Lord Naseby: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East" Sri Lanka, Question for debate

, Lord Naseby, Grand Committee, 08 January 2013 To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment to date of the implementation of the independent report from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in Sri Lanka, and of the challenges facing Sri Lanka in implementing recommendations still outstanding http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130108-gc0001.htm

Please let us comment on some of the sections: 1.’’I first worked there in 1963’’: That was the time Sri Lankans had begun to be battered by a political tsunami culminating triggered by the earthquake of Sinhala Only Act of 1956 (you will hear about this a lot in submissions by conscientious Sinhalese to LLRC): Please have the *starters by Britons: i.Harold Macmillan in his book, Riding the Storm 1956-1959, said: ''In a curious way, the political life of Ceylon is more like that of Whig politics in the eighteenth century than one would suppose (about his visit to Ceylon in 1957)'' ii. BH Farmer worked there in late 1950s and wrote the book: CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION, B H Farmer(1963): ‘’Since those saddening days of 1958 Ceylon has had its share of trouble. The truth, though unpalatable may be to some, is simply that nobody unacceptable to the present Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has any chance of constitutional power in contemporary Ceylon.’’ The Forward to the book, CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION(1963), was written by Viscount Soulbury (British Colonial Commission headed by him was in charge of handing over independence to Ceylon): ‘’In the light of later happenings I now think it is a pity that the Commission did not also recommend the entrenchment in the constitution of guarantees of fundamental rights, on the lines enacted in the constitutions of India, Pakistan, Malaya , Nigeria and elsewhere. Perhaps in any subsequent amendment of Ceylon's constitution those in authority might take note of the proclamation made by the delegates at the Arfrican conference which met in Lagos two years ago: 'Fundamental human rights, esp. the right to individual liberty, should be written and entrenched in the constitutions of all countries'. 2.’’The second one was earlier this year when the peace was firmly established’’: Lord Naseby refers to the visit he made in 23 March - 12 April 2012. There is NO peace in the following: 'But that truth cannot excuse human rights violations that currently afflict the nation as a whole; or for that matter obscure the looming threat of the cultural and political colonisation of the north by the Sinhala Buddhist majority'' - Biased and Prejudiced Collection on Sri Lanka, *Gananath Obeyesekere, Economic & Political Weekly, VOL 47 No. 04, 28 January-03 February 2012 (*a Sinhalese Buddhist and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University) Sri Lanka’s North II: Rebuilding under the Military and Sri Lanka’s North I: The Denial of Minority Rights, International Crisis Group, 16 Mar 2012: The Sri Lankan military’s control over the political and economic life of the Northern Province is deepening the alienation and anger of northern Tamils and threatening sustainable peace. ‘’Another set of problems stems from the large military presence in the north and east, and has to do with them intruding in on social events and giving preference to Sinhalese traders and fishermen when it comes to granting permits to trade or to fish’’ – National Peace Council, 5 June 2012 ‘’Military density in the North of Sri Lanka in ''peace time'' is much higher than the peak conflict time in Iraq, Northern Ireland, Kashmir or French occupation of Algeria’’ - Notes on the Military Presence

in Sri Lanka's Northern Province, Vol XLVII No 28, 14 July 2012, Economic and Political Weekly of India World Council of Churches after their visit in Aug 2012: ‘’The people and communities are struggling to attain a sustained peace and reconciliation.’’ 3.’’A war lasting 30 years or thereabouts is a very long war. A number of colleagues in the House came through the Second World War, which lasted only five years’’: In the last 5/6 decades the world has been finding that intrastate conflicts are more vicious, more protracted and more intractable than interstate wars and exasperate academics, politicians and conflict resolution experts. They mostly need third party intervention for resolution. 4.’’I remember the sheer joy of VE Day’’: i.an examination of textbooks of the last six decades will tell why there was joy among a section of Sinhalese: http://www.scribd.com/doc/104760706/Sri-Lanka-Education-for-War-Must-Be-Transformed-IntoEducation-for-Peace ii.there is another section of Sinhalese who are sad and ashamed of the 65-yr oppression of ethnic minorities and the war: http://www.scribd.com/doc/104705097/Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC 5. ‘’The LLRC was set up on 15 May 2010’’: Though many appeals for its formation had been ignored for one year, it was set up as soon as the UN announced it was going to appoint a panel of inquiry. 6. ‘’That it was set up deserves a tick. The key point is that the report was published in full’’: Many Sri Lankans were surprised that the report was published at all: This President has already ‘’appointed 15 commissions/ommittees’’ in the last seven years and it’s only LLRC report that was published and the other 14 reports are with the President without being published: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85007346/A-List-of-Commissions-of-Inquiry-andCommittees-Appointed-by-the-Government-of-Sri-Lanka-2006-%E2%80%93-2012 It has been a practice with successive governments of Sri Lanka to ‘’appoint commissions’’ to control damage but no outcomes or action ever taken on them: https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA37/005/2009/en ‘’National Policy Framework for Social Integration that took place at the President’s House in Temple Trees follows the report of the Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission. But the national anthem was sung in Sinhala only though LLRC has recommended that it be sung in Tamil too (it’s only a few years ago that the President stopped the singing of national anthem in Tamil)’’– National Peace Council, 23 July 2012 ‘’the pressure for reform by the international community and by national political parties and civil society must continue’’ – THE LIMITS OF INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, September 2012 ‘’Even one year after the LLRC report was published, the Government continues to prevaricate on implementing the proposals in the LLRC report’’, 11 December 2012, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/darusman-llrc-petrie-conundrum-and-the-trial-bymedia/ 7. ‘’it very much reflects the philosophy of the five principles of Buddhism’’ : It was the backing of Buddhist priests that pushed SWRD Bandaranaike to enact ‘’Sinhala Only’’ Policy in 1956 that has hurtled the country intothe present abyss and it was a Buddhist priest who assassinated him for trying to give some concessions for Tamil language use. Buddhist priests made

a protest march when the successive government tried to give the Tamils some concession in 1966 and accidentally one of them was shot dead by the Police. The Buddhist clergy helped the Sinhala mobs attacking Tamils in anti-Tamil pogroms in 1956,1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. Buddhist clergy used to go and bless the guns used by the Armed forces in the 30-yr civil war. They protested whenever there were peace talks between any government and the Tamils. British govt ‘’Global Conflict Prevention Pool’’: In December 2002, the Pool brought five senior members of the Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy to London, Belfast and Edinburgh to study devolved administrations. They met a wide range of politicians, senior officials, religious groups and community leaders: http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20080205132101/fco.gov.uk/files/kfile/43896_conflict%20b roc.pdf ‘’Lack of political consensus in the south and opposition to the various peace processes by nationalist and Buddhist pressure groups have time and again made peacebuilding difficult in Sri Lanka. .... One possible strategy for supporting pro-peace actors might be to encourage support from countries like Thailand – which, like Sri Lanka, is also a Theravada Buddhist country ‘’ - THE SANGHA AND ITS RELATION TO THE PEACE PROCESS IN SRI LANKA, A Report for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iselin Frydenlund, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) (2005): ''Chandra R. de Silva implies that Buddhist monastic opposition to a non-unitary state has contributed to the conflict. He appreciates the reasons for this, but pleads for a system of monastic education that would expose monks to other religions and cultures. …. I have no hesitation in recommending this volume as a serious contribution to the understanding of one of the most complex and intractable conflicts in the world’’, Dr Elizabeth Harris(Liverpool Hope University), Review(2007) of Buddhism, Conflict and Violence in Modern Sri Lanka(2006) http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ROSA/article/view/3519/2212 8. Why HRW, AI and ICG didn’t give evidence to LLRC will be dealt with in a separate paper 9.’’Amnesty in Canada has now accepted funds from the LTTE’’: Canadian Tamil Congress is a charity that raises funds annually for Canadian NGOs: (http://www.canadiantamilcongress.ca/article.php?lan=eng&cat=pr&id=2 ) 10. ‘’one is in Bangladesh,set up in 2011 an inquiry into what happened in the 1971. That has not reported’’: that shows that reporting/analysis 40yrs later is difficult and thus it should start as soon as possible after the event. There are several massacres of Tamils from the 1950s onwards uninvestigated by successive Sri Lankan governments. In June 2009 (ie after the war ended) the Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Judge Udalagama was terminated by the President though only seven out of 16 cases ( chosen out of hundreds of killings/abductions) were finished though the Judge offered to continue investigations. But he was asked to submit the report on the seven cases and he duly submitted a report. That is one of the 14 reports still with the President without being published. We all know how citizens of western countries would react if their governments refuse to publish reports. 11. ‘’there was peace on the ground’’: ''Conflict-affected areas remain highly militarised, which has made progress towards achieving durable solutions more difficult. The military has become an important economic player and a key competitor of local people including returnees in the areas of agriculture, fishing, trade, and tourism. It has also been involved in areas that would normally come under civilian administration. It continues to occupy private land, thereby impeding IDPs’ return. The government has failed to make durable solutions a priority, and humanitarian organisations have faced funding shortages and restrictions on programming and access'' – Sri Lanka: A hidden displacement crisis, *Internal

Displacement Monitoring Centre, 31 October 2012, http://www.internaldisplacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/0F7746546306FCB3C1257AA8005845A6/$file /srilanka-overview-oct2012.pdf (*The leading international body monitoring internal displacement worldwide - established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council) 12.’’There were no bombs’’: 30-yr reactive, visible violence is over but the 65-yr proactive structural violence is getting more and more gruesome: Military control in various areas of life is still present in the North and the East. Political, economic, social, cultural and environmental oppression of ethnic minorities by the state has exacerbated after the war was over. Election for Northern Provincial Council is not yet held though the people have voted in the Presidential and General elections and also in some local elections. The Presidential Task Force for Northern Development is formed of 18 Sinhalese and one Muslim though the majority in the North are Tamils. Of the 19 members about six of them are from the Armed Forces and the rest from the central government. The financial aid donated by foreign donors for Northern Development is mostly used for main roads for the travel of the military and the tourists from the South or abroad. A large amount of money is taken up by the Northern Province Governor(appointed by the President) to build a big mansion for him. The roads inside villages are in a very bad condition. Schools and hospitals need repair. North and East are getting filled up with Buddha statues and Buddhist temples. Trees are cut down and sent to the South and sand is scooped up from the shores and sent to the South. Sea water is coming into the villages. Willing aid agents have been prevented from helping the people recover from the ravages of the war. IDPs from coastal villages are dumped in cleared jungles and the coastal villages are given to Sinhalese fishermen or to tourism businessmen or for army and navy camps. Army is engaged in agriculture, fishing and tourism and thus the people trying to recover from the war cannot with the army. 13.''not requiring any special pass or anything'': In March/April 2012. Nearly 3 yrs after the was over. Someone leaving the North. It's totally diffwrent for people who continue to live there: 14. ‘’they are trying hard to build more hotels’’: i.A large fraction of IDPs have yet to get houses – it isn’t easy in the military administration: they are facilitating the movement of Sinhalese from the South by giving a large section of the houses to the Sinhalese from the South that India is trying to build. Sri Lanka has become a ‘’Hillsborough’’ for Tamils. ii.How much tourism can a small island accommodate – an oppressive Sri Lankan govt is aggressively promoting tourism. Intense beach tourism has made Sri Lanka the worst polluter of Indian Ocean: http://groundviews.org/2012/08/22/protecting-sri-lankas-ocean/ 15.I went to Menik farm, I saw the head of ICRC with no one else present’’: We are eager to know what the head of ICRC was doing there in March/April 2012: ‘’In November 2010, the Sri Lankan government asked the ICRC to close its offices in Jaffna and Vavuniya and to conduct its operations exclusively from Colombo’’ - Sri Lanka: ICRC to operate exclusively from Colombo, 25 March 2011, http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/interview/2011/sri-lanka-interview-2011-03-25.htm ''Sri Lanka: Very restricted humanitarian space. Following a govt order issued in 2010 to close the ICRC’s remaining sub-delegations in the north and curtail planned assistance, several proposed programmes to assist resettling or returning populations did not take place’’ - ICRC Annual Report 2011, Issued in July 2012 http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/annual-report/current/icrc-annual-report-asia-and-pacific.pdf

16.’’asked him whether ICRC was restricted from going into Menik farm. The answer was no’’: ‘’ In May 2009 even the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was barred from Menik Farm, the largest camp, and Channel 4's Nick Paton Walsh was deported’’ - Sri Lanka - camps, media…genocide? Martin Shaw(Professor of Political Science, Sussex University), 30 June 2009, http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/sri-lanka-camps-media-genocide ''The Sri Lankan Government has blocked access to aid workers trying to help the nearly 300,000 civilians displaced by the army’s victory over the Tamil Tigers, raising the prospect of a humanitarian catastrophe'' - Sri Lanka on brink of catastrophe as UN aid blocked, Robert Bosleigh in Colombo, 20 May 2009, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6322658.ece ‘’The Red Cross today suspended delivery of supplies to displaced civilians after the Sri Lankan government blocked access to camps in northern Sri Lanka’’ - Red Cross forced to suspend aid to civilians in Sri Lankan former war zone, 20 May 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/20/red-cross-unrestricted-access-sri-lanka 17.’’ we looked at the reports on malnutrition to see whether there was malnutrition in those coming into the camp, and there was hardly any at all’’: "It's become extremely difficult for the United Nations to continue its operations," said UNICEF Sri Lanka spokesperson James Elder. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said "unimpeded humanitarian access must be ensured so that children and women can receive the assistance they so desperately need’’ - As fighting ends, Sri Lanka faces a critical moment, 20 May 2009, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/sri_lanka_49737.html ‘’ The high rate of malnutrition reported among children in camps for displaced people in Sri Lanka is a cause for concern, a senior UN official says’’ - S Lanka camp young 'malnourished', 28June2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8121198.stm ‘’The preliminary findings of a March 2012 nutrition assessment by the government, the UN World Food Programme, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated worsening acute malnutrition in children aged under five, currently estimated at 18.3 percent for the entire Northern Province and 20 percent among returnees. Anything beyond 15 percent is widely considered an emergency'' - SRI LANKA: Milking cattle's potential, 3 August 2012, http://www.irinnews.org/Report/96018/SRILANKA-Milking-cattle-s-potential 18.’’those 297,000 are now all rehoused’’: ‘’ A Sinhala member of the School Relations Tour registered her experience in Kepapilavu in the following words ‘The tragedy and suffering we witnessed is truly distressing and we’re all deeply moved. We spoke to several families living there and found out that they’ve just been relocated from Menik Farm into what they’ve been told are their permanent homes. These ‘homes’ are basically shacks made out of wooden pillars with rackety tin roofs. The lands these people once had are no longer accessible let alone theirs. They have gone through so much and the stories they tell have you inspired by their moral strength’’ ‘’Relocated elsewhere, they feel their rights and identities have been disrespected by the State in order to facilitate the armed forces and their continued presence in Keppapilavu, enjoying thier homes and lands while they perish in an IDP camp elsewhere’’ - Response to “Racing tanks with Bicycles: A parable of ‘Reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka”, 11 January 2013, http://groundviews.org/2013/01/11/response-to-racing-tanks-with-bicycles-aparable-of-reconciliation-in-sri-lanka/ ‘’Relocated elsewhere, they feel their rights and identities have been disrespected by the State in order to facilitate the armed forces and their continued presence in Keppapilavu, enjoying thier homes and lands while they perish in an IDP camp elsewhere’’ - Putting paid to the Government’s false claims: The new IDPs in Sri Lanka, Dilrukshi Handunnetti, 29 September 2012,

http://groundviews.org/2012/09/29/putting-paid-to-the-governments-false-claims-the-new-idps-insri-lanka/ 19. ‘’a number of the Muslims, who were ethnically cleansed out of Jaffna by the Tamil Tigers, have also been rehoused’’: A large number of Muslims haven’t been able to return to their original places because they are either occupied by the Army, Navy or the Sinhalese from the South. 20. ‘’Infrastructure, housing policy are all working well’’: Numerous reports by national, regional and international speak of the contrary, eg: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 31 October 2012, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Full%20Report_1116.pdf 21. ‘’Official language policy is working well’’: Dr John Goonaratne, a retired Sinhalese civil servant in the uppermost echelon of civil service told LLRC elaborately on 15 September 2010 how there has been no political will to implement the Official Languages Policy on Tamil introduced by the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord ( http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/John%20Goonaratne.pdf ) One of many articles written by conscientious Sinhalese on the non-implementation of the Policy: Reflections on Issues of Language in Sri Lanka: Power, Exclusion and Inclusion, Prof Sasanka Perera, 24 October 2011, http://groundviews.org/2011/10/24/reflections-on-issues-of-language-in-srilanka-power-exclusion-and-inclusion/ 22.’’Demining is happening’’: As soon as the war was over there was a great deal of offer from various countries to do demining but the government declined it.

23. ‘’A great issue has been made of abductions. I have looked at the figures: in 2011 there were 239, with 226 now traced; in 2012 there were 225, with 207 now traced’’: ‘’The entire section of the LLRC Report that deals with the issue of missing and disappeared persons and the trauma it has wreaked on the lives of possibly tens of thousands of families has been entirely ignored by the LLRC Action Plan. As many as nine LLRC recommendations that are in paragraphs 9.43 to 9.60 are missing from the LLRC Action Plan’’ - SPACE CREATED BY LLRC AND ROLE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY, 11 October 2012 Conclusion: We are extremely sad to find that what Lord Naseby told the Grand Committee is exactly what Sri Lankan government and its envoys tell the world (which is very different from what it does at home) and that contradicts what is written by most national and international journalists, national civil societies, regional and international human rights organisations including UN bodies and national and international researchers. ‘’Catalysts for Change examines the strengths and weaknesses of one of the United Nations’ most important human rights mechanisms—the collection of independent experts known as special procedures—as they negotiate the rocky terrain where rights meet reality. These independent experts serve as the eyes and ears of the UN human rights system. Despite their prolific work as experts and advocates, however, there has been no empirical study of their impact at the national level—until now. This book provides concrete evidence of why the system works and ways it can be improved’’ - Catalysts for Change: How the UN's Independent Experts Promote Human Rights, 13 July 2012, http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2012/catalystsforchange

Lord Naseby certainly has welfare of Sri Lanka in his heart but unfortunately fails to take a balanced view. Will he please ask the Sri Lankan government to let the UNSRs in so that 65-yr conflict dreaded by academics and conflict resolution experts can be resolved: ‘’Pending country visits eight UN Special post holders …. WG on enforced or involuntary disappearances (requested in 2006, 2007 and 2008 reminders in 2009 and on 20 July 2011) …’’ - POST-LLRC HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN SRI LANKA, March 2012, http://lnwnewsbackup.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/post-llrc-human-rights-violations-in-sri-lankamarch-2012.pdf

We are pleading to Lord Naseby to look at least the reports of the last six years with their recommendations to the international Community in:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/sri-lanka http://www.hrw.org/asia/sri-lanka/ http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka.aspx http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/sri-lanka http://www.peace-srilanka.org/media-centre/political-analysis http://en.rsf.org/sri-lanka.html http://cpj.org/asia/sri-lanka/ http://www.icj.org/country/asia-pacific/south-asia/sri-lanka/ http://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/Work_by_regions/Asia_Pacific/Sri_Lanka.aspx http://www.minorityrights.org/10458/reports/no-war-no-peace-the-denial-of-minority-rights-andjustice-in-sri-lanka.html http://theelders.org/article/our-duty-sri-lanka-and-human-rights http://theelders.org/article/sri-lankas-disturbing-actions-met-deafening-global-silence