Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Corrections)

Media, NGOs provide SL cover for Genocide

[TamilNet, Sunday, 04 October 2015, 23:32 GMT]
While the UN's Petrie report and the accompanying now-exposed-redacted parts, reveal the maneuvering within the UN diplomats to soften the human rights implications of the mass killings carried out by its member state Sri Lanka, and the open support of the US-UN-India group to Sri Lanka in the UNHRC meetings to provide enough political space and time to prolongate the "investigation time," obviating the need for an international criminal investigations of alleged international crimes, the news media including Reuters and AFP, and NGOs including Amnesty International (AI), and Human Rights Watch (HRW), routinely adopt neutral and pro-Rights language and fail to highlight the UN, US, India triumvirate's efforts to allow Sri Lanka to whitewash the genocidal acts, Tamil activists said.

UN appointed commissions have investigated the last phase of the war and have produced the following three different reports, on the conduct of the adversaries, the Sri Lanka state and the Liberation Tigers, and have documented alleged violations of war-crimes and crimes against humanity that the commissions reasonably believe to have occurred.

March 2011: Report of UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka. The Secretary-General appointed as members of the Panel Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia), Chair; Steven Ratner (United States); and Yasmin Sooka (South Africa). The Panel formally commenced its work on 16 September 2010 and was assisted throughout by a secretariat.

November 2012: Report of the UNSG's Internal Review Panel on United Nations Actions on Sri Lanka:The Panel, was composed of a Head of Panel, Charles Petrie, and three staff.

September 2015: Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein report: The OISL investigation team established by High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had seven staff members and three distinguished experts, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, Dame Silvia Cartwright, former High Court Judge of New Zealand, and Ms. Asma Jahangir, former President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Notwithstanding these objective, focussed and voluminous reports by UN appointed panels, Sri Lanka has been rejecting and avoiding conducting a judicial criminal investigation in a court that has the authority to establish culpability and impose subsequent penal measures to perpertrators of international crimes.

Six years of history, and Sri Lankas shenanigans to evade justice, prompted Professor Boyle to say: “History teaches that this GOSL Domestic Mechanism will fail, and “Genocide against Eelam Tamils will recur.”

In this background, the following stories filed by NGOs and Reuters related to the 2015 UN resolution on Sri Lanka illuminate one of the reasons why Sri Lanka is able to continue to escape scrutiny of its citizens for alleged criminal conduct.

The statements of NGOs continue to provide positive spin to the UN proceedings, evenwhile the past history points to a scenario where genocidal Sri Lanka is able to whitewash its criminal conduct.
  • Amnesty International head line: "Sri Lanka: UN war crimes resolution marks a turning point for victims" With this neutral headline, AI informs readers that they could expect justice from the 2015 resolution without providing any context to the horrific past history of failed attempts deliver justice with similar UN mechanisms.

    "“The adoption of this resolution is a turning point for human rights in Sri Lanka, and crucially recognizes terrible crimes committed by both parties during the armed conflict. Although far from perfect, if the resolution and the underlying commitments of Sri Lanka’s government are implemented in good faith it presents an opportunity for victims to finally get the truth and justice they have been waiting for,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director."

  • Human Rights Watch head line: "Sri Lanka: UN Resolution Could Advance Justice."

    HRW, partially funded by the US-Government, takes a similar line to the AI. The story avoids giving any context to the conduct of Sri Lanka to respect UN's mandate, and "misleads" the readers that this time justice could be possible.

    “This resolution makes it clear the time has come for the Sri Lankan government to act,” said John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. “The resolution’s endorsement of a judicial mechanism with international participation is an important recognition of the need for an international role to ensure justice for victims.”

    The issue here is war-crimes and possibly genocide. Advancing justice when the State has proclaimed not a single civilian was killed will be difficult, and HRW does not appear to be willing to admit that.

  • Reuters News Agency headline: "Sri Lanka says to cooperate with U.N. on war crimes inquiry." While giving a positive spin to the story, Reuters, as with the NGOs, avoids pointing to the dismal history of Sri Lanka's failure to fulfill commitments in the past.

    Further the story adds, "Sri Lankan Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said that his government would cooperate in implementing the resolution. Sri Lanka is pleased to join as a co-sponsor of this resolution as a further manifestation of (our) commitment to implement the provisions ... in a manner that our objectives are shared by the people and all stakeholders in the country," he said.

    Only the past week, Mr Aryasinghe was reprimanded by the Sri Lanka's foreign office for the ambassador's ill-advised negative pronouncements in the pre-resolution sessions, and was asked to refer all matters to Colombo before making independent statements.

External Links:
AI: Sri Lanka: UN war crimes resolution marks a turning point for victims
HRW: Sri Lanka: UN Resolution Could Advance Justice
Reuters: Sri Lanka says to cooperate with U.N. on war crimes inquiry



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