Monthly Archives: August 2011

Thamilselvan’s Widow Denys ‘White Flag Incident’

 

‘I saw no white flags,’ says Thamilselvan’s widow

When we came in from the LTTE controlled area to the government administered area in May 2009, I did not see the Sri Lanka Army firing at anyone who was coming to surrender. Pulidevan, Nadesan and Soosai had died in battle during the last days and no one from the LTTE area came with white flags to surrender, Shashirekha Thamilselvan, widow of LTTE political wing leader Thamilselvan, said in an exclusive interview with The Nation.
“But we all queued up to come to the Army held area as we saw that it was safe. If the Army personnel were firing their guns at the time, we would not have come towards them. When we were coming to Army held area the soldiers treated us as fellow human beings. The story that some LTTE leaders who came to surrender with white flags were shot dead by the Army is a totally false,” she said.
When we were coming towards the Army held area some people among us started shouting that the LTTE cadres were firing at the fleeing civilians and some even went back in fear but we kept going without turning back and now we are being treated well by the Army. My two children and my parents are living with me and my children have a good education and I am happy about it, Shashirekha said.

http://www.nation.lk/2011/08/28/inter.htm

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More Fatal Flaws In Darusman

The Island.

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Probing Darusman: How A Flawed Report Has Become The Gospel Truth For Those Critical of Lanka

The Island.

 

Here is a very interesting analysis in the Sunday Island of Sri Lanka. Not only is Darusman always cited as an official “U.N.” report, but it’s flawed findings have been consistently quoted as the truth by governments, NGOs, and the media (most notably the UK’s Channel 4) in what has become an international witch hunt against Sri Lanka.

Ultimately it is our fault, since we should have seen it coming, and been proactive in addressing it’s claims. Since we are now on the defensive, no amount of real evidence seem to counteract the momentum of mistruths.

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AP — Sri Lanka Proposes End Of Wartime Emergency Laws

projo.com.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_SRI_LANKA_EMERGENCY_LAWS?SITE=RIPRJ&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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AMBASSADOR REFUTES CLAIMS BY INDIA GLOBE REPORTER

WASHINGTON – Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya has notified India Globe reporter Raghubir Goyal that statements he recently made during a U.S. Department of State news briefing are drastically incorrect.

In a letter to Mr. Goyal, Ambassador Wickramasuriya corrected accusations made by Goyal, and suggested that they meet to discuss the current situation in Sri Lanka.

The ambassador’s letter to Mr. Goyal follows:

Raghubir Goyal

India Globe

Aug. 19, 2011

Dear Mr. Goyal,

As you may recall, we have met and discussed the situation in Sri Lanka numerous times since my 2008 appointment as ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States. You have always urged me to keep you informed on events regarding Sri Lanka.

It is in that regard that I write to you today. I have noticed that you recently asked a series of misinformed questions regarding Sri Lanka at the noontime briefings at the U.S. Department of State. I would be remiss if I did not point out that there are factual errors in your questions that I would like to correct.

First, in one recent question during a briefing, you said that the  “Sri Lankan president and Government has repeatedly said that they will not investigate their president or whatever, if the crimes were committed or not. Now the Tamils are in your hands.”

Mr. Goyal, Sri Lankan Government forces were fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, and not the Tamil people. The LTTE, as you may know, was regarded by the FBI as one of the world’s most violent terrorist organizations and banned in the U.S. and many other nations. As you also know, the LTTE assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, as well as a Sri Lankan president and a Sri Lankan foreign minister who was also Tamil, as well as thousands of civilians — Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and many others.

In fact, the premise of your question is inaccurate. The Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, which was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following the conflict, has the full authority to investigate any wrong doing that may have occurred during that conflict. In fact, it is doing so right now. All of the testimony and statements taken by the LLRC are public, and can be found on the commission’s website (www.LLRC.lk). I encourage you to examine those statements; they are by no means pro-government. The commission is due to issue its report in November.

In another question at the State Department briefing, you have stated that atrocities were committed against “millions” of Tamil Sri Lankans by the government of President Rajapaksa. I assure you this is a horrendous falsehood.

What President Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan government forces actually did was to rescue over 300,000 Tamil civilians who were being held hostage and human shields by the LTTE. By ending the conflict against the LTTE, President Rajapaksa has actually restored human rights to more than 20 million Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, and brought lasting peace to the country.

I refer you to a recent report on Sri Lankan’s operations at the close of the conflict. It describes in careful detail what happened:

http://www.defence.lk/news/20110801_Conf.pdf

There are other important developments that I feel you should know:

·       Sri Lankan forces not only rescued 300,000 Tamil civilians who were held hostage by the LTTE, but also housed them in government welfare centers until their communities and lands in the North and East could be cleared of LTTE landmines. They were returned home within a year’s time. As you probably know, more than 50 percent of Sri Lanka’s Tamils live together with others in communities in other parts of Sri Lanka. Our capital city, Colombo, is majority Tamil.

·       Sri Lanka has launched aggressive and broad reconciliation and reconstruction programs. These include investing heavily in the Northern and Eastern Provinces – about $1 billion annually — to repair damage done by the conflict and to upgrade infrastructure that was neglected by the LTTE. These projects include new schools, hospitals, waters systems, roads and bridges. New industries are being encouraged to locate plants and equipment in the North and East to provide livelihoods. The fishing and agriculture sectors are already showing rapid recovery, in spite of continuing efforts to remove LTTE landmines. Recent local elections saw the selection of a number of Tamil candidates.

·       Sri Lanka has granted amnesty to 11,600 former LTTE militants who surrendered at the conclusion of the conflict. All of these people have received vocational training and educational tutoring. More than70 percent have been released to civil society and into new livelihoods and studies, while the rest are currently being released as their job training and tutoring concludes.

·       Sri Lanka has also rehabilitated over 1,000 child soldiers who were kidnapped and forced to take up arms by the LTTE. These children have been given counseling and re-united with their families.

Mr. Goyal, I would welcome a chance to discuss with you these and other questions concerning Sri Lanka. If in the future if you have such questions, please don’t hesitate to call me to get the Sri Lankan perspective. In the meantime, we will add your name to the list of journalists who receive our embassy’s regular Country Information Updates, which reports on the current situation and economic developments in Sri Lanka.

May I also suggest that we meet to discuss these issues at your earliest convenience? Finally, allow me to encourage you to go to Sri Lanka and see for yourself how people feel about the end of the conflict and efforts to redevelop the North and East and rebuild the lives of those affected by 26-years of strife. You will see that there has been much notable progress on many fronts.

Sincerely,

Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States and Mexico

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Sri-Lankan Born American Exposes U.S. Hypocrisy Towards Sri Lanka

In the wake of overwhelming Western pressure on Sri Lanka in the form of the Darusman Report and the controversial Channel 4 program to investigate and redress its alleged ‘war crimes,’ it is interesting to note President Obama’s comments on the latest developments in Libya in which he said,

“True justice will not come from reprisals or violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny.”

Such is the mandate of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, which expects to report its recommendations this fall.

Today, an article that appears in the Huffington Post by Sri Lankan born American writer Ru Freeman exposes the hypocrisy in U.S. Policy towards Sri Lanka, where the US House Foreign Relations Committee recently  voted to ban all U.S. aid to Sri Lanka based largely on the propaganda efforts by the pro-LTTE lobby in the West. Such a well-organized, well-connected lobby, which was also responsible for financially supporting a terrorist organization throughout its 27-year conflict with the Sri Lankan government is now attempting to disrupt the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, but as Freeman notes, they cannot influence the natural progression of  what is happening on the ground.

The following article  is a must read:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ru-freeman/a-few-peas-short-of-a-ful_b_932502.html?ref=fb&src=sp#sb=760786,b=facebook

 

 

 

 

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Doyen of Sri Lanka’s civil society intellectuals sharply criticizes the Darusman Report

Godfrey Gunatilleke

 

Truth and Accountability: The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka

 

Godfrey Gunatilleke, one of Sri Lanka’s and South Asia’s most respected intellectuals, a distinguished former civil servant, and founder of the country’s oldest independent think-tank, the MARGA Institute, made a sharply critical evaluation of the UNSG’s advisory Panel Report in an extended analysis entitled “Truth and Accountability: the Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka”. He concludes that:

 

A wise judge knows that in the imperfect domain of human knowledge there are many versions of the truth and steers himself conscientiously through all these versions, seeking the truth. The outcome of the Panels’ report falls far short of such wisdom.

 

[…] The root of the problems in the report lie in their outrageous interpretation of the government’s military strategy as designed at the extermination of Tamils without any humanitarian intention or effort at rescuing hostages. With this interpretation the panel puts on the blinkers that distort all their perceptions of the government’s actions. The report also gives a deliberately truncated view of the government’s action by excluding what would have provided a different and more positive explanation of these actions. This deficiency is seen in every part of the report that deals with government actions.” (Conclusion – pp.28-29)

 

Dr Godfrey Gunatilleke is the Chairman Emeritus and founder member of the Marga Institute (Centre of Development Studies, Sri Lanka). He served as Minister of Planning from 1965 to 1972 and was the Director of Plan Implementation and Project Evaluation, the Additional Secretary and thereafter Special Adviser.

 

At present, he is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington and member of the WHO Task Force on Health in Development. He served as Member of Boards of several government bodies and Commissions including the Institute of Policy Studies, The Human Resources Development Council, and the National Resources, Energy and Science Authority.

 

The author of several books, articles and publications on development issues, and an outstanding literary critic, his involvement in the literary field includes short stories such as “The Garden”, “Thief in the Night” and literary critical articles “Language without Metaphor”. Dr. Gunatilleke is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Gratiaen Trust.

 

Dr. Gunatilleke was conferred several national and international awards including the “Deshmanaya” for distinguished public service.

 

Please click here to read the working paper prepared by Godfrey Gunatilleke:

 

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