The UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka in the past and present, are characterized by their duplicitous and treacherous attempt to subvert the truth about what happened during the war against the LTTE, and what is happening now. Though the latest resolution deviates from the past and avoids reference to specific allegations of war crimes committed during the war against the LTTE, including the alleged killing of 40,000 civilians, rape, and bombing of hospitals, the reason for all these dubious resolutions remains the same. It has nothing to do with human rights, and is a politically motivated course of action that Western powers have undertaken, to force Sri Lanka to do what they want, such as signing the MCC agreement.
The UNHRC Resolution 30/1 which was cosponsored by the Yahapalana government, had no evidence to back its allegations of war crimes against Sri Lankan armed forces, except hidden witnesses who cannot be questioned to get at the truth. What is worse, Britain had decided not to divulge the wartime dispatches of their defence attache who had knowledge of the ground situation, because they did not want the truth revealed. Neither did they take into consideration the revelations made by the US defence attache, nor the reports of the Red Cross or the former judge C R de Silva’s findings. Further, they decided to ignore the fact that a LTTE cadre, who had trained children to be suicide bombers, was living in England – Adele Balasingham – was neither questioned nor accused of any crime, and remains quite free to date in England. Could anything be more unfair, unjust, crooked and roguish? Could we expect any justice or a change of heart from them this time around? Not likely.
Some supporters of the Resolution argue that UNHRC has been fair to both sides, and has accused both the armed forces and the LTTE of war atrocities. However, has the Resolution recommended any action against the LTTE? There are LTTE members living in Sri Lanka and also in other countries. Adele Balasingham is one of them. No investigation, or a method to bring them to justice has been recommended in any of the UNHRC Resolutions. Moreover, there is undeniable evidence of the brutality of these terrorists, and the heinous crimes they had committed against human beings, which could be examined by neutral judges. Whereas the UNHRC is not willing to make available the evidence that they claim they have against Sri Lankan armed forces for examination by neutral judges. Could anything be more unfair, unjust, crooked and roguish. Has the latest resolution made any recommendations in this regard. It has not. Could we expect any justice from them this time around?
And what about the victims? Even the victims that they say must be compensated are not accessible for verification of identity, and other facts regarding the crimes committed against them allegedly by the armed forces. The surviving victims of LTTE terrorism and their dependents, however, are available for thorough investigation and verification of facts, if needed. And who would compensate them? Has the UNHRC taken this aspect into consideration when drafting the latest Resolution?
The world knows that the US would not get UNHRC resolutions passed against Sri Lanka, if the latter supports the US in its conflict with China. Even the countries that voted for the Resolution know this, and they also know that there would be no resolutions against Sri Lanka if it had signed the MCC. Everybody, including those who voted for or against or abstained, knows that it was a political game and that it has nothing to do with human rights. Further, they all know that the biggest human rights violators are the US and the UK. Thus, even the vote was more a political affair than a human rights affair. Big powers who can use the stick and the carrot could get what they want. Could we expect justice from such an organisation?
The latest UNHRC Resolution has deviated from the previous ones, and has made an unusually lengthy adverse criticism of the present government, in relation to a wide variety of subjects including media freedom, independence of the judiciary, the National Police Commission, the human rights commission of Sri Lanka, 20th A, Covid burials, militarisation of civilian functions and interference in the judiciary process in emblematic human rights cases. Is this criticism, even if it is justifiable, within the mandate of the UNHRC? It may be violating the UN Charter, which prohibits its organizations from interfering in the internal affairs of individual countries. This shows how far the UNHRC will go to harass small countries, to force them to do the bidding of the big countries.
The UNHRC Resolution has advised its High Commissioner to create an office to collect information about war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka, during the war and up to the present times. The Government has already asked the question whether Britain would release the wartime dispatches of the British High Commission defence attache, which categorically exonerates the armed forces of war crimes. Going by what they did in the past, one cannot expect them to be honest. They had released some of the dispatches due to the unrelenting effort of Lord Naseby, but these too had been redacted in order to obscure or remove sensitive information. And Lord Naseby has said that the UK had suppressed robust evidence at the expense of Sri Lanka; and referring to the day the Resolution was submitted by the UK he had said its a “black day for his Government” .
Michelle Bachelet in her damning statement has said the Sri Lankan government has failed to pursue genuine truth seeking and accountability processes. On the contrary, it is the organization she heads that has failed to be truthful and honest. If this is the level of honesty and integrity that the High Commissioner for Human Rights could demonstrate, could we expect justice from the UNHRC. What we could expect is a concerted effort to subvert the truth about what happened during the war and what is happening now in Sri Lanka.
N. A. de S. AMARATUNGA