By Shenali Waduge
Exactly what is the UN’s game plan in continuously subjecting Sri Lanka to the wave of harassment it has been subject to increasing as a result of eliminating a terrorist organization when UN in 30 years had done pittance to bring the peace it is mandated to do? Are these reports coming one after the other as punishment for eliminating an internationally banned terrorist organization? If so, every citizen in Sri Lanka (exclusive of those that are indirect or direct supporters of the LTTE) is prepared to stand on the dock in any criminal court to accept accountability – we are not sorry that the LTTE is no more.
Sri Lanka is today a country without suicide bombings, assassinations, bombs that explode unannounced in public venues and if that is what the UN and its stooges wants to see, Sri Lanka is very sorry to disappoint them – our civilians mean far more to us than terrorists bombing Sri Lanka. It is the UN that has failed 20 million Sri Lankans and these ghost estimates that come from sources that are not even mentioned or those that quote from pro-LTTE units giving outrageous Tamil civilian casualties are only making a mockery of themselves because in a population of 20m wherein Tamil population is just over 10% with the 2011 census putting Sri Lankan Tamils at 2.2million – how absurd are the figures that 70,000 or more perished in the final stages of the war when in 30 years the estimated deaths are less than 100,000!
As for the Charles Petrie report it is another differently worded version of the Darusman Report with UN shedding crocodile tears? How many tears did the UN shed for the 1million Tutsi’s who were murdered in cold blood throughout 100 days and the UN peace keepers simply pulled out of Rwanda, or for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dead from UN backed sanctions or the Iraqi people now born deformed as a result of the forbidden weapons used by US and NATO, or the thousands of innocent civilians that die on a daily basis because of unmanned US drone attacks?
By the way Charles Petrie was a UN official in Rwanda and UN simply abandoned Rwanda and allowed 1m genocide of Tutsis! With the sudden focus on Burma and US President’s visit do not be surprised if UN starts a campaign of “ethnic genocide” against Burma because Charles Petrie is the current UN representative in Burma!
Why was no UN panel of experts appointed to investigate France’s complicity in the Rwandan genocide? The French complicity in the murders of Rwanda is no different to its role in Libyan – the French provided arms, technical assistance and soldiers that took part in the Rwandan genocide and Gaddafi is said to have funded Sarkozy’s election campaign. During the genocide, $13 million from the Rwandan government went through Banque Nationale de Paris to Rwandan embassies worldwide, indicating French complicity in Hutu power armament and regime maintenance.
Where were the statements by UN Secretary General against the International Community for knowing that a massacre was being planned and simply ignoring to take action – these were the findings of a report compiled by former Swedish PM Ingvar Carlsson who concluded that the UN ignored evidence that genocide was planned and also concluded that the UN must apologize to Rwandan population.
Sri Lankans believe the UN should do the same? Why? Because LTTE was an internationally banned terrorist organization, it had committed crimes under Geneva Conventions which the UN has been aware of for over decades but has not taken action against, its personnel have had intimate relationships with LTTE members but no disciplinary action has been taken, some have used their office to assist LTTE crimes none of which have been investigated despite appeals. When India’s Jain Commission declared the LTTE guilty of murdering its former PM Rajiv Gandhi did the UN take action against the LTTE? Did the UN Secretary even appoint an interim panel to investigate why foreign leaders, foreign nations were having links to the LTTE? Even Indian politicians like Dr. Subaramaniam Swamy is accusing LTTE as being used to smuggle priceless Indian artifacts out of India – were any of these ever investigated by the UN? How can UN claim to be unbiased when its Secretary Generals issue condolence messages to dead LTTE leaders?
It is not that Sri Lanka does not have legislation constitutionally forbidding separation of Sri Lanka – this entitles any individual, organization or political party to face the law for such separatist moves and why is the Government not able to take any action against them? It is because there is a carrot and stick backed by powerful lobbies forcing them into inaction and these threats are obviously far too grave for the Government to be taking any risks. This is power politics!
If the Sinhalese were as brutal as the Hutus that killed 1m Tutsi’s why would the army prolong the final assault to declare 3 no fire zones, 2 Presidential appeals to the LTTE to lay down arms and surrender and compromise the lives of its soldiers to save 295,873 Tamil civilians? So what is the problem that the UN, its agencies, its former heads and all others have that it is too proud to acknowledge this achievement accept to go hunting after ghost estimate deaths which they cannot prove but said enough times suffices to embarrass Sri Lanka and gain popularity for itself.
A good example of the embarrassment techniques is the recently concluded Commonwealth Parliamentary Heads who arrived in Colombo with a delegation of over 800 from 54 nations and its General Secretary Dr. William F Shija declared how he had changed the false impression he had been given before his arrival of Sri Lanka and praised the efforts of Sri Lanka – it now emerges from a statement released that it was wrong to hold the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Sri Lanka – did the office not know that over 800 delegates were traveling to Sri Lanka? This is obviously nothing but another method to embarrass Sri Lanka. There are plenty more of such statements likely to come and all we can say is if anyone does not want to come to Sri Lanka we are not going to force them – but desist from creating lies and falsehoods.
The UN interim report on Sri Lanka by Charles Petrie is not without scrutiny because Charles Petrie is heading a Norwegian funded project “Myanmar Peace Support Initiative” though UN rules forbid staff to be employed or under influence of governments of UN member states (Article 100 of the UN Charter says “In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.”). With Norway’s links to the LTTE and its promotion of the Christian movement in Sri Lanka is it coincidental that Burmese Government arrested and charged 2 officials from the UNHCR and WFP for engineering the conflict between Rohingyas and Buddhists in Burma? We implore the public to watch out to see how UN will facilitate the creation of another Kosovo in the Rakhin area of Burma.
Exactly what has the UN done to maintain peace since World War 2? Could UN officials including the UN Secretary General realistically stop any of the conflicts that have taken place? Did the UN take the US to any international court for its crimes in Vietnam? Did the UN do anything against the US and NATO specifically targeting civilian infrastructure in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and can the UN ever take action – if not is there any point having a UN at all? If international laws are made to be followed should they not apply to all members big or small alike? How relevant are these international Charters if the main abusers are never charged or taken before any international courts.
What good is a UN that can show its might to weak and less powerful nations while those that supply the arms for conflicts remain the biggest culprits? How efficient and uncorrupt is the UN and its staff any way to be pointing fingers? The lists of UN corruptions and scandals are too many to write down, its spending in terms of personnel costs is far greater than any agency is given to carry out any of its mandated objectives.
How far has UN and its associated entities achieved anyway.
The fancy use of the words “human rights” throughout the UN system has done little to stop the flow of arms that is the root cause of conflicts that prevails – who are the manufacturers and distributors of these arms? These are the very nations that sit of the UN Security Council and use the power of the veto. The Palestinians do have a grievance but there is also the issue of terrorism at play and while Israel may argue using the angle of terrorism they cannot escape the abuses they commit upon innocent Palestinians but can the UN ever take action when US has vetoed every resolution brought against Israel?
What role did the UN play when NATO rained bombs over former Yugoslavia and the falsehoods that were created to project a false “genocide” – it is only now that the truth is emerging but a little too late. Can the UN ever absolve itself of its crimes against the Iraqi people, millions of children who died because of UN sanctions, Iraqi civilian infrastructure that were purposely brought to the ground because of NATO bombings, the tortures that Iraqi prisoners are subject to, the renditions that take place where US is supposed to be holding 27,000 prisoners without any trial – where are the UN expert panels to investigate these, where are the interim reports why is the UN Secretary General remaining silent?
Sri Lanka demands to know why UN has not taken action against the LTTE through 30 years for:
- Forcible recruitment of Tamils into a terrorist movement
- Abducting Tamil children as young as 10 years turning them into child combatants
- Denying Tamil children their fundamental right to education as well as what UN is doing about the 350 plus “Eelaam Madrasas” throughout Europe indoctrinating Tamil children to hate Sinhalese.
- Forcing Tamils to commit suicide by taking cyanide – policy indoctrinating suicide is a criminal offence.
- Religious conversions by International NGOs in Sri Lanka on the pretext of working on humanitarian work
- Denying Tamils freedom of movement, where throughout 30 years LTTE issued passes for Tamils leaving the Wanni with permission given to leave only on medical grounds and for the elderly which depended upon leaving a member of family as “guarantor” or making a payment. Issuing passes to Tamils and keeping a computerized database of all Tamils living in Sri Lanka and overseas to take payments from them.
- Forcible unpaid Tamil labor to dig trenches and construct bunkers which is against Geneva Conventions.
- Using Tamils as Human shields – forbidding their release and LTTE shielding themselves amongst Tamil civilians in the no fire zone as well as hiding their weapons amongst civilians which is a total violation of the Geneva Convention. We would also like to know why all the UN convoys that traveled to the North did not make a single attempt to persuade LTTE to release Tamil civilians and not a single elderly Tamil or Tamil child or any sick was brought back in these UN convoys. Why did the UN not use their office to secure the release of the young and old Tamil civilians from the LTTE when they were on friendly terms with the LTTE?
- Confiscating Tamil assets and property by LTTE, inflating civilian figures so as to get additional food provisions to be distributed only amongst LTTE families.
- Has the UN even investigated the LTTE’s killing of its own people where over 250 Tamils have been gunned down by the LTTE? – Has the UN investigated why LTTE fired upon fleeing Tamil civilians and cut hairs of young Tamil girls to mislead the military into thinking they were LTTE. This was an accusation by UNSG but not a single investigation was launched. http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ltte1208webwcover_1.pdf
- Despite numerous arrests and reports of LTTE terror financing on foreign soil and kovils, charities, humanitarian organizations all operating as front organizations of such activity what proactive action has the UN taken to curb these terrorist activity?
When LTTE has committed crimes under international laws why has the UN not taken action in 30 years?
- LTTE committed a crime under Common Article 3/1949 Geneva Convention and 1977 Additional Protocol 11 – confrontation with the SL armed forces as a “dissident” armed force under a “command”, controlling part of Sri Lanka’s territory illegally.
- Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions/Additional Protocol 1/International Criminal Court declaration that “utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime – what has the UN done against the LTTE for these violations?
- Article 5 of IHL – “civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances” (protection of civilian population)
- Article 23 (Geneva Convention Three) – specifically states that a prisoner of war is not to be used “to render certain points or areas immune from military operation”. (Geneva Convention III)
- Article 28 declares illegal the practice of employing human shields under IHL (Geneva Convention IV) “the presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operation”.
- Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Convention – Article 51(7) says “the presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations”. This clearly applies to passive and active human shields whether they are voluntary human shields or not.
If UN through its successive reports is attempting to project and infer and promote and build up a case against the Sri Lankan Government we would first like to have answered the following questions.
- If the Sri Lankan military had been indiscriminately firing at the no fire zones since 21st January 2009 how did 11,000 LTTE combatants live to surrender themselves to the military and compromising the lives of 5000 soldiers to save 294,000 Tamil civilians?
- Why did the Charles Petrie Interim report not mention about the LTTE suicide that took place inside a makeshift refugee camp where Sri Lanka’s military were providing food and medical assistance to Tamil civilians who had escaped the LTTE resulting in loss of military lives as well as Tamil civilian deaths?
- Why is the UN going out of its way to embarrass Sri Lanka by projecting a scenario that Sri Lanka pressurized UN officials into silence when the UN and agencies had sent several letters of commendation to the armed forces appreciating their service.
- Has it escaped UN’s attention that Sri Lankas military option was taken after 3 decades of terror, where international negotiations, international monitoring missions, international peace initiatives, internationally mediated ceasefires could not stop LTTE terrorist activity? Did the UN force any of these in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo etc… before allowing UN and NATO to militarily intervene and occupy nations illegally?
Why can the UN not appreciate Sri Lanka’s achievements?
- 30 years UN had no solution for Sri Lanka and a decision by the Sri Lankan Government eliminated the world’s most dangerous terrorist movement in just 3 years
- In 3 years Sri Lanka resettled all 295,873 IDPs that Sri Lanka’s armed forces rescued – when there are 27.5m IDPs worldwide and refugees over 62m. The people of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan are IDPs because of foreign invasion and foreign military intervention. Sri Lanka’s IDPs were because LTTE refused to allow them to safety.
- In 3 years Sri Lanka has completed 5000sq.km of land
- In 3 years Sri Lanka has run an indigenous rehabilitation and reintegrated 11,989 surrendered LTTE combatants with only 636 remaining and 383 LTTE combatants will have formal charges filed against them.
- In 3 years 594 child combatants were given education, were offered vocational training and the Sri Lankan Government has taken a magnanimous decision not to take legal action against any of these child combatants. Today some are in university, some are following courses, some have taken to acting and singing, some are inducted into civil defense forces while some are even into modeling
- In 3 years the Sri Lankan military has been involved in restoration of irrigation infrastructure, canals, tanks, revival of agriculture and farming, restoring over 1000 schools and healthcare facilities (none of which the LTTE spent a cent out of its $300m annual profits). Sri Lanka’s military has restored, renovated and even built numerous kovils and today has built a good rapport with the Tamil community evidence of which anyone visiting Mullaitivu will witness.
Anyone speaking to foreign funded international or local NGO representatives or anyone funded to take an anti-Sri Lanka line will not have any praise for Sri Lanka’s achievements because their livelihood is to be anti-Sri Lankan but unfortunately it is they who gain access to all modes of media therefore it is their voices that get heard. There is little point in attempting to correct these versions because none of the true voices ever enter mainstream media so should we be really surprised when UN also goes barking up the wrong tree?
The UN has done enough damage to Sri Lanka and the weaker nations of the world and it is best it starts taking out its Charter and go through each line of what it is mandated to do without creating precedents and compromising itself any further.
The views expressed are the author’s own.