Thursday, April 15, 2021

Were the UN officials / Diplomatic Envoys SLEEPING during Sri Lanka’s Conflict?

Isn’t it a surprise that the diplomats and UN officials have woken up only after the conflict ENDED and chose not to ask any questions while the conflict was raging. Where were the UN and diplomats when the conflict was taking place? A Consultative Committee was set up in 2006 and this Committee met 28 times from 14 Oct 2006 to 11 May 2009. Sitting on this committee which met every two weeks were all of the top diplomats, UN officials, the Defense Secretary, the Armed Forces representatives, Public Officials covering the humanitarian rescue operation in Sri Lanka. This was the best forum to demand answers. Why did the UN officials and Diplomats keep mum?

Consultative committee

September, 2006, the President authorized the setting up of Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA). The grouping included ministers, senior officials, including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa; top Colombo based diplomats and senior representatives of UN agencies – FAO, UNICEF and WFP. 1st meeting of the CCHA was on Oct 14, 2006 and the last meeting on 11 May 2009. Minutes of CCHA meetings are available with Jeevan Thiagarajah, executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) US, EU, Japanese, UN Resident/Humanitarian coordinator too had been represented in CCHA deliberationsThe Colombo-based diplomats had direct access to Government Agents, Ms Imelda Sukumar (Mullaitivu), Vedhanayagam (Kilinochchi), Ms P.S.M. Charles (Vavuniya), Nicholas Pillai (Mannar), as they too were members of the CCHA.

The CCHA had met 28 times from Oct 14, 2006 to 11 May 2009 – why did no one raise issue of GOSL lapses during these 28 meetings without complaining years later to the OHCHR/OISL & PoE?

The former defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse is on record to say that none of these envoys had complained about shortage of food and other essential items, though there were requests for zinc sheets, cement and iron.

At a CCHA meeting on 30 March 2009 the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (R/HC) in Sri Lanka, Neil Bhune, estimated the maximum number of civilians trapped at 180,000.

The minutes of this meeting revealed that Ambassador Blake admitted that the LTTE was continuing to hold civilians against their will.

Did the PoE or the OISL have a look at the meetings of these meetings before throwing allegations that the Sri Lankan Government/Armed Forces did not supply food/medicines etc to the Tamils held by LTTE?

The Government has enough statistics to present the tons of food and essentials it sent to the war zone together with the items sent by UN. How come none of these statistics have been considered in making wild allegations against Sri Lanka even by Michele Bachelet who claims Sir Lanka was ‘starving’ the IDPs.

The GoSL must request the UNGA to investigate the entire UNHRC Resolutions against Sri Lanka for illegalities and violations of due process by the officials and bias and shortcomings or abuse of power of their office.

The Consultative Committee minutes are a good example of diplomats who did not have anything to say when they could have but are cooking up more than they can swallow for some hidden agenda.

These hypocrisies cannot be allowed to continue.

Shenali D Waduge

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