'A Perfect Storm'
In Sri Lanka, at the end of the war in early 2009, around 40,000 civilians were massacred mostly by Sri Lankan government forces. The number of dead has subsequently been conservatively estimated to be around 70,000. Until now, there has been no credible investigation into these war crimes despite the calls from the UK and US governments for an independent international investigation
into the alleged war crimes during the months leading up to May 2009.
Meanwhile the torture, disappearances, sexual attacks, land grab and unnecessary military occupation in the north and east continue unabatedly. The Sri Lankan government has gone to great lengths, including its own investigation (LLRC) to whitewash its gruesome record but all the atrocities continue today. Those who criticise the regime are bundled into a white van and never seen again, all with the blessing and approval of the security forces. Journalists have been experiencing harassment.
The Commonwealth gives the notion of backing such blatant disregard of its basic human rights tenets by choosing Sri Lanka to host the Commonwealth Heads' meeting this month, with the Sri Lankan President set to become its chair for the next two years!
The Commonwealth leaders, including the UK prime minister, Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary and Prince Charles are heading to what was once one of the most beautiful islands in the world to take part in the Commonwealth meeting. If they had read all the press coverage and watched the television programmes on this thorny subject, they should have serious reservations if not guilty feeling in taking part in the proceedings.
Canada has expressed clearly that they will not participate in the light of the poor human rights record of Sri Lanka.
It's a tragedy the UK, which has helped Sri Lanka in many ways with financial aid and development schemes, is going to be criticised if not embarrassed for taking part, especially when so much shocking evidence has emerged since May 2009.
The UN failed miserably in the SL war for failing to uphold its principles and failing to protect 330,000 innocent civilians refugees.
There is a saying that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. At the rate the shocking information is cascaded, soon Sri Lanka will face the reality that it's not all propaganda as it has maintained. If the television programmes were shown in the Commonwealth meeting, there will be a lot red faces.
The UN should make Sri Lanka accountable for the tragic loss of thousands of innocent lives and the Commonwealth Heads at their meeting this month could set a much needed precedent by making that overdue call. Professor Boyle, an expert in international law has said: 'The Commonwealth has never been anything more than the reincarnation of the British Empire and the British Imperial System. Rajapakse as its Head for two years will expose the Commonwealth as a Sick Joke and Demented Fraud to the entire world.' A lot of things can happen within two years in exposing the culprits, as a week is a long time in politics.
Tamil Writers Guild Editorial Board, UK
Source: Tamil Writers Guild
Date: 12 November 2013