Law becomes an ass by inaction on UN report: Miliband, Kouchner

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 June 2011, 18:30 GMT]
“If foreign policy is about anything, it should be about stopping this kind of inhumanity,” said David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner, writing in New York Times Monday and commenting on how Sri Lanka conducted the Vanni War and treated Tamil life as fourth or fifth class in the refugee camps. Both Miliband and Kouchner were foreign ministers of Britain and France respectively during the Vanni War. They said that in April 2009 they tried to stop the war. Now, responding to the UN panel report on war crimes in the island and citing the need of action, both the former foreign ministers said “We therefore call on our governments to set a deadline, soon, for satisfactory response from the Sri Lankan government, and if it is not forthcoming to initiate the international arrangements recommended by the report.

“In April 2009, we travelled together as foreign ministers to Sri Lanka, as 25 years of fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers neared its end […] Our purpose was simple: to draw attention to the human suffering, to call for humanitarian aid and workers to be allowed in, and to call for the fighting to stop,” Miliband and Kouchner said.

“When we met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his government, we argued that his government had legal obligations to its people, whatever the heinous tactics of the Tamil Tigers,” the former foreign ministers said.

“U.N. estimates put the numbers of civilians there in the last few months of the war at over 300,000,” they said.

But neither the UN nor any country told the right number to the outside world at the time of the war.

In their public statements during the war both the foreign ministers wanted the LTTE to surrender and the civilians to come into the hands of the Sri Lanka Army. None of them called for any transparent international arrangement to effectuate the surrender or to receive the civilians.

The LTTE was long blighting the Sri Lanka government, said UK Ambassador to the UN at the height of the war.

“As the report says, accountability is a duty under domestic and international law, and those responsible, including Sri Lanka Army commanders and senior government officials, would bear criminal liability for international crimes,” the former foreign ministers now said.

The former foreign ministers are still naive and wanting in their thinking that “the dangerous cancer at the heart of Sri Lanka’s future” is curable by constitutional pledges, resettlement of Tamils in an ‘equitable way’ and by just giving them “economic opportunities as well as social rights,” commented Eezham Tamil political activists in London, citing that Miliband’s foreign office was telling the same thing in 2007, blunting the national question by the talk of ‘development’.

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External Links:
Foreign & Commenwealth Office: United Kingdom's Peace Building Strategy


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