JOINT STATEMENT BY THE WORKING PROFESSIONALS AND TRADE UNION MEMBERS IN SRI LANKA
15 MARCH 2012
It is regrettable that a section of the international community led by the United States of America, United Kingdom, and the European Union have initiated a national sovereignty eroding resolution against Sri Lanka during the current Nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva.
This unwelcome action, although veiled in language that appears to only suggest the re-affirmation of the need to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka, has sinister motives underpinning its blatant call for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special procedures mandate holders to interfere directly in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.
The members of our working professionals and Trade Union organizations of Sri Lanka, view this US action and the UN tolerance of that action as a gross interference in our national reconciliation process, as well as a destabilizing initiative that is definitely hurting the healing process in our community that is recovering from a traumatic phase of 30 years of terrorism.
It should be noted that the US and its main supportive allies of this resolution have a large naturalized citizen group of ethnic Tamils of Sri Lankan origin, who form a substantially influential “swing voter” power bloc in the aforementioned nations, and they have made unsubstantiated allegations against the Government of Sri Lanka’s conduct of the anti-terrorism military campaign, and have thus brought undue pressure on the political leadership of those nations to initiate this unwelcome UNHRC action.
Lamentably, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon initiated an unofficial, unethical ex-parte report that was prepared by the Panel of Experts (POE), known as the Darusman Report, which by the UN’s own admission was unsubstantiated allegations that masqueraded as credible conclusions. This UN panel never set foot on Sri Lanka, and only consulted anti-Sri Lanka, pro-Ealam, LTTE terrorism front organizations and their linked persons, who were the source informants for the contents of that report, and thus they were clearly motivated to attribute unreasonable blame and exaggerate unverified events to tarnish the good image of Sri Lanka through partisan testimony.
With such obvious bias and one sided accounts, no self respecting sovereign country or an international organization or professional could entertain this flawed report seriously, and to find that it has now been used as the basis for preparing the present US resolution against Sri Lanka is wholly unacceptable at any level. We strongly condemn this biased Darusman report that now stands as a blemish on the impartiality of the United Nations. We also call upon the UN Secretary General to refrain from citing from this unfair report and to immediately stop quoting from it as an official UN report which misleads the international community and provides false definitive conclusions of the events in Sri Lanka. We implore on the International community who have the voting rights at the current UNHRC Geneva sessions to thus reject the resolution in its entirety.
Scrutiny of the events that led to the US resolution at the UN indicate a blatant disregard by the vested interest group pursuing this action against Sri Lanka to recognize the sincere efforts and initiatives implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the accountability concerns in the country. It should be noted that the cultural sensitivity to this very traumatic history of our nation has been largely ignored, and western concepts of accountability has been imposed with unreasonable deadlines for completion of recommendations.
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka recommendations have been segmented into four components for implementation and it is been done in a rational and reasonable time frame taking into account the ground realities and resources at hand. In fact some of the recommendations in the LLRC report were anticipated and have been already implemented, ahead of expectations, and it is unfortunate that the US and her misguided allies have not bothered to examine and review the progress of the work themselves using their considerable diplomatic staff present in Colombo.
We thus call upon the international community and global media organizations to not be a pawn in this malicious campaign against our nation and to ascertain the real facts of each and every allegation and to appreciate the sincere efforts of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka to achieve considerable progress that is very visible on the ground in the country.
The herculean task of clearing over 2,046 square kilometers of civilian inhabitation areas in the North that were booby trapped by the ruthless LTTE Tamil tigers with 42,000 anti-personnel mines and 227 anti-tank mines have been cleared up to 80% by the dedicated round the clock commitment of the Sri Lanka military during the past two years. This has enabled the Government to resettle over 90% of the 292,000 Internally Displaced Tamil Persons in their own homes and villages, and a total of 421,056 people have returned back to the North from all parts of the country and abroad by the end of 2011.
The commitment of the Government to restore the war devastated areas have been supported by the International donor community who contributed US$201 million in funds through 27 donor assisted projects that formed the mammoth expenditure of US$700 million incurred by the Sri Lankan Government during the past three years to rehabilitate terrorism conflict destroyed roads, railways, bridges, schools, hospitals, irrigation schemes, electricity power distribution lines, drinking water facilities and homes of the people.
It is a travesty of justice to ignore the ground reality by the movers of this unwarranted resolution against Sri Lanka, especially when one even considers the fact that barring 400 hard core terrorists in custody who are being rehabilitated, over 11,000 LTTE terrorists who surrendered to the military have been forgiven and rehabilitated and released back to lead a normal life in society. Democratic Elections have also been held in the North and the East since the end of the conflict, and several former known terrorist leaders of the LTTE have contested and have been elected to office and are today working in close cooperation with the Government to develop their areas.
As the US has previously in the case of Israel have enumerated, the focus and emphasis of the UN should be on the future of Sri Lanka and not wallow in actions of the past and disrupt the reconciliation process and divide a nation struggling to heal from the wounds of 30 years of separatist terrorist war.
The working majority of this nation will be watching closely the actions of the US and the UN and its appointed agencies and would respectfully submit that any action that is deeply flawed and hypocritical with hints of hegemonic geo-political agendas would not be welcome. The UN should encourage a healing community and a spirit of voluntary action and not destroy that spirit by introducing suspicion and destabilizing actions that ultimately hurt the purported intentions of encouraging our nation to heal from this conflict. We implore on our international friends to not disrupt the internal process of reconciliation and rehabilitation and development that is taking place with the full co-operation of all communities and stakeholders in Sri Lanka.
This statement is issued by the National Organization for the Protecting the Country and on behalf of its members is signed by the Executive Working Committee:
Most Venerable Muruthtettuwe Ananda, Nayaka Thero
Rev. K.L.M. Mohan Sharma Kurukkal
Ven. Alhaj Maulavi Abdul Bary Mohamed Kaleel
D.P. Mendis, President’s Council
Professor Sudantha Liyanage