When the war with the LTTE ended in 2009, the government of Sri Lanka took action based on the LLRC Report to rectify the unfavourable outcomes in a systematic manner in accordance with internationally accepted post-war procedures, which accord with International Humanitarian Law, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) said.
Though much was done to improve the economic plight of the people in terms of infrastructure development and promoting human resources, it however fell short of finding a political solution to the national question through a process of consensus building, e.g. by using the APRC as a starting point, LSSP leader, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, said in a statement.
The pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora together with its allies among Western governments seized the opportunity to make use of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to intervene in internal affairs of Sri Lanka to their advantage. Though the Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) regime resisted these moves, the UNF-led regime led by Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) permitted this after 2015, the statement asserted.
“This was a grave mistake and could not be justified by international law or accepted practice in the UN system. With becoming a co-signatory to the UNHRC Resolution, the UNF-led government permitted the international community to interfere in our internal affairs, thereby surrendering our sovereignty”, it said.
The present sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva has given the government an opportunity to rectify its colossal blunder leading to the betrayal of our country and its people, but it is not using it, the LSSP asserted.
The statement added: “The new draft Resolution to be adopted at the current meeting in Geneva of the UNHRC was tabled by Minister Kiriella in Parliament on March 13. The Resolution submitted by five states headed by the UK, the others being Canada, Germany, Montenegro and North Macedonia, is a follow up on the earlier Resolution 30/1 submitted by the USA with Sri Lanka as a co-signatory in October 2015”.
Minister Kiriella stated that “this is a good resolution” and should be accepted “without any changes”. This made clear where he stood, which is not surprising given the government’s intention to be a co-signatory once again, the statement noted.
President Sirisena indicated that he was opposed to Sri Lanka being a co-signatory and would send a separate delegation of his own, but after the UNP government passed his budgets without division, he seems to have compromised by getting Dr. Sarath Amunugama to be his representative on the Sri Lankan delegation headed by Foreign Minister Marapane, it said.
The statement further noted: “It is not clear what stand will be taken but there is no indication as yet of any change in the government’s position, with Marapane as the sole speaker for Sri Lanka on the March 21 meeting of the UNHRC. His desire is to get two years more to implement Resolution 30/1 fully.
“The fact that the new draft resolution “requests the government to implement fully the measures identified by the Council in its resolution 30/1 that are outstanding” indicates that Sri Lanka intends fulfilling its earlier commitment. The setting up of various mechanisms with foreign participation like investigative offices, hybrid courts and emphasis on accountability, with war crimes charges even in the International Court of Criminal Justice (ICC) to be done.
“This is an outcome of the UN’s Darusman Report with charges of genocide based on the allegation that there were 40,000 Tamil civilian deaths during the final battle on the East Vanni front. Thus, the UK government is completely ignoring the recent statement made by Lord Naseby, perhaps the most respected member in the British Parliament’s House of Lords, on the need for the UN to re-examine the charges, as reported in The Island newspaper of March 14.
“Lord Naseby is quoted as saying “now there is irrefutable evidence from multiple independent sources, particularly Col. Gash’s Dispatches (from the UK High Commission in Sri Lanka) and the Sri Lanka Census of 2011 that the UN claim of 40,000 civilians killed is totally bogus. The real civilian death figure is estimated at around 5,000 maximum. It is incumbent on all parties involved in the Resolution, including UK, USA and Sri Lanka, to state in unequivocal terms that 40,000 deaths no longer has any validity particularly in terms of any war crimes probe. In my view any failure to do so is a gross dereliction of Justice…. This is not genocide but the natural consequence of war”.
“Lord Naseby also quoted the statement by the late Sir Desmond de Silva QC (chief prosecutor of a UN sponsored war crimes tribunal) that “it is not Human Rights Law but International Humanitarian Law…..that should operate in battle field conditions”.
“Lord Naseby concludes in his response to The Island newspaper’s query by stating that the 40,000 claim is now totally discredited and should be withdrawn by the UN and UK government.
“It is absolutely shocking that the Sri Lanka government is not prepared to amend this “bogus” Resolution. It is the worst form of treachery and no member of Parliament should condone this. It is inconceivable that the UNP government, instead of refusing to be a co-signatory and rejecting the Resolution outright, is content to ask for time to implement it under the supervision of the UNHRC”.
The LSSP calls upon the President to insist on rejecting the Resolution after Sri Lanka withdraws its signature and all political parties to support such a move. The Counter Terrorism Act (TCA), that replaces the PTA at the request of the UNHRC, lays the foundation for a police state and a dictatorship, and Parliament must amend it extensively to avoid such a danger, though the UNHRC seems to approve it.
“Not surprisingly, pro-LTTE Diaspora elements like Fr. Emanuel are in Sri Lanka and influencing local politicians to come up with proposals like setting up a UNHRC office in Jaffna with a UN Rapporteur. It was through such a course that UN troops were brought in and led to the break up of East Timor.
“Besides dangerous outcomes like this, the implementation of various charges against those whom the people in the South regard as liberators and saviours, be they soldiers or politicians, will not only end reconciliation but also lead to bitter hatred arising once again between communities, creating conditions for another conflict. One wonders whether this is seen as the way out for an unpopular government that is afraid to face the electorate”.