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A section of Tamil journalists in North, who have been subjected to investigations and harassment by the Sri Lankan military intelligence in the recent past on Tuesday said they were receiving phone calls with death threats this week. The Sri Lankan military was using a projected image of ‘LTTE regrouping’ to silence the journalists and civil activists, especially during the 25th session of the human rights council in Geneva. In the meantime a top commander of the Sri Lanka Army has told a rights activist in Colombo that the whole Geneva discourse would end as the talk of USA sending ship to evacuate LTTE political leaders while brokering a surrender-deal at the end of Vanni war in 2009.
“Like Pulidevan and Nadesan were talking to foreign journalists, Elilan’s wife Ananthi is now talking at Geneva. At the end of the day, everything would end like the US ship affair,” the SL commander was quoted as saying.
The threats issued to journalists in Jaffna should also be interpreted with the attempt by the Sri Lankan military operatives to organise a protest in support of Mahinda Rajapaksa through paramilitary operatives. The attempt has been unsuccessful, Tamil activists in Jaffna said.
In Ampaa’rai and in Mannaar, the occupying SL military has waylaid Tamil people to rally in support of the president and commander-in-chief of the genocidal Sri Lanka.
“The worsening situation is caused by the watered-down resolution being framed by the USA, UK and others,” an activist in Jaffna said.
“This year many rights activists and journalists have been effectively silenced by the occupying Sri Lankan military,” the activist said as mobile phones of almost every activist in Vanni remained switched off on Tuesday following the terror actions by the SL military under the TID tag.
Bishop of Mannaar Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph had sent a model resolution to the foreign diplomatic missions, including the Embassy of USA in Colombo, well in advance of the draft resolution by the USA was leaked in Geneva this Monday. The proposal presented by Mannaar Bishop was demanding international investigations on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prepared by the Tamil Civil Society Forum, the proposal also called upon the “UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to activate procedures that will lead to a UN sponsored international mechanism to assess the democratic aspirations of the Tamil People, both in the homeland and in the diaspora for a permanent political solution.”
The proposal by the Tamil civil society also urged the UN to consider a Transitional Administration in the North-East of the island to prevent and protect the Tamil people from the continued crimes listed in the document.
“Please see attached a proposal for a draft resolution in the upcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The draft has been put together by Tamil civil society activists and is being sent to you to provide a perspective as to our expectations of the Geneva sessions. We hope that this document proves to be useful in your deliberations regarding the matter.” Mannaar Bishop had urged the foreign missions.
The document was released to media on Tuesday, a day after the US draft has been leaked in Geneva.
The proposal from the Tamil civil society should be considered as a model resolution to be compared with the leaked draft resolution and its future versions for the edification of Tamil activists in the homeland, in Tamil Nadu and in the Diaspora, Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island told TamilNet on Wednesday.
* * *
Following is the full text of the draft resolution presented by Mannaar Bishop.
Human Rights Council
Agenda item …
Accountability and the human rights situation of the Tamils in the North-East of Sri Lanka
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,
Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on institution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the code of conduct for special procedures mandate holders, of 18 June 2007,
Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that all States are bound to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Genocide Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Four Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols,
Recalling that each individual State has responsibility under International Law to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity
Recalling the responsibility to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner when national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity
Recalling also in particular the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/63/308 on the Responsibility to Protect
Recalling Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 of 22 March 2012 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,
Recalling also Human Rights Council resolution 22/L.1 of 21 March 2013 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka
Expressing serious concern at the lack of implementation by the Government of Sri Lanka of previously adopted resolutions and recommendations of the Council relating to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka,
Noting with concern the observation by the High Commissioner in her oral update on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka on 27 September 2013 about the considerable military presence in the Tamil homeland in the island of Sri Lanka, the high level of surveillance of returnees, rehabilitees and detainees who have been released, the compulsory acquisition of private land for installing military camps and other installations, the prominent role of military in areas of civilian administration and economic activity, including education, agriculture and tourism.
Noting also the observation by the High Commissioner in her oral update on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka on 27 September 2013 that no new or comprehensive effort to independently or credibly investigate the allegations.
Noting further that the Government of Sri Lanka has failed to act on the High Commissioner’s suggestion to the Government of Sri Lanka to show a credible national process with tangible results, including the successful prosecution of individual perpetrators by March 2014
Noting further that the Government of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report and its recommendations have failed to bring about truth, justice and reconciliation for Sri Lanka
Reaffirming the right of the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka to self-determination
Noting further that successive Governments of Sri Lanka including the present have not taken any credible steps towards accommodating the Tamil people’s legitimate desire for self-determination and self-government within a united Sri Lanka.
Unequivocally condemns the appropriation of land belonging to the Tamil people by the Government of Sri Lanka, the continuous detention of Tamil political prisoners without due process, the use of sexual violence against Tamil female headed house hold and ex-female LTTE cadres by armed forces attached to the Sri Lankan Government, the denial of psycho-social support for the war affected Tamils, the ever increasing role of the military in the daily lives of the Tamil people, the relocation of Tamil IDPs in places other than their historical areas of habitation, the continuous neglect of the livelihood of those resettled, the intimidation, forced use of long-term contraceptives, destruction of non-Buddhist religious places, violence perpetrated against Tamil civil society and political activists and the denial of the right to collective memory of the Tamil people.
Requests all relevant special procedures mandate-holders, in particular the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary, summary executions, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, the Independent Expert on minority issues, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, to urgently seek and gather information on violations of the human rights of the Tamil people and submit their reports to the Council at its next session;
Decides to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the situation of human rights in the North-East of Sri Lanka and to make recommendations for its improvement; to offer support and advice to civil society; to seek, receive, examine and act on information from all relevant stakeholders pertaining to the situation of human rights in the North-East of Sri Lanka; and to report annually to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work;
Calls upon the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to activate procedures that will lead to the setting up of a UN Transitional Administration in the North-East of Sri Lanka to prevent and protect the Tamil people from those issues identified in paragraph 1 above.
Decides to dispatch an urgent, Independent International Commission of Inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law including the alleged crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in the post-colonial Sri Lanka, and calls upon Sri Lanka not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the Commission
Requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide all administrative, technical and logistical assistance required to enable the above-mentioned special procedures mandate-holders and the fact-finding mission to fulfil their mandates promptly and efficiently.
Calls upon the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to activate procedures that will lead to a UN sponsored international mechanism to assess the democratic aspirations of the Tamil People, both in the homeland and in the diaspora for a permanent political solution.
Decides to remain seized of the matter.
Finding fault with the USA and EU for spoiling negotiated solution by banning the LTTE, the former head of SLMM says that North America and Western Europe lack interest in what is happening in the island as it is not in their backyard, and he points to India to now act on its regional matter. He also implied that effective public and media pressure is a prerequisite for any action in the island in the lines of Bosnia. Tamils in the island, in the diaspora, and especially in Tamil Nadu, will be miserable failures if they show any timidity, or find excuse in diplomacy in not telling the world in no uncertain terms the genocide faced by Eezham Tamils, said Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island.
Further comments from the activists:
Even the former head of SLMM, Major General Ulf Henricsson, who had ground experience in the island for a year, is influenced by the economy paradigm to give only secondary importance to the extraordinary genocidal intent in the psyche of the Sinhala State.
He looks at the age-old question of gravity in the island through the West’s textbook formula: economy and power.
Agreeing that Bosnia, which was recognized for genocide and the question of Eezham Tamils “are more similar than different,” Henricsson identify the mechanics as money, property and power.
“[…] The mechanics behind the war was the same – it was about money, property and power. All conflicts, you see Syria, whatever. It is not about ethnicity and religion. You use it as fuel for the conflict. If you have a decent social and economic justice, then you will not have conflict,” he observed.
Again, comparing the situation with Ukraine, he said:
“People want to stay in power. They want to protect their property and money. They are not interested in letting the other. The same on Sri Lanka; You have a political elite. They have interests. And those with money and property control the media and they control the message.” Henricsson said.
Chronic genocidal intent comes from very different formulations, which were a reality in Europe in the past, but still a reality for us in the island, where the issues are not sorted out.
The crime of genocide is different from crime in any other war.
If the world has not understood the question in the island in its proper perspective, the bulk of the blame goes to the naivety of Tamils and their ‘articulators’, who historically play in the hands of others.
As a strategy to pre-empt any Tamil uprising demanding practical remedy on halting genocide, a campaign has been orchestrated that the USA will come out with a resolution on international investigation on the war crimes and the ‘diplomacy’ is not to spoil it by any other demand.
But informed circles say that there is going to be no such move from the USA.
The nominated and hijacked articulators, who were in the outside deceiving Tamils on behalf of their masters by such a campaign, are in reality exasperating in Geneva in seeing that ‘any’ resolution tabled by the USA should get passed, informed circles said.
The current trend in Geneva is everyone pointing to India, the informed circles further said.
But then, a web blog of an influential, middle-level political party in Tamil Nadu came out with a campaign last week, detracting Tamils from demanding investigation on the genocide and urging them to support the US line.
In taking a line in the struggle of Eezham Tamils, People in Tamil Nadu and organisations beyond party politics have to carefully scrutinize the forces that are at work and their links, cautioned Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island.
The American Cricket Federation has submitted a formal request to the ICC to recognise the ACF as a governing body for cricket in the United States in a strategic move that ACF chief executive Jamie Harrison admits may cause the ICC to suspend the USA’s Associate membership for the third time in a decade. Harrison says that another suspension will allow USA to clean up its own domestic structure.
“What we’re asking is for the ICC to acknowledge that there are multiple governing bodies in the United States, which is undeniable, and then to apply its own rules and constitution to that situation,” Harrison told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday. “If you read the ICC rules and look at the immediate precedent of what happened in Switzerland, the ICC has no wriggle room here.”
According to the ICC guidelines for Associate Membership, “members must satisfy that they are the sole recognised governing body for cricket in the country”. In 2011, Switzerland had its ICC membership suspended before their membership was removed entirely in 2012 after a rival governing body challenged the status of the Swiss Cricket Association. Previous battles waged in the USA between unrecognised governing bodies and the USA Cricket Association resulted in a pair of ICC suspensions but reconciliations were eventually achieved to allow USA to be readmitted into the ICC fold. Harrison has no intention for that this time around.
“There will be no merger,” Harrison said. “We’re not giving an inch. We’re going to see that out to the end. We’re not talking to USACA, and we’re prepared for what comes down the road.”
The ACF announced on Wednesday that the Commonwealth Cricket League, the largest league in America with 72 teams competing in New York City, had become the newest ACF member. It’s another dent to USACA, particularly in light of their 2012 tax return revealing $3 million in debt and membership fees that were down 47% from 2011 to 2012. Harrison says that USACA’s “toxic brand” makes them incapable of recovering and that they’re holding back cricket in the country from developing. If the ICC recognises the ACF, Harrison believes it will open the door for American cricket to regenerate.
“Imagine you have a building site in a prime location. The only problem is that occupying the site is a burned out shell of a building. You can’t begin to make something good of that site until you tear down that shell,” Harrison said. “Once the site is cleared you can begin building a new edifice. Well, this is the first step. We’ve asked the ICC to make it possible to tear down the old structure. We understand that some people may be emotionally attached to the old structure but I’m hoping they’ll look to the future and see the great plans for the new structure.”
Harrison realises that there may be an initial uproar over engaging in action that may cause the ICC to suspend USA but says that the ACF purposely held off from attempting any manoeuvre late last year so as not to interfere with USA’s participation at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. USA’s 15th-place finish in the event, and their earlier failure last year at World Cricket League Division Three which prevented their participation in the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand in January, meant that USA has no ICC commitments in 2014 that they would be barred from competing in and Harrison felt that now would be the best time to take action.
“The ICC, if they act appropriately and don’t drag their feet and do the obvious thing in keeping with their rules and their constitution, this can be done in a relatively short period of time,” he said. “The restructuring of US cricket can be done within a year.
“It would be nice if we could separate administrative issues from opportunities for our players to play cricket and the success of our international team but those things are intertwined and welded together. If we had better administration, our international team would be more successful and right now it would be preparing to compete in another international tournament. We intend to make better administration and better results for clubs, leagues, all the way down the line but we can’t start that process without taking this first step.”
In August, Harrison had told ESPNcricinfo that the USA should “revoke its ICC membership.” When asked on Wednesday why he was now seeking ICC recognition, Harrison answered that it isn’t the ACF’s objective. He believes that although it would be “a feather in the ACF’s cap” to have that status, being the ICC-recognised national governing body is “not a prerequisite for success” and that the USA should look to become self-sufficient rather than depend on $300,000 in ICC funding for survival.
“With the Big Three takeover, they talked a lot about countries being self-sufficient and they’re absolutely right. Countries have to be self-sufficient. The mistake we’ve always made in the USA is being completely dependent on ICC funding to run our programmes and our entire administration. The truth is that ICC funding should not be running your operations. You should be self-sufficient.”
The resolution tabled by the two US Senators, Richard Burr and Bob Casey, only shows that the US defence establishment is adamant on seeing that any investigation on Sri Lanka should not focus on genocide, said Youth Front General Secretary of the Ilankai Tamil Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK), Mr Subramaniam Sivakaran, urging the global Tamils to be vigilant on what is taking place. Asking, “What are the Tamils in the USA doing,” he said, “The time has come for us in the homeland to raise the question.” India is in partnership with the USA in suppressing international investigation on the genocide. Our homeland will be totally lost while the IC deliberates on impractical reconciliation, he further said.
On Monday, USA’s Democratic Senator Bob Casey and Republican Senator Richard Burr released the contents of a resolution on Sri Lanka they were tabling at the US Senate for passing.
The resolution, commending the USA on its leadership at the UNHRC in promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, called upon the USA and the international community to “establish an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka.”
Commenting on the tabled resolution, Sivakaran said that what needed was investigation on the genocide.
While amble evidences exist to prove that what did take place was genocide, resolutions that do not even mention the word Tamil, do not refer to the combined North-East homeland of Tamils, and do not come out with solutions appropriate for the national question, are dangerous, Sivakaran said.
We Eezham Tamils can’t accept the approach to our question through a unitary Sri Lanka concept, which is a confirmation of genocide. The very theme of unitary Sri Lanka is genocide. There is no space for reconciliation in it. While the international community is deliberating on the impractical, our homeland will be totally lost, Sivakaran said.
We Eezham Tamils can’t accept becoming scapegoats for the militarily approached geopolitics of a power. What is that the Tamil organizations in the USA are doing, is the question of all of us here, Sivakaran said.
Of all the parts of the resolution tabled by the Senators, it is the fifth one that clearly shows the intention, Sivakaran cited.
The fifth part called upon the US President “to develop a comprehensive policy towards Sri Lanka that reflects United States interests, including respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, economic interests, and security interests.”
We strongly condemn the act of twisting the genocide we face as war crimes of both sides and the act of belittling us as pawns in the imperialistic competition of the USA, China and India, Sivakaran said.
In demonstrating where Eezham Tamils, being as Eezham Tamils, should place the scale of them, Sivakaran urged the Tamil organizations in the USA to first send a copy of the Bremen Tribunal report to the two Senators.