Feature Article

Nambiar, UN, undermine war crimes investigation on Sri Lanka, Burma

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 December 2010, 08:48 GMT]
Unchecked for the role he played in the genocide of Eezham Tamils last year, Vijay Nambiar’s UN villainy is now targeting ethnicities struggling in Burma. The Burmese military now plans to adopt the Rajapaksa doctrine of military solution to the national question in Burma, with the backing of the same establishments that backed Rajapaksa, and Vijay Nambiar is in the scene again, facilitating the agenda and shielding the war crimes. A few days ago, UK has urged the UN to replace Vijay Nambiar by another fulltime envoy to deal with Burma. According to Mizzima News Wednesday, the London-based Burma Campaign expressed extreme disappointment on the approach of Nambiar befriending military generals and ignoring nations struggling for liberation. Meanwhile, the UN panel on Sri Lanka meeting Colombo’s LLRC has raised eyebrows in the human rights circles.

While major human rights organisations of the world have boycotted Colombo’s LLRC, there are reports that Ban Ki Moon’s advisory panel on Sri Lanka may have ‘meetings’ with it. According to SL government, since it has said that anyone could come up with submissions to the LLRC, on that basis the UN panel also could come to Colombo to meet the LLRC. This means that the UN panel is treated as a party submitting before the LLRC.

Informed circles say that the UN panel has plans to meet the LLRC behind the scene somewhere outside of the island, perhaps for exchanging notes.

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited U.N. investigators to share evidence gathered with his own reconciliation commission. Associated Press cited Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella saying Saturday that "We resisted the panel saying we can't allow a U.N. investigation unilaterally. But in this case, the president has invited them not to undertake any investigation but to share the evidence."

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised the move, AP said.

After collecting sensitive and trusted evidence from the affected, the UN move of ‘sharing’ with LLRC is calculated to undermine the credibility of the panel which had been set half-heartedly and the modus operandi of which had already raised doubts, said human rights activists.

In Burma, Ban Ki Moon’s chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar sabotaged war crimes investigations against Burmese military at the behest of the Chinese, accuses the Mizzima article by Thomas Maung Shwe.

Indian and Chinese opposition to war crimes investigation in the island of Sri Lanka and their backing to the war crimes accused regime of Rajapaksa are well known.

The Chinese have told Nambiar that war crime inquiry in Burma would be dangerous and counterproductive, and should not be allowed to proceed. Nambiar appeared to have shared the view by omitting a proposal for war crime inquiry in his report to the UN, despite the fact that UN officials had earlier called for such an inquiry, Mizzima said.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma in his report in March said that abuses were a state policy that involved authorities at all levels of the executive, military and judiciary, and called for an inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council.

Ironically, Burmese military offensive in August-September targeted ethnic Chinese in the Kokang region that made thousands of them to flee to Yunnan of China. The Chinese came out only with verbal protest.

Vijay Nambiar meets  Aung San Suu Kyi
Vijay Nambiar (left) mets recently released Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on November 27, 2010 [Photo: Mizzima]
After meeting Aung Sun Suu Kyi in Burma, Nambiar commented that he found her “out of touch and somehow too hard-line”, reports Matthew Russell Lee of the Inner City Press.

Writing on the controversial role played by Nambiar in Sri Lanka, Mizzima said: “Ban sent the former Indian diplomat to Sri Lanka despite that his own brother, retired Indian army general Satish Nambiar, had served as an adviser to the Sri Lankan military for several years.”

Citing The Times, Mizzima said that Nambiar knowingly suppressed information to the public, despite UN staff briefing him in Colombo that at least 20,000 people had died in the final stages of the war.

But there are some other Indian names that not only suppressed information but came out with misleading information on the civilians in the killing zone, contributing to the ‘smooth progress’ of war crimes.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka connection is a key factor in the renewed ethnic war in the regions of Burma, bordering Thailand, India and China, says Simon Roughneen writing in The Irrawaddy, November 29.

According to the article, while Aung San Suu Kyi, released from her years-long house arrest, has called for discussions on federal model solutions, the Burmese military is gearing up for a military solution to the ethnic issue in the model of Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa’s first visit outside after the Vanni War was to Burma. The Burmese generals reciprocated in June 2009 by visiting Colombo and thanking Rajapaksa for his support in combating “illegal activities carried out by the LTTE in the past and in drug trafficking in the region."

But most of the poppy-growing areas in the Shan State of Burma are under the control of militia groups backed by the Burmese military, says Shan researcher and journalist Kheunsai Jaiyen, cited by The Irrawaddy.

The Burmese military is now eager to learn from Sri Lanka and to borrow methods from Sri Lanka’s COIN strategy used against the LTTE, The Irrawaddy article said, citing a recent report by researcher Kim Joliffe.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s army commander Jagath Jayasuriya said Wednesday that his military would be seeking UN ‘peace keeping’ missions abroad. Revealing that Colombo would be negotiating with Russia for armoured fighting vehicles, he said that his country was ready to take up foreign assignments at short notice.

In Burma, the Sri Lankan-style strategy appears primarily to target the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), The Irrawaddy said.

“In total, an estimated 446,000 people are thought to be displaced inside Burma and allegations that the army uses forced labour, forced displacement and rape as part of its campaign in ethnic minority regions are part of the campaign by rights groups to establish a Commission of Inquiry into war crimes in Burma,” The Irrawaddy further said.

According to Joliffe's report, more violence looms in Karen-populated regions in eastern Burma. The Sri Lanka-style strategy “would include the assassination of key leaders, the pinpointing of key bases and the herding of KNLA forces and civilians into kill zones using heli-borne forces.” Ominously, Joliffe suggests, “the final phase of these hammer and anvil tactics is the obliteration of everyone in kill zones using massed artillery.”

But it seems too much importance is given to the military of these terrorist states and their military ‘successes’ when the real problem lies in the attitudes of some powers and in the criminal mind of some individuals occupying establishments. The Sri Lankan state is increasingly proving itself as a crucial test case where the backbone of state terrorism should be crushed for the benefit of any fresh tide in world affairs.

The Irrawddy
Refugees fleeing from Burma to Thailand in on 28 November, 2010 [Photo courtesy: The Irrawaddy]

External Links:
Mizzima: UK urges Ban to sack Nambiar, appoint full-time Burma envoy
The Irrawaddy: Sri Lanka Connection Key as Ethnic War Fears Grow


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