“…and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations…”

Dear Ambassador Elissa Golberg, Your statement on Sri Lanka at UNHRC in Geneva ~ LankaWeb
Posted on June 25th, 2012

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1. Canada

25 June 2012

Ambassador Elissa Golberg

Canada’s Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva
5 Avenue de l’Aviana, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.

Dear Ambassador Golberg:

I have just read your statement of June 18, 2012, on behalf of Canada to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.   In  your statement you said “….and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations…”

With that statement, you have failed us Canadians one more time when commenting on Sri Lanka, as did Foreign Minister John Baird when he performed his Song and Dance at the UN Security Council about Sri Lanka, and former Conservative Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon  who put out a pathetic Press Release after the Tamil Tigers, the most ruthless terrorist group in the world were militarily eliminated after a 27-year long blooding war, on 19 May 2009.  He had difficulty to acknowledge the amazing feat when every other western country patted the back of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government saying , “Marvellous, well done, chaps, we got lots to learn from you guys how to get rid of terrorists single handed without requesting  for even Canadian troops to come and help you all as is being done in Afghanistan!”  So the Canadian’s negative policy on Sri Lanka keeps marching on unabated.

As a Sri Lankan-Canadian here is the problem that I am grappling with.  All you Canadian Sri Lanka watching politicians and Foreign Affairs Sri Lanka watching bureaucrats obviously do not believe in the Cosmic Law of‘Cause and Effect’ like I do.  Perhaps, this is a deliberate effort in case you all paint yourselves into the corner as a bunch of hypocrites.

The “Effect” that you are complaining about is, “….ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations”.  Right, Ambassador Golberg?  Are you not interested to find out the “Cause” of all this and go after the culprits who kept the Tamil Tigers life-line alive providing them with oxygen?  Well, I don’t think you are going to challenge me when I say that one of the culprits was none other than, yours and my Canada.  Here’s the reason why Canada should hang its head low in shame and not white-wash ourselves and say, “Sri Lanka, we Canadians are Holier than Thou.”

For 13 long Liberal years under the helm of Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, Canada let the Canadian Tamil Tiger sympathizers collect, mainly by extortion,  2 million dollars a month to stuff the Tamil Tiger war-chest to buy a sophisticated armoury of guns, bullets, land mines, claymore mines, et cetera to go on killing innocent Sri Lankan civilians in scores of hundreds, and taking away their ‘right-to-life’ which had been hijacked for 27 years by Tamil Tigers.  And you with a straight ‘We are Holier thou” face, complained to the UNHRC demanding Sri Lanka’s accountability for getting rid  single handed of these Tamil Tigers, the most ruthless terrorists in the world.   That is a bit pretentious, onerous, vulgar, and disingenuous, isn’t it, Ambassador Golberg?  You experienced what terrorism was all about having watched the Talibans in Kandahar going about with their Tamil Tiger copy-cat killings that also killed our Canadian soldiers.

Aren’t we Canadians a bunch hypocrites, when on May 6, 2000, Liberal Finance Minister, Paul Martin, and his cabinet colleague, Minister responsible for CIDA, Maria Minna and several Liberal MPs, supported the fund raising event for the Tamil Tigers by attending a $60-a plate dinner in Toronto.  And you complain about “Sri Lanka’s accountability”.   Ha!  What rubbish, and your comment is not worth two prairie straws swaying in the wind in the more sky than land country.

Perhaps, Canada can be a bit more honest and accept being accountable for the deaths of 114 people and for the 1,338 others who were maimed for life being victims when the Tamil Tigers brought down the Central Bank Building in the Fort, Colombo, on 31 January 1996. Ambassador Golberg, you can claim your right to ask me, “Why should Canada admit to be  accountable for those deaths and injured?”

Here’s why, Ambassador Golberg.  It was in 1994 that Canada allowed a Tamil Tiger sympathizer to cut a cheque from his account in a bank in Vancouver for $7.5 million to buy 50 tonnes of RDX and plastic explosives from a Chemical Factory in the Ukraine.  These were the explosives that were used in the truck bomb that brought down the Central Bank Building in Colombo, on January 31, 1996.    And it were the same explosive material that were used to bomb the  entrance to the Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth Relic in Kandy on 25 January 1998, killing 12 and seriously injuring 13 others.  You better believe it, whether you and I like it or not, we both have Sinhala and Muslim blood on our palms together with 34 million other Canadians.  And my Conservative Government had the gall and temerity to get you to make a statement saying,  “…and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violation.”  That is being bombastic,  cruel, and having a colonial attitude saying that “we are the masters of your destiny, Sri Lanka”.  That shows our hypocrisy to its 10th degree.

And you slapped the wrist of the UN Human Rights Council Commissioner for “her reference in her report to the situation in Quebec.”  You said, “The Government of Quebec has pursued mediation efforts with student representatives.  Demonstrations continue to occur – daily.  Freedom of assembly is alive and well in Quebec.  The law adopted in Quebec frames the exercise of these freedoms by preserving peace, order and public safety.”

Hmmm…I am not sure of that!  I think the reference to Canada and human rights violation in the context of the Quebec students, was as according to the students spokesperson Leo Bureau-Blouin, Bill 78 is the biggest set back to the students fundamental rights.  The students marched down Montreal streets and knocking on cauldrons along the sidewalks in defence of Free Speech.    It is important to note that the Quebec bar association, many legal experts, unions, opinion leaders and even anti-corruption hero Judge John Gomery, severely criticized Bill 78 for its restrictive laws that impedes on human rights.  So which ever way you try to slice the pie and white-wash Canada, the issue of the freedoms of fundamental rights sticks out like a sore thumb.  If Sri Lanka had tried this stunt and curb the University student’s freedom of speech, you bet, Canada would have been one of the first countries who would have pounced on Sri Lanka as human rights violators and advocating that “Canada is Holier than Thou”.

While the worst student protests in Canadian history took place at Concordia University in Montreal in 1969, when hundreds of students protested against a professor who consistently gave lower marks to black students.  They destroyed the computer lab, set fire to the building, rioted in the streets and caused more than $2 million in damage. That the curbs by the Quebec Government on the ongoing protest by the students in Montreal that the UNHRC Commissioner has pointed out as a human rights violation, you bet, will very likely earn a page in Canadian history too like the Concordia incident!

Since Sri Lanka is on it way to recovery, rehabilitation and reconciliation having been haemorrhaged for 27 bloody years by a  Tamil terrorist war that was aided and abetted by Canada, it is time that Canada jump off Sri Lanka’s back and stop playing the monkey, in the game of “We are Holier than Thou”, because  however much we try to pretend, we are just not as bunch of bright eyed goody two-shoes.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)

Upon review of Mr. Weerasinghe’s outrage at Ambassador Elissa Golberg’s statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, WCI has the following reflection:

Mr. Weerasinghe’s opinion of human rights issues in Canada and account of LTTE funding by Canada is interesting. The good, bad and ugly of human rights is an infinite topic of debate.

“For 13 long Liberal years under the helm of Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, Canada let the Canadian Tamil Tiger sympathizers collect, mainly by extortion,  2 million dollars a month to stuff the Tamil Tiger war-chest to buy a sophisticated armoury of guns, bullets, land mines, claymore mines, et cetera…” Is there corroboration of his facts and figures?

Sri Lanka is not a country promoting free speech. Media is scrutinized and controlled by the Sinhalese-run government. Most news from and about Sri Lanka principally written and published by Sri Lanka’s Ministry Of Defence and Urban Development is biased and written in government-favored premeditated light.

The LTTE and the Sri Lankan government are accountable for war crimes against all Sri Lankan civilians during their civil war.

President Rajapaksa’s military annihilated the LTTE, ending the war.

Mr. Weerasinghe’s journalistic tantrum failed to address the existing ongoing impunity of kidnappings and murders of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights activists who dare to speak out against the current Rajapaksa regime.

Amnesty International knows which side their bread is buttered on. However their latest report,

The Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka, June 2012
A statement for the June Human Rights Council Session

published 13 June, 2012 reconfirms that human rights conditions have not improved for Sri Lanka’s Tamils in the three years since the end of the war.

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URGENT! ADD YOUR VOICE to HELP the VOICELESS of SRI LANKA | WE, the PEOPLE, NEED 5,000 SIGNATURES BY 29 OCT. 2011

URGENT! WE MUST ACT NOW! PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION created by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WIDELY!

WE, the PEOPLE, NEED 5,000 SIGNATURES BY

29 OCT. 2011, on

THIS PETITION

located on THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON DC website

BECAUSE…

WE, the PEOPLE, PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
SUPPORT AN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION INTO WAR CRIMES AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES COMMITTED IN SRI LANKA!

Both the Sri Lankan government and the opposition Tamil Tigers reportedly COMMITTED WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES during the war in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has a poor record of effectively investigating violations by its forces, as documented by Amnesty International.

An international investigation into the crimes and abuses committed by both sides during the war is needed if the victims are to receive justice.

The U.S. government should publicly support such an international investigation as a first step toward achieving accountability in Sri Lanka for these crimes and abuses.

Created: Sep 29, 2011
Issues: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Foreign Policy, Human Rights

TamilNet 23 July 2010: Prof. Boyle urges divestment-disinvestment campaign against “apartheid” Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 July 2010, 00:07 GMT]

Speaking at the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) convention during the US Independence day weekend, Professor Boyle, an expert in International Law, said that Sri Lanka is a violator of the Apartheid Convention, and that Tamils across the world should, without delay, intensify a divestment and disinvestment campaign against Sri Lanka “in the same lines and for the same reason the world did this against the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa.” The July event held in Waterbury, Connecticut, is traditionally the largest event of the Tamil speaking people in the US every year, and the Connecticut event this year drew more than 2000 Tamils.

Prof. Boyle’s Talk on divestment (Part I)

Article I of the Apartheid Convention, more formally known as the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA), labels the crime of Apartheid as a “crime against humanity,” and declares that “inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination are crimes violating the principles or international law…”

Prof. Boyle said the long history of discriminatory policies instituted by successive governments of Sri Lanka against Tamils and the conduct of the Goverment of Mahinda Rajapakse on internment of Tamil civilians, continued colonization of Tamil lands, desecration of cemetries and cultural symbols of Tamils overwhelmingly qualify Sri Lanka as an apartheid regime, and therefore, Sri Lanka should be prosecuted as a violator of the Apartheid convention.

Prof. Boyle’s Talk on divestment (Part II)

Prof. Boyle added that with the exception of one category of crime listed in Article II of the Apartheid Convention, that is the prohibition of mixed marriages, Sri Lanka has violated almost all other categories of crimes that qualify as “crime of Apartheid.” Article II crimes include:

  • Denial of the right to life and property;
  • Deliberate imposition on a racial group of living conditions calculated to cause physical destruction of the group in whole or in part;
  • Denying to a group basic human rights and freedom, right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
  • Expropriation of land and property;
  • Exploitation of labor of the members of a racial group; and
  • Persecution of organizations or persons who oppose apartheid.

Prof. Boyle pointed out that there is some degree of overlap between Apartheid treaty and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He added that while Sri Lanka has avoided becoming signatory to the Rome Statute, the crimes against humanity fall into the category of peremptory norms, and the international laws are binding on Governments even when the countries are not signatories to the conventions.

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa’s Apartheid Didactic Agenda

by HWB ~ 20 August 2011

Human Rights ~ THE POWER OF EDUCATION

“The textbooks encourage children to develop ‘apartheid attitudes’” toward Tamils. Sri Lanka’s future Sinhalese generations must learn “Tolerance” – Respect and Accept!

Extermination of “The Last Surviving Classical Civilization on Earth”

Not only has the Sinhalese-run government of Sri Lanka conducted systematic genocide of Tamils for decades, but they are, and have been, carrying out educational genocide against Tamils by planting and nurturing seeds of apartheid and intolerance in the young impressionable minds of Sinhalese schoolchildren through their educational system. Specifically in the subject of “Social Studies”.

Regi Siriwardene, a well-respected Sinhalese writer, in an analysis of the effects of school textbooks on ethnic relations in Sri Lanka (1984): “Millions of school children are taught, in the name of social studies, through text-books published by the state, the myths of divergent racial origins which will help to divide the Sinhalese and Tamils for more generations to come….”

The Tamils who settled in Sri Lanka around the 2nd century BC, according to archaeological findings, are descendants of the Dravidian language-speaking tribal people of South India. The Sri Lankan Tamils, or Ceylon Tamils, are descendants of the Tamils of the old Jaffna Kingdom. Their history is rich, diverse and invaluable, contributing immensely to the growth and advancement of Sri Lanka over a period of thousands of years. Tamils have been referred to as the last surviving classical civilization on earth.

“Quality of Life” for Tamils, Immorally Unjustifiably Stigmatized “TERRORISTS”

The international community may ignore facts and turn the other cheek, but facts do not lie, and they do not go away without intervention. The fact is that there are still hundreds of thousands of Tamils living in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps or with host families; because they have nowhere to go, nor do they have the means to support and feed themselves and their families. Their homes have either been brutally and illegally confiscated by the Sri Lankan government, or their homes were destroyed during the war. The government is not making any effort, much less do they care, to help Tamils who survived the merciless civil war to make a fresh start.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC), as of 01 July 2011, over two years since the war ended in May 2009, almost 210,000 “new” IDPs have returned to camps, and among the more than 157,000 “old” IDP returnees are people displaced from High Security Zones (HSZ), including the Walikamam North HSZ in Jaffna, where the return process began in May. The government claims that IDPs, i.e. Tamils, would be able to return to their homes, provided they have one, by the end of 2011. This remains to be seen, since the SL government has been ruthlessly robbing Tamils of their lands and their homes.

Sri Lanka’s civil war, which officially began on July 23, 1983 and ended on May 18, 2009, lasting 26-years, may be “officially” over as far as that there are no longer aerial attacks and bombings, though heavy military presence via armed-to-the-teeth Sinhalese soldiers and constant various checkpoints are extremely prominent to this day throughout the country. Disappearances and murders of Tamils and journalists advocating Human Rights are still rampant.

TamilNet’s article from 13 January 2011 bluntly reported that “an esoteric team of military intelligence led by Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is directly involved in the killings and abductions in the North”. Needless to say, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, signifying the Sri Lankan government is not a transparent democracy, controlled and ruled by the immediate family of and with the “Great King, Mahinda Rajapaksa”, Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese iron fist of tyranny.

Referring to these points is essential in the sense that they are not only ambiguously volatile, but they ascertain that the quality of life has far from improved for Tamils since the war ended, and their hopes and aspirations for equality and freedom in their own country are non-existent. Tamils continue to live in trepidation and hopelessness.

 

Tamils, Born “Terrorists” by Default

Whether openly suggestive or cunningly subtle, the Sri Lankan government infers all Tamils as ‘guilty by association’ to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), as supporters or ‘terrorists’, for being Tamil.

SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated: “The elder generation is entrusted with the responsibility of creating a younger generation that will *NOT BETRAY* the country at any cost.”

UPDATE, 24 August 2011: PLEASE NOTE! ~ Sometime between 20 Aug 2011 and 24 Aug 2011, someone REVISED Rajapaksa’s words above to the following:

“President Rajapaksa said the elder generation is entrusted with the responsibility of creating a younger generation that will *LOVE* the country at any cost.” 

Conclusive to the state of affairs in Sri Lanka, one must presume that by “the elder generation”, Mr. Rajapaksa clearly implies the Sinhalese peoples.

Given the president’s remark, there can be no doubt that the indigenous Tamil peoples have not only been forsaken by the international community, but they are discarded and abandoned by their own government, operated on apartheid policy.

Of course, Rajapaksa endorses education, as any president worth his salt should…for Sinhalese children:

Mahinda Rajapaksa – Education for Children (Video: 39 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa – Education for Children (Video: 39 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa for children (Video: 2 min 59 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa for children (Video: 2 min 59 sec)

 

Simple: “Education ~ The Building Block for Our Children’s Future”

Why education matters for global security”, by Irina Bokova (Director General, UNESCO), 01 March 2011:

“Education must rise on the agenda of peace building. We know the wrong type of education can fuel conflict. The use of education systems to foster hatred has contributed to the underlying causes of conflicts, from Rwanda to Sri Lanka, but also in Guatemala and Sudan.”

Sri Lanka has been a member state of the United Nations since 14 December 1955:

“Protocol, relating to the entry into force of an agreement bringing the UNESCO into official relationship with the United Nations which was approved by the General Assembly, was signed February 3, 1947.”

The official Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of 16 November 1945 implicitly declares the following:

“The Governments of the States parties to this Constitution on behalf of their peoples declare

that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed;

that ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war;

that the great and terrible war which has now ended was a war made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation, in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races;

that the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfill in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern;

that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.

For these reasons, the States parties to this Constitution, believing in full and equal opportunities for education for all, in the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth, and in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, are agreed and determined to develop and to increase the means of communication between their peoples and to employ these means for the purposes of mutual understanding and a truer and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives;

In consequence whereof they do hereby create the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation for the purpose of advancing, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of mankind for which the United Nations Organisation was established and which its Charter proclaims.”

Human Rights Activists fight for the voiceless and discarded. They are ONE VOICE for freedom, justice, equality and peace. What they accomplish today in the name of Humanity and Human Rights for All must not only be taught to our children, but it must be protected, appreciated and respected for all future generations.

Discrimination and intolerance based on history, color, culture, religion and traditions are never requisites of and for Human Rights and Democracy.

“We cannot choose our families or our ethnicity, but we have absolute power of whom we choose to be.” ~ H.W.

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields by Channel 4 [Full video]

Jon Snow presents a forensic investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers.

With disturbing and distressing descriptions and film of executions, atrocities and the shelling of civilians the programme features devastating new video evidence of war crimes – some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps; and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

The film is made and broadcast as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faces growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into ‘credible allegations’ that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

In April 2011, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts, which concluded that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces.

It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

This film provides powerful evidence that will lend new urgency to the panel’s call for an international inquiry to be mounted, including harrowing interviews with eye-witnesses, new photographic stills, official Sri Lankan army video footage, and satellite imagery.

Also examined in the film are some of the horrific atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tigers, who used civilians as human shields.

Channel 4 News has consistently reported on the bloody denouement of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields presents a further damning account of the actions of Sri Lankan forces, in a war that the government still insists was conducted with a policy of Zero Civilian Casualties.

The film raises serious questions about the consequences if the UN fails to act, not only with respect to Sri Lanka but also to future violations of international law.

Vodpod videos no longer available.