Shenali D Waduge
We seek clarification from the EU, South Africa & the Government of Sri Lanka. In 1996, the European Union created the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and appointed Yasmin Sooka as its Executive Director in 2001 paid by the EU. The Foundation for Human Rights is funded by EU and its scope is South Africa. The golden question that remains unanswered is how a EU funded South African human rights project can administer another project (International Truth & Justice Project-Sri Lanka since 2014) that has nothing to do with South Africa or South Africans? Can the EU, the South African Government or the Sri Lankan Government provide the answer!
If EU is funding human rights initiatives in South Africa via the Foundation for Human Rights who the hell allowed ITJP to be administered through the Foundation for Human Rights? What is the connection with EU funded FHR & ITJP(SL) Sri Lanka is not South Africa – Sri Lanka is not even in the African continent!
https://www.fhr.org.za(put a search for the name ITJPSL – all that appears is “sorry, but nothing matched your search items) There is something seriously amiss.
If FHR website does not mention ITJPSL – how can ITJPSL on its website claim that it is being administered by FHR & its Executive Director Sooka? (pl note that since 2021 the ITJPSL introduction has been changed. Below a screen shot of previous introduction is given as proof)
- Sooka became Foundation for Human Rights Executive Director from 2001 to 2019 September.
- If the EU paid for Sooka to function as Executive Director of FHR did the EU also pay for her to function as Director ITJPSL within the FHR? (2 salaries?)
- The post of Executive Director FHR was passed on to Hanif Vally in August 2020.
- Is Hanif Vally also the Director of ITJPSL or is Sooka continuing as ITJPSL Director & is EU continuing to pay her?
- If EU is not funding ITJP(SL) which is administered within FHR – who is? https://www.fhr-mirror.org.za/?ccm_paging_p_b2194=3
- Though Sooka relinquished duties as Executive Director of FHR in September 2019, the ITJPSL reports on Sri Lanka has only increased. Is FHR really involved in South Africa or churning reports against Sri Lanka via ITJPSL?
Simple questions – No answer!
Till 2020 the ITJPSL website gave this introduction.
Hanif Vally who was Deputy Director of Foundation for Human Rights became Executive Director as per facebook post on 31 August 2020
While Yasmin Sooka was paid to look into South Africa’s human rights as Executive Director, her time was obviously only directed to churning reports against Sri Lanka through the ITJPSL. From2014-2021 (7 years), the ITJPSL and Sooka has issued a record breaking 164 reports on Sri Lanka in English, Tamil & Sinhalese. How many reports has she issued on South Africa? Some South Africans should start counting!
Some of these reports are fallacious and filled with innuendos. That’s nothing to be surprised in her own words “we released the report in time before the Geneva Resolution because we wanted to influence the Geneva Resolution”.
Give her applause, what a magnanimous gesture!
In June 2018, ITJP & Sooka submitted a list of 351 missing persons to the Office of Missing Persons. With the hype of 40,000-20000 dead, she should have submitted the names of the dead first!
These reports of Sooka’s are funded by powerful players – the 2014 ITJP report was funded by the British Foreign Office through the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales. Funnily enough the majority of the 40 cited cases were former LTTE illegal combatants seeking asylum in UK. Please keep them, UK!
May we ask, what is the Truth & Reconciliation, Sooka has delivered to Sierra Leone or South Africa?
Sooka’s involvement with Sri Lanka has been as handpicked panel member of Ban Ki Moon’s personally commissioned Panel on Sri Lanka in 2011, co-authoring article against Sri Lank in 2012,
That became the stepping stone to be selected as a member of the Advisory Council of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice in which C4 Director Callum MaCrae was also member, along with a host of other anti-Sri Lanka personages – Basil Fernando, Bruce Haig (patrol of Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies) & J Tissainayagam.
So there was no surprise when she became ‘comrade’ to the Global Tamil Forum & invited as its Guest Speaker in 2013 to UK where TNA’s Sambanthan and Sumanthiran were also present. Sooka was the 2ndsignatory in a petition by the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice in 2014 to which other signatories included Desmond Tutu, Bishop Rayappu Joseph (both dead), Sambanthan, Wigneswaran and 35 others. http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/28557
Just as the EU, South Africa & Sri Lanka must provide answers, the Board of Trustees of Sigrid Rausing Trust must also explain why a Trust covering Balkans, Central & Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Lebanon & Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Zimbabwe & South Africa is funding ITJP Sri Lanka since 2014? Sri Lanka is in Asia, not in East or Central Europe, Africa or in the former Soviet Union! https://www.sigrid-rausing-trust.org
As per Trust website from 2014 to March 2019 the Sigrid Rausing Trust has given £471,500 to ITJP (Sri Lanka) and a further £300,000 from 1stApril 2019 to 2020. But the Trust’s NewsStories from 2013 to 2020 does not cover a single story on Sri Lanka. https://www.shenaliwaduge.com/open-letter-to-the-sigrid-rausing-trust-on-yasmin-sooka-itjp/
EU & Sigrid Rausing Trust by its association with the ITJPSL must have felt embarrassed when ITJPSL had to make an apology to Brig. Ravindra Dias for wrongfully using his picture claiming it to be Maj. Gen. Suresh Salley, the Director of State Intelligence Service. Maj. Gen. Suresh Salley is taking legal action against Sooka separately!
The Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry must take this up at diplomatic levels with the EU, the South African Government and even withSigrid Rausing Trust.
EU funds come from EU Tax Payers, this money is not meant to be used for witch hunts by individuals or groups.