Reconcile to avoid renewed conflict – Blake warns Lanka
The U.S. warned Tuesday that Sri Lanka risks renewed conflict unless it addresses war crimes allegations, while rights groups alleged that abuses by security forces continue, three years after fighting against Tamil rebels ended.
Sri Lanka has reacted angrily to the growing international pressure to account for thousands of civilians suspected to have died in the final months of the quarter-century-long war, when government forces finally crushed the separatist Tamil Tigers.
A new documentary by Britain’s Channel 4 television that screens Wednesday alleges that several war crimes suspects are now in senior government posts. It also details an alleged attack on a U.N. food distribution station by government forces, shelling of a “no-fire zone” intended as a refuge for Tamil civilians, and contends that the Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son was executed.
Sri Lanka has dismissed the documentary as influenced by Tamil Tiger sympathizers, and a draft resolution introduced by the U.S. to the U.N. Human Rights Council as an interference in its affairs. The government has organized protests at home against the resolution, and a Cabinet minister has called for a boycott of U.S. products.
The 47-nation U.N. rights body in Geneva is expected to vote next week on the resolution that calls on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by both the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the final months of the war in 2009, and implement the recommendations of its own reconciliation panel.
A U.N panel of experts reported in 2011 that tens of thousands of people may have been killed in those months, largely through shell fire by the government troops. The Tigers were accused of using civilians as human shields and shooting those who tried to escape.
In Washington, Robert Blake, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said that accountability and reconciliation were in Sri Lanka’s best interests, so “they really can achieve peace and security and not sow anger in their own community that could give rise to new violence.”
“Experience in many civil conflicts around the world has shown that countries that don’t take adequate measures to address reconciliation and accountability frequently experience a regeneration of the insurgency that they faced,” he told The Associated Press. “We could see very much that similar situation in Sri Lanka.”
He said that since the war ended, the government has done a lot to build roads and infrastructure in the north of the island where the Tigers had fought for a separate state, independent of the ethnic Sinhalese majority. But he said many Tamils in the north feel they remain under “military occupation.” He called for provincial elections to devolve power, and for Tamils to take more control of policing the region.
Sri Lanka, however, says the U.S.-backed resolution will only undermine its reconciliation efforts and fuel conflict. In Colombo on Tuesday, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa said the resolution would encourage separatism and terrorism by the Tamil Tigers.
“If one is genuinely interested in Sri Lanka, it’s important to understand the ground reality and to give time and space for reconciliation,” a government spokesman, Bandula Jayasekara, said in an email to AP.
Rights activists say Sri Lanka’s homegrown efforts at accountability have so far fallen far short of international standards. And in a report launched in Geneva on Tuesday — rejected by the government as misinformation — Amnesty International said dozens of people in Sri Lanka have been abducted and tortured by security forces since 2009, and hundreds are being held in illegal detention. Among those detained are suspected Tamil Tigers, but also lawyers, journalists and human rights activists, said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific director.
He said the lack of accountability for severe rights violations “has sent a very clear signal to security forces throughout Sri Lanka that they can get away with abduction, torture, even murder, without having to fear that they will have to suffer any consequences for it.”
Additionally, rights activists have accused Sri Lanka of trying to intimidate Sri Lankan civil society representatives in Geneva. In an unusual move, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s president, Laura Dupuy Lasserre, voiced concern over unauthorized photographing and videoing of activists. Sri Lanka responded that those concerns were “pure conjecture” circulated by people with a political agenda.
Eileen Donahoe, U.S. ambassador to the council, said Sri Lanka had reacted “very negatively” to the resolution and has fought it “tooth and nail” but she expected it to pass.
She said the resolution has been toned down from an earlier version that sought a government action plan on accountability and reconciliation by June. It now calls for the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner to report to the council a year from now on the steps Sri Lanka has taken.
Sri Lanka enjoys considerable support in the U.N. rights body. Russia, China, Cuba and other Asian, African and Latin American countries are expected to vote against the resolution, AP reports.
Yes we’re negative to do Bad & Positive to Do Good..!
You Westerns are positive to do Bad, that’s why you join with terrors..!
westerns & Ltte both are positive in terrorism…!
The issue of Human Rights, the UN and its affiliations and biases, the agendas of western countries, the ground situation in Sri Lanka in terms of the rights of the people, the mandate of the government are all a rather complex web of innuendo, deception, vengeance, cover-ups, denials, double standards and hurt pride.
It is very clear that the US has deliberately fomented divisions between Sunni and Shia ethnic groups in Iraq after illegally invading and occupying, raping, pillaging and laying waste the cradle of civilisation. As a result, two million innocent Iraqis were killed, the blood of whom is squarely on the hands of the US/UK criminal syndicate. What Blake mouths are therefore blatant lies and hypocritical in the extreme.
There are many areas of government in the present system operative in Sri Lanka that needs scrutiny, analysis and remedy. However, these two issues should not be conflated for the convenience of the vested groups whose intention is to obtain cover and mislead the people.
Western agendas were never honest or in the interests of the people of Sri Lanka. Therefore it goes without saying that things are the same on that score.
Democracy, rights, law and order, fairness and justice are all relevant issues that need to be addressed by Sri Lankans independently, or with the help of honest brokers like China or Russia but certainly not the US, UK or EU.
Robert Blake is a well-known LTTE supporter from the time he was US ambassador in SL. He has attended diaspora Tamil functions in Canada and USA in support of GTF. By so doing he is stirring up division in SL between communities. This is the typical modus operandi of imperial West from the colonial times. ‘Divide and Rule’ is their policy. In Iraq, Libya and now in Syria, USA through CIA has first trained, armed and funded rebel groups against the ruling govt in order to topple the regime which USA hates, to bring about regime change. USA even sent mercenary and US/UK Special Forces troops to train and guide military operations against the ruling govt. USA and imperial West ambition by effecting a regime change is to seize the countries’ oil resource, which drives the imperial West industries. Without oil the Western industries will die.
Robert Blake hypociritcally calls for accountability to SL govt. What about US and British accountability for their most horrendous war crimes and crimes against humanity which continues unabated? RB is just uttering empty rhetoric to please the diaspora Tamils, who are not even SL citizens. These people have no right to represent the SL Tamils. SL Tamils have been liberated from the most atrocious evil dictator VP and his terrorist outfit LTTE. They are very happy now, settled in the N & E which had been de-mined of the millions of land mines planted by the LTTE. These SL Tamils are very happy their children will not be snatched on their way to school by the LTTE goons, to be conscripted as gun-fodder for LTTE and as suicide bombers. They are very happy that the MR govt has kept his promise and re-built their infrastructure, schools, hospitals, libraries etc in N & E and even built houses for them for free. The fishermen had been given boats and fishing equipment for free by the govt. Many Tamil businesses in the N & E are aided today by govt incentives. LTTE had been a nightmare for them from which they had been liberated by the Hon President of SL for which the SL Tamils are eternally grateful. They call on US senators, congressmen and even the US President to visit SL and the N & E and see for themselves the fast-track development today under MR chintanya. They call on USA not to listen to diaspora Tamils who are not citizens of SL, some of whom are not even born in SL, but to listen to the voice of majority SL Tamils in the N & E and even in the South. They will then see that diaspora Tamil are lying.
These diaspoira Tamil through their GTF want only a separate Tamil kingdom for themselves in SL for the so-called Tamil nation. The SL tamils in N & E number less than 1.6 million. They do not want a separate Tamil kingdom. They want to be left alone to live happily with their families as ONE NATION ONE COUNTRY in SL. These diaspora Tamils do not agitate for a so-called Tamil nation in Tamil Nadu for the 70 million Tamils there. Why? Because the Central Govt of India will never give it to them. So why should SL give a separate so-called ‘homeland’ for a mere 1.6 million Tamils out of 1/3rd of SL land and 2/3rd of SL coastal belt?
Just see this cunning man’s shit face & it seems “lightning in the hell”…!
Asian countries don’t need any shit from evil US at all.!