– By Shenali Waduge –
The Human Rights Law Centre scheduled 2 events in Sydney and Melbourne 6-9March 2013 to highlight the alleged human rights issues against Sri Lanka vis a vis the conclusion of the war that was under speculation once more at the United Nations. Numerous appeals addressed to the HRLC Board stating the nature of the biased panel fell on deaf ears.
The HRLC needs to be reported to the Australian authorities on the grounds that whilst ignoring the calls for fair play the Executive Director of HRLC Mr. Hugh de Kretser made a statement at the event that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe though invited did not turn up. An Executive Director making a callous statement and having to recorrect himself when the audience demanded a correction depicts very poorly on HRLC. It has turned out that the High Commissioner had registered his displeasure highlighting Sam Pari as being a proved LTTE supporter. Given that the concern of the HRLC is “human rights” why did the HRLC ignore all the appeals made to balance the panel?
An entity such as the HRLC should not be functioning in such a biased manner. An Executive Director cannot say that “the HRLC was unable to contact any Sri Lankan community organization in Sydney that the HRLC wanted to invite” when there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise. Ethically HRLC have overstepped their boundaries and Australian authorities need to investigate them.
Firstly to hold a discussion on Sri Lanka, how much of Sri Lanka’s history are the organizers aware of. If their scope is only Australian human rights laws why have they chosen Sri Lanka as a topic for discussion? In what context has the limits of the discussion to the last 4 months relevant to people living outside of the war zone and having no clue as to what went on in the last stages? How can writers of fiction be accepted for Gordon Weiss has been quoting civilian casualty figures for different audiences as evident at his book launch.
What happens when the podium is given to panelists who are biased, prejudiced and promoting one-side of the story only?
According to Sam Pari 300000 Tamils were shelled by Sri Lankan forces, mass killing and genocide was committed and she had to be corrected by a member of the audience who said LTTE policy was “we fight for the Tamils, so they have to be with us” clearly denying civilians their right to protection as civilians under an armed conflict and application of IHL. Inspite of the fact that civilians taking part in hostilities or forced to take part in hostilities losing their rights to protection as civilians, the Sri Lankan military saved approximately 295,000 Tamils that were kept by the LTTE. This was no small rescue but very few accolades leave alone notes of appreciation has been forthcoming given that to rescue 295,000 civilians who had been taking part in hostilities the Sri Lankan army lost over 5000 of their men! How many even care to acknowledge this. These are no lies that people like Sam Pari dishes out while living in Australia.
All these tamashas and anti-Sinhala propaganda by elements of the Tamil Diaspora attempting to keep alive the LTTE and Tamil discrimination slogan cannot explain why over 1.2million Tamils live amongst the Sinhalese as compared to less than half that number living amongst their own people. These pro-LTTE propagandists have also forgotten that at the refugee camp where Prabakaran’s own parents were found these two aged people were attacked by Tamils angry at the fate that befell them because of the LTTE and it was the Sri Lankan soldiers that had to remove them to safety and even after both died not even their daughter came to pay her last respects nor a relative came either.
It was just as well that members of the audience stood their ground to remind the moderator Mark Davies that his introduction of Sam Pari had conveniently left out her connections with the LTTE and the audience member produced copies of her ID card whilst with the LTTE. Even the questions posed by Mark Davies could not be adequately answered by Sam Pari. Now should this not suffice for Australian authorities to commence an investigation on her. Hopefully Julie Bishop, Deputy Opposition Leader may be approached to tackle areas that had been ignored by successive Governments.
The turn of Bruce Haig to unload his fabrications were again interrupted by the audience and the topic of “boat people” as economic refugees is an area that most Australians themselves are concerned about though Bruce Haig is of the opinion that they should be allowed to come to Australia. It is interesting to know how much of personal financial help Bruce Haig gives to these refugees he is so concerned about instead of wanting the Australian tax payer to foot the bill! Moreover to Bruce Haig’s lie that “Australian politicians would have us believe it is safe to return Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka without processing their claims”, was challenged by a member of the audience that Hon Bob Carr, Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and other senior officials of the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that asylum seekers are assessed as individual claims only. Reading this account would reveal the exact nature of the games at play to enter western climes on the pretext of refugees: http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?
What was obvious was that none of the speakers could keep to the conditions of the discussion because all of them were used to working within a framework of lies and irrelevant issues. It was the preparedness of the audience to counter their lies that ensured fairplay which the organizers ignored to provide.
A member of the Tamil community present amongst the audience raised a fair question as to why the insurgencies in the South in 1971 and 1988 were not considered human rights violations to which the only answer Gordon Weiss could give was that there were no human rights mechanisms at that time. A member of the audience also spoke of the rapid development visible in the north and east since 2009 whilst an Australian amongst the audience simply wanted to know why Sri Lanka is not being allowed to go forward like South Africa – a question that needs to be posed to US, India, UK, Canada and EU for their answer.
Frances Harrison the BBC Correspondent firing allegations with her pen and picking civilian fatalities according to fancy could not even sufficiently respond to the question on child soldier recruitment by the LTTE and the cyanide capsule distributed by Australian nurse and LTTE child soldier trained Adele Balasingham living comfortably in UK with people now demanding war crimes against Adele for her criminal role in training children and instructing them to commit suicide by taking the cyanide capsule that she hung around the necks of these children after the training.
An organization that functions on the principles of “Freedom, Respect, Equality, Dignity, Action” is not expected to function in a biased and prejudiced manner. Nevertheless the 2 events organized by the Human Rights Law Center ignoring appeals that the panellists chosen were serial abusers of the SL Government as well as pro-LTTE supporters fell on deaf ears. Need we say again that LTTE may not be banned in Australia but it is banned by 32 nations including the US, UK and EU. Conflict of interest was clearly visible because Bruce Haig’s colleagues are Brahmi Jegan and Sam Pari who was collecting funds for the LTTE Tamil Youth Organization in Australia. As for Gordon Weiss, his lies are easily caught in the series of inconsistent statements he makes showing his sole objective is to ensure the sale of his books so feigning civilian fatalities has become a sport for both Weiss and Frances so long as their books get sold.
The event by Human Rights Law Center is just one of many tarnishing campaigns being held globally by members of the LTTE front organizations who have influenced foreign representatives especially parliamentarians who are concerned about votes. However, Senator Bob Carr’s statement that Australia will pursue a policy of engagement with Sri Lanka must first deal with eliminating these LTTE elements that are causing a barrier to that engagement. LTTE is no more, the people are picking up their lives, issues raised does not require the presence of terrorist representatives that were anyway banned. All Governments can directly participate with the Government of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the LTTE front organization representation is not warranted and not required moreover since these fronts are involved in illegal activity in these foreign nations and are fleecing their natives through credit card scams and other nefarious activities.
When the Human Rights Law Center was sent an inquiry on the scope of the work of HRLC, the response given was that “we only work on issues in Australian law and so don’t do any work on human rights issues in Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine” – so what was the big deal in organizing an event on human rights violations in Sri Lanka arranged purposely close to Geneva sessions?
Salutations and kudos go to the patriotic Sri Lankan audience present armed with facts and figures to contest every lie uttered by Bruce Haig, Frances Harrison, Gordon Weiss and Sam Pari. Members of the Australian public who also attended would have taken back much to reassess. At the end of the show the Human Rights Law Center would have realized that an event set out to tarnish Sri Lanka by giving a podium to people that have little credibility has only enabled the truth to reign over falsehoods.
Sri Lanka shall battle on against the lies …. one lie has to lead to another and then when that chain of lies builds up the truth automatically emerges… so keep the lies coming.