US Finding New Way To Escape From Sri Lankan UN Imbroglio – OpEd


Last month the US, came out with a report that claimed that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) International financial network was active. This news came as a fodder for many anti-LTTE armed chair critics, academics and governments too.

In India the Intelligence Bureau report referred to vulnerability and threats from “Islamist terror outfits, remnant cadres of LTTE and Naxals” and had advised precautionary measures in reference to the Mullaiperiyar dam, quickly picking a cue, the Tamilnadu government made this as a big issue and due to pressure from other political parties withdrew the allegations three days ago.

The State Department’s assessment, through its ‘Country Reports on Terrorism for 2014,’ acknowledges that the LTTE, which suffered military defeat in May 2009 at the hands of the Sri Lankan government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been “largely inactive” since then. Yet, it adds, “The LTTE’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2014.”

There were no such claims by the State Department since May 2009 and most importantly in 2012,2013 and 2014 when the US brought about three continuous resolutions against Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes committed during the last stages of the civil war which ended in May 2009.

The former Sri Lankan Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse on many occasions has spoken on how the LTTE has been completely wiped out. The atrocities committed on civilians during the course of the wiping out of the LTTE constituted gross violations of the Geneva Convention, prompting Canada and a few other European countries to initiate action against Sri Lanka as they urged the UNHRC to investigate War Crimes committed during the course of civil war.
In 2012, the US which joined the UNHRC and took the lead in bringing the first of the three resolutions in Geneva. Domestic pressure from Tamilnadu prompted India to vote against traditional ally Sri Lanka.

Many Tamils were apprehensive of the interest shown by the US in the Sri Lankan affairs. They felt that the US was more interested in neutralizing the growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region in partnership with the Draconian regime of Mahinda Rajapakse, the erstwhile President of Sri Lanka who did not toe the line of USA, and was closer to China and Pakistan at the expense of India.

The Tamils sensed that the USA was using War Crimes Investigation as a tool to check Mahinda Rajapakse and to control him and his inclination to China, used the three resolutions and the UNHRC as a threatening tool. Now that the Mahinda regime is no more, the US wants to wean out of the web it has created for Sri Lanka.

The US has been successful in bringing in a regime change and place their man Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Prime Minister of the country. Now they are not interested in the issues of Accountability and Inquiry into War Crimes. They did not pressurize the UNHRC to produce its report during the March Session and the report is to be submitted in the next session in September.

The US may not press for another resolution on a friendly regime. The ruse they are using is the nonexistent LTTE. The easiest way out is to create a sensation and divert the issue. There are enough number of people to write about the threat of the LTTE to the US, India and the world at large.

A recent illustration of that is the article reproduced in Eurasia Review on 28th June written by Mr. N. Sathya Moorty, Director, Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation titled Sri Lanka: US Report On LTTE A Caution For India, Too – Analysis. The author wants the world to help Sri Lanka overcome the nonexistent terrorism threat.

The author pulls in the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam into this debate and projects them as a LTTE front organization which the TGTE never claimed. After the end of the war the UN urged the Sri Lankan government to address “the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people”.1 This was echoed by the EU, USA, India and other countries2,3.

Whatever the TGTE has done so far is not secretive, they have democratically elected their Members from 12 countries, and does the author seem to suggest that the TGTE is carrying out the unfinished agenda of the LTTE in a clandestine manner in which the intelligence agencies of the 12 countries have no idea? This is ridiculing the intelligence of the intelligence agencies and questioning the democratic space allowed to the legitimate aspirations of the people in these 12 countries.

The TGTE boasts of a plethora of intellectuals, academics and professionals of the highest order as its advisors and senators including great personalities like Mr. Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General of USA, Mr. Robert Evans, Former Member of European Parliament from UK, Prof. David Matas, renowned Human Rights Attorney from Canada, Mr. M. Manoharan, Attorney at Law and Former member of Parliament from Malaysia, Mr. Satya Sivaraman formerly with the Indian Express and UN ESCAP, from India, Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at Harvard University, USA, Prof. Peter Schalk from Uppsala University, Sweden, Prof Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia and Karen Parker, Ph.D. Humanitarian Lawyer,USA to name a few.

Academics who respect the Human Rights of the Tamils have travelled far and wide to spread the message of the Genocide that took place in Sri Lanka in 2009, is there anything wrong in that, especially if there are benevolent Tamils in the Diaspora who fund their travel?

The author further relates this problem to Tamil Nationalism in the Indian state of TN and drags the name of Senthamilan Seeman who had organized a massive rally in Trichy on the 24th of May attracting a crowd of nearly 200,000 Tamil youth. This raly was organized in preparation for democratically contesting the state elections in 2016. Here is the link to the speech in which he made some just demands.

Never in his speech had Seeman spoken anything against India except for reiterating that India is a Union of States and the aspirations of the Tamils in Tamilnadu need to be respected. The false case foisted against him is a political vendetta of the state government of Tamilnadu.

Tamil nationalism did not emerge out of sympathy for the LTTE. The concept of “Tamil nationalism” was initiated at the end of the 19th century mainly to protect the separate identity of the Tamil language. When a false impression was created that the pan Indian culture was Sanskrit, a section of educated Tamils asserted the point that Tamil culture was distinct from Sanskrit culture and demanded its independent recognition. 4

Tamil nationalism reemerged recently as their legitimate humane issues have been completely sidelined by the Indian government including issues such as the killing of nearly 540 Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan navy, Cauvery water problem, the methane issue, Kudankulam nuclear power plant which the Tamils do not want on their soil, the killing of 20 innocent Tamils by Andhra police on the pretext of they being red sander smugglers and to cap it India’s support to Sri Lanka in the Genocide of the Tamils.

One must also note that for nearly 50 years a Tamil has not ruled Tamilnadu as the Chief Minister with the exception of O.Paneerselvam, who was a dummy of J.Jayalalithaa.

The issue of the Tamil struggle for the Right to self determination in Sri Lanka must be understood from the prism of Human Rights not from the point of state security. Very few remember that there was not a single instance in history where the LTTE attacked US or Israeli facilities anywhere.

To conclude one must understand that the Tamil Diaspora does not have the backing of even a single state on their demand for a separate state and organizationally it is impossible for the Tamil Diaspora to seed another civil war in the present circumstances. Hence the world need not fear the reemergence of the LTTE as ‘Terror Group’. The USA should not go back on its promise to fulfill the legitimate demands of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and it must pursue its lost interest in pushing for an International Inquiry into War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during the course of the civil war.

1. “Geneva, 19 May 2009 – Joint Press Conference held by UN Secretary-General and World Health Organization Director-General, Margaret Chan”. United Nations. 19 May 2009.
2.  “Summary: 18 May 2009, Brussels – Council of the European Union, 2942nd GENERAL AFFAIRS Council meeting, Conclusions on Sri Lanka”. European Union. 18 May 2009.
3. “Daily Press Briefing May 18, 2009”. United States Department of State. 18 May 2009.
4. Tamil nationalism, then and now, Frontline,  January 25, 2013

Dr. Paul Newman

Dr. Paul Newman holds a Doctorate of Philosophy on ‘Internal Displacement and Human Rights situation in Northern Sri Lanka’ from Bangalore University. He was one of the four public speakers at the Permanent People’s Tribunal on War Crimes against Sri Lanka. He also the Coauthor of ‘Unfettered Genocide in Tamil Eelam’, published by Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, India in November 2014. He is also a Member of the Forum Against Death Penalty, Chennai

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