11 April 2009
Mr Ban Ki -Moon
The UN Secretary General
885 Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10017
Dear Mr Ban Ki -Moon
Genocide and the Use of Chemical weapons by Sri Lankan armed forces against Tamil civilians
I am a British subject and a retired senior executive from the international head office of the Royal Dutch Shell (Oil) Group in London. It appears to me that the UN and the major powers that constitute the Security Council are ‘fiddling’ like Nero did while literally the Tamils in Sri Lanka are burning. In this case, your organisation is hamstrung as it can only recognise State actors like Sri Lanka and not the non-state ones like nation of Eelam Tamils. This allows Sri Lanka to exterminate the Tamils under the guise of fighting the LTTE in a war on terror. So historically established nations that existed before colonial occupation and which have been left behind as oppressed minorities in the process of decolonization after the second world war, like the Tamils of Sri Lanka, appear not to be able to obtain the protection of the United Nations under the inadequate terms of your operational jurisdiction. It appears that the Tamils can be killed without any compunction as you have only got to protect the narrow interest of your rogue Sri Lanka member state.
The charter of the UN needs to be changed to rectify this grave anomaly and to give a voice in your forum for downtrodden nations within existing but outdated state boundaries. Otherwise the United Nations will suffer the same fate as its predecessor, the League of Nations. Kosove, Eritrea and East Timor have broken away from their shackles and next it must be the turn of the Tamils of Eelam. I hope that such changes will take place during your tenure of office to make the United Nations more relevant to issues of the twenty first century.
However, your urgent attention is required to put an end to the genocide of the Tamils and the use of prohibited chemical weapons against them by the Sri Lankan government. Where one of your member states systematically oppresses a minority, as Sri Lanka does with the Tamils in that country and where in their racist determination to wipe out the Tamils as a minority, they have engaged in a genocide on a large scale which must surely be quite obvious to you, then your lack of positive intervention to stop this genocide will rank as moral dereliction and a major failure of your organization in this century. The reputation of the UN seriously tarnished by its inability to prevent the genocide in Rwanda and now its apathy to the genocide in Sri Lanka will be seen as another abject failure on the part of the UN.
You have the awesome responsibility of heading up this august body in the early twenty first century when it seems that the age old hostilities between nations have abated due to the balance in nuclear deterrence possessed by the old foes, and the spread of greater democratic values in most countries. Yet the world appears to have regressed in some areas where there are grave human rights and humanitarian law violations and about which your organisation appears to turn a blind eye.
I am aware that the United Nations is the new political leader and moral conscience of the world. Unfortunately your eyes have been averted on your watch as the leader of the free world by a cunning Sri Lankan government from an incubus of heinous war crimes being committed by their armed forces against the civilian population of the Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka. Just last week in this continuing cruel war of oppression, more than a thousand hapless Tamils were killed and many thousands injured in the so-called safe zone in Mullaitivu by napalm, chemical agents and phosphorus bombs used by the racist Mahinda Rajapakse regime that incinerated innocent people.
Photographs are available on the internet that show the charring of the bodies of the victims with their clothes unaffected, which point to the use of these prohibited weapons. The town and the surrounding district were mercilessly attacked with fire bombs, artillery fire, and chemicals. The chemical weapons were the most destructive of life. The chemicals used included mustard gas, napalm and nerve agents.
The medical doctors attached to ‘War without Witness’ who examined the victims, have reported that the following chemical substances were found: Triethanolamine (C6H15NO3) and Phosgene† (CCl2O).
Interviews with the victims lead to the conclusion that these are a type of Mustard Gas attack delivered using high explosive rocket launchers and aerial bombs. Some of the symptoms observed among the victims were ‘high vomiting’, ‘mustard-coloured blisters’, ‘asphyxiation’, ‘breathing difficulty’ and ‘extreme pain’.
†At least 3,000 people have been killed in the past ten days as a result of the chemical attacks and it is estimated that up to 10,000 people in all have died during the course of the last three months. There are some 150,000 Tamil civilian refugees still penned into a small area in the Vanni which government forces continue to attack with ruthless abandon.
You will be familiar with the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein's attack using chemical weapons and cluster bombs on the Kurdish city of Halabja on March 17, 1988, in which Saddam brutally repressed yet another of the Kurdish revolts during the Iran-Iraq war. If you fast-forward to some 21 years later, the Sri Lankan government is adopting the same ruthless and criminal methods to deal with the revolt of the Tamils who have struggled for equality and political self-determination in Sri Lanka from the time of independence some 61 years ago from the UK.
I ask you in the name of the dead and the dying not to allow this criminal genocide of the Tamils to continue under your watch in a vicious war lasting over 25 years waged by a modern and rapacious Sri Lankan war machine. It has falsely labelled this a war against terrorism to mislead the outside world. This truly is state terror masquerading as a war on terror. The UN Security Council must call for this war of racial conquest to be stopped immediately and a ceasefire implemented which should be monitored by the UN, if necessary with the help of the Nordic countries that have always maintained a neutral but moral stance in this quagmire. All UN member states, particularly China, Pakistan, India, Ukraine and Israel, should stop exporting arms to Sri Lanka, which have fanned the flames of this ethnic genocide.
Please bring your moral and ultimate legal authority through the resolutions of the Security Council and the decisions of the General Council to bear upon the hopes and cries of a forgotten and slaughtered Tamil people who look to you and the UN as their last resort..
Source: Tamil Writers Guild
Date: 13th April 2009