearhead these campaigns. It appears that the affected Tamils as a whole are now brought down and forced to the position to initiate the protests and fend for themselves on their own as long as they can survive braving the heat, dust, cold and rain.
There is no doubt that this weak and aimless leadership of TNA has emboldened the ‘good governance’ to proceed with its own agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalaisation in the North and East of Sri Lanka [The historical and traditional homeland of the Tamils]. TNA holding the ‘Leader of the Opposition’ post is functioning neither as an opposition party to the Government’s program and decisions affecting the Sinhalese and Tamils, nor with any constructive moves to carry forward the struggle of Tamils giving vent to their feelings of grief, frustration and traumas accumulated during the last sixty years.
It appears that TNA has chosen to better support ‘Maithri and Ranil’ rather than allowing Mahinda to rise as the next ruler.
As for the Tamils, there is no gainsaying of the fact that all the Sinhalese leaders are united in pursuing the agenda of Buddhisiation and Sinhalisation but only disunited as to the intensity and scope in their pursuit of communal campaign with each one out classing and out beating the other to capture the political crown.
Maithri’s veiled warning to the protesters in Jaffna who protested against his visit by saying that “If you don’t support me you will allow only a ghost to emerge” shows his fear for Mahinda , but for the Tamils both are one coin with two faces but with same political value.
 
It is incomprehensible to note that the TNA leader has not achieved anything concrete so far after eight years of leadership given by the Tamils since 2009.
Their failings and omissions have to be highlighted for the sake of information.
 
1). TNA has neither passed a resolution confirming the ‘GENOCIDE’ nor there is any oral statement made to this effect so far. TNA by this unpardonable blunder have only weakened the Tamils cause in the United Nations, UNHRC and International Community while discouraging the West also to desist calling the war crimes as GENOCIDE.
2). TNA has failed to carry on a campaign to prosecute the war criminals either locally or outside or even initiating steps to prosecute them under the Universal Jurisdiction Clause. This inexcusable lapse is nothing but inflicting more wounds to the victims of war and to the dead and fallen youths and civilians, thus jettisoning the twin principles of accountability and justice.

3). TNA has maintained inexplicable silence over the ongoing process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation. It appears they have left this matter to the affected locals to protest in places where Buddhist Viharas are built and Buddha statues are erected. This silence of TNA could be considered as consent to the Government’s program, justifying the saying that ‘silence is consent’.

4). Furthermore, Sam and Suma appear to be controlling the ITAK as well as the TNA. This is seen when the other partners in the TNA [TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE] have started to openly criticize Sam and particularly Sum for taking decisions without their approval, not even consultation with them. Sampanthan’s recent step-motherly treatment of EPRLF MP Sivasakthi Ananthan as an outcast in the Parliament during the debate on the constitutional proposals by denying and stifling his democratic rights to speak while allowing all the other TNA MPs smacks of his dictatorial attitude. Above all this unjust action confirms his utter disregard to maintain the unity of TNA, thus falling into the hands of Maithiri/Ranil’s ‘divide and rule policy’. The duo has thus broken the TNA’s unity and discipline along with their strength to speak with one voice. Undoubtedly, the duo has fallen into the historical ‘divide and rule trap policy’ of Sinhalese leaders. The often heard pleas and cries of suffering Tamils for a united front and united voice seem to be falling on the deaf ears of TNA.
5). TNA has so far never initiated any mass and popular protests against the Government for their delay, refusal and denial of justice and remedies for the grievances of Tamils which have been accumulating for the past sixty years, particularly after the genocidal war, Above all it is a pity that TNA has no agenda or program of action to pursue the goals and aspiration of Tamils. It appears the recent statements of TNA are confirming their abandoning the election pledges of Federalism and North & East merger while accepting the unitary form of Government and endorsing Buddhism’s foremost place in the Proposed Constitution.
6). TNA leadership is also making wavering and confusing statements on the Interim Committee Proposals, sometimes saying “we will fight for federalism and merger of North and East’ and on another occasion ‘a united country with federal aspects’, while Suma says ‘There is no possibility of North and East merger’. Sam and Suma are also blowing hot and cold over the clause giving Buddhism its foremost place’. While in Parliament, Sumanthiran in one breath advocates the insertion of ‘secular state’, in another breath he says ‘we will accept Buddhism’s foremost place if the Buddhists want it’. This is nothing but confusing and self-contradictory.
 
It is further disappointing to note the dismantled TNA and the subdued and meek opposition expressed by TNA which is not the hallmark in the political history of Tamils. Viewing the TNA’s unacceptable and poor political performance and consequently weakening the causes of the Tamils, who are also ignored by Security Council and United Nations so far, a solemn duty has fallen on the shoulders of students and their leaders to rise up and take control of the politics and destiny of Tamils. Power of students has to be recognized, embraced and accepted by all the Tamils to carry forward the struggle for accountability and justice.
Sacrificing some time and energy for this noble cause will go down in the history as sacrifices to save the Tamils from extinction through the process of assimilation which is underway in the North and East.

Duty and burden also lie on them to make the Government and the International Community realise the strength of opposition which is now treated by the Government as a nuisance or no value.  Sam & Suma’s much-applauded speeches in Parliament during the debate on ‘Interim Committee Proposals’ focused on the need for an acceptable solution ending with entreating and humble pleas to the Government to consider the importance of a solution to the national question. However, it has fallen short without indicating or mentioning the action plan of TNA in the event the Government fails to honour the pleas and deliver acceptable political settlement proposals, which situation is going to be certain to materialize viewing the past political somersaults of past Sri Lankan Governments’, who have been adept in delivering promises only to be followed by breaches.
 
Above all, whether the proposed new constitution will have a ten-month safe delivery without abortion is doubtful and far from certain viewing the rising tide of irrational and communal opposition from various quarters in the South like Mahinda front, Mahanayakaès front and other chauvinist outfits and groups who are breathing fire and fury and helping themselves with the bogey of separation as their trump card.
With a wavering and disunited TNA,  which is not exploiting its present political strength and status, it is left for the students, Tamil Civil Groups, Intellectuals and Diaspora to lead the Tamils as one force while seeking the support and intervention of International Community.
It is better late than never for the TNA to initiate and pursue a concerted campaign for the universally and UN-recognised people’s right of self-determination which has been kept alive in all the political manifestos of all Tamil political parties since 1976 including the present TNA.
The much expected hope and optimism that the existing historical coalition of major parties in Sri Lanka, UNP and SLFP would bring out a permanent and acceptable political settlement for the Tamils has proved to be an illusion as the reality is  that the South political parties will never be able to free themselves from the entrenched ‘Maha Vamsa’ mindset and the resultant process of  Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation agenda set in motion from 1948 by the late D.S. Senanayake which is continuing unabated, unhindered, undeterred and uninterrupted in the North and East.
 
It is relevant to quote Thirukurral no. 448-
 
“This bemoans the fate of a king who will perish without the guard of men who can criticise him, even though there is no one to destroy him

ARTICLE 35

Sri Lanka and UNHRC Resolution 30/1 – No further forward
Dec 3, 2017 (CT)
 
United Nations High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka onUNHRC Resolution 30/1 –  Ample space for Sri Lanka testing its Commitments & Credibilities
 
In the much expected 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights High Commissioner delivered its oral statement evaluating the progress made by Sri Lanka regarding the implementation of various matters outlined in the Sri Lanka-US sponsored resolution passed on October 01, 2015.

Nine months have elapsed since then. Nothing is more obvious than the almost zero ground action taken by Sri Lanka towards implementing the core recommendations. On the contrary, instead of implementing said steps, Sri Lanka is facing allegations of continuing arbitrary arrests, torture and sexual violations, in addition to military surveillance and harassment. “Slow release of some lands.” On the contrary, more lands are under seizure in the North and East with scant respect to the accusation of the UN High commissioner.
 
The UN High Commissioner has forthrightly voiced its concern over the following matters in its own words and suggested Sri Lanka Agree to:-
 
“International participation in accountability mechanism which would be a necessary guarantee for independence and impartiality of the process.”
“The structures and institutions culture that promoted these practices be dismantled to show there will be no tolerance for practices of the past.”
“To take concrete steps to address impatience, anxiety reservations towards the process.”
“Constitutional changes will not involve trade-offs and compromises on core issues of accountability, transitional justice and human rights.”
“Concerned about stoking nationalism against ethnic, religious and other ethnic minorities.”
“New evidence of the usage of banned cluster bombs needed an independent and impartial investigation.”
“Current judicial institutions still lack credibility which is needed to gain the trust of the victim community.”
“Magnitude and complexities of the international crimes need to be investigated which theOHCHRinvestigation could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
“Militarization with heavy military presence in the North and East, surveillance and harassment still persisting which needs to be swiftly addressed.”
“Use of Prevention of Terrorism Act 1979 still going on – torture and ill-treatment of detainees is still continuing – including the Tamils returning to Sri Lanka.”
“Should include voices abroad and further outreach in the diaspora in the process of implementation.”
“Military engagement in commercial activities including farming, tourism is giving rise to new levels of frustration and disenchantment.”
“Early successful prosecution would mark a turning point from the immunity of the past.”
“More rapid and sustained progress could have been made on other issues by release of land, detainees, PTA and Witness Protection Law.”
“Establishment of full transitional justice mechanism will be needed.”
“Current unwieldy co-ordination, arrangements within Government should be changed for integrated co-ordination with participation of civil society, consultation process with victims and civil society.”
“New office of missing persons will hopefully provide at least a form of immediate redress.”
“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterates the importance of all Sri Lankans to rally behind the process.”
“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights commended the restoration of the Constitutional Council, an independent Human Rights Commission and the ratification of the Disappearance Convention and described them as important achievements that will leave a legacy for the future.”
 
After having left the above unattended and matters still lying in limbo, the UN High Commissioner for Human rights in its conclusion says:
“Overall the Human Rights Council should be encouraged thus far by the steps that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken to implement some of the key commitments made in resolution 30/1.”
 
Firstly one has to look at the steps taken by Sri Lanka to implement some of the key commitments as mentioned by the UN High Commissioner. The key commitments can be listed as follows. Requesting Sri Lanka to:
 
[i] “Implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Government’s ownLLRCcommission.” The report of Verite Research, an independent think tank, has just reported that “only 20% of the 189 recommendations of LLRC have so far been implemented after a lapse of more than four years.”
[ii] Allow participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”
The fate of this proposal is already sealed by the President who has repeatedly declared his position and vowed that “he will not allow any foreign elements in the investigation as long as he is in power,” claiming that the Sri Lankan judicial system, structure and judges are fully competent to conduct the investigation into all allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc. It is to be noted that Sri Lankan criminal laws have no provisions or chapters to deal with international crimes and the Government of Sri Lanka has yet to initiate any steps to incorporate these laws into its system. This core commitment is already buried in total defiance of the 30/1 Resolution. The call to reform the domestic laws is also hanging in balance thereby negating the effectiveness called for in the Resolution of 30/1.
[iii] Call to introduce effective security sector reforms is yet to materialize and hardly any moves appear to have been initiated so far.  This inaction is facilitating the retention of persons into the security forces who are involved in the violations of human rights, abuses and international humanitarian laws. This commitment is yet to see its serious consideration from the government.
[iv] 258 political prisoners detained under the draconianPTA law have been languishing for several years with no hope of any judicial process to decide their fate despite the repeated promises given by thePresidentandPrime Ministeron various occasions.
[v] The call to accelerate the return of lands to its rightful civilian owners is another recommendation which is being handled willy-nilly almost as eyewash. In the Northern Province, out of the 69,992 acres seized by the security forces, until 2015 only 2565 acres had been released by the end of 2015, leaving approximately 67,427 acres in the hands of the military where thousands of families are still homeless and landless. While some lands are released, moves are afoot to size more lands which are underway in other areas for military use. The President’s promise to release the land and resettle those displaced within six months ended with a whimper when the period ended on June 30, 2016. The request to end military involvement in civilian activities, running hotels, restaurants, cultivating vegetables in displaced civilians lands and marketing them, running schools for pre-school children etc, are continuing  with scant respect to this recommendation. Business continues as usual depriving livelihood for the civilians in the North and East.

[vi] The call to investigate attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, members of minority groups as well as places of worship and to hold perpetrators of such attacks is still unheeded, not to mention the various such investigations into some killings and even court proceedings are either stalled or moving at snail’s pace, like journalist Lasantha Wickrematungeand the brutal killings of five university students in Trincomalee [these the few the Government agreed to investigate in the LLRC Government’s own findings] eg. The recent attacks on Muslims and Mosques are an example where the perpetrators are moving freely until now without any prosecution.
[vii] The long time promised repeal of the dreaded draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act 1983 is hanging in the balance while it is vigorously enforced currently. So far 42 new arrests have been made in 2015 and ending July 6, 2016, when a Tamil couple were arrested in Mullaitivu.

[viii] Call “to fulfill commitments on the devolution of political authority and ensure all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively in accordance with 13th Amendment.”

This commitment is struggling between life and death with no visible signs of any political moves. The only commitments implemented are the setting up of an Office of Missing Persons, without consulting the involved victims and civil groups as requested in the resolution. As such hope of full justice from this office is in doubt and at the most, this office will function to record statements of victims without powers to punish the guilty if any. The Government of Sri Lanka has ratified the convention relating to enforced disappearances and also passed the Witness Protection Law. However, the Government of Sri Lanka has already made guarantees of protection to the security forces to shield them from any punishment for crimes and violations committed during the war.

Field MarshalSarath Fonsekera, who conducted the war, is a Minister now and the Prime MinisterRanil Wickremasingheis relying on his political support to counter the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the commander-in-chief. Mahinda Rajapakse, along with his brotherGotabaya Rajapaksa, is currently engaged in resurrecting their political fortunes with the group ofSLFP[Sri Lanka Freedom Party members] and it will be a wonder if they are charged for any war crimes, not to mention any punishment for them. The core of the resolution is the elimination of the entrenched impunity practice in Sri Lanka for state officials, political big wigs and security forces and this core commitment appears to be doomed to meet its failure, as can be seen in the lukewarm and half-hearted steps and initiatives taken against the alleged past corrupt politicians who are flexing their muscles against the Government with total contempt.
 
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights avoiding any castigation of the Sri Lankan Government has welcomed the following steps initiated by the Sri Lankan Government which are encouraging for Human Rights council as he declared:-
 
[1] The setting up of the Office of Missing Persons is a welcome measure which, as stated earlier had been set up without any input from the affected victims, is yet to commence its function and only time will tell how far it has served the causes of justice bearing in mind the futile outcome of numerous commissions set up by the Governments of the past. The UN High Commissioner has rightly stated that “this office will hopefully provide at least a form of immediate redress,” hope against hope.
[2] Sri Lanka’s recent ratification of convention dealing with enforced disappearances is another welcome step of the government of Sri Lanka which can succeed only when there is political will and complete commitment to carry out its provisions.

It is to be noted that Sri Lanka has earlier ratified various conventions, particularly Convention Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1994 and the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial discrimination in 1982. The provisions of these conventions mostly lie as instruments of records without any dedication or commitment to follow or enforce their provisions as happens in various other countries that have also ratified them. As such this ratification will continue or be treated as an addition to the other ratified and unenforced UN Conventions.
 
An independent Human Rights Commission set up by the government of Sri Lanka is another good step which it is hoped will function independently without any pressure or interference from any affected parties or influential politicians.
The UN High Commissioner’s call for an inquiry into the use of cluster bombs is a bold demand which is as usual met with hostile reaction and denial from the Government of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka always has the habit of denying all wrongs like the denial of a single civilian death in the war from 2006 – 2009.

The UN High Commissioner has also solidly expressed its position in relation to the Sri Lankan military when they said that “The Government of Sri Lanka has to assert full control over its military-intelligence establishment.” An example of military assertiveness is its continued non-co-operation with inquiries relating to political assassinations, besides the mysterious disappearance of military records relating to these cases and record of missing persons. Another irritant is the military’s unwillingness to release the occupied land disregarding the Government’s stand on this matter. On the contrary, continuing to seize more lands shows the military’s hold on the Government. The Jaffna Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake, as reported recently by ‘Colombo Page’ media, said “that there will not be any Army or Camp reductions in the North and East for another five to ten years, and the government can then analyze the requirement.” This clearly shows the Army’s grip on the Government.
 
The UN High Commissioner also rightly concluded by saying that the “Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures.” The lapse of nine months since the resolution mattered to him in this conclusion.
Think tank ‘Verite Research’ in a statement on July 4th said “only 20% of LLRC and 11% of UNHRC have been implemented.” The Foreign MinisterMangala Samaraweerahas now come out with his own “promise of complete resettlement and handing over all lands before 2018.” Only time will tell the fate of this promise. With approximately 8218 acres of civilian lands still occupied by the military in Jaffna, only 4 out of 30 UNHRC resolutions have been implemented.
The prestigious ‘Hindu’ Newspaper in its editorial on July 03, 2016 stated “Sri Lanka must stay the course and ensure implementation of the resolution.” Thereby doubting its sincere commitments.
The UK based ‘Freedom from Torture‘ body has lamented “the continuing Sri Lankan government failure to involve international involvement.”
‘Human Rights Watch‘ has stated that “several of Sri Lanka’s key commitments remain unfulfilled.”
 
As such the overall picture is not rosy for the Tamils and their victims viewing the ground realities prevailing in Sri Lanka. While the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera, true and loyal to his portfolio, is making his own promises to calm the foreign countries even dismissing the contrary statements of the President and Prime Minister, who are declaring the true position for the consumption of locals mixed with empty promises to satisfy the Tamils during visits to North and East.
The UN Commissioner’s statement that “inevitably the transformative process on which Sri Lanka is embarked will take time” has provided the shield to employ their official delaying tactics “and use it as a defence and answer to any allegations of undue delay, stalling or dilly dallying in the process of implementation of the resolutions. To expect all Sri Lankans, particularly Tamils, to rally behind the process which is not backed with any punitive actions or sanctions for non-compliance will only hardly succeed.
It is suggested that an independent accountability mechanism must be evolved by the United Nations and put into place for enforcement by the UN Human Rights Council or Security Council against rogue members who indulge in violations of the provisions of United Nations conventions with impunity including the UN Charter. As long as this mechanism is absent, member states will continue to commit human rights violations with impunity avoiding accountability.

As for the Tamils, they can give only a guarded and cautious optimism while in the process making every effort and encouraging the UN High Commissioner to live up to its commitments, also living up to maintaining HRC’s goals and objectives which are to ensure the compliance of the core issues of human rights, the bedrock of the UN and Human Rights Council. The UN, HRC and Security Council have to function as the watchdogs of human rights with the duties to rein in violators giving no room or reliance on haphazard half-baked measures, empty promises or time buying tactics designed to hoodwink the international community at the expense of the victims.
The violations of human rights have to be judged on equal scales with no room for consideration of their political strength, clout or power-wielding positions.

Accountability, justice and rule of law must prevail and be dispensed with allowing no room for flexibility, relaxation or half-baked palliative measures. The fate of any UNHRC resolution expected to be passed during the 34th session in March 2017 ultimately lies in the hands of the Security Council and it is anybody’s guess as to the outcome. This depends on its members’ assessment of their political-economic, geographical strategic interests as well as the extent and level of friendship maintained by Sri Lanka with its members.

Despite the calls by various countries including USA, EU, UK, Canada, etc, to allow participation of international judges to show credibility, Sri Lanka has declared its determined position to flout its own resolution, testing the will and determination of UNHRC.
For the Tamils it is hoped that it would not end up as ‘a community with’ “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”
It is hoped that the United States as a co-sponsor of the resolution will not shirk or shed its responsibility in the implementation of all recommendations in the Resolution by Sri Lanka, and not allow or condone any delay, deviation or dereliction.
 

 
ARTICLE 36

Sri Lanka keeps Accountability and Justice at Bay
In the UPR sessions in Geneva
Sri Lanka has scored yet another diplomatic success at the UN Human Rights Council UPR Sessions in Geneva which conducted the Universal Periodic Review for Sri Lanka on November 15, 2017.
“Universal Periodic Review [UPR] is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states. This is one of the key elements of the Council which reminds states of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms”. [Wikipedia]
UPR aims at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 UN member states. The working group of the UPR is composed of all 47 Human Rights Council’s member states and chaired by HRC President during the reviews.
The reviews are based on three documents:-
1.                  A 20 Page National Report prepared by states under review.
2.                  A 10 page compilation of UN information prepared by OHCHR including the UN Special Procedure Reports, UN Documentation and Human Rights Treaty Body Reports.
3.                  A 10 page summary of information received from stakeholders including NGO’s national human rights institutions and other civil society actors and prepared by OHCHR.
Once the recommendations of the UNHRC are adopted, a concerned state under review is given a preliminary opportunity to indicate whether it supports the recommendations, which does not mean acceptance of same.
For Sri Lanka, the Council made a total of 230 recommendations for its consideration and endorsement.  Out of this total, 177 recommendations were examined by Sri Lanka and enjoyed the support of Sri Lanka, while 53 recommendations were examined by Sri Lanka and only noted.
In addition, Sri Lanka made twenty voluntary pledges and commitments from among these recommendations.
It is to be noted that the said recommendations have no legal binding effect on Sri Lanka. Furthermore as usual, Sri Lanka also had not made any firm commitments or expressed acceptances of same including implementation of any recommendations within a time line. While 177 recommendations merely enjoyed the support without any commitments to implement them, 53 recommendations are in effect rejected by Sri Lanka with no commitment to follow up and implement them at any time.
Some of the important recommendations which enjoy the support of Sri Lanka are as follows:-
1.                  To ratify the Optional Protocol against Torture, Cruel and Inhuman treatment etc. and implements same upon ratification.
2.                  To do more to combat all forms of discrimination with a focus on vulnerable groups.
3.                  Adopt comprehensive legislation on hate speech and indictment for same.
4.                  To investigate all attacks and hate speeches against members of religious minorities and prosecute the perpetrators.
5.                  To ensure the independent investigation into disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention.
6.                  To hold security forces and government officials accountable for human rights violations and abuses.
7.                  Creation of an accountability mechanism supported by international practitioners and fulfils all commitments made on transitional justice.
8.                  To fully implement commitments agreed in the UNHRC Resolution on 30/01/2015 at Geneva.
9.                  To accelerate the restitution of lands confiscated by the Army.
10.              Holding accountability for criminals who target religious minorities, religious places and journalists.
Some of the recommendations which Sri Lanka failed to support, but only noted are as follows, which in fact imply their non-acceptance.
1.                  Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
2.                  Ratify the Rome Statue of 1998 which created the International Criminal Court in 2002 and the Optional Protocol to Convention Against Torture etc.
3.                  Ratify Convention on Non- applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against humanity.
4.                  Repeal of Prevention of Terrorism Act which was promised several times earlier to the United Nations and European Union.
5.                  Publish a consolidated list of missing persons.
6.                  Take comprehensive measures to punish perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violations by investigating and prosecuting them.
7.                  A clear time line for Special Courts to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations.
8.                  A clear time-line for the implementation of UNHRC 30/1 Recommendations of 2015.
9.                  Setting up of an International Judicial Mechanism.
10.              Consider large scale transfer of lands seized by the Army for civilian use.
In mitigation and mollification for the rejection of some of the important recommendations, Sri Lanka made 20 voluntary pledges and commitments which included:-
1.                  Review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
2.                  Fulfil UNHRC Resolution 30/1 and UPRs recommendations, but without any time-limit for same. 3.                  To accede to Convention Against Torture. It is to be noted that these are pledges and commitments which only add to the total of pledges already made. It has to be stated that USA, Canada and another four countries recommended the principle of accountability and justice along with the implementation of 30/1 recommendations. A time-line for the implementation of all recommendations (total 230) was initiated by USA, UK and another six countries, while the recommendation of acceding to the Rome Treaty was requested by five countries, with eight countries calling on Sri Lanka to accept the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court. Sri Lankas responses of support to the most important recommendations are almost negated by its responses of non-acceptance of the 77 (seventy-seven) recommendations which are:-
1.                  Accountability and justice, holding security forces and Government officials liable for alleged commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc.
2.                  Full implementation of 30/1 UN Resolution.
3.                  Independent investigations into disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention.
4.                  Accelerate the restitution of lands confiscated by the Army.
5.                  Create an accountability mechanism supported by international practitioners.
The following important recommendations which met with the response of ‘noting’not even considering negate the effectiveness of the “supporting recommendations” listed above.
1.                  To take comprehensive measures to punish perpetrators of war crimes and human rights.
2.                  A time-line for Special Court to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations.
3.                  Publish a consolidated list of missing persons.
4.                  Set up an International Mechanism.
Above all, Sri Lanka has expressed its rejection of the following ongoing issues by subtly staging its ‘noting’ which in fact amounts to ‘no consideration’ of same at any time.
1.                  Ratification of Rome Statute and accepting International Criminal court [ICC} to investigate war crimes, genocide etc.
2.                  Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] which is already spilling with several earlier promises to UN, EU and the International Community.
3.                  Rejection of time-line for implementation of any recommendation particularly 30/1 UN Resolution
4.                  Rejection of a full-scale investigation into the disappearances of more than 65,000 people.
In totality, what the aggrieved Tamils has been clamoring during the past years, staging protest by hunger strike, continuing un interrupted sit in protests for more than an year on the streets demanding the whereabouts of their loved ones arbitrarily arrested by the military, police, and those who surrendered to the military during the last stage of the war in 2009 has been in a stage of limbo and coma which with the passage of time would only reach its oblivion and inevitable death.
Even its own UNHRC 30/1 Resolution’s recommendations appear to have been treated with scant respect and in defiance of UN, UNHRC and UN Special Rapporteurs. Viewing the past handling and lopsided treatment by Sri Lanka for its own commissions’ recommendations like the recent LLRC, CTF and Paranagama Commission it would be naive and foolhardy to expect or have faith on any Sri Lankan Government to implement any or all recommendations in good faith which are harmful and inimical to the Security Forces, Government Officials and those interfering with the progress of Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation  [of Tamils traditional and historical homeland] agenda which was set in motion since independence in 1948.
It has to be keenly noted that the President of Sri Lanka told a gathering of Sri Lankans in Seoul, South Korea on 27th November that “There won’t be electric chair, international war tribunals or foreign judges. That book is closed” Also he said “I did not obtain power to weaken the security forces or national security my first priority was to win back the international community, which I did”
Sri Lanka’s evasion  of ‘acceptance’ with the words of ‘enjoying the support’ and rejection of 53 [fifty three] recommendations with the use of word ‘noting’ only confirms the net result which is ‘nil acceptance’ , at least without any written pledges or undertakings to implement any of the recommendations including the important 30/1 UNHRC recommendations. The various statements of Government Ministers confirm the position of government which is nothing but brushing aside the 30/1 UNHRC recommendations jointly sponsored by USA and Sri Lanka.  UN Human Rights Council members particularly USA and Canada stressed the principle of accountability and justice with a time-line for delivery, and as expected Sri Lanka is adamantly sticking to its culture of impunity while shaking the credibility of UNHRC, UN and other countries particularly USA and Canada, the countries in the forefront for human rights.
Most of the war victims are innocents, widows, orphans and landless civilians who belong to the Tamil community living in the North and East. Now they are left in the lurch searching for proper channels to obtain the long delayed justice denied so far by the International community.
Added to this misery is the failure successive Sri Lankan Governments and their dismal record of non-delivery of a just and permanent political settlement which is dragging on for the last sixty years.
The realistic expectation and optimism of the Tamils that the present government of ‘good governance’ will live up to its commitments are also gradually melting and disappearing day by day. The UNP-SLFP alliance of convenience is showing signs of withering away due to lack of collective responsibility and political will and it is fast becoming a ‘same old government’.  The only hope of survival lies in their uniting to ward off the rising Rajapakshe clout that have already reaped the impunity for all the wrongdoings, thanks to Ranil and Maithiri, not to mention the impunity for alleged war crimes.
However, even if all the efforts are pooled together, any proposal offered as a solution to the ethnic problem, will be surely aborted by Mahinda Rajapakshe family and his party members in Parliament, Jathika Hela Urumaya Party and Maha Sanga Mahanayakas and other South chauvinists without any convincing reasons or rhyme but solely for the sake of political opportunism coupled with the unfounded fear and bogey of separation.
This being the foreboding and a political forgone conclusion, it is up to the Tamils to seek the help and intervention of International Community including the United Nations to initiate an acceptable political settlement proposal and make it legally binding on Sri Lanka for implementation. Tamil National Alliance leader Sampanthan in a recent statement has indicated his intention to seek the assistance of the International Community if Sri Lanka fails to fulfil its commitments. Likewise the Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran has also confirmed his stand to approach the International Community as Sri Lanka has so far failed to offer an acceptable political settlement.
Whether Sri Lankan Government will live up to its commitments is only a six million dollar question.
Unless and until a politician turned statesman like Nelson Mandela emerges and rules Sri Lanka, there is no hope for a trouble free and peaceful Sri Lanka in the future.

#

 
 2018
ARTICLE 37

United Nations: Protectors or Watchers?
 
The United Nations is a global organization that brings together its member states to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action in an enduring “quest for a peaceful world.”
One of the main purposes of the United Nations is to maintain world peace and security. At present there are 193 member states in the UN.
Of the all main organs of the United Nations, Security Council is the primary organ consisting five permanent members [USA, United Kingdom, China, France and Russia] and ten rotating members chosen as representatives of various regions of the world.
The Security Council has the primary responsibility under the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. Resolutions of the Security Council legally bind the member states for compliance, while the UN resolutions do not have any legally binding effect, with consequences for non-compliance unless authorized by the Security Council.
The United Nations can however make suggestions and recommendations to the Security Council for its consideration and adoption.
 
One of the United Nations’ primary purposes is promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to age, sex, language or religion and member states pledge to undertake “joint and separate action” to protect these rights ‘with member states duty bound to carry out UN Resolutions.

However, in practice the United Nations General Assembly on its own cannot take sufficient action against human rights abuses without a Security Council Resolution. The Security Council since its inception in 1948 has so far passed more than 2,400 resolutions. The Security Council through its resolutions has the powers to impose economic, political and/or diplomatic sanctions against any state which is in breach of any Articles of United Nations Conventions resulting in threats of peace, breaches of peace or acts of aggression. Besides, the Security Council can also authorize peacekeeping operations including military action as happened in 1991 against Iraq which invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990.

The UN Security Council also authorises referrals to the International Criminal Court to try leaders of countries and/or military officials who are alleged to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, etc. This referral brings countries who have not signed the Rome Statute of 2002, to face prosecution for war crimes, etc, as happened in Rwanda, Darfur genocide in 2005 and the genocide by rulers of Sudan in 2011 against South Sudan rebels.

The Security Council, by a Resolution No 1706 in 2005 called R2P [Responsibility to Protect], is also empowered to take preventive action to protect civilians in armed conflict, including initiating action against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
 
All in all, the duties of maintenance of world peace, prevention of human rights violations and punishment of perpetrators lie only on the Security Council’s fifteen members, particularly on five permanent members who also enjoy the veto power to nullify a resolution even if backed by the other fourteen members.
The power of vetoing a Resolution by a permanent member, even if backed by the rest of the 14 Security Council members, is nothing but a humiliation and disrespect to other members, which action has often been described as an ‘abuse of power’ by one member. “Veto power was alleged to be forced by the Super Powers through threat that without the veto there will be no United Nations”.
The net effect is that the UN Security Council is owned by the five Super Powers who can make or unmake a resolution and situation. The recent veto exercised by the US in the Security Council to rescind its decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel is one example when world opinion was treated with nil importance and scant respect. The US, being the major contributor of funds for the United Nations [about 22%], also holds a dominant influence over the functions of the United Nations.
 
If one traces the record of the United Nations and Security Council during the past 50 years, its dismal performances and failures stand exposed and glaring to any one observer. Some of the inexcusable failures are as follows, which could have been prevented at the outset, but were allowed to reach their ends with horrifying results:
 
The genocide of Bangladeshis in 1971 during the war with Pakistan;
 
The genocide in Cambodia by Pol Pot;
 
The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 when Tutsis in their thousands were killed by Hutus;
 
Massacres in Srebrenica in 1995 where Muslims were massacred by Serbs;
 
Civil war in Somalia and Sudan which resulted in the killings of thousands of rebels by government forces and militants with the blessings of their rulers.
 
The gross failure of the United Nations and Security Council during the genocidal war in Sri Lankafrom 2006 to May 18, 2009 is one recent ignominious performance of the world bodies, United Nations and Security Council.
The Toronto Star [Canada] on November 20, 2012 commented this failure as follows:
“When as many as 40,000 Tamils were killed during the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, the United Nations did not hold a single formal meeting. Not at the Security Council, not at the General Assembly. Not at the Human Rights Council.”
“In Sri Lanka, United Nations retreated into craven silence and looked the other way that emboldened war criminals to ply their vicious trade.”
“This systematic failure is appalling coming long after the United Nations was thought to have absorbed the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ lessons from the Rwanda genocide and Srebrenica in 1995.”
 
Rosie Dimanno, the Star columnist commented as follows: “On Sri Lanka the United Nations was notoriously deaf, dumb and blind.”
“The United Nations had a pretty clear idea of what was happening in the killing fields of Sri Lanka during the bloody climax of civil war, yet it suppressed or diluted that information, utterly failing in its core mission of protecting civilians.”
“Instead the Security Council and United Nations Secretariat were cowed by the Sri Lankan authorities, who enjoyed “the effective acquiescence of post 9/11 world order” to defeat an enemy.” Genocide Prevention Project [NY] Index 2008 “identified Sri Lanka as one of the eight alert countries where genocide and other mass atrocities were under way.”
 
Former Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon, who remained passive and actionless during the war, visited Sri Lanka in September 2016 and lamented as follows, conceding the grave failure of his office; “Something more terrible seems happened in the past in 1994, in Rwanda, there was a massacre, more than one million people were massacred, United Nations felt responsible for that. We said repeatedly ‘never again, never again’ it happened just one year after Srebrenica, We did again in Sri Lanka.”
Adding insult to injury was the UNHRC’s Resolution in May 2009 which praised Sri Lanka for ending the civil war by eliminating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE]; However, this resolution was condemned later “as a slap on human rights and endorsement of genocide, but later realised its folly and ignorance of facts and figures and falling to the game of duplicity by Sri Lanka.”
 
Some legal commentators have even hinted the United Nations’ failures as a crime of complicity committed during the war providing the encouragement and allowing its continuation. However, the failure of the United Nations and Security Council is continuing in the current situation involving the ethnic Rohingya Muslims who have been living in Myanmar [Burma] for generations. They have been stripped of their citizenship and denied almost all rights and also labelled as stateless. Rohingyas are people with their own language, religion and culture. They are a distinct ethnic group qualified for protection by the United Nations and necessary action against Myanmar [Burmese] authorities and security forces that are forcefully expelling them from their Rakhine State to flee and take shelter in the neighbouring poor country Bangladesh.
The current situation as commented by a former United Nations General Romeo Dallaire is “You are in the midst of a very slow moving deliberate genocide.” Various genocidal crimes are being committed by the Myanmar [Burmese] Government and security forces including forceful expulsion by the Myanmar army which is continuing to commit the crimes of murder, rape, burning of their houses and villages in addition to mass atrocities. It is estimated that between August and September 2017, 6,700 Rohingyas were killed while 670,000 have fled the Buddhist-majority Myanmar into Bangladesh to escape the ‘ethnic cleansing’ as called by the United Nations, now described as genocide.
The disgusting scenario is the continuing of military operations despite condemnations and mutual agreements with the Myanmar Government to diffuse the crisis.
 
The world is watching the horrors as well as the United Nations and Security Council. United Nations Secretary General His Excellency Antonio Guterres summed up the situation as follows:
 
“We are still repeating rather than preventing and acting only when it is often too late. We must do more to respond early and keep violence from escalating. One such case may be Myanmar.”
“One year of investigations reveals mounting evidence that points to genocide against Rohingya Muslims with Myanmar army soldiers, police and civilians as the major perpetrators. Genocide has recurred multiple times.”
“Rohingyas have suffered attacks and systematic violations for decades. The Tamils in Sri Lanka also suffered the similar harrowing experiences for the last sixty years under the watchful eyes of United Nations and International Community.”
It is clear that the International Community and Myanmar Government failed to protect Rohingya civilians from mass atrocities, repeating its failure in Sri Lanka.
What has been going on in the Rakhine State of Rohingyas is nothing but a calculated pre-planned process of genocide committed by Myanmar This is now openly admitted by the United Nations and International Community but only after watching the continuation of atrocities and remaining abhorrently silent until genocide is accomplished like in Sri Lanka. The United Nations Secretary General admits this by saying that “Genocide can take place in times of war and in times of peace. We must be ever vigilant”.
 
Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng sums up the situation correctly as follows:
 
“It is our inaction and effectiveness in addressing the warning signals that allows it to become a reality. Genocide does not happen by accident. It is deliberate with warning signs and pre cursors.”
 
Whether the Security Council will now act quickly and decisively to prevent the genocide of Rohingyas is anybody’s guess even though international pressure is mounting.
It appears that the five permanent members of the Security Council are adopting a lethargic and wait and see approach to the plight of Rohnigyas. The permanent members, particularly the US, spring in to action when their economic, political and strategic interests are threatened. For instance protecting the oil rich state Kuwait, prompted the intervention and invasion of Iraq in 1990.
Strategic interests to protect the friendly state Israel prompted the Security Council, scrambling into an emergency session to discuss the Israeli-Gaza conflict when ten friendly Israeli lives were lost.
It can be stated that a thread of duplicity appears to be running through the web of the United Nations’ actions which seems to confirm the application of different scales of values to people affected depending on the continents they live. Certainly Africa and Asia fall within this web of duplicity.
 
There is no denying the fact that the Security Council is being monopolized to protect and promote the interests of the Super Powers, rather than to go to the rescue of the marginalised victims of state aggression, particularly happening in third world countries.
Even manipulation and intimidating tactics are employed to achieve the goals of some powerful countries. Furthermore the United Nations also failed to enforce the R2P [Responsibility to protect] rule introduced by Canada, making its existence questionable and relevant.
British historian Paul Kennedy’s statement on the Security Council confirms; “Glaring failures had not only accompanied the United Nations’ many achievements, but they overshadowed them, for instance the lack of will to prevent ethnic massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda.”
 
The discriminatory enforcement or lack of enforcement of Security Council Resolutions also casts doubt on the integrity of UN Resolutions concerning Muslims who are apparently treated unfavourably like the Resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Israel from occupied areas while Israel is allowed to flout it by building new settlements. It is to be noted that the affected Rohingyas are also Muslims living in poverty and neglect.

The present United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, recently expressed his frustration over the current plight and state of human rights by saying that “This is an age when the United States and other world powers are retreating from their historical commitments to human rights.” His decision not to request an extension to his position due to this sorry state of human rights has only worsened the plight of the victims of human rights who as an alternative could be forced to resort to obtaining redress and relief employing violent methods.
Besides addressing issues such as lack of will and a collective agreement to prevent genocide, the United Nations must also concentrate on evolving new swift judicial mechanisms without delay to ensure accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes, etc.
 
The United Nations should watch and act fast to prevent and end the human tragedies rather than silently watching to know the end result of the atrocities. [As happened to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and now what is happening to the Muslims in Myanmar where the majority community are also Buddhists].
 
Will the United Nations live up to its commitments or continue to function letting down the victims of Human Rights?

ARTICLE 38
Sri Lanka: Time For Action – UN Feb/March Sessions
 
The 37th UN Human Rights Council is scheduled to commence on February 26, 2018 and concludes March 23rd. During this session, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to present his written interim report on Sri Lanka, while Special Rapporteurs who visited Sri Lanka in 2017 are also expected to present their reports.
The High Commissioner’s Report will be crucial for the war victims and Tamils in Sri Lanka who have been longing, yearning and clamouring for accountability and justice from the United Nations and International Community after the denial and delaying tactics from the Sri Lankan Government and Sri Lanka’s judicial system, with a culture of impunity embedded in the Sri Lankan state mechanisms.
The UNHRC Resolution [30/1] of October, 2015, jointly sponsored by Sri Lanka and the United States, laid down comprehensive and constructive proposals and recommendations designed to uphold accountability and justice with proposals to promote and establish permanent reconciliation between communities, particularly for the Tamils.
The Sri Lankan Government made twenty five undertakings in the Resolution and promised to implement them within two years [October 2017].
The Sri Lankan Government as usual did not pay any attention to this Resolution and the 25 recommendations are still lying in paper form except for initiating a legislation to deal with mission persons which is about 65,000. The legislation is still waiting without any steps taken to make the Office of the Missing Persons operational and functional with the involvement of victims of disappeared.
However, the Sri Lankan Government successfully manoeuvred and obtained another two year extension to implement all the recommendations. Twenty eight months have now lapsed since the Resolution and undertakings of the Government of Sri Lanka.
The review of Sri Lanka’s record of implementation of these 25 recommendations only reveals defiance, disrespect and discarding them along with open statements of rejection and therefore no need for Sri Lanka to implement them, considering their lack of enforcement measures.
 
The President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have all made public statements to this effect, some of which are as follows:
 
1). President Maithripala Sirisena on September 3, 2017 said that “He will not allow the international community to even lay a hand on former Army Commander Gen. Jagath Jayasuriyaor any of Sri Lanka’s military chiefs or war heroes for that matter.” The President made these comments during the 66th anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), held at Campbell Park Grounds in Borella. [Adaderana.lk of Sept. 03, 2017]
 
2). “I have clearly said that I am not prepared to serve charge sheets to our soldiers or to have foreign judges to try our security forces,” Mr. Sirisena said.“It is my duty to protect the troops,” he said. In short blanket impunity has been granted. [The Hindu – March 05, 2017]
 
3). Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that “Most of the disappeared are dead.” Thereby the government has almost closed all the investigations into the disappeared. [Channel 4 Interview]
 
4). “No withdrawal of security forces from the North.” This in effect is guaranteeing their permanent residence.
 
 
The core recommendations of the UNHRC Resolution emphasized the principles of justice and accountability and they involved the following:
 
[a] Human Rights Violations investigations while ensuring a credible judicial process with the participation of Commonwealth and foreign judges in an internal judicial mechanism.
 
[b] Return of land to its rightful civilian owners.
 
[c] Security Sector reform.
 
[d] Repeal the [Draconian] Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA]
 
[e] Setting up of Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, Office of the Missing Persons and an Office for Repatriation.
 
Regarding Reconciliation the Resolution calls on Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority and to ensure that all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively in accordance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
Except the return of about 6,000 acres of land in the Jaffna Peninsula, there are still about 5,000 acres in the hands of the Army. Similarly, partial returns have taken place in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar districts.
The sum position is that none of the 25 Recommendations has been fully implemented and there is no likelihood that they will ever be implemented.
Even the Office of Missing Persons Act which was passed in August 2016 is still battling between life and death. It is now in the books of the legislature, already signed by the President. There is no sign of this Act becoming fully operational in the selected locations. Neither an office nor staff nor Commissioners have been found and/or selected, though much talk is going on in this respect without action, due to political wrangling.
The Government has also indicated that there will be no more military withdrawal in the North and so the release of lands is also becoming a matter of uncertainty and unknown to the affected.
 
The Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] of 1979 is in full operation, though Sri Lanka promised to repeal the same with legislation and contemporary international best practices. Various pleas and requests from Human Rights bodies, United Nations, the European Union and other democratic countries have been ignored, uncared and un-responded. The United Nations, UNHRC and the International community cannot shy away from the defiance, denigration and disrespectful attitude and approach of Sri Lanka towards the Recommendations of the UNHRC Resolution.
Often official statements have been made which confirm the Government’s determination to bypass and avoid compliance of the Resolutions, Recommendations, which was ironically co-authored and submitted by Sri Lanka for adoption in the UNHRC.

Similarly, the reconciliation progress is also in a stalemate without any finality and consensus among the political parties involved as to the settlement proposals.
 
The past experiences show that ultimately South chauvinism and “Mahavamsa mindset” will prevail and sabotage the reconciliation process and co-operation extended by TNA while leaving the Tamil community to search for alternatives.
While various promises given to Tamils and Tamil leaders have been unconscionably dishonoured and ignored – like the release of political prisoners arrested under the PTA, the release of civilians legal lands, the promise made by the President to release the whereabouts of the missing persons arrested by the military/police and those who surrendered to the military during the last stage of the war, the internal judicial investigation into war crimes, etc, the pending much talked about the promise of once and for all settling the ethnic problem through the proposed new constitution is also likely to suffer the same fate like other promises.
There is still neither consensus among the political parties nor any agreement as to any settlement proposals. The Government is confusing the people using terms like “Aekiya Rajyaya” and “Aekiya Raajyaya” the former interpreted as ‘one rule’ and the latter as ‘one country’ which denotes a ‘unitary form’ of Government. It appears the ‘one country’ term is meant to cajole and hoodwink the Tamils while the ‘one rule’ or unitary form is actually intended and meant for the Sinhalese and for the whole country.
The government hopes to succeed by fishing in the troubled waters using these contradictory and confusing terms. It can safely be assumed that the Tamils will be left with no acceptable political settlement, if in case a new constitution comes into being, the possibility of which is mired with uncertainty due to the political tug-of-war going on between the major Sinhalese political parties and the rising opposition from extremist Buddhist clergy members and South chauvinists.
Therefore the forthcoming UNHRC sessions assumes much importance as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Report is expected to reveal the Sri Lankan Governments’ past record and steps taken, steps avoided, steps rejected/steps delayed in relation to the 24 UNHRC Resolution’s Recommendations.
 
As mentioned earlier, the Sri Lankan Government has hardly anything to place before the UNHRC except its usual tantrums of doling out convincing promises accompanied with hollow reasons for the delay and default in implementing the Recommendations.
Already the Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has indicated that “The Government will yet again request another two year extension,” while on various occasions the Minister has stated that “Sri Lanka is not bound by the UNHRC Resolution or its Recommendations and it is up to Sri Lanka to pick up and choose what to implement if it chooses to do so.
 
It is relevant to quote what Human Rights Watch Director Brad Adams in his Annual Report 2017on Sri Lanka dated January 26, 2018. “The Sri Lankan Government has been all talk and no action on repealing the reviled PTA”
“Sri Lankan leaders appear to be backtracking on key human rights obligations including reforming the Police”. Besides the four pillars of transnational justice viz:
[i] Accountability
[ii] Truth seeking and reparation
[iii] Reconciliation
[iv]Justice for the disappeared
 
All of which remain unfulfilled. In addition Benjamin Dix, who served as the United Nations Communications Manager in Vanni war zone from 2004 to 2008 in an interview with Press Trust of India on January 27, 2018 stated that “It is very fair to say that the army committed genocide. The atrocities in Sri Lanka were definitely towards ethnic cleansing”.
“Army did not liberate Tamils from the Tamil leadership. It was not liberation but destruction of Tamil community.”
“Atrocities continue in terms of removing the Tamil history. There is a huge drive to change the demography of North of Sri Lanka.”
 
Sri Lanka having nothing to brag about the forthcoming UNHRC Sessions, it is hoped that UNHRC will not trust nor be swayed by Sri Lanka’s pet promises or undertakings made only at occasions with little value involving the International Community and Leaders.
A solemn and heavy duty therefore lies on UNHRC and the United Nations to dispense justice to the victimised Tamils, besides justice to the findings of several United Nations Special Rapporteurs who painstakingly compiled their reports after visiting Sri Lanka and interacting with victims and witnesses. The last hope of victims is the UNHRC, United Nations and Security Council, and if they shirk or falter to deliver the denied justice to the victims who waited so long yearning for justice, the credibility and relevance of the UN system is bound to be questioned by the International Community, Human Rights Organizations and Human Rights Activists.
The United Nations and UNHRC must not be viewed and described as “Talking Shops” and places of sojourn to exchange greetings and pleasantries.

Shunning any dominance and influence exerted by the powerful mighty nations is another malaise which has to be taken care of by the UNHRC and United Nations to maintain their credibility.

Mere statements of condemnation and patting encouragement for compliance by the human rights violators is not the need of the hour, but holding the perpetrators accountable through appropriate political economic and diplomatic punishing measures will only sanctify human rights and guarantee their universal observance and intended respect.

It is fervently hoped that UNHRC will fulfil its commitments and perform its mandated role as the last resort for victims of human rights all over the world.
It can be safely concluded that any further extension by the UNHRC to Sri Lanka will lead to nothing but the signing of the death certificate for the UNHRC October 1, 2015 Resolution
 
  
ARTICLE 39

Eroded aspirations and unity of Tamil political parties
 
In Sri Lanka’s last Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2015, the majority of Tamils and Muslims voted for the ‘good governance’ promised by the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP led by Maithripala Sirisena who wisely broke free from the hold of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The International Community greeted the victories of these leaders with much relief resulting in the ouster of a hostile and dictatorial Rajapaksa.
The Tamils also felt relieved and hoped for the deliverance of promises made during the election campaign by the new leaders. The Tamil National Alliance [TNA] for the first time called on the Tamils and Muslims to vote for the coalition parties though Tamils were already determined to vote out Mahinda Rajapaksa for conducting the genocidal war with the support of 22 countries and caused the worst sufferings for the Tamils.
Now, after two years in power, the record of ‘good governance’ is disappointing and deceptive as a whole, except the removal of fear and insecurity among the civilians who now enjoy the freedom of speech and expression.
TNA’s Leader Sampanthan became the official Opposition Leader, a post which was earlier held by the Tamil United Liberation Front’s [TULF] late Amirthalingam during the UNP’s rule in 1977 by the late J.R. Jayawardene.
The defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] in the 2006-2009 war who dominated the Tamil’s political scene and power has resulted in a complete change of equations. The fall from a commanding position of the Tamils has now resulted in a fall into divisive dismal politics and policies among the Tamil Parties and leaders.
TNA compised of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization [TELO] People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam [PLOTE] Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front [EPRLF] and Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [ITAK] opted to support the ‘good governance’ of coalition Government without joining it and without any written agreements laying down conditions of support.  Oral and gentlemen’s promises and undertakings were preferred and relied on by TNA despite the fact that earlier written agreements were treated with scrap values, while oral promises also suffered similar fate like Mahinda’s offering of 13+, with more powers in the 13th Amendment for the Northern Provincial Council] for the Tamils.
 
It has always been the habit and practice of Sinhalese leaders to pour out promises on occasions whenever they appear in the Tamil areas and cities, Jaffna, etc, and during election time. The classic example is former Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawala’s promise in Jaffna in the 1950s to grant parity of status to Sinhalese and Tamil Languages. In general promises given to Sinhalese in the South are mostly honored to keep alive the chances of political success. Similarly the written Pacts made with Sinhalese leaders also suffered the same fate for political expediency and fortunes like:- Bandaranayake/Chelvanayagam Pact of 1957. Dudly/Chelvanayagam Pact of 1965, Indo/SriLanka Accord of 1967, Oslo Agreement of 2002, etc.
Political opportunism always prevails over political stability and national reconciliation. The present Government of ‘good governance’ deservedly justified the hopes of Tamils for a permanent and acceptable political settlement, viewing the historical but uneasy alliance of the two major political parties, UNP and SLFP who always earlier played the role of killing each others’ political proposals, true to the spirit of opposing them for political opportunism and gains.
These two parties with their absolute majority in Parliament along with the unconditional support of TNA appear to be wavering, bickering among themselves, showing the lack of commitment and political determination to end the ethnic problem once and for all. The present opportunity could be the last and if missed, it will never materialize in the future as ‘opportunity only knocks once and if missed it is lost forever’. It appears to be that this opportunity is being frittered away.
The past two year’s rule of the government is surely disappointing for all but more for the Tamils. As for the Tamils the writing was on the wall when the 100 day program first mentioned and included the settlement of ethnic problems and later deleted it as a non-priority.  The hopes of the Tamils and even the TNA’s expectations were dealt a blow by this deliberate action which was in fact like the Tamil proverb “the sound of bells comes first signalling the after arrival of elephant”. True to the policy of following the precedents of earlier Sinhalese leaders, several and various promises were made by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil to Tamil leaders, Tamil demonstrators, Tamil delegations even to the International Community and foreign dignitaries. Some of them are related to the release of political prisoners and the fate of missing and/or disappeared persons and seized civilian lands.
As expected these promises remain unfulfilled so far and hopefully they will remain as they are now, ignored and considered as casual.
 
TNA’s leader Sampanthan who is also the Leader of the Opposition crowned with the leadership of Tamils reposed full trust and confidence on the dual leadership of President Maithri and Prime Minister Ranil. He also made strong and convincing statements with full confidence that an acceptable political settlement would be forthcoming within 100 days and then promised it before the Diwali in 2016 and then again before the Diwali in 2017.  Now he is expressing his hope to celebrate the next 2018 Diwali with happiness and joy, believing that the evasive political settlement will materialize by then. On all occasions, he requested for patience and not to spoil the present climate which is seemingly muddy and pessimistic.

The ongoing episode involving the political prisoners who are locked up without going through the judicial process of trial, bail, conviction or release is simply a mockery of justice and rule of law inflicted by this ‘good governance’ The pathetic scenario concerning the three political prisoners whose trials which were conducted in Vavuniya and now ordered to be transferred to Anuradhapura is just another hallmark of this ‘good governance’ aided by the favourable Attorney General’s office.
The obvious unjustifiable fear is that the trial in Anuradhapura will lead to conviction influenced by the ethnic factors and spoiling and damaging situations for the prisoners and Tamil lawyers. This is another assault on the judiciary and the lack of faith on Tamil Judges or jury while expecting a sure conviction to follow if the trial is conducted in Anuradhapura possibly before a Sinhala Judge. The ‘good governance’ has thus indicated its ‘continuance of the policy of justice based on ethnic factors’. [It is to be noted these political prisoners were arrested on suspicion under DRACONIAN Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] and most of them are in jail for more than 10 years with delayed hearings and inaction of the Governments in power].
 
It is all the more sickening to note the disappointing TNA leadership to remedy this simple and unjust procedural step. It appears that he has now folded his opposition role and has opted to treat the promises given by the President as lighthearted empty statements with no value or seriousness while being careful to maintain the policy of collaboration and co-operation with the Government.
The TNA’s performance in the other serious matters affecting the Tamils is far from satisfactory. The Interim Committee’s Constitutional Proposals are just formulations and suggestions without any finality. The proposals like the rejection of a unitary form of Government and a shared sovereignty for the North and East have not been accepted by the committee which is confirmed by the TNA’s footnote to the proposals which bares the truth that there was no 100% consensus for the proposals by those participated excepting the UNP.

The TNA Leader is now asking Tamils not to mention the word ‘federal’ as it would antagonize the Sinhalese. It is to be mentioned that late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam formed the Federal Party advocating federalism as the final and only solution to the Tamils political grievances. Even the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in its judgement confirmed the position that ‘federalism is not separation and it would not lead to separation’, thus once and for all put an end to this unfounded controversy and confusion surrounding federalism which is prevailing among the Sinhalese.
 
It is all the more pathetic to note the unbelievable silence of TNA to launch an awareness campaign for the people in the South and mobilize the support of both Tamils and Sinhalese to endorse federalism, besides pressing the ‘good governance’ to take meaningful steps towards a federal system justifying its position morally, legally and politically suitable for Sri Lanka.
TNA has also unreasonably failed to fully identify itself with the peaceful protesters campaigning for ‘the disappeared and missing’, ‘political prisoners’, and release of lands seized by the security forces’. TNA has now opted and chosen the role of spectators and as random face showing participants instead of acting as leaders to spearhead these campaigns. It appears that the affected Tamils as a whole are now brought down and forced to the position to initiate the protests and fend for themselves on their own as long as they can survive braving the heat, dust, cold and rain.
There is no doubt that this weak and aimless leadership of TNA has emboldened the ‘good governance’ to proceed with its own agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalaisation in the North and East of Sri Lanka [The historical and traditional homeland of the Tamils]. TNA holding the ‘Leader of the Opposition’ post is functioning neither as an opposition party to the Government’s program and decisions affecting the Sinhalese and Tamils, nor with any constructive moves to carry forward the struggle of Tamils giving vent to their feelings of grief, frustration and traumas accumulated during the last sixty years.
It appears that TNA has chosen to better support ‘Maithri and Ranil’ rather than allowing Mahinda to rise as the next ruler.
As for the Tamils, there is no gainsaying of the fact that all the Sinhalese leaders are united in pursuing the agenda of Buddhisiation and Sinhalisation but only disunited as to the intensity and scope in their pursuit of the communal campaign with each one outclassing and out beating the other to capture the political crown.
Maithri’s veiled warning to the protesters in Jaffna who protested against his visit by saying that “If you don’t support me you will allow only a ghost to emerge” shows his fear for Mahinda, but for the Tamils, both are one coin with two faces but with same political value.
 
It is incomprehensible to note that the TNA leader has not achieved anything concrete so far after eight years of leadership given by the Tamils since 2009.
Their failings and omissions have to be highlighted for the sake of information.
 
1). TNA has neither passed a resolution confirming the ‘GENOCIDE’ nor there is any oral statement made to this effect so far. TNA by this unpardonable blunder has only weakened the Tamils cause in the United Nations, UNHRC and International Community while discouraging the West also to desist calling the war crimes as

GENOCIDE.

2). TNA has failed to carry on a campaign to prosecute the war criminals either locally or outside or even initiating steps to prosecute them under the Universal Jurisdiction Clause. This inexcusable lapse is nothing but inflicting more wounds to the victims of war and to the dead and fallen youths and civilians, thus jettisoning the twin principles of accountability and justice.
3). TNA has maintained inexplicable silence over the ongoing process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation. It appears they have left this matter to the affected locals to protest in places where Buddhist Viharas are built and Buddha statues are erected. This silence of TNA could be considered as consent to the Government’s program, justifying the saying that ‘silence is consent’.
4). Furthermore Sam and Suma appear to be controlling the ITAK as well as the TNA. This is seen when the other partners in the TNA [TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE] have started to openly criticize Sam and particularly Sum for taking decisions without their approval, not even consultation with them. Sampanthan’s recent step motherly treatment of EPRLF MP Sivasakthi Ananthan as an outcast in the Parliament during the debate on the constitutional proposals by denying and stifling his democratic rights to speak while allowing all the other TNA MPs smacks of his dictatorial attitude. Above all this unjust action confirms his utter disregard to maintain the unity of TNA, thus falling into the hands of Maithiri/Ranil’s ‘divide and rule policy’. The duo have thus broken the TNA’s unity and discipline along with their strength to speak with one voice. Undoubtedly, the duo have fallen into the historical ‘divide and rule trap policy’ of Sinhalese leaders. The often heard pleas and cries of suffering Tamils for a united front and united voice seem to be falling on the deaf ears of TNA.
5). TNA has so far never initiated any mass and popular protests against the Government for their delay, refusal and denial of justice and remedies for the grievances of Tamils which have been accumulating for the past sixty years, particularly after the genocidal war, Above all it is a pity that TNA has no agenda or program of action to pursue the goals and aspiration of Tamils. It appears the recent statements of TNA are confirming their abandoning the election pledges of Federalism and North & East merger while accepting the unitary form of Government and endorsing Buddhism’s foremost place in the Proposed Constitution.
6). TNA leadership is also making wavering and confusing statements on the Interim Committee Proposals, sometimes saying “we will fight for federalism and merger of North and East’ and on another occasion ‘a united country with federal aspects’, while Suma says ‘There is no possibility of North and East merger’. Sam and Suma are also blowing hot and cold over the clause giving Buddhism its foremost place’. While in Parliament, Sumanthiran in one breath advocates the insertion of ‘secular state’, in another breath he says ‘we will accept Buddhism’s foremost place if the Buddhists want it’. This is nothing but confusing and self-contradictory.
 
It is further disappointing to note the dismantled TNA and the subdued and meek opposition expressed by TNA which is not the hallmark in the political history of Tamils. Viewing the TNA’s unacceptable and poor political performance and consequently weakening the causes of the Tamils, who are also ignored by Security Council and United Nations so far, a solemn duty has fallen on the shoulders of students and their leaders to rise up and take control of the politics and destiny of Tamils. Power of students has to be recognized, embraced and accepted by all the Tamils to carry forward the struggle for accountability and justice.
Sacrificing some time and energy for this noble cause will go down in the history as sacrifices to save the Tamils from extinction through the process of assimilation which is underway in the North and East. Duty and burden also lies on them to make the Government and the International Community realise the strength of opposition which is now treated by the Government as nuisance or no value.  Sam & Suma’s much applauded speeches in Parliament during the debate on ‘Interim Committee Proposals’ focused on the need for an acceptable solution ending with entreating and humble pleas to the Government to consider the importance of solution to the national question. However, it has fallen short without indicating or mentioning the action plan of TNA in the event the Government fails to honor the pleas and deliver an acceptable political settlement proposals, which situation is going to be certain to materialize viewing the past political somersaults of past Sri Lankan Governments’, who have been adept in delivering promises only to be followed by breaches.
 
Above all whether the proposed new constitution will have a ten month safe delivery without abortion is doubtful and far from certain viewing the rising tide of irrational and communal opposition from various quarters in the South like Mahinda front, Mahanayakaès front and other chauvinist outfits and groups who are breathing fire and fury and helping themselves with the bogey of separation as their trump card.
With a wavering and disunited TNA,  which is not exploiting its present political strength and status, it is left for the students, Tamil Civil Groups, Intellectuals and Diaspora to lead the Tamils as one force while seeking the support and intervention of International Community.
It is better late than never for the TNA to initiate and pursue a concerted campaign for the universally and UN recognised people’s right of self-determination which has been kept alive in all the political manifestos of all Tamil political parties since 1976 including the present TNA.
The much expected hope and optimism that the existing historical coalition of major parties in Sri Lanka, UNP and SLFP would bring out a permanent and acceptable political settlement for the Tamils has proved to be an illusion as the reality is  that the South political parties will never be able to free themselves from the entrenched ‘Maha Vamsa’ mindset and the resultant process of  Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation agenda set in motion from 1948 by the late D.S. Senanayake which is continuing unabated, unhindered, undeterred and uninterrupted  in the North and East.
 
It is relevant to quote Thirukurral no. 448-
 
“This bemoans the fate of a king who will perish without the guard of men who can criticise him, even though there is no one to destroy him.

 
ARTICLE 40
Ensuring justice for Tamils by UN & International community
Tamils have been inhabiting Sri Lanka for more than 2500 years with ‘Saivaism’ [Hinduism] also existing ‘Centuries before the arrival of Vijaya in BC 547” as stated by Paul Peiris in his book [Nagadipa and Buddhist Remains in Jaffna 1917-1919]
The Sinhalese race and language which evolved in full form during the 6th century assumed the majority position in the Southern parts of Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. The Tamils with ‘Saivaism’ inhabited the North, North West and Eastern parts of the island.
The British rule which commenced in AD 1796 ended the Tamils’ Kingdoms and self-rule when all provinces were brought under one central rule in and from Colombo. This administrative step heralded the beginning of the deprivation of equal rights to Tamils, while the independence to Ceylon in 1948 heralded the process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation to discriminate, marginalize and subjugate the Tamils to ultimately result in extinction through the process of GENOCIDE including structural GENOCIDE, which was set in motion from 1948 by the then Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake who initiated this process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation.
Structural GENOCIDE involves the destroying of a community’s language, religion and sites, culture, traditions, distortion of history, erasing historical and cultural sites, landmarks, involuntary settlement of Sinhalese in Tamils’ habitual lands, erection of Buddah Statutes and building of Buddhist Viharas in Tamil areas where few or no Buddhists live, discrimination in state employment, employment of Sinhalese employees and Officers in Government Offices in North and East of Sri Lanka [Tamils traditional and historical homeland] creating communication gap in communication with ordinary Tamil citizens, deliberate neglect of economy and infrastructure in the North and East when budgeting the allocations for development projects.
Coupled with this form of STRUCTURAL GENOCIDE, GENOCIDE in the form of killings of Tamil civilians was also set in motion from 1956. The security forces comprising 98% Sinhalese carried out the GENOCIDE with no fear of prosecution and punishment as confirmed by the UNHRC, Human Rights Groups and other International bodies. The culture of impunity is embedded and ingrained in the law enforcement organs including judicial system. One has to search for the number of security force members convicted for the crimes committed against the Tamils for the pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983 and from 2006-2009 and the 164 massacres committed during the last 70 years , the Kumudini Boat Massacre of Tamil passengers in Delft in 1975 is just one example. The other instances are massacre of five Tamils high school students, the burning of Jaffna library [Best library in South East Asia at that time with oldest collection of rare ola writing] in 1961 in the presence of the Government Ministers – [The Government later accepted and apologised], Killings of 17 Tamil Employees of the French NGO Action Against Hunger [ACF] who were shot dead at close range in the city of Muttur near Trincomalee, and many other massacres still not fully investigated and none punished.
To accelerate the process of decimation of Tamils, the South political parties, politicians and Buddhist Clergy have embraced their electoral fortunes with one out beating the other targeting the votes of Sinhalese at the expense of Tamils. The five destructive weapons employed by them are communalism, chauvinism, racism, regionalism and nationalism implying supremacism. These destructive weapons were efficiently and effectively employed by the Sinhala leaders who also reaped successful political careers by becoming Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka, namely S.W.R.D. Bandaranayaka,  J.R. Jayawardene, D. B Wijeyatunga. Mahinda Rajapakshe assisted by other hard core communal minded politicians like K.M.P Rajaratne,  Cyril Mathew, H. Mettananda and now Gnanasara Thero . SWRD Bandaranayaka  came to power with the slogan of making Sinhalese Language as the only official language within 24 Hours and his party won the election in 1956.
J.R. Jayawardene while the pogrom against the Tamils in July 1983 was ongoing said in an interview with Ian Ward of Daily Telegraph on July 26, 1983.
“I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people ..now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion…the more you put pressure in the North, the happier the Sinhalese people will be here…really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhalese people will be happier”.
The Maha Sanga not to be outdone, spearheaded the supremacy of Buddhism to establish a Buddhist Sinhalese Sri Lankan State. Now it has assumed the king making political force effectively issuing warnings and political instructions to rulers and opposition leaders. It is no secret that political decisions concerning Tamils have to be placed before them for their approval. Even recently the Mahanayakas have expressed their objections to the proposed new constitution by stating ”It is not necessary and the present constitution can continue.”
Currently a violent campaign of hostility and violent campaign is underway led by Monk Gnanasara Thero who has also formed his own political party BODU BALA SENA all in violation of the teachings of Lord Buddha who preached non-violence, peace and compassion.
It is to be noted that during the period of general elections, the two major political parties [UNP & SLFP] were clinging on to coined slogans like J.R. Jayawardene’s “Dharmista” rule, Chandrika Bandaranayake’s “One Nation One People”
The said slogans only produced pogroms and untold sufferings and miseries to Tamils while the present ‘YAHALPANAYA’ or GOOD GOVERNANCE slogan of Maithiripala Srisena and Ranil Wickremasinghe has become farcical and meaningless for most and more particularly for the Tamils as a whole.

The current situation of Tamils in the North and East can be summarized as follows:-

1.      Demographic changes in the North and East are continuing in an accelerated tempo. For instance, Vavuniya North is experiencing Sinhalese settlers from Matara and Hambantota. Mahaweli Development Board is also actively assisting settlers from South by destroying forests under a scheme called “Sampath Nuwara”

2.      Implementation of Tamil language by the Government in the North and East, as an Official Language is ignored/or discarded.

 
ARTICLE 41

Will Justice for Tamils be Delayed for Denial?

May 16, 2018   (ITS)
 

 

ARTICLE  42

Justification for a Referendum for Tamils in Sri Lanka
 
The current situation affecting Sri Lanka’s Tamils fairly and justifiably needs a referendum to decide their fate and guarantee their existence in Sri Lanka, if they were to avoid their gradual extinction in a country being the original inhabitants that existed in Sri Lanka from before BC 500.
Independence from British rule in 1948 heralded the process of Sinhalisation and later Buddhisiation to make Sri Lanka an exclusively Sinhala Buddhist state which was also the ambition of the late Anagarika Dharmapala who sowed the first seeds of nationalism, racism and Buddhist supremacy during his lifetime [1864-1933], including a hate campaign against other religions and races.
 
The Sinhala politicians and leaders, from the late D.S. Senanayake to the present President Maithripala Sirisena, including the Prime Ministers who ruled Sri Lanka, gleefully embraced and exploited this agenda as a convenient ladder to climb and capture the seats of power and also to accelerate this agenda.
 
In this process, the Sinhala leaders unleashed legislations, state terrorism including pogroms and massacres, colonization of Sinhalese in the North and East [Traditional and Historical Homeland of Tamils], construction of Buddhist Viharas and Buddhist statutes, state discrimination in employment, and allocation of funds for development in the North and East, seizure and occupation of civilian lands by the Security Forces in the North and East, permanent residence and involvement of Security Force in the daily lives of Tamil civilians, prevalence of a climate of insecurity and fear among the civilians, employment of Sinhala Officers and Employees in Government Offices in Tamils homeland [North and East], for instance ninety percent of Sinhala Police Personnel are serving for the Tamils in the North, and of the 434 Police Personnel in the Jaffna district only 67 are Tamil Police Officers.
 
Another instance is the Sinhala settlements sponsored and assisted by Sri Lankan Governments in the North and East particularly in Amparai and Trincomalee which have resulted in drastic demographic changes as can be seen below:
 
 
Amparai
1963                                                      2012
Sinhalese             29.3%                   Sinhalese             39.7%
Tamils                  23.8%                   Tamils                   17.4%
 
 
Trincomalee
1953                                                    2012
Sinhalese             18.2%                    Sinhalese             27.0%
Tamils                   44.7%                   Tamils                   32.3%
 
 
To counter the chauvinistic policies of Sri Lanka Governments, the Tamils waged struggles first choosing non-violent and later armed struggles to remedy their grievances within a united Sri Lanka calling for a Federal System or Regional Autonomy and, as a last resort, separation. The above resistance was crushed brutally by the Sri Lankan Security Forces with the assistance of its friendly countries totalling more than twenty-two which swept the injustices meted out to Tamils under the carpet, and even branded them as terrorism while encouraging and condoning State Terrorism unleashed by the state against its own citizens, which is now only drawing the attention of the United Nations and International Community as war crimes against humanity, etc.
 
The Tamils now have no hope of living as equal citizens with equal rights, dignity, respect and being able to manage their own affairs in their traditional homelands – [North and East of Sri Lanka] as recognised by India in the Indo-Ceylon Accord of 1987.
 
The only option for the Tamils now is Self-Determination with a right to hold a referendum. A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on one or more questions or a proposal.
 
Referendum can be mandatory as prescribed in the laws of a constitution or voluntarily initiated by the legislature or Government or even initiated by citizens who petition directly to put a proposal for popular vote. A proposal can be even referred to the legislature which then refers it to popular vote for adoption in the legislature if and when approved by a majority.
 
Referendum also means a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give an opinion about or decide an important political or social question”. [Cambridge English Dictionary] A referendum proposal can also be initiated by a head of state, who can refer it for approval or rejection, like a President of a country.
 
It is to be noted that since 18th century more than hundreds of national referendums have been organized and executed in the world. For Example:-
 
Referendums for Independence were successfully held in:
 
Montenegro                      2006
Eritrea                                1993
East Timor                         1999
Slovenia                            1990
 
 
Referendum for particular proposals was held in the following countries:
 
Scotland                          Proposal for devolution in 1997
United Kingdom              Proposal to quit European Union in 2016
South Africa                    1992 referendum ended its apartheid system
Canada                            Quebec referendum in 1980 and 1995 rejected secession from Canada.
 
 
It is to be noted that in some countries like Canada and Switzerland, the constitution allows the right to hold referendum by Quebec in Canada or Cantons in Switzerland. Recently referendums held in Catalonia in 2017 and in North Kurdistan by Kurds in 2017 calling for independence from Spain and Turkey were not recognised as they were held without the approval of the respective Central Governments.
 
In so far as Tamils are concerned, there are justifiable reasons to call for a referendum confined to the areas where they have been historically and habitually residing for more than 2500 years.
 
The reasons can be listed as follows:
 
1 – Tamils in Sri Lanka are living as a majority community in the North and East of Sri Lanka for more than 2500 years as such they are eligible to conduct a referendum as residents of this Area.
 
2 – Tamils have been treated as second class citizens since 1948 and this unsettling position is continuing with no sign of redemption but only signs of their gradual extinction are only discernible to erase their existence in Sri Lanka.
 
3 – Tamils are entitled to hold a referendum on the basis of the right of self-determination as prescribed in the United Nations Covenant on Political and Civil Rights Article 1 which states as follows: “All peoples have the right of self-determination by virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and thereby pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Tamils possess this universally recognized right as a people to determine their political destiny to preserve their existence, identity, language, culture, religion and traditions, besides their chequered historical records.
 
4 – The call for a referendum under this right is not an infringement of the provisions of the sixth Amendment which only prohibits demands and agitations for a separate state. The referendum can include one or more proposals for the vote of Tamils living in Sri Lanka and abroad. It could be:
 
i – Federal system of Government as in USA, and Australia
ii – Confederation like Canada
iii – Regional autonomy like Scotland or even secession.
 
The initiative to hold a referendum in Sri Lanka lies only in the hands of Tamils living in Sri Lanka and Diaspora Sri Lankan Tamils who number about four million out of a world total population of about 80 million Tamils. The petition has to be submitted to the United Nations Security Council, UN Human Rights Council and other human rights groups and activists.
 
A public and media campaign through local organizations in countries, specifically which allow a referendum, is important to utilize their support to canvass other countries for their endorsements.
 
Since Sri Lanka’s constitution does not allow referendum for the North and East Provinces to choose their political status, the Tamil political parties, leaders, civic groups, local organizations have to organize and mount a mass non-violent campaign to obtain the approval of Tamil voters. A nationwide referendum to deal with the options of Tamils will surely be defeated by the majority Sinhalese voters. Even a proposal to hold a referendum to decide an option like Federation is also unlikely to be approved by the Parliament of Sri Lanka due to the majority of Sinhala members of Parliament who will all unite to defeat it while rising above party differences.
 
In short, Tamils have to be supported by the United Nations and International Community to resort to the right of Tamils for self-determination and calling on Sri Lanka to hold a referendum in the North and East allowing them to choose their political status.
 
The following brief reasons more than justify their right to call for the intervention of the United Nations and International Community:
 
1 – Sri Lankan Government policy and practice of communalism coupled with majority hegemony.
 
2 – Several breaches of promises, agreements, pacts, understandings with Tamil Leaders since 1958.
 
3 – Total absence of accountability and justice to the affected Tamils victims since 1958.
 
4 – The embedded and enshrined culture of impunity to armed forces which mutilates the hopes of justice for Tamils, who live with festering wounds of anger and frustration. The Government’s rejection of international investigation and protection of Security Forces alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, etc., shows the culture of impunity.
 
5 – State supported, encouraged and organized killings and torture committed against Tamil civilians and their properties.
 
6 – The agenda of militarization and Sinhalisation which was initiated in 1948 is continuing in acceleration supported by the Army of occupation in the North and East.
 
7 – The process of hidden genocide is being actively carried out since 1948 along with structural genocide [POGROMS in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1983, 2006-2009 and 156 massacres confirm the hidden agenda. Viewing the above ground situation prevailing in Sri Lanka, the United Nations and the International Community are duty bound to take cognisance of the above inimical factors which are targeted to erase the existence of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
 
8 – Complete lack of political determination and sincere commitment by the Sri Lankan Governments to offer and implement a just and permanent political settlement.
 
9 – Dominant role and final say of Buddhist Clergy and ‘Maha Sanga’ who make detrimental political decisions affecting Tamils which have to be heeded by the ruling Sri Lankan Governments.
 
 
The Tamils are calling for the right of self-determination and referendum to preserve their existence in Sri Lanka in order to stop and avoid their extinction, unlike the referendums in some states which are calling for secession while already enjoying self-rule and/or regional autonomy like Quebec in Canada, Scotland in England and Kurds in Turkey.
In this respect, the initiative and worldwide campaign launched by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam [TGTE] calling for a referendum is timely, just and wise to ascertain the final option and approval of Sri Lankan Tamils worldwide as to the solution they prefer, before agitating for a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
 
 
Article 15
UN & International Community must ensure justice for Tamils and their existence in Sri Lanka
 
 
Tamils have been inhabiting Sri Lanka for more than 2,500 years with ‘Saivaism’ [Hinduism] also existing ‘Centuries before the arrival of Vijaya in BC 547” as stated by Paul Peiris in his book [Nagadipa and Buddhist Remains in Jaffna 1917-1919].
 
The Sinhalese race and language, which evolved in full form during the 6th century, assumed the majority position in the Southern parts of Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. The Tamils with ‘Saivaism’ inhabited the North, North West and Eastern parts of the island.
 
The British rule, commencing in AD 1796, ended the Tamils’ Kingdoms and self-rule when all provinces were brought under one central rule in and from Colombo. This administrative step heralded the beginning of the deprivation of equal rights to Tamils, while the independence to Ceylon in 1948 heralded the process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation to discriminate, marginalize and subjugate the Tamils to ultimately result in extinction through the process of genocide including structural genocide, which was set in motion from 1948 by the then Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake who initiated this process of Sinhalisation and Buddhisisation.
 
Structural genocide involves the destroying of a community’s language, religion and sites, culture, traditions, distortion of history, erasing historical and cultural sites, landmarks, involuntary settlement of Sinhalese in Tamils’ habitual lands, erection of Buddah Statutes and building of Buddhist Viharas in Tamil areas where few or no Buddhists live, discrimination in state employment, employment of Sinhalese employees and Officers in Government Offices in North and East of Sri Lanka [Tamils traditional and historical homeland] creating communication gap in communication with ordinary Tamil citizens, deliberate neglect of economy and infrastructure in the North and East when budgeting the allocations for development projects.
 
Coupled with this form of structural genocide, genocide in the form of killings of Tamil civilians was also set in motion from 1956. The security forces comprising 98% Sinhalese carried out the genocide with no fear of prosecution and punishment as confirmed by the UNHRC, Human Rights Groups and other International bodies. The culture of impunity is embedded and ingrained in the law enforcement organs including the judicial system. One has to search for the number of security force members convicted for the crimes committed against the Tamils for the pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983 and from 2006-2009 and the 164 massacres committed during the last 70 years, the Kumudini Boat Massacre of Tamil passengers in Delft in 1975 is just one example.
 
Other instances are the massacre of five Tamils high school students, the burning of Jaffna library [Best library in South East Asia at that time with the oldest collection of rare ola writing] in 1961 in the presence of the Government Ministers – [The Government later accepted and apologised]. Killings of 17 Tamil Employees of the French NGO Action Against Hunger [ACF] who were shot dead at close range in the city of Muttur near Trincomalee, and many other massacres still not fully investigated and none punished.
 
To accelerate the process of decimation of Tamils, the South political parties, politicians and Buddhist Clergy have embraced their electoral fortunes with one out beating the other targeting the votes of Sinhalese at the expense of Tamils. The five destructive weapons employed by them are communalism, chauvinism, racism, regionalism and nationalism implying supremacism. These destructive weapons were efficiently and effectively employed by the Sinhala leaders who also reaped successful political careers by becoming Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka, namely S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, J.R. Jayawardene, D. B Wijetunga. Mahinda Rajapaksa assisted by other hard core communal minded politicians like K.M.P Rajaratne, Cyril Mathew, L. H. Mettananda and now Gnanasara Thero. SWRD Bandaranaike came to power with the slogan of making Sinhalese Language as the only official language within 24 Hours and his party won the election in 1956.
 
J.R. Jayawardene, while the pogrom against the Tamils in July 1983 was ongoing, said in an interview with Ian Ward of Daily Telegraph on July 26, 1983.
“I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people … now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion…the more you put pressure in the North, the happier the Sinhalese people will be here…really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhalese people will be happier.”
 
The Maha Sanga, not to be outdone, spearheaded the supremacy of Buddhism to establish a Buddhist Sinhalese Sri Lankan State. Now it has assumed the king making political force effectively issuing warnings and political instructions to rulers and opposition leaders. It is no secret that political decisions concerning Tamils have to be placed before them for their approval. Even recently the Mahanayakas have expressed their objections to the proposed new constitution by stating ”It is not necessary and the present constitution can continue.”
 
Currently a violent campaign of hostility and violent campaign is underway led by Monk Gnanasara Thero who has also formed his own political party BODU BALA SENA all in violation of the teachings of Lord Buddha who preached non-violence, peace and compassion.
 
It is to be noted that during the period of general elections, the two major political parties [UNP& SLFP] were clinging onto coined slogans like J.R. Jayawardene’s “Dharmista” rule, Chandrika Bandaranaike’s “One Nation One People”.
 
These slogans only produced pogroms and untold sufferings and miseries to Tamils while the present ‘Yahalpanaya’ or Good Governance slogan of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe has become farcical and meaningless for most and more particularly for the Tamils as a whole.
 
The current situation of Tamils in the North and East can be summarized as follows:-
 
1 – Demographic changes in the North and East are continuing in an accelerated tempo. For instance Vavuniya North is experiencing Sinhalese settlers from Matara and Hambantota. Mahaeli Development Board is also actively assisting settlers from South by destroying forests under a scheme called “Sampath Nuwara”
 
2 – Implementation of Tamil language by the Government in the North and East, as an Official Language is ignored/or discarded.
 
3 – Sinhala Officers and Employees are still sent to fill vacancies in the North and East Government Offices with 90%, of Sinhalese Police Officers manning the Police Stations in the North [It is to be noted that hundreds of Tamil Graduates were on hunger strike in the North & East demanding employment].
 
4 – Employment of Tamils in the Government Sector is below par due to discrimination being the guiding factor.
 
5 – Release of lands belonging to civilians is at snail’s pace and half-heartedly implemented due to the continuing protests on streets by the people at irregular intervals with no firm commitment of withdrawal by the Government. United Nations and International Community have urged Sri Lanka to expedite the release of lands, but Sri Lanka is adamant against it.
 
6 – Permanent presence of Army in the Northern and Eastern Provinces among civilians is almost guaranteed enabling them to continue their commercial and farming activities like running restaurants, hotels, guest houses and doing large scale farming from the lands grabbed and marketing the products which have completely destroyed the farmers only livelihood thus creating unemployment and frustration among the unemployed youths. Perhaps Sri Lankan government could be holding unique notoriety by allowing the Security forces to engage on business activities in the land seized from the civilians who are now customers among the others.
 
7 – Development schemes in the North and East and relief to Tamils are unequal and discriminatory when compared with plans and assistance to those in the south.
 
8 – Free reign for security forces in pursuance of the culture of impunity.
 
 
In this respect, the call of Justice C. V.Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of Northern Province Sri Lanka:- urging United Nations Members involvement to ensure accountability through Universal Jurisdiction and other avenues is timely and more than justified.
 
Finally it should be noted that he openly blamed the Sri Lankan Government as follows:-
 
“Those in the highest echelons of power have been heard to say that they will not allow even a single Sinhalese soldier to go to jail. Does that mean criminality depends on one’s race and community?”
He further stated; “We have no paucity for Sinhala politicians who consider any offence committed against the Tamils by a Soldier is no offence at all”
 
Currently Mahinda Rajapaksa former President, Maithrapala Sirisena current President and Ranil Wickremesinghe current Prime Minister are competing with each other as to who will score the highest marks in protecting the Security Forces from any internal or external investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by them as exposed, evidenced and confirmed by UNHRC and other International Human Rights Groups and Organizations.
 
With General and Provincial elections due in the beginning of 2020, the south parties and leaders are concentrating on the election strategies which undoubtedly will focus on Buddhism and nationalism, but also interspersed with hollow promises to Tamil voters on occasions when they conduct election meetings in the North and East, like the fate of promises relating release of lands and Tamil political prisoners made by the Prime Minister and President which were meant for instant consumption suiting the occasions.
 
It need not be recounted and retold as to the bitter experiences of Tamils in the hands of successive Sri Lankan Governments and the stage has come to say that ‘Enough Is Enough’. There is an urgent need and necessity for United Nations and International Community’s intervention to dispense justice and enforce accountability, along with a permanent, just political settlement to stop the crumbling existence of Tamils and to ensure their permanent existence.
 
 
Some of the following recent statements made by the leaders in the south fully reinforce the deserving request of Tamils for United Nations and International Community’s active role and intervention:
 
[a] United National Party Minister Navin Dissanayake in an interview in April 2018 stated “UNP is finding to obtain Sinhala Buddhist votes. It is therefore essential to workout action plans to get these votes by aligning with Sinhala Buddhist Organizations and Sinhala Buddhists.”
 
[b] United National Party MP, Ruwan Wijewardene, On May 02, 2018, during a committee meeting of UNP “recommended the strengthening of Sinhala-Buddhist base of the UNP and towards the end a strong leadership with a Sinhala –Buddhist base should be created.”
 
[c] President Maithiripala Sirisena in his message on May 18, 2018 expressed deep gratitude to all Sri Lankan war heroes on the National War Heroes Commemoration Day.
He also stated earlier that “Our security forces have been not accused of war crimes in the Resolutions of HNHRC as certain media and extremist parties falsely depict.”
 
It is to be noted that Maithiripala Sirisena earlier promised and agreed “To commemorate the day as a day of remembrance for all those killed in the war”.
With no prospect for an independent investigation and nil statistical information as to the missing, killed, abducted and/or detained, the Tamil victims are left in the lurch to seek alternate sources to obtain justice.
 
The Government has clearly set out its goals and has embarked on the agenda of concentrating to capture the Sinhala-Buddhist votes effectively excluding Sinhala Christians, Hindus and Muslims while sweeping their grievances under the carpet.
 
However, the International Community and foreign dignitaries have now come out with statements finding fault with Sri Lankan Government’s lethargic attitude and deliberate ploys to delay, deny and devalue the recommendations of UNHRC in its Resolution on 30-01-2015 [30/1].
 
 
Some of the following statements of foreign dignitaries are pointing fingers of accusations towards Sri Lanka:
 
Canadian Prime Minister Right Honourable Justin Trudeau has called upon Sri Lanka “To formulate a time bound strategy to implement UNHRC’s Resolutions.”
 
Right Honourable Stephen Timms MP, UK Parliament stated on 18-05-2018 “Britain should be leading efforts to secure the International involvement in the reconciliation process and maintain unrelenting pressure until the commitments made are fulfilled.”
 
Sir Ed Davey, LDP MP on 18-5-2018 stated that “Sri Lanka committed genocide against Tamils which was committed in stages over a period of time.”
 
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: His Excellency Zeid Raad Al-Hussein lamented “An age when US and other world powers are retreating from their historical commitments to human rights.” In his latest report to UNHRC in March 2018, he called on countries to explore other avenues to hold Sri Lanka accountable for its crimes including Universal Jurisdiction.”
 
Honourable Marsuky Darusman United Nations Special Rapporteur commented in his article published in April 2018 in New York Times saying that “International Community must not neglect or ignore the crimes committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
 
United Kingdom’s shadow Chancellor and Exchequer John Macdonald on 18-5-2018 called for “The breaking of all diplomatic links as talking to Sri Lanka is not working. We should isolate them diplomatically and economically. If that means imposing economic sanctions then so be it.”
 
United Kingdom’s Labour Party Leader Honourable Jeremy Corbyn on May 2018 said that “If we cannot act to impose economic sanctions now on Sri Lanka, shame on us. He also promised to include the issues of Tamils in his party’s election manifesto during the next general election .He also “Emphasized the right of Tamils to decide their own future.”
 
Honourable Paul Scully – Labour Party MP On April 14, 2018 stated that “There has been no progress in bringing those who were responsible for mass atrocities towards the end of the war to justice.“
 
The US State Department 2017 Report on Democracy has commented the following: “Attacks on minorities continue unabated, Buddhist shrines being built in the North and East by military and Buddhist Groups where few Sinhalese reside.” In its report last year, it mentioned the perception of “Buddhist Sinhalese religious and cultural imperialisms by Civil Society.” Now there is admission and confirmation by United Nations, International Community and political leaders abroad that Sri Lankan Governments have ignored, discarded and even defied the United Nations and UNHRC’S recommendations and pleas of affected victims. Instead Sri Lanka is overtly and covertly executing its own agenda of Buddhisiation and Sinhalisiation brushing aside international and internal concerns and protests.
 
The International Community has finally woken up to the realities and also has realized Sri Lanka’s delaying, dodging and defying the commitments made to UNHRC, employing hollow tactics of empty promises and relying on passage of time to make those commitments dissipate to lose their compelling strength and binding effect including vigilance of United Nations and International Community.
 
The International Community is at last seized with grim realities facing the Tamils in Sri Lanka and what is required now are positive ground actions through diplomatic, political, economic and military measures to ensure justice, accountability and above all halt the progressive and ultimate extinction of Tamils through assimilation and structural genocide.
 
What was said by Tamil National Alliance [TNA] leader Honourable R Sampanthan in 2009, “It is the need of the hour to be undertaken by the United Nations and International Community. We Do Not Want Just Statements Of Condemnation And Pledges Without Any Action.”
 
 
The cries of Tamils for justice and accountability deserve to be heard by the United Nations and International Community who are duty bound to react and respond as part of their obligations under international human rights law.
 

 
ARTICLE  43
Sri Lanka’s Tamils at  Crossroads
 
Tamils in Sri Lanka, being the original inhabitants even before BC 500 have ruled Sri Lanka before the arrival of Buddhism in BC 247 and formation of Sinhalese language during the 6th century AD, which marked the beginning of Sinhalese race and Dutagamini, a Hindu Naga king turned Buddhist ruling the southern parts of Sri Lanka desiring to rule the entire Sri Lanka began his march towards Anuradhapura in BC 101.
 
On his way, he encountered thirty three Tamil Kings who were the local rulers in various regions. After overcoming them, he reached Anuradhapura and waged the epic battle with King Elara, a Chola Tamil King. From where King Elara entered Anuradhapura is still unclear as some say he came from South India while some say he was a King ruling Jaffna. The battle of Dutagamini was to capture territory and not a battle against Tamils as distorted by Mahavamsa . However this battle and victory sowed the seeds of racism and chauvinism, to be exploited to serve the Sinhala politicians for electoral gains and initiation of Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation of Sri Lanka.
 
The hidden agenda of obliterating the Tamils, their history and identities like language, culture and traditions to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala Buddhist state, was set in motion as soon as independence from colonial British rule was granted in 1948. First target was the Indian Tamils who fell victim to this agenda when the Citizenship Act 1948 was passed and about 700,000 were denied citizenship. As a result their parliamentary representation of seven members in 1947 was wiped out.
 
As for the Eelam Tamils, the political program of Sinhala Governments included the land reclamation of huge projects such as the famous Gal Oya, Allai, Kantalai, Padaviya, Manalaru [Now renamed in Sinhalese as Weli Oya] and the ongoing Mahaveli ‘L’ development schemes and hand in hand with settlements of Sinhalese which began in 1949. Time and time, Sri Lankan Governments carried out the Sinhalisiation and Buddhisiation agenda methodically, overtly and covertly with legislations and Government directives with the assistance of Security Forces in this scheme.
 
The Sinhala Only Act 1956 heralded the supremacy of Sinhala language paving the way for the gradual elimination of Tamils for Government appointments. This was a double-barreled gun to shoot down the Tamils to frustration and despair while shooting up Sinhalisiation and Sinhala nationalism.
 
The 1972 constitution brought Buddhism as the first and foremost religion to be protected and fostered by the state. This provision placed Buddhism as the supreme religion and statutorily bound the Government to foster It by building Buddhist Viharas and Buddhist statutes in selected places throughout the island whether Buddhist worshipers are residing or not. The statutory protection given to minorities in the earlier constitution [29-2] was removed as well.
 
Since 2009,131 Buddhist Viharas have been built in the North, with Mullaitivu heading the list with 67, followed by Mannar with 35. Besides, hundreds of Buddha statutes have been erected along the side roads and highways so as to create the image of a Buddhist identity and image for Sri Lanka.
 
The Sinhalisiation of Tamil areas is reinforced with the presence of about 140,000 security personnel in the north with about 60,000 personnel stationed in Mullaitivu for a population of 130,000. Almost 147 Camps are in the Jaffna peninsula for the security forces occupying about 269 private lands.
 
Tamils in 1981 constituted 12.7% of the total population, but in 2012 it has declined to 11.2% The continued Sinhalese colonization sponsored by the Governments, and assisted with the involvement of security forces [99% Sinhala Buddhists] aim at the complete demographic changes in Tamil lands and eventually making the Tamils to become minorities in these areas, while reducing their parliamentary strength which stands 9 in Jaffna peninsula when it was 11 in the 1989 general elections. It is feared that this number will be further reduced to 6 when a future population census is carried out.
 
The successive Sri Lankan governments later manipulated the initiatives of pogroms to subjugate the Tamils to position them to live with permanent fear, insecurity, suspicion and mistrust.
 
The 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 pogroms were all state planned, orchestrated and organized to indulge in the genocidal killings of Tamils.
 
The burning of the Public Library in Jaffna [One of the best libraries in Asia at that time] in May 1981 and the 1984 violence unleashed against the participants at the International Tamil Research Conference were pre-planned to strike at the heart and soul of Tamil Language, history and culture.
 
The crowning of all the state sponsored terrorism was the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the security forces from 2006-2009. The former President “Mahinda Rajapaksa followed the rule of terror used by previous Sri Lankan Governments ruthlessly with scant respect to human lives.” This was the statement of Louise Arbour – former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
In addition,196 incidents of massacres of Tamil civilians were executed by the security forces beginning from 12/6/1990 in Kalmunai up to 2009 in Mullivakkal. [Mass graves are now found in Mannar and other places while digging the ground for foundation for buildings, etc]. It is shocking that so far neither the Tamil National Alliance [TNA] nor the Government have called for a full investigation in to the circumstances of these violent deaths of civilians.
 
Sri Lanka’s culture of impunity is another lethal weapon of Governments and security forces which is generously facilitating the commission of all violence and crimes against the Tamil civilians.
 
Gordon Weiss, in his book ‘The Cage’, stated the truth as follows: ‘Sri Lanka’s judicial system, the purported backbone of democracy is currently a sham. The culture of impunity allows the law enforcement agencies to do whatever they like, arrest without reason, torture and detain for long and fabricate charges.”
 
The present government of ‘Good Governance’ is now engaged in a battle for its survival, abandoning its election promises given to both Sinhalese and Tamils. A new constitution as the panacea for all ills of Sri Lanka is struggling between life and death for birth. Even if it materializes, Tamils will be left in the lurch searching for a just and permanent political settlement.
 
Interestingly, the Government has embarked on a program of development in the North and East to please the United Nations and the International Community. Even if this scheme is implemented in the North and East “erosion of Tamils hold on land through development has once again made possible the total domination of the narrative of state”, as stated by Gordon Weiss – The Cage.
 
The presence of Army which is stationed in 153 Camps occupying more than 4000 acres of land in the North with permanent military installations is an indication as to how far the development will go without the involvement of security forces who are already running hotels, schools, restaurants farming, etc, in the North from seized civilian lands.
 
The Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution were draconian measures passed by the Sri Lankan Governments specially targeting and threatening the Tamils to silence their voice and freedom of expression to permanent subjugation.
 
Another menacing political force is the violence prone group of Buddhist monks like the Bodu Bala Sena [BBS] and Jathika Hela Urumaya [JHU] who function as part of the Government’s program to silence the Tamils and subvert and scuttle any offer of concessions to Tamils.
 
It can be stated that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have been ignored by the International Community, United Nations and Security Council in spite of human rights violations and genocidal killings which have been committed systematically against them again and again in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1971, 1977, 1983 and from 2006-2009 by the security forces in furtherance of the goal of Sinhalisisation and Buddhisiation to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala Buddhist State.
 
On July 28, 1983, the then President J. R. Jayawardene said that “Time has come to accede to the clamour and national respect of Sinhalese people.”
 
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa underscored the target of eliminating the Tamils in Sri Lanka by stating in May 2009 after the Genocidal War: “We have removed the word minorities from our vocabulary three years ago, no longer Tamils, Muslims and other minorities. There are only two peoples in this country, one who loves the country and the other small groups who have no love for the land of their birth.’
 
Former Prime Minister/President Chandrika Kumaratunge too emphasized this view with her slogan during the Presidental election: “As one nation, one people“ and has in the past while in South Africa also stated that “The Tamils are not the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka, they do not belong to Sri Lanka.’
 
The above statements of Sinhalese leaders unequivocally confirm their sinister intention of decimating the identities of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
 
The struggle of Tamils for equality, justice, distinct identity and accountability as a nation in Sri Lanka commenced in 1956and is still continuing, and there is no hint of a political solution to remove the underlying causes and grievances of Tamils.
 
T.D.S.A Dissanayake, in his book “Agony of Sri Lanka” 1984, clearly states that “Nothing was more deceptive than the religious and communal harmony on the advent of independence in 1948.”
 
The non-violent struggles and resistance launched by late Tamil Leaders like late Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayagam [popularly known as Gandhi of Tamil Eelam] and former Leader of the Opposition late A. Amirthalingam was crushed ruthlessly by force by the security forces and were handled by the Sri Lankan Governments with usual charming guiles and wiles leaving the Tamil leaders deceived and dejected. A frustrated Chelvanayagam’s last call “That God can only save the Tamils’ still remains un-responded and it is anybody’s guessing as to its fulfillment.
 
The emergence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] and it’s just resort to armed resistance to protect the Tamils from the state sponsored pogroms and to restore lost rights and dignity of Tamils was also ruthlessly crushed by Sri Lanka with the assistance of 22 countries who also fell for the diplomatic tantrums of Sri Lankan Government who deceptively pledged a political settlement and rejected a military solution.
  “Minorities in Sri Lanka Tamils and Muslims feel that they have a place in Sri Lanka as long as they are compelled to fall in line and be slaves within a Sinhalese identity and within the contour of Sinhalese nationalism.”
Tamil National Alliance [TNA] leader Mr. R. Sampanthan’s above statement in Parliament in 2008 summed up the plight of Tamils.
 
It is an irony that the same TNA Leadership has also fallen for the charming wiles and maneuvers of the present ‘Good Governance” Government. However a late realization of realities appears to be emerging from the hearts and minds of TNA leaders who are now engaged in damage control exercises while expressing doubts on the sincerity of this Government.
 
History is meant for learning and past lessons of political history of Tamils should be the guiding factors instead of frittering the energy and efforts chasing the mirage of promises appearing as a lasting solution to the 60 years old problems of Tamils.
 
 
In Short

The following reasons and facts reveal the progress of Tamils in Sri Lanka towards a probable non-existence through assimilation and genocide including structural genocide:
 
1 – Reduction of Tamil Representation in Parliament. The Jaffna district now elects 9 members which are expected to be reduced to 6 members in the next election.
 
2 – Exodus and migration of Tamils from North and East. Out of 1.2 million Tamils in the North in 1983 about 700,000 Tamils have migrated to overseas after the Pogrom against the Tamils in 1983. Tamils were hunted and butchered, burnt alive and their houses, establishments, looted and set on fire. Added to this is the reduced growth of Tamil population through reduced birth which stands at 1.5% of the total population compared to 5.51% for Sinhalese.
 
3 – Entrenched culture of impunity for security forces, Government officials and a judiciary which is politicized.
 
4 – Permanent residence of security forces and their operational freedom. Civilians are now living with and among security forces.
 
5 – Lack of International support and/or intervention. Past responses show only trickery and deceit for the 60 years sufferings of Tamils.
 
6 – Sri Lanka’s disregard of International opinions, suggestions, blatant rejection, and refusal comply to with UNHRC Recommendations and United Nation’s muted response to rein in Sri Lanka for its non-compliance of international commitments.
 
7 – Discrimination of Tamils in Government sector in employment and allocation of resources including neglect of development schemes in the North and East.
 
8 – Nil prospect of constitutional guarantee of recognition of North and East as one unit. [As agreed in the Indo/Sri Lanka Accord of 1987] and also freezing the powers of the Provincial Councils to control land/police as agreed in the Accord.
 
9 – Rejection of International Investigation into war crimes with dim prospects of Internal Judicial mechanism to be set up by Sri Lanka as promised.
 
10 – Accelerated program of Sinhalisiation and Buddhisiation including neglect of Tamil language for official use and communication with Tamil civilians.
 
11 – A limited Northern Provincial Council functioning at the mercy of the Centre.
 
 
With no possibility of the International Community and/or United Nations’ intervention, the gradual extinction of Tamils in Sri Lanka cannot be ruled out in the

ARTICLE 44
Daunting Challenges Facing The New UN HR High Commissioner

The unanimous approval of 66 year old MICHELLE BACHELET by the United Nations to take charge of the Human Rights Council from September 01, 2018 confirms her unquestionable eligibility and credentials to run this prestigious office which was set up in 1993 to uphold and protect human rights throughout the world. The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet on 3rd September stated: “Those who defend human rights and victims look up to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and hope that we are there to defend and support.”
“United Nations Human Rights Council is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe for addressing situations of human rights violations and recommendations.”
As former United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency Ban-ki-Moon stated that “All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the UN Human Rights Council as a springboard for action. All citizens are entitled to thirty Fundamental Universal Human Rights and must be free from all forms of discrimination.”
The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is more qualified to hold this coveted office as she herself carries the pains and pangs due to her confinement in prison, torture and ill-treatment when she was arrested at the age of 23 in 1975, along with her mother on the orders of the late brutal Chilean dictator Pinochet. Her family was torn apart as even her father died due to torture in prison in 1974. When Michelle was released, she fled into exile to Austria and East Germany. She later served as the President of Chile for two terms.
In his welcome statement, United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency Antonio Guterres said the following:- “Respect for International Humanitarian Laws is on the decline”. At the UNHRC”S 34th Session on February 24, 2017, United Nation’s Chief also said that “Disregard for human rights is a disease and it is a disease that is spreading. UN Human Rights Council is part of the cure”.
“Michelle Bachelet is a survivor of brutality by the Chilean  authorities targeting her and her family many decades ago.” Stated United Nations Chief His Excellency Antonio Guterres .
“Politics she believes is like medicine on a larger scale”. The statements of outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights His Excellency Zeid Al-Raad are worth quoting which expose the hurdles and challenges facing the Office and the Commissioner.
On February 27 2017 he said that:- “Our rights, the rights of others, the very future of our planet cannot and must not be thrown aside by reckless political profiteers”.  He also questioned the “United Nation’s ability to play a role as a champion of human rights.” In his farewell speech in August 2018, he said that “The Office of the UN Human Rights Council involves bending a knee in supplication, nesting a statement of advocacy, lessening the independence and integrity of my voice. My reason for refusal to an extended term of office does not bring shame on Governments, they shame themselves. This post is the greatest yardstick to tackle oppression and arbitrariness in the world.” His Excellency Zeid Al-Raad also hoped that the new UN High commissioner for Human Rights “Will work for the UN Human Rights Council for the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone, everywhere. Among others is the duty to fight discrimination in all its forms, strengthening accountability and the rule of law, and promoting the most vulnerable from all form of human rights abuse”. He further stated that the “Five Security Council permanent members wield too much power as they can veto resolution even in cases of alleged injustices.”
“The world body could collapse if the imbalance caused by the excessive powers wielded by the Security Council’s permanent members is not corrected.” [Eg. Injustices in Syria, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians] Organizations is marginalized if they do not co-operate to resolve horrific conflicts we have seen.”
It is hoped that the undergone painful experience and bitter lessons learnt by the outgoing UN High Commissioner His Excellency Zaid Al-Raad could provide the needed strength and courage to the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to circumvent and defeat the hurdles and challenges thrown from any quarters in the performance of her statutory functions.
The current world is experiencing human rights violations on a widespread scale based on language, race and religion followed by minorities in a state. The abuses being majority dominated states who seek to entrench their position and powers by silencing the dissenting voices and opposition from any quarters. Alone with this suppression is the culture of impunity which makes accountability and justice meaningless and irrelevant.
Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet in her opening statement to the UN Human Rights Council made on September 10, 2018 made a brief comment on Sri Lanka. She stated that “Sri Lanka had moved too slowly towards meaningful implementation of transitional justice agenda”.  “We look to the Office of the Missing Persons to work quickly to begin to provide answers to the families of the disappeared. More progress in advancing accountability and truth seeking could have great weight in the long term stability and prosperity of the nation.”
It is more than three years since Sri Lanka agreed to implement the UNHRC Recommendations 30/1/2015 with a near ZERO compliance. It will be foolhardy and unwise to grant further extension which Sri Lanka will gleefully accept. The UN High Commissioner’s brief comments on Sri Lanka do not be considered as reflecting the various plethora of human rights violations committed by Sri Lanka  including war crimes, crimes against humanity and several massacres of Tamil civilians commencing from 1948 [a total to 196 until 2009] and during the state sponsored pogroms against the Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1983 and from 2006-2009. The recent discovery of several mass graves in Tamils homeland proves this. All of which proves to be amouning to GENOCIDE, besides the structural genocide which was also initiated in 1948 [state sponsored colonization of Sinhala Buddhists in Tamil Hindu/Christian traditional homeland in the North and East] Cultural Genocide by Burning of the Jaffna Library on June 01, 1981 At the time of its destruction, the library was one of the biggest in Asia, containing over 97,000 books and manuscripts.
There is no doubt that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is fully aware of the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and massacres and destruction of human life and property amounting to GENOCIDE. [Estimated 147,000 lives] The various reports of UN Rapporteurs who visited Sri Lanka at various periods and interacted with the victims will clearly expose the mindset of Sri Lankan Government. [Delay, deviate, dilutes, refuse and forget]
To state briefly, Sri Lanka has failed to implement the core UNHRC 30/1/2015 Recommendations. Instead, it has even dared to state it is not bound to implement them as they are not legally binding
The Reports of various Commissions a total of 14 from 1977 to 2014 set up by Sri Lanka, the last being to investigate disappearances and missing persons in 2014, have been shelved and kept frozen without any follow up action.
The Office of the Missing Persons which is operational now is devoid of any powers to act on its own findings as Section 13 [2] of the Act states that “The findings of the Office of the Missing Persons [OMP] shall not give rise to any civil or criminal liability”. Hence accountability and justice has been dumped making it purposeless. The embedded culture of impunity for Security Forces and Government Officials encourages human rights violations giving free hand to commit them without any fear of prosecution. One can only count the number of Security Personnel convicted for the killings, torture, rape etc. of Tamil civilians during the pogroms, massacres since 1956 [1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 and during the brutal war between LTTE and Government from 2006-2009]
In confirming the state policy of impunity, President Sirisena has vowed on several occasions that he ”Would never allow any Security Personnel to be prosecuted and brought to courts for war crimes  which various United Nations Reports have found credible evidences while hinting that they amount to GENOCIDE.  President very recently at a meeting in Nivitigala, has again vowed to vindicate Security Forces at the United Nations General Assembly where he is scheduled to speak on September 24, 2018 [Daily News of Sept. 09, 2018]
In short, Sri Lanka not only has failed to honor its commitments made to the United Nations Human Rights Council [UNHRC] and the International Community but also challenged their commitments to uphold human rights and hold perpetrators to accountability and dispense justice to the victims. It needs to be recalled that various requests of United Nation’s Officials and UN Bodies made to Sri Lanka during the past five years were simply ignored and disregarded like the calling for truth, reparations and reduction of the presence of military in the North and East.
Sri Lanka’s record of implementing proposals, requests, promises, pledges and recommendations made to and by others is dismal and distressing. The reasons for this attitude are many, and some of which are:-
1.                  Institutionalized culture of impunity and chauvinism.
2.                  Backing of some powerful countries who seek to maintain their geographical, strategic, political and economic interests.
3.                  Sri Lanka’s notoriety in doling out promises and undertakings at times of questions and criticisms by UNRHC, and International Community.
It is the earnest hope and trust of the Tamil victims that the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights would neither shirk nor surrender to the power play politics of Security Council’s Permanent Members as experienced by His Excellency Zaid Al_Raad the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Patting and encouraging Sri Lanka is of nil value effect as Sri Lanka has defied UNHRC, United Nations, International Community and it all lies in the hands of UNHRC and its Commissioner to nullify this unacceptable challenge to World Organizations and proceeds to initiate whatever steps necessary to ensure the compliance and full implementation of all UNHRC Recommendations by Sri Lanka including referral to United Nations and UN Security Council as a last resort.
Failure to do so is nothing but a complete loss of credibility for UNHRC and United Nations, along with the demise of Universal Human Rights accompanied by the cherished principles of accountability and justice for victims who will have to live with festering wounds of genocidal war.
Hence the Security Council and its members are obliged and duty bound to ensure security of nations worldwide and their citizens, and not to use the Council to secure their own agenda of political, economic or military interests as well as their friendly nations simply because the Super Powers are holding whip hand over UN Organizations with smaller and weaker nations having no muscles to act.
To sum up , the existence of Tamils in Sri Lanka is hanging in a balance due to their marginalization, discrimination by the successive Sri Lankan Governments  who proceed with the hidden agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalasisation in the North and East Provinces to make Sri Lanka a Buddhist Sinhalese State. [North and Eastern Provinces are the Historical and Traditional Homeland of Tamils who follow Hindu/Christian faiths for centuries]
Only United Nations and Security Council can act to halt this process with the active involvement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who it is hoped will live up to her reputation and credentials  to expose and ward off the sinister tactics of Sri Lana which is determined to the following:-
1.                  To keep out United Nations and/or International involvement or intervention.
2.                  To defy the UNHRC Recommendations including any investigation into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity amounting to genocide.
Besides, Sri Lanka lacks the genuine political will and determination to settle the 60 year old ethnic problem with a permanent and just political settlement for political mileage and electoral gains. As a United Nations Official stated at an event on GENOCIDE on September 13, 2018 at the UNHRC “Impunity is an enabler of Genocide, accountability is its genesis, and punishment is the key to prevention.”
Fittingly Sri Lanka’s culture of impunity, being a state policy since 1958 provides the flesh and blood for the ghost of “genocide which is lying in wait, to strike at appropriate times.’
Finally it is to be noted that Sri Lanka is posing a challenge to the United Nations, UNHRC and the International Community threatening the values of universally accepted human rights. It now lies in the hands of the United Nations Human rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, UN Security Council and International Criminal Court to act fast and force Sri Lanka to honor and maintain and deliver justice to the oppressed Tamils in Sri Lanka who have being  waiting too long for justice.

 
ARTICLE 45
Sri Lanka’s Genocidal Human Rights Violations
 
Though Sri Lanka unleashed its agenda of marginalization of Tamils, from 1956 through a program of Budddhisisation and Sinhalisation and a hidden genocide process, the climax was reached during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from 2006 – 2009 culminating in the genocide of Tamils, keenly watched by the United Nations and the International Community.
Their deadly and deliberate silence encouraged Mahinda Rajapaksa who rightly construed it as a tacit approval to proceed with the massacre of innocents in this war without witness.
Once the genocide was accomplished, the International Community and United Nations rushed for the damage controlling actions, statements, accusations, resolutions, investigations, etc, all of which were only condemning and consoling messages for the lives of more than 100,000 Tamil civilians who were cut down for no reason except because they were Tamils, targeted for liquidation to make Sri Lanka a Sinhala-Buddhist State.
This article quotes the numerous comments and statements of various International Organizations, UN Officials, Human Rights Activists, and intellectuals, etc. It is the hope of the traumatised Tamils that at the least, accountability followed by appropriate punishment will be meted out to the perpetrators of the crime of genocide and upholding justice as a minimum to heal the wounds of victims who are still waiting and hoping against hope for appropriate remedies and justice.
The crown of all statements is that of the late President of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, the world’s second best statesman after Nelson Mandela who created one of the world’s most prosperous nations Singapore from scratch. He methodically and meticulously bonded the Chinese, Malays, Indian and others numbering three million [77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians & 1% others] as Singaporeans and not as Chinaporeans by weeding out racism, communalism, chauvinism or majority hegemony which are the hallmarks in Sri Lanka since independence from 1948.
In 2010, immediately after the war Lee Kuan Yew, who in 1948 wished to make Singapore like the prosperous and peaceful Ceylon, made his correct assessment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in ten words. “Rajapaksa is a Sinhala extremist and he will never change,” an opinion all the Tamil leaders and all communities must keep in mind when dealing with Rajapaksa, as judged by Lee Kuan Yew.
However, the proximate cause of all the political turmoil in Sri Lanka was the unrealistic and parochial blunder committed by Great Britain when it dismantled and destroyed the separate Kingdoms of the then existing Kingdom of Jaffna, Kotte and Kandy which existed until 1833 and brought the Sinhalese and Tamils under one central rule in Colombo.
This was admitted by the UK Conservative party member Dr. Rachel Joyce who apologised on March 2009 and admitted the “error of colonial Britain in making a unitary Ceylon out of two nations the Tamil and Sinhalese. The Tamil people have lived on the island for millennia in their own contiguous, distinct geographically territory. The three million Tamils of the island constituted a self-governing nation until occupied by colonial powers in particular Britain who amalgamated them with the Sinhalese nation purely for convenience and administration”.
 
 
COMMENTS AND/OR ACCUSATIONS:
 
Philip Alston: UN Special Rapporteur on September 2006:
“Police and Military investigations in to the killings of Tamils and deaths in custody have too often been handled and remarkably few convictions have resulted. The criminal justice system – police prosecutions, investigations and trials has utterly failed to provide accountability.”
“It is an enduring scandal that there have been virtually no convictions of government officials for killing Tamils, and many Tamils doubt that the rule of law will protect their lives.”
 
Louise Arbour: United Nations High commissioner for Human rights: December 11th 2007:
“There is yet to be an adequate investigation or credible public accounting for the vast majority of abductions and disappearances.”
 
Human Rights Watch Report August 2007
“The government has displayed a clear unwillingness to hold accountable those responsible for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law.”
 
Manfred Nowak: – February 26, 2008 UN document;
“Torture is widely practised in Sri Lanka. Torture becomes a routine practice, both by the Police and the Armed Forces.”
 
Noam Chomsky: Philosopher and Activist 2008
“The fate of Tamils in Sri Lanka has been a shocking story of mounting errors. It would be unconscionable to stand by in silence as the remnants face still torture and disaster.”
 
Brahma Chellaney: Professor, Centre for Policy Research
“Even in victory, the Sri Lankan government is unable to define peace or outline a political solution to the long-standing grievances of Tamils.”
 
Antony Loewenstein: Freelance Journalist and Author
“The Tamil struggle for justice and self-determination is a cause that should be supported by all citizens of good faith.”
 
Bruce Haigh: former Australian Diplomat in 2010
“If you see the justice of the Tamils quest for equality in Sri Lanka and do nothing about it you stand condemned.”
 
Stuart Rees: Professor Emeritus – University of Sydney
“Respect for universal human rights is the test for any government which claims to be civic and democratic. The Government of Sri Lanka is failing the test.”
 
Le Monde: Phillipe Bolopian May 28, 2009
“The United Nations deliberately hid the number of Tamils civilians being killed during the Sri Lankan Government’s offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. High ranking officers including Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon chose to keep silent about the high civilian death toll so as to avoid offending the Sri Lankan government.”
 
Dublin Tribunal: January 18, 2009
“The International community, particularly United Kingdom and USA share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.”
 
Richard Dixon: Daily Telegraph 2010
“Story of Sri Lanka in the last sixty five years is simply the repetition of hundreds and thousands of similar horrific events at different scales. 99% of the victims were innocent Tamils.”
“Sinhala chauvinism is the mother of all evils that is destroying this beautiful country. It is built on ignorance, arrogance, jealousy, insecurity, anger, lies and deception. This is a dangerous disease that has blinded the hearts and minds of the extremists Sinhala chauvinism or Sinhala extremism. It has nothing to do with ordinary Sinhala people.”
“International elements hid their faces in the sand when thousands of innocent were murdered in cold blood. United Nations, who is supposed to be a guardian for the oppressed and vulnerable in the world had in the past assisted Sri Lanka in mass murdering innocent Tamils, simply by ignoring the cries of the dying at the crucial hours.”
 
Jake Lynch: University of Sydney 2011
“Time to bring about real negotiations over how to recognise and implement the Tamils legitimate right to self-determination. As long as it remains unfulfilled, the people of Sri Lanka will be condemned to endure a repeating cycle of violence and abuse. The International community must be honest and take responsibility for the collaboration with the Sri Lanka regime and party to the crimes against humanity.”
 
International Commission of Jurists: 2012
“The Government of Sri Lanka has a long history since 1977 of using National Commissions of Inquiry as a means of circumventing the Criminal Justice System and of not implementing Commissions of Inquiry recommendations.”
 
United Nations Internal Review Panel Report – 2012 
“Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the United Nations to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the United Nations. It was exacerbated by the inaction of member states who failed to take up the escalating crisis in the Security Council, Human Rights Commission and General Assembly.”
 
Richard Dixon: 2012
“Unless the root cause of the ethnic problem is dealt with, Sri Lanka will face another wave of violence that could even be detrimental to the peace and stability in the whole south east Asia.”
 
Amnesty International – 2012
“A Government inquiry Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [LLRC] into Sri Lanka’s civil war is flawed at every level providing to accountability for atrocities. The government used the LLRC as its trump card in lobbying against an Independent International Investigation.” [Sam Zafiri – Director AI].
 
United Nations Panel of Experts on Accountability – 2011
“The conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of International Law  designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.”
 
United Nations Review Panel: 2012
According to United Nations data most casualties are caused by Government fire.”
 
Professor Steven Ratner [Member of UNSG Panel – 2012
“There is no environment to address accountability and dispense justice for these crimes domestically in Sri Lanka”
 
Richard Dixon: Telegraph 2012
“Sri Lanka defends its atrocities by non-compliances, denials, refusals, justifications, black mailing and other techniques to escape justice.”
 
Human Rights Watch: 2013
“We found disturbing patterns, strongly suggesting that [sexual violence] was a widespread and systematic practice.”
 
Yasmin Sooka: United Nations Report 2014
“Widespread and systematic violations by the Sri Lankan security forces occur in a manner that indicates a co-ordinated, systematic plan approved by the highest level of Government from 2009 – 2014.”
 
Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka Bremen Germany: 2013
“On the strength of the evidence presented, the Tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the State of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing  acts of genocide against the Tamils. The International community particularly the United Kingdom and USA share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.”
 
Rose Dimanno: Toronto Star Political Analyst November 20, 2012
“There is a hidden genocide in Sri Lanka.”
 
International Crisis Group: in 2014 – commented on the
“Escalation of militarisation, colonisation and forcible imposition of Sinhala Buddhist culture.”
 
International Crimes Evidence Project Report: 2014
”Evidentiary material and the analysis highlight the likelihood that international crimes were committed during the period from Sept. 2008 to May 2009.”
 
Geoffrey Robinson QC: Australia May 28, 2014
“If Tamils are not accorded equal rights in Sri Lanka – and they never have been – then they are entitled to autonomy. If the repression continues they are entitled to independence. Nothing succeeds like secession.”
 
Patrick Brown: Opposition Leader Ontario Province Legislative Assembly, Canada on May 6, 2015
“Terrible human rights crimes have been committed and still there is no justice to the thousands of Tamils who lost their family members in the Sri Lankan genocide.”
 
Juan Mendez: United Nations top official on torture etc. on May 7, 2016
“Torture is a common practice inflicted in the course of both regular criminal and national security related investigations.”
 
Global Justice Centre: Blog – May 18, 2016
“The United Nation cannot fail the Tamils in Sri Lanka again, real justice for Tamils must include investigations into and prosecutions of genocide crimes including ongoing torture and gender-based violence committed with genocidal intent.”
 
Professor Jude Lal Fernando: Exiled Sinhala Academic May 30, 2016
“There are two strands of the United Nations. One is the human rights and the humanitarian strand that genuinely represents the concerns of the people affected by wars. The other strand represents the powers who lead the wars and selectively applies human rights standards to suit their agenda, Ban-ki-Moon works for the powers who orchestrate wars even though he is supposed to represent the United Nations.”
 
Working Group on Enforced Disappearances – July 8, 2016
“Enforced disappearances are being used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent or in the internal armed conflict.”
 
United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon: September 2016 while in Sri Lanka
“In 1994, in Rwanda there was a massacre, more than one million people were massacred. After Srebrenica massacre UN felt responsible for them and we did again in Sri Lanka.”
 
United Nations Report on Minority Issues: October 20, 2016
“There is a trust deficit vis-a-vis state as well between the communities in Sri Lanka.”
 
Oakland Institute: Canada March 20, 2017
“Sri Lankan government fails on promises of resettlement, demilitarisation and reconciliation. The attitude of the Sirisena administration makes a mockery of its international commitments.”
 
Patrick Brown: Leader of the Opposition, Ontario Legislative Assembly, Canada – May 18, 2017
“It was estimated that approximately tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in the final months of the conflict, eight years later there has been insufficient progress in seeking justice for the victims of genocide. In 2009, I was, the first Canadian Member of Parliament to speak out in the House of Commons about the genocide.”
 
Chris Alexander: Former MP and Minister of Immigration, Canada, Conservative Party
“We remember the genocide that preceded the brutal tragedy in Sri Lanka and hundred thousands of lives lost in the tragedy.”
 
Noam Chomsky: Professor of Linguistics emeritus; commenting on the book “CAGE” written by Gordon Weiss – a former UN official who worked in the conflict areas including Bosnia, Darfur.
“A shattering, heartbreaking tale of savagery and sufferings lifts the veil that conceals one of the most awful tragedies of the current era.”
 
Gordon Weiss: Former UN Official and author of the book “CAGE” [Page 233} Sums up Sri Lanka’s debacle in the Comity of Nations as follows:
“Moral authority is both possible and regarded as beneficial in mutually co-operative Union of Nations, the alternative is Sri Lanka’s model, a society sliding into tyranny where myth-making, identity white washing and political opportunism have defeated justice and individual dignity.”
 
Devon Haynie – US News & World Report – May 18, 2017
“Sirisena had no plan to quickly pursue recommendations. If anything, the President seemed to backtracking from his pledges, seeking in support of military leaders charged with crimes. UN deadline came and went in March 2017 with the Government making scant progress in any of its key pledges.”
 
Lord Shiva: Oxford University, Law Faculty – May 30, 2017
“Successive oppressive Sri Lankan Regimes commits heinous crimes against Tamils, Humanity, Genocide and Denial of Justice.”
 
 
All the above statements and quotations point to the following irrefutable conclusions based on facts & evidences collected and analysed with no room for doubt.
 
 
Sri Lankan Government’s Commissions and Omissions:
 
Commissions:

International crimes – including genocide in all forms [structural, cultural, religious] Ref: Genocide Resolution passed unanimously in the Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka in February 2015.
 
Enforced disappearances.
Arbitrary arrests and detention.
Forcible return of internally displaced.
Culture of impunity.
Ongoing human rights violations
Dismissing and ignoring the daily and continuing cries and pleas of relatives of disappeared/owners of seized land.
 
 
Omissions:

Failure to implement the UNHRC Recommendations in the October 1st 2015 Resolution.
Failure to set up the Office of Missing Persons, The OMP legislation is likely to be shelved.
Failure to set up any judicial mechanism, internal or otherwise to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes etc.
Failure to honor several promises made to foreign dignitaries and local Tamil leadership like the:-

The Dictatorial and Discriminating Democracy of Sri Lanka
 
The classic definition of democracy by the world statesman Abraham Lincoln ‘democracy is by the people, for the people and of the people’ simply confirms the power of people and how the power should be used for the rights, welfare and dignity of the people.
 
Democracy took its roots in Sri Lanka from 1948 when it gained its status as a free, independent and sovereign nation and becoming a member of the United Nations in 1955. Since 1948 twenty-five general elections and presidential elections were held which were all free and fair sticking to democratic practices and norms. Sri Lanka’s majority community Sinhalese have been holding the reins of power since then. The concept of ‘majority rule with the consent of minority’ however never found its recognition and adoption by Sri Lanka’s Sinhala ruling parties. In Sri Lanka, it is majority rule to marginalize the minorities. The rot of only preserving and implementing the interests of majority Sinhalese commenced in 1956 with the introduction of the Sinhala Only Act. Since then majority rule prevailed in all spheres marginalizing the minorities and throwing to the wind the concept of ‘democracy for the people’ and instead democracy for the domination of majority Sinhalese. Democratic elections provided the cover and shielded the discrimination and marginalization of minority communities, particularly Tamils.
 
Various legislations and governmental measures were aimed at Tamils by the democratically elected Sri Lankan Governments. Some of which are:
 
1 – Sinhala Only Act of 1956;
2 – Standardization of admission to Universities Act 1974;
3 – Sinhala settlement schemes in the Tamils traditional and historical homeland in the North and East of Sri Lanka, coupled with an agenda of Sinhalisization and Buddhisisation by erecting Buddhist statues and Viharas where very only few/no Buddhists live;
4 – Discrimination in state employment;
5 – A 95% Sinhalese personnel in the Security forces and Police.
 
 
The above being the agenda of the democratic majority community’s elected leaders who also never failed to lay hands on political dissidents, prominent leaders, human rights activists, journalists and rebels against the Government, irrespective of Sinhalese or Tamils alike.
 
Almost all the leaders who ruled Sri Lanka captured power through democratic process, and while in power wielded the propensity for dictatorial attitude and methods to the detriment of minorities and political dissidents including media and journalists.
 
In Sri Lanka, democracy which is supposed to be a rule by the majority with the consent of the minority, can be termed as a democracy in the hands of majority Sinhalese controlling the powers of Government to foster and preserve the Sinhalese race, Buddhist religion and Sinhala language of the majority only with state assisted schemes against minorities, particularly Tamils, aiming at their extinction in the island.
 
The undemocratic and hegemonic dictatorial measures unleashed against the Tamils, Muslims and political dissidents are numerous since 1956. Some of the harshest measures are listed as follows:
 
1 – Imposition of Sinhalese language on the minorities within 24 hours in 1956. A majority community’s dictatorial and democratic piece of legislation.
 
2 – State sponsored Sinhala colonization in Tamils traditional and historical homelands with intent to make Sri Lanka a Buddhist Sinhalese state. This is another dictatorial measure shielded by democracy [majority rule].
 
3 – Non-violent and peaceful agitations and protests by the Tamils and Tamil leaders were brutally and violently crushed by the Security Forces [Sathiyagraga led by late S. J. V. Chelvanayagam in the North and East in 1961, Blockading the Kachcheries [Government Agent’s Offices] the Tamil leaders were arrested and put in jails. This clearly shows a pure dictatorial anti-democratic step carried by a democratic Government. The International Tamil Conference which was held in Jaffna in 1974 ended halfway abruptly while the police started to assault the participants and arrest the key speakers in this event and due to the stampede eight civilians died on the spot. [The Sinhalese leaders were behind this act of violence – which was against the Tamils and promotion of Tamil language and their history and heritage in the North and East].
 
4 – The democracy in Sri Lanka permitted its leaders and security forces to go ahead with the pogroms against the Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983 and genocide from 2006-2009. Democratically elected Sinhalese leaders behaved dictatorially during the pogroms and genocide, assisting, encouraging and supporting the security forces.
 
5 – Again the democracy of Sri Lanka has faithfully followed the culture of impunity for the security forces and top Government officials by protecting them from any civil or criminal suits in courts for the hoards of crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc., committed since 1958 in addition to the 196 massacres of Tamil civilians since 1956.
 
6 – The democratic rights of Tamils were discarded by the Sri Lankan Governments which appointed eleven Commissions since 1977 to inquire into the various violence and issues connected with those violence against Tamils, the last being the Paranagama Commission on disappearances, the Reports of which have now become archives facing their ultimate demise.
 
7 – The Sri Lankan Government’s democratic functioning is adorned with the dictatorial customary practice of eliminating political dissidents, human rights activists, enemies and journalists which expose the sins and misdeeds of Government officials including security forces and police. So far more than twenty such political dissidents were killed to silence their democratic freedoms, while some went into exile to save their lives with some missing or disappeared like Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
 
8 – One pillar of democracy, the judiciary, is no exception to the soiling of democracy in Sri Lanka. From the time when the executive presidential system was introduced in 1978, the judiciary fell into the hold of executive president and became politicized, mostly tilting in favour of Government machinery. A silver lining was seen in the recent judgment which suspended the President’s Order of dissolution of Parliament.
 
9 – Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike behaved in a dictatorial fashion in 1996 when she declared a “war for peace’ against the Tamils in North and East against her own citizens, which caused untold miseries and sufferings to civilians who were forced to flee from their homes in thousands to save their lives.
 
In this respect former President J.R. Jayawardene also declared his genocidal intent in 1983 when like a dictator he said-
“I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people now.. Now we cannot think of them. Not about their lives or of their opinion about us…The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhalese people will be here… really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.”
— From an interview with J.R. Jayewardene by Ian Ward. London Daily Telegraph, 11 July 1983.
 
10 – During the rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, dictatorial exercise of powers and installation of family rule led to the tampering of democratic norms with abuse of power, white van abductions and enforced disappearances. Killings and torture were routine practices coupled with open bribery, corruption and misappropriation of state funds.
 
11 – In Sri Lanka, democratic governments are also reputed to break promises made with the International Community, United Nations and State leaders, not to mention their challenges of the United Nations and United Nations Human Rights Council as to their own commitments made in October 2015 [UNHRC Resolution 30/1]. Another important factor is the statutory commitments and provisions in the 13th Amendment [under Into-Sri Lanka Pact signed in 1967 by the then Prime Minister of India Late Rajive Ghandi and the late Prime Minster of Sri Lanka late J. R. Jayawardene] which authorized the Northern Provincial Council [Northern and Eastern Provinces] to exercise powers over land and the Police force which had been ignored and allowed to remain as dead and meaningless by the Government This is just another example of Sri Lanka’s democratic rule of observing its own laws.
The very recent happenings inside Parliament and the pure dictatorial actions of the originators and instigators, the President and his collaborators speak volumes as to the pathetic state of democracy in Sri Lanka and the disgraceful level to which it has descended, purely due to dictatorial mindset and obsession of the President who appears to have attempted to settle his own political scores and personal vendetta against the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ignoring condemnation from the International Community and other civil organizations.
With much water having flown under the bridge, the fight between the rival major Sinhala political parties will eventually die down, but the sacrificial lambs will be Tamils who have been taught another lesson that their 70 year old problems will never be solved. Instead they will be exploited by the major rival political parties in the south to capture the state power, through a democratic system which is meant only for the majority to serve their political interests and goals. [To make the whole island Sri Lanka a Buddhist Sinhala State where there is no place for Tamil speaking Hindu/Christians, Sinhala speaking/Christians and Muslims].
To summarise, it is apt to state that in the name of democracy its democratically elected rulers have taken cover under democracy and inflicted maximum miseries and sufferings including the Genocide of Tamils; only Almighty God can save the Tamils from this democratic dictatorial Sinhalese Government.
It has to be stated that the crowning of all the breaches of democracy is a Prime Minister who continues to hold office even after the passing of two no confidence motions in Parliament, this being the Sri Lankan brand of democracy allowing two Prime Ministers challenging each other. As for the Tamils, a benevolent Dictatorship is preferable to a genocidal democracy.
 
 
 

 
ARTICLE 47
Judging Sri Lanka’s Credibility and Commitments to Human Rights 
The crucial UNHRC March 2019 session
 
 
 
The UN Human Rights Council’s March 2019 Sessions are poised to debate and discuss the Council’s Final Reports on Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing its 30-01-2015 Resolution which had more than 25 core recommendations. A Resolution as to Sri Lanka’s record of performance and its obvious failings with appropriate recommendations is also expected to be passed, and later to be forwarded to the United Nations and UN Security Council if warranted for further steps and action.
 
This Session is particularly crucial for the victimized Tamils who have pinned their hopes only on UNHRC and the United Nations to deliver justice and remedy their political grievances which were set in motion by Sri Lanka’s successive Governments since 1956.
 
Since the passing of the Resolution in October 2015, UNHRC Officials and Rapporteurs have been making several visits to Sri Lanka to monitor the progress and assess the ground situation in Sri Lanka. Most of their published Reports revealed a lack of progress, delaying tactics and inducing promises of compliance.
 
The sum result is nothing but disappointment while Sri Lanka is also defying the United Nations and UNHRC by challenging their rights to interfere with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka including its integrity and sovereignty. This approach and defiance is nothing but a slap on the International Organization’s Stature, and functioning after accepting and becoming a member of the United Nations and UNHRC bound to comply with their written obligations.
UNHRC Resolution of 30-01-2015 was aimed at promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka. The Resolution welcomed certain steps of Sri Lanka and recommended other steps towards achieving the goals of reconciliation, accountability and justice including human rights. Among others, the Resolution welcomed Sri Lanka’s commitments to the devolution of political authority. When reviewing the progress in this matter, there is no iota of doubt that steps towards devolution still remain frozen. The powers already granted to the Provincial Councils, particularly over land and police remain blocked by the Central Government. In this situation, expecting the centre to devolve more powers is nothing but only a fiction.
 
Even the hope of reconciliation through a new constitution as hoped by the Tamils has evaporated viewing the ongoing battles for power waged by the major political parties against each other [United National Party versus Sri Lanka Freedom Party]. As long as the agenda of Buddhisisation and Sinhalisisation [Making Sri Lanka a Buddhist/Sinhala country – with no political rights for minorities Tamils, Muslims and Christians] continues, is sown and fed by Buddhist Clergy, communalists and extreme Buddhist Sinhalese coupled with majority hegemony, a permanent and just political settlement appear to be a distant dream.

About accountability, the less said the better and the answer is simple and easy, not an inch of progress has been made to bring those who are accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity to courts with neither prosecution nor the set up of an Internal Judicial Mechanism as undertaken and promised by the Sri Lankan Government to the International Community.
In the face of the defying statements of the President and the Prime Minister who have vowed to shield and protect the Security Forces from prosecution and appearing in courts, it would be futile to expect the fulfillment of accountability commitment by Sri Lanka which is a strict follower of the culture of impunity to Armed Forces since 1958. Even few prosecutions initiated against some members of the Security Forces have been dragging on for many years to the dismay and frustration of the traumatized victims, mostly Tamils.
With accountability being disowned and discarded by Sri Lankan state machinery, the victims seeking justice are left with no other alternative than to seek the intervention and assistance of United Nations, UNHRC and the International Community. It is hoped that the World Bodies will rise up to the occasion and buttress their credibility and commitments to uphold human rights of all citizens of all member countries. 
Regarding UNHRC’s Recommendations to ensure “Full enjoyment of human rights by all members of Sri Lankas’ population” it can be stated that full enjoyment for Tamils has been stripped and curtailed since the passing of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] of 1979. The heavy presence of Army Personnel in the North and East is diluting the basic human rights of movement of people and their rights to live and earn their livelihood in their own historical and traditional lands. The Security forces [95% Buddhist/Sinhalese] are mostly engaged in surveillance of the civilians and instilling fear and insecurity even after the end of the war almost 10 years ago. Besides military is engaged in civilian activities like running farms in civilian lands running Hotels, shops and even Primary Schools to Tamil children.
To summarise, Sri Lanka has comprehensively failed to implement the following UNHRC Recommendations:-
[i] “Expediting the process of delivery of durable solutions for all internally displaced persons.”
According to I – Trans Report [International Tamil Refugee Assistance Network] published in October 2018, 90,000 families in Northern Province are homeless and living in shanties and slums” This process is haphazardly carried out without any firm road map or agenda.
  [ii] Torture is still practiced and going on as per the UN Rapporteurs and media.
References:-
Dozens of men describe rape, torture by Sri Lanka government
https://nypost.com/2017/11/08/dozens-of-men-describe-rape-torture-by-sri-lanka-government/
Torture of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka has continued, says charity https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/13/torture-tamil-detainees-sri-lanka-report-alleges
 [iii] An independent oversight of the security system has not yet been set up. It is doubtful it will ever be carried out due to the present structure and inbuilt system.
 [iv] Independent, impartial and transparent judicial mechanism manned by impartial professionals has still not been set up to redress past abused and violations to ensure credible accountability process including initiation of prosecutions. Viewing the state’s policy and culture of impunity, this recommendation will probably face a slow death.
[v] Has failed to honour its commitment to the devolution of political authority to the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
 [vi] Has failed to implement its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [LLRC] recommendations.
[vii] Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a judicial mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate all allegations of violations, and abuses of human rights and violations of International Humanitarian Law, remains almost dead.
 
[viii] Recommendation to reform Sri Lanka’s domestic law is yet to be initiated, including “Introduction of effective Security Sector Reforms as part of International Justice Process.” So far there is neither any indication nor any steps taken to look into these matters.
 [ix] Recommendation to accelerate the return of land to its rightful civilian owners remains unfulfilled. It is estimated that 16,105 acres of land in the Northern Province and 3185 acres of land in the Eastern Province remain in the hands of Security Forces, although there were occasional releases of few acres of land with much publicity and fanfare. The recommended “Ending of Military involvement in civilian activities” is yet to begin and no firm instructions have still been issued to this effect.
[x] Recommended repeal of Prevention of Terrorism Act [PTA] is yet to materialize which is generously and exclusively applied to Tamil youths. An alternate draft is lying awaiting its passing and full effect, which is said to be like old wine in a new bottle.
  [xi] Recommendations to ensure that all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively in accordance to the 13th Amendment to the constitution has been treated contemptuously by the Centre despite the Provincial Councils’ repeated requests to implement the provisions such as granting Police and Land powers to the Provinces.
 [xii] Recommendation to Government to prohibit acts of torture, rape and sexual violence by Security Forces is yet to be fully complied with as Reports of Torture and Sexual violence have been exposed by UN Officials, with hardly any investigation and punishment being meted out to the perpetrators.
However, the Sri Lankan Government has passed the Office of Missing Persons Act and an Act dealing with Enforced Disappearances. Sad to say the proposed Acts, with many flaws, are still not operational with no firm commitment by the Government to deal with the approximate 65,000 or more persons said to have disappeared during the final stages of war. Most of the disappeared are those who surrendered to the Military during the war and those arbitrarily arrested by the Military/Police during and after the war. The Government has also refused to provide details and statistics as to the identities of disappeared, surrendered, detained or killed.
In summary, it is abundantly clear that the Sri Lankan Government had deliberately and stubbornly discarded the core recommendations of the UNHRC and has made a mockery of Justice, Accountability and Reconciliation as promoted and safe-guarded by the UNHRC, United Nations and UN Security Council.
 
There is no doubt that Sri Lanka will continue its policy of holding out promises and delaying tactics to weaken the Resolution of UNHRC and United Nations hoping for ultimate slow death of the Resolutions.
 
There is no gainsaying of the fact that Sri Lankan Tamils can be considered the worst sufferers of human rights in the world since 1958 and the International Community, UNHRC and United Nations simply ignored and miserably failed to stop the hidden agenda of Genocide set in motion from 1948 against the minority communities to make Sri Lanka a Buddhist/Sinhala State which reached its climax in 2009 and still continues at rapid speed.
It is of the utmost urgency and importance that UNHRC, United Nations and UN Security Council initiate appropriate steps to ensure justice and allow the Tamils to choose their own destiny through a Referendum in the Northern and Eastern Provinces [Traditional and historical homeland of the Tamils for centuries] in accordance with UN Conventions under UN supervision.
To ensure and uphold accountability, a reference to the International Criminal Court and setting up of an UN sponsored international investigation must be given priority for consideration by the UNHRC, United Nations and Security Council.
The victimized Tamils still pin their hopes on the UNHRC, United Nations and UN Security Council to guarantee their dignified existence in their traditional and historical homeland in Sri Lanka.
 
 
 

 
2019
ARTICLE 48
Time to deliver Justice for the War Victims
 
 The 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is scheduled to be held in Geneva from February 25 to March 22, 2019. This Session assumes greater importance for the victims of the genocidal war in Sri Lanka as the Council is about to debate Sri Lanka’s track record regarding the implementation of Recommendations jointly sponsored by the USA and Sri Lanka in the 30-01-2015 Resolution and 30-04-2017 Resolution.
 
United Nations High Commissioner’s for Human Rights final report and Special Rapporteur’s reports are expected to be submitted to the Council for discussion, debate and a final Resolution on March 22, 2019. 42 months have lapsed since the co-sponsored Resolution was passed which included two years extension as requested by Sri Lanka to allow time to fully implement those Recommendations.
 
This Session will draw Human Rights Organizations, Tamil Human Rights activists, Representatives for the affected Tamil victims, and a Sri Lankan Government’s Delegation which is expected to be led by its Foreign Minister. In addition about twenty side-group meetings are expected to be held by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other human rights groups focusing on accountability and justice to the victimized Tamils.
 
Regarding the quality and quantity of implementation of the 20 or more recommendations of the UNHRC Resolutions, the short and simple answer is simply dismal and deceptive except the passing of three legislations, The Office of the Missing Persons Act, A Reparation Bill and an Act on Involuntary Disappearances. As usual most of them still remain in paper form for the past 42 months without moving an inch forward.
 
Furthermore, The Office of the Missing Persons Act, passed in 2016, lacks the flesh and blood to make it fully effective and fulfilling. It is an Act to protect the Security Forces from any civil or criminal liability and burdens the victims resort to remedies through Courts cumbersome and protracted. As far as the “Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances Act” goes, the same practical difficulties to haul up the culprits are present as presumably it would drag the Security Forces for the alleged disappearances.
 
In the forthcoming UNHRC Sessions, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will present her Annual Report concerning Human Rights around the world. Three Reports are expected to be presented concerning Sri Lanka along with the UN High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka on March 20, 2019. A debate or even two debates will follow regarding the contents of Reports before the passing of a Resolution which is expected on March 22.
 
To recap matters, it has to be stated that the earlier Resolutions 30/1 and 30/4 concentrated on ‘Accountability, Justice and Reconciliation’ as Sri Lanka’s commitments and implementation. Regarding accountability, the United Nations, UNHRC and International Community are well aware of the way and how they are treated and enforced in Sri Lanka as mentioned and confirmed by UN Rapporteurs and UN High Commissioner’s Reports with the culture of impunity being part and parcel of Sri Lanka’s Administrative and Judicial System, barring a few occasions where the delivery of justice is however allowed to move at snail’s pace like the cases involving the Security Forces for the massacre of five Tamil students in Trincomalee on January 02, 2006.
 
It is well known that accountability as a concept is a dead letter as the Sri Lankan leaders have openly declared their state policy of impunity for any member of the Security Forces who are hailed as “War Heroes”. The recent promotion of Major General Shavendra de Silva, an alleged war criminal as the Chief-of-Staff of Army is nothing but a slap in the face of the United Nations, UNHRC which declares and confirms the state’s culture of impunity as officially irreversible and entrenched. With this act of open challenge and defiance of the United Nations and UNHRC, it can be stated that this cornerstone of an independent judicial mechanism of a democratic Government has been buried lock, stock and barrel without resurrection. Instead of punishment for the alleged war crimes committed by an Army General, reward and appreciation for the alleged crimes have been showered making accountability a mockery.
 
With Accountability being made irrelevant in Sri Lanka, the principle of justice for the victims suffers the collateral damage, as justice flows from the observance of accountability. With justice also suffering the same demise as accountability, the victims of war are left with no alternative other than to cry and seek out help from third parties, like the United Nations, and/or International Community.
 
UNHRC Resolutions dealing with reconciliation also needed to be mentioned. The history of Reconciliation between the various communities, particularly Sinhalese and Tamils, commenced its journey in 1956 and is still continuing as an insolvable, incurable disease. Efforts of all successive Governments since 1956 were brought down to nil, results being unable to withstand and defeat the evils of racism, communalism and hegemony aided and encouraged by ‘Maha Sanga’ and Buddhist Clergy’s tight hold on the direction of politics in Sri Lanka. As a result the Tamils have been living on hope for the last 70 years, and appear to be destined to live with hope only due to the ongoing State’s agenda of Sinhalisization and Buddhisization set in motion from 1948.
 
Viewing Sri Lanka’s declared defiance and intention to defeat the Recommendations of the UNHRC, a huge burden and responsibility lies on this august Institution to reinforce and assert its credibility, reliance, resolve and strength to the rogue states that trample human rights with no questions asked, like Sri Lanka which has buried the core principle of accountability lock, stock and barrel while upholding impunity. Example: Promotion of alleged war criminal Shavendra de Silva. Sri Lanka’s notable refusals and disregards of UNHRC and the European Union can be seen from the breach of promises to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and initiation of international or even internal judicial mechanisms to investigate the alleged war crimes. Various promises made by the President and Prime Minister also remain dead and frozen like the release of Tamil political prisoners, complete release of civilian lands to owners before the end of year 2017, as promised by the President in October 2018 during his visit to the North.
 
It is the fervent hope of all the victims in Sri Lanka that the UNHRC will rise to the occasion in the forthcoming Sessions in March 2019 and pass a Resolution fulfilling the expectations and dispense the much awaited redress and remedies to the traumatized victims of war crimes. It is also seriously hoped that the UNHRC’S Resolution is followed with further action, possibly through the United Nations and/or UN Security Council, to translate the Resolution into active and meaningful steps like UN sponsored investigations and a referral to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council.
 
A Resolution without follow up action will allow and encourage Sri Lanka to continue its program of structural genocide while shielding the genocidal crimes committed since 1958 [Pogroms against the Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1971, 1977, 1983 and genocidal war from 2006-2009 – more than 200,000 lives lost]. Besides treating the Resolution with contempt and as an interference viewing Sri Lanka’s abysmal record of almost zero implementation of the twenty or more recommendations despite the lapse of forty two months, it would be only a superficial and vain hope to expect Sri Lanka to comply with all Recommendations only when further extension is given, which Sri Lanka will accept with relish.
 
The UN Human Rights Council, instead of giving any further extension, must focus on passing a provision giving a time limit to implement the recommendations with provisions and calling for punitive measures like economic/political or diplomatic sanctions in the event of non-compliance. 
A further extension will be a gift for Sri Lanka which it will wholeheartedly welcome with relish, as this would provide the leeway to free from the tightening hold of the UNHRC in the March 2019 Sessions and enabling to stultify the Recommendations.
It is hoped the UNHRC and United Nations will live up to their tasks and standings to uphold accountability and justice while initiating steps for Reconciliation as mandated in the Resolutions 30/1 and 30/4.
 
A solemn duty and responsibility also lies on the International Community, particularly the USA and European Union, to vindicate their roles as champions of world human rights. In this respect the statement of USA’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Right Honorable Eliot Engel, on January 15 2019 gives hopes for victims of war. He stated that “Appointing someone the UN believes is a war criminal to serve as Chief of Army staff will not help to demonstrate and prove sincerity of Sri Lanka to hold war criminals to accountable.”
 
Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of International Truth and Justice Project [ITJP] commented “Appointing Silva is a shocking new low for Sri Lanka.” Similar condemnations were also made by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several other Human Rights groups.
 
What is needed is a UNHRC Resolution with clear bench marks, time-frame, UN monitoring system and UN sponsored international investigation and a Security Council Resolution to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. In this respect it is the hope of all human rights groups, countries and affected victims that the USA will take the lead initiative with the support of other member countries to realize the above steps as a warning and lesson to member countries who indulge in violations of human rights with impunity.
 
Justice delayed is justice denied and any allowance of delays or extensions to the fulfillment of commitments if granted to Sri Lanka will surely defeat the purposes and existence of UNHRC, UN and Security Council while belittling their stature as guardians and upholders of human rights according to the Charters and specific provisions of the United Nations, UNHRC and Security Council. 
It has to be stated that Sri Lanka as usual will carry out few cosmetic measures before the UNHRC Sessions like the release of a few acres of land as crumbs.
However for the victims it is “Enough is enough” and what they want is no more dilly-dallying and hoodwinking the Tamils, their leaders including the UN, UNHRC and International Community
When Accountability is denied, Justice and Reconciliation also die along with it.
 
 
                *

THANKS
I use this opportunity to thank
Colombo Telegraph
Ilankai Tamil Sagam,
Tuck Magazine
In publishing my articles
 &
 Mr Kumarathasan Rasingam
Mr Pon Kulendiren
For Compiling the articles
&
The Readers who read my articles and commented
 Mr Kangasabai Thambu
 LL.M (London)
(Former Lecturer in Law, University Of Colombo)

About editor 2224 Articles
Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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