By June 27, 20180 CommentsReport

Sri Lanka is misleading the UN General Assembly

H.E. Ambassador Miroslav Lajčák, Permanent Representative of Slovakia
President of UN General Assembly(2017/2018)
 
Your Excellency
 
Sri Lanka is misleading the UN General Assembly
 
Please share the following with all UN members:
 
Sri Lanka Representative:
Sri Lanka had emerged from a long conflict and embarked on a process of peacebuilding. …. By addressing the hearts and minds of the Sri Lankan people, the Government had endeavoured towards a peaceful and prosperous country. ….……”, 25 April 2018, https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/ga12013.doc.htm
 
The war was brought to an end in May 2009, but the root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. 
On the contrary the-then government heavily militarised  the North/East region and let the military have political, socio-economic, cultural and psychological control over the people. A multitude of reports by various entities of the UN in the last several decades tells the i. story of the oppressed and ii. expert damage control by successive Sri Lankan governments at the UN.
 
Former President Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga told the 29th LawAsia Conference on 12 August 2016:
‘’…………… The ethnic problem of Sri Lanka has led to political conflict, violence and terrorism. Problems began to arise between the three major communities that had lived in harmony and peace for many centuries, after de-colonisation in 1948. The leaders of all communities living in Sri Lanka fought side by side on a common platform for Independence. With the emergence of independent Sri Lanka after nearly five centuries, the various communities awakened to the existence of their rights – ethnic, linguistic and religious – individually and collectively. Similarly to other newly independent nations, the majority community in Sri Lanka established itself within the political power structures, claiming their rights in the economic, social and cultural spheres, setting up laws, institutions and practices to guarantee their privileges to the exclusion of the “other” that are the minorities. The ruling elite, comprised mainly of the majority community, arrogated an unequal share of opportunities to itself, while excluding the others. ………………… I reiterate that in a multi-ethnic multi-religious and cultural nation, Reconciliation requires a pluralist, secular and democratic State, without which it will not be possible to achieve Reconciliation. …….. The war is over. We have won the war but we have not yet won peace. …………………..….’’ 
 
”……………… As we all know, the conflict in Sri Lanka ended without a peace agreement. In the absence of such a document that would guide the Government and Sri Lankan society in working towards a sustainable peace, Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 established the framework by which the Government of Sri Lanka, victims and civil society can address the root causes of the past conflict and put in place the foundation for a peaceful, sustainable future that protects human rights. ……………………….” – Statement by Andrew Gilmour, Asst Secretary General for Human Rights, at the Peacebuilding commission meeting on Sri Lanka, New York, 20 November 2017, https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22420&LangID=E
 
The new government that replaced the previous corrupt autocracy in January 2015 has not only been failing to be a decent democracy but also proves to be more corrupt:
 
a. ”Among politically significant developments to have occurred during the past week or so, three stand out.……. Finally, it is not unwise to make the argument that the coalition of the autocrats is the lesser of the two evils, because democracy has ways to deal with it, resist it, and even defeat it. But not the coalition of the corrupt. It corrupts democracy to its core and smashes its ethical-normative backbone. Once corrupted, democracy runs the risk of becoming a slavish servant of the corrupt and autocratic alike.’’ – Coalitions of the Evil, Jayadeva Uyangoda(Emeritus Professoor of Political Science, University of Colombo), 3 June 2018, http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2018/06/03/columns/coalitions-evil
 
”In retrospect, one of the greatest missed opportunities of the now doomed Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Unity Government was its failure to grab Sri Lanka’s legal system by its ears (metaphorically speaking), cleanse the Bench of corrupt and politically compromised judges against whom files were stacked up aplenty and demonstrate the power of criminal justice reforms for human rights abuses and corruption to all citizens alike through the length and breadth of the country. ……………..” – That powerful reconciliation strategy which Sri Lanka missed, Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, 10 June 2018, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180610/columns/that-powerful-reconciliation-strategy-which-sri-lanka-missed-297597.html
 
b.  The Vanni – civilian land under military occupation, Feb 2018;  Under the military’s shadow, Oct 2016; ….
 
c.i. Postwar Plan:
‘’A 2009 report and supporting documentation indicated that the Sri Lankan military planned to expand greatly over the next five years. …… Conduct of Aggressive Intelligence Operations and pursuing Psychological Operations to rehabilitate the mind set of the public to tilt their affinity will also be facilitated by such a deployment. …..  It entailed increasing the size of the armed forces by a total of 210,000 soldiers over the five years up to 2015, to a final strength of 410,000 ……………….. .” – Sri Lanka Army Troop Strength, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sri-lanka/army-troops.htm 

ii.Implementation:

”……… What we have realised is that it is extremely difficult to change the mindsets of some of the adults, who still have different views and ideas. Therefore, we switched our target group from adults to young students. We think it is an investment and most of our *activities under the five Rs target the youth, students and children. We want to invest in the next generation in Jaffna. ……..…..” – Crucial reconciliation steps in North, 9 May 2018, http://www.ft.lk/opinion/Crucial-reconciliation-steps-in-North/14-654694

 

”Military density in the North of Sri Lanka in ”peace time” is much higher than the Iraq siege, Northern Ireland in peak conflict time, Kashmir or French occupation of Algeria.  ..….’’ –  Notes on the Military Presence in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, Vol – XLVII No. 28, 7-14 July 2012, Economic and Political Weekly (reproduced on https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/notes-on-the-military-presence-in-sri-lankas-northern-province/ )

 

”……….. By redefining the conditions of the ethno-political conflict in a no-war context, the military defeat of the LTTE has opened a new historical space to find a durable solution to the ethno-political conflict. Simultaneously, it has created many constraints due to ‘triumphalism’ and the majoritarian mindset of the regime and its ethno-political clientele. ……….………..” – – Is Peace a Hostage of the Military Victory? Dilemmas of Reconciliation, Ethnic Cohesion and Peace-Building? Gamini Keerawala(Emeritus Professor of History, University of Peradeniya), Nov 2013, http://ices.lk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Gamini-Keerawella-book.pdf

 

 
 

d. The UN must carefully watch Sri Lanka:

 ”….. The study accordingly argued that prosecuting offenders under the ICCPR Act is crucial to removing at least one of the ingredients of acute religious violence: the instigation of violence. ……” – The Chronic and the Entrenched: EthnoReligious Violence in Sri Lanka, Gehan Gunatilleke, 2018,  http://ices.lk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/The-Chronic-and-the-Entrenched-Mr.-Gihan-Book-FINAL-WEB-PDF.pdf

 

”….. Despite the end of three decades of war in Sri Lanka in May 2009, ethnic and religious violence has continued to take place in the country…..”The Chronic and the Acute: Post-War Religious Violence in Sri Lanka, Gehan Gunatilleke, 2015, http://ices.lk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/The-Chronic-and-the-Acute-Post-War-Religious-Violence-in-Sri-Lanka.pdf

 

e. ”This new style of diplomacy emphasized form over function. Sri Lanka was able to postpone donor sanction by stringing critics along from one presidential order to the next, creating Commissions of Inquiry and temporary agencies, none of which delivered legal accountability for grave violations or real reform of systems. In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s human rights record remained among the worst in the world” – Sri Lanka: 20yrs of makebelieve, Amnesty International, June 2009, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/ASA37/005/2009/en/

 

 

Yours sincerely

Women for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka

14, Tamarind Yard

London E1W 2JT


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