Hypocrisy to go after Lanka on rights: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Sec-Gen

Posted: November 16, 2013 in Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Daily Express Sabah, James Sarda, Sri Lanka, Tamil Elam
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by James Sarda

Kota Kinabalu: No one should accuse Sri Lanka as bitterly as they do just because there had to be casualties in the process of ending that island nation’s civil war.

Stating this to Daily Express in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently, its Secretary General Dr William Shija, said in the case of Sri Lanka, it would be unrealistic to suggest that there have been human rights violations just because there had to be a decision to end the terrorism (waged by the Tamil Tigers for three decades).

“You had a group of people who had completely captured a portion of that country through violent means. That is anarchy. That is terrorism.

“What do you expect the Sri Lankan Government to do? What would any nation faced with this situation be expected to do? Sit and negotiate?

“That is similar to what we heard about, for example, in the Falklands (when Argentina temporarily seized the island in the early 1980s).

“Why would Britain then go to the extent of trying to protect the Falklands which is so far away. It can’t be terrorism if you are protecting your nation or your people,” said the former Tanzanian Minister.

Shija also said it was ironic to even attempt to suggest that Sri Lanka had violated human rights when actually there are more serious human rights violations taking place even right now in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq (by the western troops).

“Those are examples that need to be examined in the proper perspective,” he said, obviously referring to the countless civilians killed by US, UK and Nato forces in these Muslim countries. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by US drone attacks in Afghanistan alone.

Shija added that there were also plenty of human rights violations during colonialism and during times of slavery. “If people want to talk about human rights violations we might as well go into history,” he said.

He said looking at the situation today, “you can’t have countries or even the Commonwealth dictate to Sri Lanka what to do.

“Who are you coming from the Commonwealth or otherwise to tell these guys what to do.

In fact, there are even smaller countries within the (53-member) Commonwealth who flex their muscles when it comes to their own country’s decisions.

“The world has moved on and no longer do you have an unipolar system where one member can dictate to another. So the best way to keep the family together is to be flexible and accommodate the variances and rather contribute on what should be done.”

Malaysia has confirmed participating in CHOGM despite calls by Barisan Nasional component MIC and the opposition DAP to boycott the event. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib would lead a delegation and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said that Malaysia’s participation was “relevant and significant”.

Critics of Lanka have alleged that its government was responsible for the deaths of up to 40,000 civilians in the civil war there that ended in 2009 with the killing of the entire Tiger leadership. There have been no more killings since.

It made Sri Lanka, reportedly albeit with Chinese help in logistics, the first and only nation in the world to have successfully defeated terrorism.

The Tamil Tigers have also been accused of drafting child soldiers and killing innocent thousands, including its own people that did not side with it during their campaign for a separate state in the island’s north.

There is evidence that in the last stages of the war their besieged leaders tried to use fellow Tamil civilians as human shields and killed those who abandoned them.

The Tigers also became infamous for introducing suicide bombings that has seen been adopted by other reactionary groups as a means to achieve their objectives, especially assassinating key people.

Their most high profile victim was Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi when they sent a woman strapped with a bomb inside her sari to greet him when he visited Lanka during the early stages of the bloody conflict.

James Sarda is the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Express an Independent National Newspaper of East Malaysia

Comments
  1. katy says:

    Now even US warns Sri Lanka over failure to investigate war crimes, Mr Sarda should read this : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/srilanka/10494147/US-warns-Sri-Lanka-over-failure-to-investigate-war-crimes.html

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  2. Lingam says:

    it’s very true that David Cameron has won the hearts of Tamil people all over the world for raising the war crimes issue during the CHOGM. Rajapaksa regime has to start the process of investigation of atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan army during the final stages of civil war. people who were in high positions who gave orders to carry out the mass murder have to be identified and punished. David Cameron had to travel 5,000 miles to demand action, however, people who are 20 miles away didn’t have the guts to speak out.

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  3. ganeson says:

    Sri Lanka’s move is a belated exercise, bereft of any serious intent. That this exercise will cover the period from 1982 to 2009 raises serious doubts about the government’s real motives. The Rajapaksa government’s marked reluctance to inquire into alleged war crimes in the closing stages of the battle against the LTTE in May 2009 is clearly a thorny issue. The international community should apply sustained pressure on Sri Lanka to show results in relief and rehabilitation, alongside a credible and time-bound inquiry into alleged war crimes.

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  4. Illam says:

    It is welcome that Sri Lanka’s Department of Census and Statistics has started a nationwide exercise to assess the loss of human lives and damage to property after the civil war (Nov. 29). Whether it is due to immense international pressure mounted on Sri Lanka or British Prime Minister David Cameron’s moves that made Colombo speed up the probe is something in the realm of speculation. One only hopes that the move will help the process of reconciliation and healing.

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  5. Davis dominic says:

    What sri lanka did was right. Wipe out those terrorists. Sri lanka rightly belongs to lankans. Not tamils.

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  6. Davis dominic says:

    Those tamil tigers came from tamil naidu. What if southern filipinos comes to sabah and start staking their claims to sabah? Also killing sabahans on the process, acceptable kah?

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  7. Joe Fernandez says:

    The issue in Sri Lanka is the deliberate killing of Tamil civilians and Tamil tigers by Government troops in the days after the conflict ended with India’s aid.

    Despite the existence of the 25 million diaspora, labour in the GCC and growing export of expatriates to the rest of the world and external pressures in the form of Afghanistan/Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China, India seems to be very much a world of its own — much bigger than anything that can be thrown at it — and focussed very much as well, for technological, economic and security reasons, on finding alien civilisations before they find us (the US attempt has become financially prohibitive and dependent on talent from India and elsewhere) and on colonising the moon (for rare metals) and inner space (for its medical industry) to add another dimension to its economy to raise the 26 per cent still living below the poverty line.

    India should take an interest in contributing more than token troops to peacekeeping operations around the world and on global security issues like Iraq, Syria, Iran, Israel and North Korea; and on diaspora issues.

    So far, it has confined itself on security issues to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

    Sent by DiGi from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

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