Is there any legal basis for intl. pressure on Sri Lanka?
Pressure is mounted on Sri Lanka by many International Organisations
and world leaders on the trapped civilians in the small strip of 4 km
boxed and surrounded by Sri Lankan forces. Do the international
community have a right to pressure us and are we bound to listen or
follow their advice?
Those who are in the forefront on the “Group” of the school of
thoughts in favour are the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Japan, United
States, United Nations Organisation and some International NGOs. They
are concerned about the trapped civilians in the “Boxed Area” which
according to George Master - the defected LTTE leader is around 10,000
whereas those who fled for freedom from the LTTE and currently looked
after by the Sri Lankan Government is around 192,000 which is
unprecedented and unusual by any standard.
In addition, they urge a longstanding political solution and an
immediate ceasefire or a `Pause’.(Please refer to my article in the
`Daily News’ on May 2 on Abusing International Conventions and the other
article on Human Rights and Human Shields on May 5 Sunday Observer) for
the conflict of three decades with the loss of thousands of lives and
destruction of national economy. For some unseen or strange reason some
of those who are interested and concerned about us do not appreciate the
positive aspects and the success story of the completion of the 30-year
war in three years with minimum casualties with utmost professionalism.
These are the forgotten factors of the series of events. It is the last
lap of the Humanitarian Military Operation and the trapped LTTE needs a
lifeline to rearm and regroup as has been done in many previous
There is a limit to which Sri Lankan President can withstand the
international pressure as it is not possible for us to live in isolation
in the world family where we too are interlinked and interwoven in
international economy and politics. President Rajapaksa is a respected
and responsible leader, who is bound by international law.
Strangely there is sympathy and support for the organisation
proscribed by many countries as illegal inside and outside the country.
This support is mainly due to the activism of the LTTE front
organisations, large in number, strength of the diaspora and their
financial and organisational resources. The West is clear and firm that
the humanitarian exercise should be given a pause for the safety of the
trapped civilians and terrorism and LTTE should be clamped down
politically rather than militarily. In fact civilians trapped by the
LTTE forcibly as a human shield should be their main concern.
They are least concerned about the long drawn war on terror by the
GOSL and LTTE atrocities the military and political successes. USSR,
China, South Asian and African countries are backing Sri Lanka. India is
renewing the request for Prabhakaran seeking extradition every year for
the murder of their beloved leader.
The Sri Lankan President is firm and unshaken in his stand on the war
on terror and liberation of the trapped brethren with the help of the
majority of the member nations of the world family. `Pause’, cessation
of hostilities or ceasefire will give a new lifeline to reorganise and
reactivate the LTTE as has been done before and they have shown an
amassing ability to regroup and reorganise with the remaining resources.
His address to the diplomatic community is welltimed and appropriate. He
is not shaken by the pressure and endless telephone calls and meetings
of misguided foreign dignitaries.
In 1997, LTTE was proscribed by the United States as a terror group
followed by EU and many other countries. At the same time LTTE was
flying high with the powerful arms deals, business and naval network,
underworld network of drug trade and human smuggling backed by the Tamil
diaspora. LTTE is categorised as the most ruthless and feared terrorist
organisation in the world by the USA in addition to listing it as a
terror organisation by many members of the world family.
Today LTTE has got the worst blow in its history of three decades.
Cadre is reduced to a few hundred and the area in control is around four
square kilometres. A part of the misguided Tamil diaspora is still
influencing some countries to take the issue of the trapped civilians as
a human right issue and agitate for a ceasefire or a `pause’,
stigmatising Tamil diaspora as a support group of world terrorism to
which the west claims to be vehemently against.
Attack of the LTTE on Sri Lankan, Indian and Chinese diplomatic
missions (please vide my article in Nation on April 19 on Protection to
diplomatic missions and international law) indicates the desperation of
the LTTE which is on the run.
A group of parliamentarians in the United Kingdom including Des Brown
- self appointed Sri Lankan envoy of UK for Sri Lanka visited Sri Lanka
urging Amnesty for the Terrorists, a political dialogue, and an
everlasting solution to the North East issue. Carl Bildst the Foreign
Minister of Sweden who claims to be an expert on Sri Lanka says that he
was refused visa when the Sri Lankan government has vehemently denied
such refusal. USA, UK and EU, though they speak of Human Rights of other
countries have a questionable record in the respective countries and
counties under their control. Strangely the killing and disappearances
of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan under their control are large in
number and indiscriminate killings of civilians in the Gaza Strip have
not been questioned by the world body or many other countries in the
west. There are loads of decisions from the UN on the atrocities and
killing of civilians in the Gaza strip, which are only confined to
papers. There are no motions or discussion of civilian deaths by error
of judgment and
crossfire in Iraq and Afghanistan and no moves to make representation
or visits to Iraq or Afghanistan though the circumstances are more
serious. Yet the west claims that world has a legitimate right to
intervene in gross violations of Human Rights in the world on the basis
it is a threat to world peace and based on the legitimate right of a
member of the world family signatory to the UN UNHCER and other
Humanitarian and Human Right Instruments.
The bombing of over 250 civilians in Afghanistan by the American
forces is confirmed by the Red Cross. Americans are uninvited guests to
Afghanistan as an occupying force self installed in the guise of
eliminating Al Queda Movement and looking for Bin Laden the leader.
Thousands of Army personnel and civilians have been killed and there is
no sign of victory or finding the leader who is still active. 828
civilians were killed in 2008 and 90 in Azizgbad village. Americans have
no legal basis to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq.
It was proved the basis on which the USA obtained the UN authority
for self defence and preserve world peace was incorrect as no materials
of mass destruction were found in Iraq by the UN inspectors.
The Sri Lankan issue has been mismanaged and mishandled by successive
Sri Lankan governments since the inception until it was internalised and
established worldwide. The formation of a Tamil diaspora in the west is
a part of the problem. Sri Lankans found their way to the west in the
guise of asylum seekers seeking protection of the Refugee Convention to
which most western countries are signatory to. Refugees and their second
generation in the west are in hundreds of thousands. Their vote in the
UK is important as the deciding factor. Election is nearing and the UK
is a tolerant society and tends to believe the version of the Diaspora
in the absence of powerful government propaganda by the inert and
ineffective Diplomatic Missions. Election is nearing and the reports we
receive are that the Tories (Conservatives) are heading for victory and
Labour is now worried and agitated. The group of Members of Parliament
including Des Brown, Edward Mc Grady, John Bercou, Malcoin Brouce and
Mohamed Sarwar is unusual and unprecedented. They are asking for
International Diplomatic due process. Des Brown’s inclusion to the
hurriedly arranged delegation to Sri Lanka utterly undiplomatic as Sri
Lanka promptly and vehemently opposed the self appointment of an envoy
for the North and the East issue which is strictly an internal affair of
a sovereign country of the world family.
Both lndia and United Kingdom are playing a safe and a shrewd game as
every nation in the world family is selfish and self-centred. Every
country and organisation has a different agenda and we must act
accordingly on our agenda. To the credit of the Sri Lankan President he
has been successfully managing international affairs in our favour
considering the complicated international turmoil due to credit crunch
and unstable political and economic conditions which have shaken the
world. We are pleased the Sri Lankan President is acting according to
our own agenda and needs despite enormous international and local
The writer is an LL.M London (International Law and Relations)
Solicitor in England and Wales - Chair SAARC Centre in the United