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Jan-20-2014 10:07printcomments

SRI LANKA: Rajapaksa Lies Through His Teeth While Continuing With His Human Rights Violations

While they appear to be worried about the impending UNHRC resolution in March 2014, they were not about to give up the colonisation of the North-east of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan President Majinda Rajapakse
Sri Lankan President Majinda Rajapaksa

(MELBOURNE) - Sri Lankan President and Commander-in-Chief of the Sinhala military, Mahinda Rajpaksa, put the figure of the SL soldiers in the North as 12,000 in responding to a plea by Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister CW Wigneswaran, at the same stage in Thellippazhai, where a cancer hospital was declared opened on 19 January 2014. Credible sources put the figure of the occupying military at minimum 136,000. At least 36,000 soldiers are stationed in Jaffna peninsula and the remaining 100,000 are in the Vanni mainland. The SL president thinks that the international Establishments would be buying his figures as they did during the genocidal onslaught on Vanni in May 2009, political observers in Jaffna said.

All these are meant for the consumption UNHRC meeting in March 2014. The same lies were disseminated during the final stages of the war in 2009, Colombo government lied to the world that there were only 70,000 civilians in the war zone, when more than 360,000 civilians were trapped there. The then Indian Foreign Minister and current Indian President Mr Pranab Mukherjee echoed the same lie, as if he didn't know how many were there. The Indian aerial surveillance must have betrayed him miserably if it had given him that figure.The UN Establishment also partially accepted that lie. These figures were downplayed to reduce the number of civilians in the war zone to cut the supply of food and medicine to kill the Tamils of starvation and injuries.

At the same stage Hon. Wigneswaran, the CM of the NPC, pleaded with the Sri Lankan President to transcend above politics in the name of humanity to guarantee the self-respect of the Tamil speaking civilians by ‘reducing’ the number of the military personnel, who occupy the North-east of Sri Lanka and do businesses from the lands appropriated from the people. They do farming, fishing and run shops in the area, thus depriving the local Tamils of their employment. These people had to run away to foreign countries in rickety boats and either get drowned or detained. The whole process is part of the government's plan to bring about demographic changes in favour of the Sinhalese in the Tamil Homeland.

The CM also complained of the military interference in the civil affairs in the North and pleaded with the president to implement what he had assured them earlier as regards to the functioning of the Northern Provincial Council.

“What I have been saying is that we were quite aware of the inadequacy of the Thirteenth Amendment in solving our political problems but that we obtained our people’s mandate to enable us to work for the betterment of our people specially those affected by the War. We were also aware that the Thirteenth Amendment cannot be worked without the co-operation of the Central Government,” Mr Wigneswaran said in his pleading address to the SL president.

“We showed our goodwill in many ways and Your Excellency reciprocated that goodwill by saying that you would favourably consider our requests to enable our Provincial Council to function without hindrance. We are awaiting the implementation of the assurances given by Your Excellency. Your Excellency is no doubt aware that the earliest possible implementation of the assurances given would facilitate the smooth functioning of our Council. We on our part wish to reiterate that we remain committed to a co-operative approach and we trust that it would be reciprocated at all levels of the Government,” Wigneswaran said.

To this statement the SL president responded that the SL military was reduced from 75,000 to 12,000.

“Mr Wigneswaran had earned our respect as a Chief Justice. But now, As a politician, he seems to use all the avenues for his advantage and I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about it,” Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa rebuked. Rajapaksa, claiming as usual that Colombo had resettled more than 300,000 people, removed land mines and conducted elections and he didn't want to go into details in responding to the issues raised by Mr Wigneswaran.

Wigneswaran, pleading for the restoration of the ‘self-respect’ of Eelam Tamils. There is no security for women, as long the army remains in large numbers outside their barracks. Their livelihood is sabotaged, especially when they flood the market with cheaper vegetables, fish and other products. Their lands are all taken over and they are not allowed to return to their own homes.

Above all they have no freedom of speech or assembly. Northern Provincial Councillor and civil society activist Ananthi Sasitharan, has had to pay a heavy price for being out spoken both locally and internationally. Her husband, a LTTE official, has been taken by the army and ever since he is missing. She had been protesting for all those people, who had lost members of their families under the missing category. She had been organising protest for them, especially when the British Prime Minister, David Cameroon visited Jaffna.

When UNHRC High Commissioner, Navi Pillay visited Sri Lanka at the end of last year, Ananthi was extremely vocal. All those who spoke to Navi Pillay were roped in for questioning. When Stephen. J. Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice was in Sri Lanka in early January this year, she gave him details of what transpired in her Homeland. Moreover, during her European and Canadian tours, unlike some other NPC members, she presented the situation in her Homeland without fear or favour. These are crimes the Sinhalese leaders don't take lightly.

For these so-called crimes a defence ministry official accused her of propagating ‘separatism’ and threatened to send here for rehabilitation. Sasitharan retaliated by accusing the Sri Lankan government of encouraging Sinhalese supremacists and identifying extremists in the south as “patriots” while demonising human rights activists as separatists. She called the suggestion that she should be ‘rehabilitated’ an atrocious threat, made to silence voices like herself in the run-up to the UN Human Rights Council session in March this year.

Ananthi Sasitharan, expressing her outrage, said that she “would not be surprised if the Sri Lankan government attempted to rehabilitate the entire international community” for challenging Sri Lanka on its rights record. Sasitharan said that her views represent more than 80,000 people who voted for her to speak up for their rights, and speculated that the TNA leadership and all those who voted for her should then also be put through rehabilitation. If she attempts to present herself in the UNHRC in March 2014, she is likely to face more serious threats.

As a sign of further infringement of Tamil rights, Tamil civil sources in Trincomalee said that Colombo’s Ministry of Public Administration and the Eastern Provincial Council administration have sidelined Tamils in public service appointments in the three districts of Eastern Province. Tamils who received top marks in the selection examinations held for the administrative assistant posts in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) in September 2013, have not been called for interviews. Instead, 100 Sinhalese and 49 Muslims have been called for interviews to be held on 21 January for 153 vacancies. Only a few Tamils have received letters.

After the genocidal onslaught on Eezham Tamils in 2009, Sinhala officials in Trincomalee went on record stating that the appointments were done according to the ethnic composition in the entire island, which meant Sinhalese were appointed in large numbers in Tamil areas. When this practice was questioned in the East, the officials said the appointments in future would be made only according to merits.

Most of the Sinhalese are to be appointed for posts in Trincomalee. Only a few Tamils are to be appointed in Batticaloa and Ampaa’rai districts. Tamils who ranked at 5th place in the examination were not invited to the interview, while Sinhalese ranking at 50th place have been selected, Tamil civil sources in Trincomalee told TamilNet. This is the Sinhalese version of appointment based on merits. Moreover, ex-military and military officers run the civil affairs both in the Northern and in the Eastern Provinces. This is a systematic programme of structural genocide in the Tamil Homeland.

While they appear to be worried about the impending UNHRC resolution in March 2014, they were not about to give up the colonisation of the North-east of Sri Lanka. it is very difficult to fathom what is in their minds. I suppose they are confident China would save them from any adverse effects.

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