The separatist conflict in Sri Lanka and
the souring of Canada against Sri Lanka.
What if a distant country were to examine Canada's governance, human rights etc., by holding sittings of a parliamentary subcommittee, and invite the heads of protest groups who demonstrated at the last G8/G20 meetings held in Huntsville, Toronto, Kananaskis etc., with thousands arrested in Toronto, and even heads of state allegedly bugged by the secret service? A picture of Canada differing vastly from its reality would be presented. This is largely what has happened at the hearings of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, in regard to Sri Lanka. The subcommittee has heard from mainly anti-Lankan NGO representatives and focused exclusively on the North, with just 1.06 million people, neglecting the remaining 19 million Sri Lankans and their concerns.
The structure of the HR-subcommittee hearings does not allow room for an in situ critique of the advocacy-politics presented by the Executive Director of the center for Policy Alternatives (ED-CPA), a Western-funded NGO based in Colombo and with strong policy overlaps with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). However, we believe that a balanced view of the Sri Lankan situation is extremely important in moving Canada away from its seeming hostility to Sri Lanka, as viewed by Sri Lanka and other SAARC countries. In consequence, Canada today has little capacity to influence and re-orient Sri Lanka's evolution; Canada's views are ignored by Sri Lanka and many other SAARC countries, and its visiting VIPs are regarded with great suspicion.
Mr Saravanamuttu (ED-CPA) is at best a starry-eyed idealist. It is equally possible that he, living in the super-privileged sector of Colombo society, is totally out of touch with the ordinary realities of life in Sri Lanka. The presentation of the ED-CPA, using what appears to most Sri Lankans to be half truths, unsubstantiated allegations, and inapplicable yardsticks increases this mutual hostile sentiment between Sri Lanka and Canada. Our comments presented , (shaded in blue), review the testimony of Dr. Saravanamuttu, the ED-CPA.
The CPA is a Colombo-based NGO that began in 1996, and said to be for research and advocacy through which public policy is critiqued, alternatives identified and disseminated. CPA is claimed to be an independent, non-partisan organization which receives funds from international and bilateral funding agencies and foundations. We noted before, as may be revisited by clicking here, that CPA and similar organizations were funded by foreign organizations perhaps at the rate of 200 million rupees an year, ensuring that they could buy public opinion, journalist allegiance etc, to transform the political opinion of the country and align it towards the views of the foreign-funding agencies.
The CPA and the LTTE-proxy party, viz., the TNA seem to support, even after a traumatic three-decade-war, policies which are emotionally divisive and certain to rouse militant groups. Some of these include the singing of the National Anthem in all official occasions both in Tamil and Sinhala, even though the Tamil population is significantly smaller (see discussion here) than the Arab population in France, or the Hispanic population in the US (~19%) where the respective National Anthem is not officially sung in Spanish or Arabic. Any proposal to officially sing the Marseillaise in Arabic would raise much anger and even violence in France, even though the Arab-French conflicts in Algeria are five decades older than the 5 years that elapsed since the demise of the LTTE. In Canada, the French to English populations are more like 2:3, and there is a strong justification for two national anthems in both French and English, and yet the “Bloc Quebecois” walks out of the hall when the French version of the national anthem is played. Even in India, the national anthem is not sung in Tamil.
The CPA stood for maximum power devolution to the LTTE, demanding that the Sri Lankan government seeks peace with the LTTE as an "equal partner", irrespective of its brutality, extensive human-rights violations, cease-fire violations etc., as stated even when the Foreign Minister Kadirgamar was assassinated by the LTTE during the cease-fire period in 2005. A pillar of its advocacy was the claimed invincibility of the LTTE.
After the fall of the LTTE, the CPA contented that the 300,000 people who escaped from the LTTE in May 2009, held in quarantine/safety etc., as IDPs, in refugee camps (e.g., Manik Farm) were "illegally incarcerated" prisoners, and that the camps were "concentration camps"; it petitioned to courts that the IDPs should be freed immediately. Today most of the IDPs have been looked after. Initially, the CPA alleged that IDPs were abused inside the camps. However, subsequently, the CPA and its director have worked indefatigably, calling for an international investigation into Human-Rights abuses and atrocities allegedly committed during the last phase of the war, demanding the removal of the army from the North, and devolving as much power to the North as possible, beginning with "full implementation" of the recommendations of the LLRC (a committee that the CPA and other NGOs boycotted, and undermined as far as they could).
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu is best described as a descendant of the wealthy upper-caste land-owning aristocracy of the Tamils. However, his mother is Usha de Livera, from a highly respected sinhalese family in Kalutara. One of his grandparents, Dr R. Saravanamuttu, a popular medical practitioner of the time, was one of the Ceylon-Tamil members of the 1931 State Council. Even when he was unseated on an alleged bribery charge, popular sentiment voted in his wife, Mrs. Naysum Saravanamuttu (a Colombo-Chettiar Tamil) back to the state council in 1932. Dr. Saravanamuttu became the mayor of the multi-ethnic Colombo in 1937, and also in 1940. His brother P. Saravanamuttu, (namesake of the ED-CPA) was the influential Tea and Rubber controller of Ceylon during the WW-II. He was a cricket-association president, with the P. Sara Oval or Colombo Oval of the Tamil-Union Club, named after him. Their family members have been holders of political power in legislatures under the British, in the Tamil congress in the 1950s, in the ITAK in the 1960, in the TULF in the 1970s, and also with the TNA during and after the LTTE. Hence, Dr. P. Saravanamuttu's sympathy and advocacies of most aspects of TNA-Tamil politics are not surprising.
Surely, the biggest threat to democracy was the LTTE. That enormous threat has been removed, but the support for its objectives remains intact, esp. among the elite land-owning class of Tamils.
The eastern province war also ended only two years before the Northern province war. What matters most to the political agitation of Colombo-Tamil lawyers is where they hold property, viz., in the North, and there is less of a threat in the East.
. "The passage to Jaffna was without military interferences. Except for the driver who had to register the vehicle details at Omanthai, the journeys to and from Jaffna was hassle free. Unlike six months ago (2013), there were no army sentry points. Even in the Jaffna town, I visited four times successively, I did not see a soldier on foot in uniform,.... by Rajasingham Jayadevan.
According to a statement made in Geneva (Jan. 2014) by Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secy. to the President, there are some 12,000 soldiers in the North, giving a ratio of 1:88, that is, the ED-CPA had exaggerated the figures by a factor of nearly 10. Even if we argue that the government is under-stating figures, Mr. Saravanamuttu's hyperbole stands in the extreme.
As Mr. Saravanamuttu has admitted, most of the 1:88 ratio soldiers are in civilian work, and not soldiering. So the actual militarization is even less. We have dealt with the topic of Militarization when it was raised previously by HRW, AI and DFA in their testimonies. However we review the question again, rather briefly, within the contexts raised by ED-CPA.
(i) Institutionalized militarization or absorption into civil society?. What the ED-CPA calls 'institutionalized militarization' is simply the use of the military for doing civil engineering and service sector tasks, designed to gradually re-acustomize the army personnel into civilian life, and reabsorb them in to society. We named this civilification in previous documents. Every general, be it Napoleon in France or General Giap in Vietnam realized that one cannot leave an army to idle after a military campaign, nor can the army be arbitrarily disbanded and sent back into civil society. Soldiers are people who have learned to blow up bridges, shoot people, lay mines etc. They have to be gradually brought back to civil life. Referring to soldiers returning from Afghanistan, Mr. Steven Harper renamed this 'the transition from helmets to hard hats' . The soldiers are employed to do civil works, not only in the North, but in every part of Sri Lanka including in Colombo. So, if that is militarization, the ED-CPA is misusing the word.
The ED-CPA, based in Colombo and well-known for his organization's attempt to even label the housing of the IDPs who escaped from the LTTE as an "incarceration" has been very critical of this de-militarization of the army by using the military for civil purposes. However, many Tamil writers closer to the land have spoken and written favourably of it. For example, Sebastian Rasalingam welcomes the Army Shops because they do not practice caste discrimination, as is the case with shops run by Traditional Tamil Entrepreneurs.
See Army 'Kadaigals' in the North - Bane or Boon?, Rasalingam, Nov-2011
They are in fact a great boon to the war-ravaged North where able-bodied people, technical people, or even masons and carpenters are in short supply, while houses, culverts, bridges, water pipes, railroads, causeways, power lines, highways etc., are all in ruins, as the Tigers destroyed as much as possible when they retreated, to ensure that civilians cannot go back leaving them without a human shield. The army has its corps of engineers etc. Clearly, the use of the soldiers here is eminently sensible. The use of the army for de-mining is a very appropriate operation
There is also a strong need for maintaining security in this war-ravaged area in the North, close to the bellicose Tamil Nadu; this was discussed in our critique of the testimony by the DFA officials.
There have been at least thre attempts to revive the LTTE terror by Prabhakaran's old associates. It was the presence of the security forces that enabled the governmnt to capture or kill the new LTTE terrorists.
Other aspects of what the ED-CPA incorrectly calls "institutionalized militarization" were shown to be nothing but demilitarization by "civilification" in our critique of the HRW testimony at the section accessed by clicking here.
As usual, the ED-CPA has made these declarations, but fails to give comparable figures to show if (i) the abductions, disappearances, assaults, etc., have decreased or increased since the end of the war, (ii) how they compare with neighbouring countries in South Asia, (iii) how they compare with, say, the disappearances of 800 native women in Canada in peace time, alleged assaults, repetitive use of tasers, police intimidation etc., in Canada, or the even more serious allegations against US law-enforcement agencies where the majority prison populations are people from black, Hispanic or native origins.|
It is needed to establish a fair yardstick before judgment is made. But the ED-CPA has established nothing. His only strength is his having a large well-funded organization that allows him to make statements.
The ED-CPA is aware how the investigations into these cases under the aegis of the International Independent group of Eminent persons (IGEP) were compromised, probably deliberately, by NGO lawyers themselves. Mr. Desmond Fernando, closely connected with the CPA and other NGOs was one of the lawyer appearing on behalf of a group of civil society organizations including the CPA, Home for Human Rights, INFORM, Law and Society Trust, Mothers and Daughters of Lanka, Rights Now-Collective for Democracy and Sri Lanka National Commission for Jurists, etc., many of them being western-funded NGOs.|
Desmond Fernando declared that a minister had told him confidentially that the minster "knew who was the killer" or words to that effect, but refused to either become a witness, or declare what he knew. Furthermore, Dr. Nesiah, a member of the commission of inquiry, was revealed to be linked to the CPA, while the CPA was itself a party to the case as seen by clicking here for the news report. In effect, in the view of many observers, the CPA associates deliberately derailed the proceedings and used the opportunity to accuse a government minister while refusing to present any evidence to support it!
Meanwhile, the French NGO (Action Contra La Faim, ACF) who had recklessly ordered its local officials to stay in the danger zone, while withdrawing its own "non-native" officials, refused to appear in front of the IGEP investigating matters. Mr. Desmond Fernando also failed to appear in subsequent hearings. Academics like Prof. Gerald Peiris, and distinguished Jurists also began to accuse the so-called IGEP where their impartiality came into extensive question, as seen by clicking here for the relevant press reports and also clicking here for more, establishing the break-down in public confidence in the IGEP. Furthermore, Mr. Bhagavati, the chairman of the IGEP had absented himself from most sittings. Finally, the IGEP also withdrew, realizing that their loss of credibility, and the non-functionality of their scrutiny.
According to the ACF report,all the local recruits to ACF were Tamils. Furthermore, they "happen to be" Christians although Muttur (moodu-thora) is almost a 99% Muslim region! The recruits had expressed the dire need to leave the area as the LTTE were moving in. But the ACF had orded them not to "vacate post". There is every reason to believe that the LTTE, or Muslim home guards equipped with LTTE weapons moved in and killed the recruits.
French Journalists Anne Poiret and G. le Gouil claim to have an "important witness" who heard a message send on Muttur police station radio in Sinhala on the morning of 4th August 2006, around 7:30 am, "giving an order to the military stationed in Muttur to kill all persons who wore civil clothes and spoke Tamil". At this time there was no effective police station there in the war zone, and the Army used only encrypted messaging for its communications. Similarly, other allegations used by the ACF are all based on unsubstantiated "leaks in the press" etc.
Furthermore, a subsequent police inquiry, presented before the courts, established ballistic evidence to show that lethal shots had been fired with LTTE bullets. There has been no means of identifying the LTTE assassins who carried out these acts which occurred in 2006. The case against other alleged individuals was finally closed in 2014 by the Attorney General due to lack of evidence. The ACF bosses declined to be present at these court hearings.
The CPA and its agents like Desmond Fernando, and ACF bosses should take a large part of the blame for this miscarriage of justice, while the ACF should be held accountable and tried in France for its irresponsible actions. Academics like Prof. Gerald Peiris, Jurists like Gomin Diasiri and S. L. Gunasekera who participated in the case have written analyzes that Mr. Saravanamuttu can avail himself, if he so wished, to present an impartial picture of the matter.
The ED-CPA may not be aware that in Canada too "the response of the government to these egregious violations seems to be to set up commissions", even when pressurized by the UN (see National Post, Oct. 15, 2013 report). The inquiries usually conclude that no further inquiry is necessary (e.g., about missing aboriginal persons, click here to read March 07, 2014, CBC report). In cases where an inquiry is mounted, the victim groups have walked away (click to read more, The Star, report on Dec 17., 2012) claiming that the inquiry is already too one sided (as happened in regard to police conduct regarding sex workers and others who disappeared from East-side Vancouver.
Once again, we point out that the ED-CPA is not telling us what yardstick he is using. If he puts out the numbers and compares them with any of the post-conflict countries after five years, Sri Lanka stands out with very high marks. The claim that Sri Lanka has "one of the highest number of cases recorded with the working group in Geneva" is merely a result of the fact that there exists well-funded NGOs sponsored by the West in Sri Lanka to report even village protests regarding polluted water to Geneva! We can take numbers from Canada (but not reported to Geneva), and make some computer-modeling adjustments to allow for the fact that Canada has not been under civil strife for 40 years, and that Sri Lanka's population density would be approximated if most of Canada's population were compressed to a 150 km wide strip between Ottawa and Oshawa, and see that the properly-scaled Canadian figures and Sri Lankan figures are in the "same ball park".
The Hon. Mr. Cameron is unfortunately regarded as displaying histrionics to assuage the BTF (British Tamil Forum); he has no credibility in Sri Lanka. Further more, just as the small Northern population (1.06 million) has its HR concerns, the much larger southern residents (19 million) have their equally valid HR concerns, war widows, police intimidation etc. Why did Cameron, Deepak Obhrai, and other western VIPs only go North, ignoring 90% of the Sri Lankans? It is to echo the Tamil-separatist Diaspora claim that the Tamils are "discriminated"? Is it surprising that the Sri Lankans treat Cameron as irrelevant and Saravanamuttu as an externally funded component of Disapora agitation?
In this regard, Mr. Cameron's histrionics are no different from those of David Millibrand in 2009. However, a US Embassy cable disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2010, revealed the motives of Mr. Miliband and why he came to Colombo the height of the Eelam-IV war to rescue Prabhakaran. The leaked cable quotes a member of Miliband’s Foreign Office team on Sri Lanka, Tim Waite, "He [Waite] said that with UK elections on the horizon and many Tamils living in Labour constituencies with slim majorities, the government is paying particular attention to Sri Lanka, with Miliband recently remarking to Waite that he was spending 60 per cent of his time at the moment on Sri Lanka."
Are the Hon. Mr. Harper and the Hon. John Baird any different?
It has also been reported that Subaskaran Allirajah, chairman of the Lycatel and LycaMobile Groups of companies ($2000 million annual turnover) is the largest donor to the British Conservative party, with donations to the tune of $720,000. Margaret Hodge MP and chair of the Public Accounts Committee, has criticized both the Government and Lycamobile in a statement to the Huffington Post read more. However, the links between the British Conservative party (click to read more), as well as the Labour party (click to read more), with Tamil Eelamist organizations that have emerged in the post-LTTE penumbra are well known read more
According to a TamilNet report
Once again it is useful to compare the problems arising from the politicization of the Judiciary in Sri Lanka with that of, say, Canada. In Sri Lanka, politicization took place under the J. R. Jayawardena government, and under subsequent governments, but the CPA (founded in 1996) had no criticism of them as their policies were aligned with those of the CPA.|
In Canada, an analysis in 2005 found that nearly 2/3 of federal judicial appointees had donated funds to the party in power, and Vic Towes of the conservative party even criticized Irwin Cotler's appointment of (his own chief of staff) Yves de Montigny to the federal court. The bench was "in the hand of the government" through patronage appointments. But once Vic Towes became the Justice minister, he himself continued the old patronage system; finally, when he left the government, he got himself appointed to the Manitoba Court of the Queen's bench at a salary close to $300,000 an year.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper boycotted the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka in November 2013 claiming that the Sri Lankan Government is subverting the Sri Lankan constitution in impeaching its chief Justice. The Marc Nadon case where the Supreme court ruled against Mr. Harper's attempts to "subvert" Canada's constitution should also be kept in mind here.
In Sri Lanka, the patronage system is less well oiled, and often the "wrong person" gets into powerful places, and the political process kicks off in a more uncouth manner than in Canada to yank out that person. However, just as politicians in a war-torn country are individuals of questionable integrity, even chief justices come in various shades, when they and their spouses need to avoid any semblance of wheeler-dealing. The Chief Justice was accused of haveing many undeclared bank accounts; the financial dealings of her spouse were also under the spot light. The country is still in a post-war situation where the fear of enemies, real or imagined, and NGO-funded groups trying to create "Arab-spring" type regime changes seem to have griped the politicians. Thus, alleged political connections of the chief justice have also cast a shadow on the issue. Dr. Saravanamuttu, being the Executive Director-CPA, is aware that his organization was also claimed to be close to the ex-Chief Justice, and that his NGO is viewed by the public as a hostile foreign-funded "fifth-column" organization that for decades played apologist to the LTTE.
Contrary to narrative of the ED-CPA, the present situation is that a Bench comprised of five Justices of the supreme court ruled unanimously that the writ issued by the Court of Appeal nullifying the impeachment (i.e., dismissal of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake) was null and void, with the full text available by clicking here. Even critics of the government have ended up admitting that the new ruling is "technically corrected".
|We have discussed at length these allegations of religious intolerance, esp. of Muslims, in our critique of the presentations of officials of the Canadian Department of Foreign affairs. Those notes can be revisted by clicking here. There we compared the numbers for Sri Lanka with those of England and Canada, and we found that the level of intolerance is, given the circumstance, comparable to what is found in "advanced societies" enjoying decades of peace. It is simply that Mr. Saravanamuttu is using an unrealistic yardstick which does not even hold in more evolved, peaceful societies.|
We have also dealt with the strident inquisitional approach of Ms. Navy Pillay, in our link to our notes on religious intolerance previously. Fortunately, at the UNHRC in Geneva, Ms. Pillay has corrected her more glaring errors, while the substantial slant arising from her selected presentation of partial truths has not been corrected. The document even lists the Waliweriya protest by a mob against alleged pollution of drinking water, and its unfortunate mishandling by the armed forces. In fact, we see that the High Commissioner Navy Pillai has collected every incident it could find, without any understanding of what happened, and perhaps giving the impression that it was a common occurrence for the army to shoot people at demonstrations!
The British police did shoot innocent people in London during the July 2005 emergency and killed an innocent Asian-looking Brazilian. Police shootings in Arab occupied HLMs in the "quatier Nord" of Paris hardly make headlines. But here we are not discussing countries emerging from the Longest Terrorist war in a century.
Ms. Navaneetham Pillay met with the family of Ms. Jeyakumari Palendran. Her third son was recruited by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and had surrendered to the Sri Lankan security forces during the last phase of the war. But, he has gone missing since, while the two elder brothers died fighting for the LTTE. Ms. Palendran herself has now been arrested for harbouring an armed LTTE activist named Kajeeban alias Gobi and an accomplice named Navaneethan alias Appan. Gobi shot a policeman who went in search of him while hiding in Palendran's home. Although Palendran has protested vehemently to the government regarding her missing son, she works closely with the TNA that endorsed the LTTE, and with Ms. Sasitharan who was the wife of the LTTE official "Elilan" who abducted her sons into serving the LTTE. "Civil society activists" and NGOs close to the CPA have roped in Ms. Palendran and others to protest against the government, while covering up the LTTE origins of the associated Human-Rights problems. Neither Navaneetham Pillay, nor Palendran has asked for accountability from Sasitharan, the TNA leaders, and others who worked with the LTTE, and have inherited the legacy of the LTTE.
The possibility of creating "peoples uprisings" and "Arab springs" in Sri Lanka, with the help of externally funded NGOs, militant factions of the TNA, etc., and the timing of the event, are military fear-factors behind some of this. This is not surprising in a country after 40 years of war, and having foreign-funded NGOs still operating in the country and supporting regime change. The Executive Director-CPA, being a long-standing political activist, understands all this very well but prefers to say something else.
David Cameron's remarks at the CHOGM were also interpreted by Sri Lankans in the light of regime change
As for accusations of attacks, discrimination and rape of women, it is best to let Arun Thambimuttu, the prominent Tamil MP from Batticaloa (Madakalapuwa) speak out. Referring to a statement issued by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) on the international women's day accusing the Sri Lankan military of raping of women, Tamil speaking women during the conflict, as well as during the post-conflict period and systematic continuing abuse of women by the military, particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Tambimuttu pointed out this was all part of its strategy to justify Channel-4 News allegations regarding the same. Had those now representing the GTF genuinely felt the need to protect Tamil speaking women, they should have opposed the use of females in combat while Prabhakaran was alive. In fact, they should have urged the LTTE at least not to use women and children as human shields during the final phase of the conflict, Tambimuttu said.... that women and children wouldn't have been safe if the LTTE hadn't been defeated.read more
As far as we know, the CFA led by Saravanamuttu, or the TNA led by Sampanthan, had not criticized the LTTE for such violations.
The "number of journalists killed" is usually given as 19 as claimed by the Committee for the protection of Journalists (CPJ). But it is rarely mentioned
that 18 of these were LTTE military-journalist cadre who died in combat. Only Lasantha Wickremasinghe's death remains an open question, with fingers pointed
even at Gen. Fonseka's men. We discussed all these in detail Click to read more.
We also discussed the claims regarding white vans, disappearances, and compered them to the level of disappearances in Canada, a society that has enjoyed peace for decades, unlike Sri Lanka. Click here to read more.
The ED-CPA seems to suggest that unlike the 19 million people in the south who support the
government, the 1.06 million people in the North do not. In reality, we know that the class of people who came to power in the North in 2013, namely, absentee landlord Tamils who live in Colombo, have come to power in all elections e.g., 1931, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1977, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2010, and also in 2013.
That is, there has been no real democracy evolving in the north, with constant rule by one set of elits.
In the south, the ruling party has been often unseated, and right-wing and left-wing parties have alternated in power.||
At the 2010 Presidential election, Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained over 30% votes in the North. Yet, at the provincial elections, the land-owning class of the TNA and the CPA who have been in power for over a century won yet again.|
So, what is clear is that the thirty-year war has prevented new political leaders arising within the North itself. All dissenting opinion was assassinated by the LTTE, while the landed aristocracy headed by Sampanthan collaborated with the LTTE. The land-owning Colombo-Tamil aristocracy, to which Mr. Saravanamuttu belongs, still controls the North. We need at least one more generation for proper democracy to happen in the North. The solid infra structure and roads (derided as "concrete by Mr. Saravanamuttu) will open up the North to modernity and unseat the old landed aristocracy before long.
It is not just that the government did not take Cameron seriously, but the vast majority of people in the country did not take him seriously. The North has 1.06 million people, while the south has over 19 million people. In the eyes of most Sri Lankans, Mr. Cameron went to visit ONLY the newly installed TNA government of the North, and inquired only of the HR abuses, Army presence, land issues, war widows etc., of just one ethnic group of people, and that too, only in the North. There was a war in the Eastern province as well, and the civil war casualties (soldiers who died, with grieving families) came mostly from the south.|
Mr. Cameron's acts would be comparable to a G8 Prime minister heading directly to an aboriginal reserve and taking up issues like why Aborigines are 12 times more likely to get Tuberculosis, or become alcoholics compared to white Canadians, 10 times more likely to get imprisoned, why there are disappearances of Native women, deaths of "injun vagrants' etc., etc.
Mr Camerons Jaffna visit was a show put up for the benefit of the Tamil-Diaspora voter, since Mr. Cameron knew that his display will not move the government or Lankan public opinion. In their eyes, Cameron's behaviour was much worse than that of General Charles de Gaulle shouting "Vive le Quebec Libre", while arriving in Canada as an invited guest of Lester Pearson.
Given that the TNA worked with the LTTE until their demise, the majority of Lankan people have not forgotten the TNA's past, even though the government decided to bring them into main stream politics in the name of reconciliation.
Furthermore, most Sri Lankans know that Mr. Cameron has even refused to release the Chilcott report, and yet he is hypocritical enough to complain that the Sl-govt has not yet implemented the LLRC report fully.
|For the actual situation regarding "war widows please click here to read more.|
For the actual situation regarding "war widows
please click here to read more.
Note that "allegations" are being reported, (in a post-wart setting, where the LTTE proxy party, viz., the TNA is there to carry on the LTTE battle via other means). Then in the next sentence Dr. saravanamuttu
claims that "All of these things are happening at the present moment".
Similar allegations have been raised by the aboriginal women of the "idle no more" movement, here in Canada, as a part of political agitation.
|For comments on the visit of the UN High commissioner Ms. Navy Pillay please click here to read more.|
The view expressed by the ED-CPA is directly contradicted by (i) the observations of the Canadian MPs Hon. Joe Daniels, Hon. Chungen Leung, and Marlene Gallyot , on their visit to Sri Lanka. Ms. Marlene Gallyot was even able to speak in Tamil and talk to the locals.
Similarly, the well-known Toronto Tamil Journalist DBS Jayaraj, following his visit in November 2013 says "To use journalistic parlance, the story today is not of conflict or confrontation, but that of the post-war renaissance, people-to-people reconciliation and ethnic amity. In my own small way, I want to reflect and record this shift. read more. We can quote other independent (i.e., known to be not supporters of the government) observers and academics who hold a very different view to that of the ED-CPA who has a track record of supporting the agenda of the TNA and the land-owning Tamil political class.
The economic crisis would have hit the country extremely hard, but for the fact that much of the investment is coming through Chinese companies. Meanwhile, the west has done what it could to worsen matters, by removing trade advantages for Sri Lanka's garment- and other industries.|
The government has not waited for the money from the Tamil diaspora, but spent over 80% of its development budget in the North, while this money has come from the tax payers in the south. Defence analysts have claimed that the Canadian fund raising for Tiger terrorism was in the range of 1-2 million dollars a month for over two decades. And yet, after the end of the LTTE, there is none coming, and blanket "dual-citizenship" is being demanded for this diaspora by the TNA, while the Center for Policy Alternatives has worked neck to neck with groups claiming that there is a genocide of Tamils going on in Sri Lanka even today. The ED-CPA knows very well that many members of the Diaspora are organizing "boycotts" of Sri Lanka, not just regarding trade, but also even with respect to sports like cricket. How can such hostile groups justify dual citizenship for themselves? However, the Northern population is just 1.06 million, while the south has ~19 million. The economic dynamo of the south, and the amicable qualities among Sinhalese and Tamils noted by the journalist D. B. S. Jeyraj will carry the North forward.
The ED-CPA should note that the government has, in the name of reconciliation, decided to ignore the sedition and co-habitation between the TNA and the LTTE during the Eelam war. The government has not put them on trial. Instead, they have been absorbed into civil life.
Now that the CHOGM has happened, we see that Canada had absolutely no influence, and the final CHOGM declarations reflected none of the strident concerns presented by Canada by its absence at the CHOGM. Even if the Primier had been present, this would not have been taken seriously by the Sri Lankan public which is aware of how (a) Canada has uncritically accepted the narrative of the Eelamist loby of the tamil diaspora; (b) allowed the Tamil Tigers to collect funds for the LTTE for decades, in spite of clear recurrent notifications by the RCMP, CSIS, as well as the US. In our document cansl0.html, accessed by clicking here we have explained fully how Canada is viewed by Sri Lanka, and several other SAARAC nations. It will now take many years to erase the "Ugly Canadian" image acquired by Canada.|
Even the choice of witnesses heard by this subcommittee is not inspiring, with recognized experts, e.g., the McKenzie institute, past high-commissioners etc., who could have presented a balanced view, not included in the hearings.
|ED-CPA has presented one version of the facts, i.e., based on half-truths. It is clear that the removal of the chief justice was not done in the best manner possible. On the other hand, keeping her in that position also would have been unacceptable, given the allegations that were appearing in the public domain about her multiple bank accounts, and her spouses alleged financial transactions as well as political links to critical groups. There was also this fear, real or imaginary, of "regime change". We gave a detailed discussion that can be accessed by clicking here|
ED-CPA has NOT presented the fact that the government's attempts to implement the Tamil language in predominantly Tamil-spoken areas (e..g, Northern province) were jeopardized by separatist groups. Attempts to devolve linguistic power (e.g., in the Banda-Chelva pact in 1957, and later proposals by subsequent prime ministers) were rejected by Tamil nationalist who asked for "Arasu" (a separate Tamil kingdom) and Sinhala nationalists who feared that devolution was a first step to separatism.
The Tamil minority did nothing to win the trust of the Sinhalese, where as the estate Tamils and Muslims followed a different path (of non-confrontation) and achieved their political objectives. It should also be noted that the North has a population of 1.06 million mostly Tamil speakers, while the rest of the country has ~19 million, mostly competent in Sinhala. Basically, a mere 5% of the population (in the North) is using foreign pressure, NGO agitation etc., to force its position demanding parity with 95% of the remaining population that can function in the majority language, and in English and Tamil that are increasingly available. |
The TULF militants, the TNA and LTTE militants threatened, attacked, or assassinated Tamil translators, police officers, civil servants etc., for cooperation with the government by implementing bilingual services, instead of "fighting for separation".
The private sector, and NGOs can provide the needed translation services.
Sri Lanka has now launched on an ambitious "trilingual policy" where Sinhala, Tamil and English are all "official languages", even though even Canada, after 40 years of "bilingualism", and billions of dollars spent, still remain 80% uni-lingual. The situation in Sri Lanka is not comparable to Canada, since the Tamil population is only ~10% of the total population, and a good fraction of these Tamils are actually very competent in Sinhala; thus only about 5% of the population, mainly in the North, need to be helped. This can be done without the confrontational approach adopted by the Diaspora, the CPA and other groups. So the bleak picture presented by the ED-CPA is simply the narrative of the elite-Tamil pro-separatist class that has led the Tamils since independence.
First of all, the majority community looks upon this as a case of "school children" being used as political pawns in a bigger game. In reality the TNA wants, not just school children singing songs, but the "official anthem" sung in Tamil at official events.|
The suggestion of the ED-CPA (allow the national anthem in both languages) seems eminently reasonable to Canadians who have both French and English versions. But this similarity fails when we look at the demographic proportions, as well as the fact that Sri Lanka is still in a post-conflict state where part of the small Tamil minority (about 1.06 million against a total population of 20 million) launched a 30-year military secessionist campaign. The motives of their leaders are still suspect.
Demographically, the situation is similar to the Arab-speaking population in France demanding the right to sing the Marseillaise in Arabic at official functions. The ED-CPA is an experienced politician who knows very well that the demand is designed to heighten the tension between the communities, and justly their claims for redress through international intervention.
The citizens are "not forced to sign papers in a language they do not understand". Now that the LTTE is vanquished, the government is recruiting officers, civil servants, court clerks, translators etc., who are competent in the languages concerned. Previously, this was not possible as the separatists threatened and kidnapped any officers who offered such services as government employees.|
Some leaders of the TNA (currently in power, and ideologically associated with the Center for Policy Alternatives) opposed the training of Sri Lankan Officers for Tamil-language services (in Tamil Nadu), and made representations to Chennai politicians. One exception, Mr. Anandasangaree, stated that "a large number of Tamil police officers had been killed by the LTTE over a period and now only a handful of them were left. "Although recruitment is open to all communities, Tamils, from the North in particular, do not apply at all. A negligible number of Tamils apply from the Eastern Province and, one by one, they are also killed(by the LTTE). A few years back all police officers in the Eastern Province were ordered to lay down their arms and were asked to assemble at a given point. The Tamil officers were asked to run away. The remaining Sinhalese and Muslim officers, numbering over 600, had been shot dead and buried in mass graves,(by the LTTE)".
Mr. Anandasangaree said the irony was that all VVIPs, including Tamil Members of Parliament of the Tamil National Alliance, were given security by the police, most of whom were Sinhalese. The Tamil public (e.g., Dr saravanamuttu) often complained that there were no officers who knew Tamil in the more than 200 police stations in the North and East.
In recent times, a number of Sinhalese officers had also been killed by the LTTE. "There are thousands of vacancies in the police force for Tamils. Unfortunately, no one applies. It is more correct to say that no one is allowed to apply by the LTTE. Those who defy them and apply, face the consequences one day or the other,"Click here to read more of the report published in the Hindu.
However, doesn't the Executive Director, CPA, think that this acknowledgment should be mutual? As the Hon. Mr. Ananadasangaree of the TULF had stated (see link in previous paragraph), the TNA leadership had colluded with the LTTE in seditious acts. It cannt but acknowledge its role in supporting the LTTE; it has not condemned the acts of the LTTE where innocent Tamil, Sinhalese and Indian politicians, civilians, journalists etc., were assassinated by Prabhakaran and his gang. The TNA leaders have gone so far as to claim that Prbhakaran is a hero.|
The TNA leaders demand, for 5% of the population, official status for signing the Anthem in Tamil, and continue to raise issues that should be in the back-burner until tempers have abated. Today, it is the time for providing housing, jobs, health and education to the Tamil people who were freed from the LTTE. The TNA, as well as the ED-CPA, instead talk of "dignity", and demand acknowledgment of "crimes" by the Victor of the conflict, while refusing to face their own very guilty role in the conflict.
How many Canadians know about the commissions of inquiry about police brutality, investigations into corruption and political patronage, etc., questionable defence contracts, robot calls and election frauds, about the hundreds of missing aboriginal women, or missing persons in East-side Vancouver, or the Royal Commissions on Aboriginal affairs etc., etc? Click here to read more. In fact, the 30% that Dr. Saravanamuttu cites is surprisingly high. Many Canadian-voter turnouts barely rise over 30%, even after weeks of intense campaigning and TV debates.|
So, the Executive Director-CPA has completely unrealistic yardsticks and his capacity for objective judgment, always critical of the Sri Lankan situation, is seen to be lamentably flawed. Any student of public awareness would have stated that if 30% of the public in a developing country where much less than 30% have TV and access to modern media know of the LLRC commission, then that is amazingly high.
Even in Canada, where there has not been a thirty-year war, Muslim organizations, aboriginal protest organizations, student-protest organizations, most civil-rights groups, gay-rights groups, pipe-line protest groups, and even well-established Labour unions find that they are visited by the RCMP, and such visits can be intimidating. It is common belief that even the phones of the G20 leaders were tapped. Wi-Fi outlets at airports have been tapped.|
Canadian scientists have found, during the days of the Soviet Union, that when visiting Russian scientists were presented (by some individuals X,Y) with freely available Canadian textbooks, then X,Y were visited by the RCMP for allegedly "transferring atomic secrets" to the enemy!
If Canada had an NGO funded from outside, and playing apologist to the FLQ at the time, demonstrating in Geneva against Canada demanding sanctions against it, and pushing a separatist program stridently even today, such an NGO would face much worse censure and intimidation, official and unofficial, than those faced by the CPA, even from a peaceful Canadian society.
The Executive Director, CPA should know that Canadian people's views of governance, and their politicians, ranging from Rob Ford to Many Mayors in Quebec, and the PMO office mired in the Senate scandal, etc., are also "not particularly complimentary, particularly as far as the politicians are concerned".|
The survey conducted by the CPA had no mechanism for taking account of the strong degradation in the terms of trade produced by the economic downturn that began in 2008, when it slowly spread to Japan and China in more recent times. The trade sanctions on the garment industry introduced by Europe, and sanctions on oil purchases from Iran, the loss of buying power by the west, etc., have to be taken account in a meaningful survey. If the increase in the cost of living is also being blamed on the government by the ED-CPA, it is precisely why the CPA has lost credibility in the eyes of Sri Lankan observers.
This subcommittee of the house of commons would do better to consult IMF reports, SL-central bank reports, as well as reports issued by SAARC economic think-tanks instead of depending on the "surveys" of the CPA.
If the CPA were to conduct a survey in Canada, even 100 km west of Ottawa, over 70% would argue that being a Canadian would imply knowing English. If you specifically ask them about French, they may concede that to be acceptable in Quebec, but "not here in Ontario". The situation would be worse in Alberta. Of course, there are those more open-minded individuals. In times of tension (e.g., during the Partie Quebecois referenda), the numbers who would concede would drop sharply.|
In Sri Lanka, just after a 30-year separatist conflict, the Executive Director, CPA is showing extreme political naivety in expecting higher levels of open-mindedness. If the CPA survey had been conducted exclusively in Jaffna, the answer may have been that Tamil should be the language of Eelam, but that it has nothing to with Sri Lanka. On the other hand, a survey among the Tamils in the hill country may have elicited the answer that being Sri Lankan implies knowing Sinhala.
The Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is well known for conducting naive surveys that ignore the cultural and ethnic tapestry that constitutes Sri Lanka. In the end its "policy alternatives" for the North, and for the country turn out to be those advocated by the English-speaking land-owning upper class Tamils who live in Colombo and have a reputation for not knowing Tamil (except the rude Tamil used to address lower-caste domestic servants).
The Executive Director of the CPA is widely perceived to be partisan to the Tamil Ethnic Nationalists, and his narrative mentions "favouritism in terms of Sinhala fishermen", "resettlement of Sri Lankan citizens who have Sinhala ethnicity", etc., but he is at least careful to state that these are allegations.|
What else would you expect, after four decades of war that was fought for land and livelihood?
The ED-CPA mentions "citizens who have Sinhala ethnicity who resided in the northern province but were displaced as a consequence of the war", but does not say what actually happened, viz., the act of "ethnic cleansing" executed by the LTTE to establish their "exclusive Tamil homeland". Unfortunately, the TNA which is once again in power (since the 2013 election) continues to hold onto the concept of a Tamil homeland; it is the elitist land-owning class that has continuously held power since 1948 and even before.
The "land grab" that he talks of occurred centuries ago. Today, the rich land lords who own those properties in the Northern province do not live there; they live in Colombo, London, Toronto or New York. The poor Tamils of the North continue to work in their lands. That is why the "low-caste" Tamil author Sebastian Rasalingam has stridently written demanding that a redistribution of the land in an equitable basis and wiping out the endemic caste discrimination etc., are the basic needs of the North. Click here to read: Land reforms in the North and East of Sri Lanka, Rasalingam, Island newspaper, Oct-2011. The Center for Policy Alternatives holds such land reforms as its anathema.
see other Sri Lankan studies posted on the web.