Feature Article

US ‘tables’ Rajapaksa formula while pretending pressure

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 February 2012, 02:30 GMT]
Other than the US attempting to ‘steal’ the credit of passing a resolution on Sri Lanka at the March UNHRC sessions in Geneva, there is no difference between what the US ‘proposes’ and what the genocidal Colombo ‘envisages’ for Eezham Tamils, political observers commented on a ‘leaked’ draft of the resolution as well as on statements made by US State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday. Perhaps the only difference the Colombo regime is fussing about is the resolution expecting a time-frame from Sri Lanka to implement the wanting recommendations of the LLRC. The Rajapaksa-regime is not prepared even for that. Despite the US deception on genocide-affected Eezham Tamils, some Tamil politicians in the island, Colombo-based ‘civil society’ and some diaspora lobbyists try to paint a picture that the US ‘pressure’ is bringing in something substantial for Eezham Tamils.

Reminding a Tamil proverb about a person who has bitten dust bragging about his moustache not getting the sand (vizhunthaalum meesaiyil ma'n padavillai), the US and the West that were humiliated in the earlier rounds on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC as well as in the Commonwealth, now try to get the credit of passing a resolution by telling the same of what Rajapaksa has been envisaging for the structural genocide of Eezham Tamils, Tamil political observers in the island said.

The US position on the resolution wants implementation of the LLRC recommendation with a time schedule. The stand of the US also comes out with the mildest possible note on the lacuna in war crimes investigations, while asking Sri Lanka to carry it out internally.

By asking for a time schedule for the implementation of the LLRC, the US indirectly rules out all political solutions in the model appropriate to national questions, because the thrust of the LLRC is to completely annihilate the nation of Eezham Tamils and assimilate it through structural genocide by 2020. The LLRC recommendation has already fixed a time schedule on this aspect that is vital to the genocidal regime in Colombo.

The US stand also closes the topic of international investigations.

Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner, on Thursday, said that the US has long been publicly supporting Sri Lanka getting enough time and space in coming out with domestic solutions. He also said that if implemented, the LLRC recommendations are capable of bringing in “genuine reconciliation and strengthening of democratic institutions and practices in Sri Lanka”.

Not satisfied with whatever they have hitherto done to Eezham Tamils, ministers of the Rajapaksa regime have called for a mass agitation in the island on Monday against any resolution in the UNHRC. A preparatory show was made on Friday in protesting the removal of the war-crimes-accused Maj Gen (retd) Shavendra Silva from his recent UN appointment on peace keeping.

Doing everything after close consultations and directions from the US, the Sinhala politicians pretend protest to get the best for them out of everything. But, sections of Tamil politicians behave as though whatever the US proposes is also their own political wisdom to profess to Eezham Tamils, observed a new generation Tamil politician in the island.

In adopting this approach, the Tamil lobbyists in the diaspora ultimately find themselves to be only counter-lobbied in the international forums, he further said.

The 19th UN Human Rights Council sessions are to commence on the 27th in Geneva and continue till March 23rd. The 20th Session is to take place from May 30 to 17 June 2012.

Excerpt from February 23 briefing by Mark Toner at the US State Department follow:

QUESTION: Different topic? On Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Government has called for protests over what it says is the U.S. position on the UN Human Rights Council. That’s with regard to the events of 2009, the end of the civil war. Does the U.S. have anything to say either about Sri Lanka’s call for protests over this, or more broadly, about the U.S. position on the UN Human Rights Council?

MR. TONER: Well, we think – sure, Shaun. We think we’ve been very consistent in our dialogue with the Government of Sri Lanka regarding the issue of reconciliation and accountability. We long publicly supported the idea of the Government of Sri Lanka having the time and space for this domestic Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission to carry out its work, and believed that an action plan would be announced when that report was made public. And then subsequent to the report’s publication, we wanted the Government of Sri Lanka to follow up on some of the recommendations from the report.

Again, we welcome the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission’s report. It was a Sri Lankan undertaking, which includes many strong recommendations that, when implemented, could help improve and contribute to genuine reconciliation and strengthening of democratic institutions and practices in Sri Lanka. But to date, frankly, we’ve not seen a detailed action plan from the Government of Sri Lanka on how it’s going to implement these recommendations. So I think we still encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to move forward to take concrete steps on this implementation plan. And at the same time, we’re working with our partners in Geneva on a resolution within the UNHRC that calls for actions on important steps towards reconciliation. But I think our goal ultimately is the same here: We want to see these recommendations implemented and so that they can help lead towards reconciliation.

QUESTION: Just following up, on the Human Rights Council, in previous years, it’s fallen short regarding Sri Lanka. Is there – how concerted is the effort by the United States? Is there a desire to really pass something in the Human Rights Council on --

MR. TONER: Well, we wouldn’t be pursuing it if there wasn’t a desire. We’re also – obviously continue to be engaged with the Sri Lankan Government. But we’ve long said that we would support local efforts and want to see local efforts to address these issues, but we would also engage international mechanisms if appropriate.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the violence in Iraq today?

QUESTION: Can we stay on Sri Lanka?

MR. TONER: Sure.

QUESTION: After the visit of Indian foreign minister to Sri Lanka and then the U.S. diplomats, has there been any --

MR. TONER: Additional follow-up?

QUESTION: -- diplomatic follow-through between U.S. and India on --

MR. TONER: Well, through our Embassy, of course, and I’m sure almost on a daily basis, there is engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka. Maybe not always on this particular issue, but certainly I’m sure this is --

QUESTION: No. After the Indian foreign minister’s visit, did you have anything to do with India?

MR. TONER: I’m not sure. I’ll have to take that question, Tejinder.

QUESTION: Okay.

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Full text of the ‘leaked’ draft resolution follows:

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and other relevant instruments,

Reaffirming that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, as applicable,

Noting the Report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation process,

Welcoming the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances, de-militarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all, and enact rule of law reforms,

Expressing concern that the LLRC report does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law, and expressing serious disappointment that the Government of Sri Lanka has not fulfilled its relevant legal obligations and stated commitment to initiate credible and independent investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for such violations,

  1. Calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in the LLRC report and additionally to take immediate steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and stated commitment to address serious allegations of violations of international law by initiating credible and independent investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for such violations,

  2. Requests that the Government of Sri Lanka present a comprehensive action plan before the 20th session of the Human Rights Council detailing the steps the Government has taken and will take to implement the LLRC recommendations and also to address alleged violations of international law,

  3. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special mandate holders to provide, and the Government of Sri Lanka to accept, advice and technical assistance on implementing those steps.


* * *


In September 2011, Canada also ‘leaked’ a wanting proposal it was sponsoring at the UNHRC session, but it didn't go beyond ‘informal discussions’ outside of the session.


Chronology:


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External Links:
U.S. Mission to the UN: HRC Resolution on Sri Lanka Would Help Promote Reconciliation and Accountability

 

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