India: Divide disputed site into 3 parts - Allahabad HC

India's Rapid Action Force soldiers patrol in front of a mosque in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010. An Indian court ruled Thursday that a disputed holy site in Ayodhya that has sparked bloody communal riots across the country in the past should be divided between the Hindu and Muslim communities, a lawyer involved in the suit said. The Muslim community said it would appeal the ruling in the 60-year-old case to the Supreme Court. Muslims revere the compound in Ayodhya as the site of the now-demolished 16th century Babri Mosque, while Hindus say it is the birthplace of the god Rama.
(September 30, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian)  The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court ruled by majority that the disputed land in Ayodhya be divided into three parts among the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the party for "Ram Lalla", lawyers said on Thursday soon after the judgement in the 60-year-old case was delivered.

The three-judge bench comprised Justices S.U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D.V. Sharma.

Justice Sharma decreed the title suit in favour of Hindus, said lawyer K.N. Bhatt, who represented the party on behalf of "Ram Lalla".

However, status quo would be maintained at the disputed site in Ayodhya for three months, claimed lawyers Ravi Shanker Prasad and Bhatt.

Justice Khan ruled that the disputed land belonged to both the communities, the lawyers claimed.

Some important points:

1. The area covered under the central dome of the disputed structure is the birthplace of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of Hindus.
2. Disputed structure was always treated, considered and believed to be a mosque and practised by Mohammedans for worship accordingly. However, it has not been proved that it was built during the reign of Babar in 1528.
3. In the absence of any otherwise pleadings and material it is difficult to hold as to when and by whom the disputed structure was constructed but this much is clear that the same was constructed before the visit of Joseph Tieffenthaler in Oudh area between 1766 to 1771.
4. The building in dispute was constructed after demolition of non-Islamic religious structure, i.e., a Hindu temple.
5. The idols were kept under the central dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of December 22 and 23, 1949. Other Original Suits -- No. 3 of 1989 and No. 4 of 1989 -- are barred by limitation.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court website (, where the verdict was to be put online, has crashed due to heavy traffic.

India's Twitter-sphere is abuzz with messages about the Ayodhya verdict. "Allahabad High Court", "Ayodhya Verdict" and "#ayodhya" were among the top 10 trends globally on Twitter at the time of the verdict.

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India: Divide disputed site into 3 parts: Allahabad HC

Issues for Briefing
Justice SU Khan
Justice Sudhir Agarwal

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Madu’s Story; Torture and Professional Negligence

"When Madu went to the police station the next day she was assaulted with a cricket pole and told to plead guilty. They took her signature on a written statement by force. The statement was neither read nor explained to her. After that she was produced before the Magistrate's Court. The magistrate remanded Madu on the 28th January and she pleaded innocent."

by Harshi.C.Perera

(September 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Madu is a 20-year-old resident of Kaduwela. She is married and a mother of a three year old baby girl who is now placed under the care of her mother in law. Her father was a drunkard since she was a child and her mother is a heart patient.

One day she found her brother-in-law's clothes in a basin ready for washing. It looked brown in color so she asked him what the reason was. He told her that he had a fight with his relatives.

This quarrel had taken place on 24th January 2010 and Madu's father had stabbed him. Her brother-in-law removed the knife and stabbed her father who died on the spot. Madu only came to know about the incident on 26th January.

After the burial of the body the police arrested the brother in law, Madu's brother and a relative regarding the alleged murder. The police informed the family to appear at the police station the next day.

When Madu went to the police station the next day she was assaulted with a cricket pole and told to plead guilty. They took her signature on a written statement by force. The statement was neither read nor explained to her. After that she was produced before the Magistrate's Court. The magistrate remanded Madu on the 28th January and she pleaded innocent.

A lady lawyer appeared on Madu's behalf but did not explain the details of the lawsuit. Madu has no way to contact the lawyer who has never some to the prison to interview her. According to the ethics of lawyers they have to do best behalf of the client.

The charge against Madu is one of aiding attempted murder. This is her first offence but she has now been in remand prison for eight months.

The Constitution of Sri Lanka mentions in chapter (111) Fundamental Rights as article 11 that: No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Torture is a crime under the torture act which was passed by the parliament in 1994. It was mentioned in the Torture Act

2. (1) Any person who tortures any other person shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.
(2) Any person who -
(a) attempts to commit;
(b) aids and abets in committing;

(c) conspires to commit,

an offence under subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

(3) The subjection of any person on the order of a competent court to any form of punishment recognized by written law shall be deemed not to constitute an offence under subsection (1).

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this Act shall on conviction after trial by the High Court be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term not less than seven years and not exceeding ten years and a fine not less than ten thousand rupees and not exceeding fifty thousand rupees.

(5) An offence under this Act shall be a cognizable offence and a non-bailable offence, within the meaning, and for the purposes, of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No.15 of 1979. Tell a Friend


Anoma Fonseka, wife of former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka, gestures while addressing media representatives at a press conference in Colombo on September 30, 2010. Sri Lanka's president confirmed a 30-month jail term for his ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka who led troops to victory over Tamil rebels and ended a decades-long civil war, officials said September 30.

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Sarath Fonseka of Sri Lanka and Sam Rainsy of Cambodia

 "Cambodia and Sri Lanka have reached the same point of rejecting the liberal democratic foundations of their countries. The jailing of the opposition leaders of both countries is symbolic of the commonality of the political strategies and ideologies."

by Basil Fernando

(September 30, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) What Sarath Fonseka and Sam Rainsy have in common is that they are the most popular opposition leaders in their countries and that they have been jailed for that very reason. Political popularity is treated as a serious crime in both countries, where the ruling parties are aspiring to create one party rule.

Here are some similarities between the political styles followed by the ruling regimes in both countries:

The ruling regimes enjoy more than 2/3 majority in their parliaments. Hun Sen in fact has 90 seats out of 123 in the parliament, in which Sam Rainsy’s party has 26 seats. When the first election was held after the Pol Pot period May 1993, the opposition party won the election and the party of the present Prime Minister Hun Sen lost despite of their having the territorial control of the largest part of Cambodia. However, through subsequent elections, Hun Sen’s party has gradually gained control of power and the Funcinpec party, which was the party created by the former king, Norodom Sihaneuk. From having the majority, the Funcinpec party, was reduced to two seats in 2008. The next opponent to the ruling party was Sam Rainsy and now he is being jailed on flimsy charges. The ruling regime controls the courts and is able to get whatever verdicts it wants on political matters.

Sarath Fonseka, who was a military leader, was chosen as the common opposition candidate for the elections by several political parties and he was able to get nearly 40% of the vote (he claims that he in fact won the election and was wrongfully deprived of the victory). Later, in the parliamentary elections, he became a Member of Parliament and he was elected while he was being kept in military custody. Later he was sentenced to jail by court martial and the president, his political opponent, confirmed the verdict of the military tribunal. The arrest by the military and the use of the military tribunals was designed to deprive fair trial for the political opponent of the president.

Thus, the manipulation of the judicial process to achieve political ends has become a very essential component of the political apparatus of the suppression in both countries. Cambodia became a liberal democracy only recently. That is, by the agreement of all political parties to the Paris Agreements which created the basis for the United Nations interventions to organize elections after a long period of political devastation of the country.

The constitution which was adopted for the new Cambodia in 1993 declares Cambodia as a liberal democracy. The structure of the constitution is based on liberal democratic principles. However, at the time that the constitution was adopted, none of the basic institutions which were needed for liberal democracy existed in the country. That was because of the ruthless revolution of Pol Pot in which over 2 million people were destroyed and all the institutions in Cambodia were also brought to an end.

The most permanent institution of Cambodia, which was the monarchy, was also virtually brought to an end by the Khmer Rouge revolution, which took place between 1975 and 1979. Thereafter, a group of Cambodians supported by the Vietnamese took over the rule of the major part of Cambodia. The Vietnamese advisors laid the foundations for the infrastructure of administration in the devastated country. Naturally, their system of administration was based on socialist principles. The basic administration is controlled by the ruling political party. The ‘court system’ that was introduced was in fact an apparatus of administration to safeguard the state rather than to protect the rights of the citizens.

It was on this administrative apparatus that a liberal democratic constitution was imposed. Naturally, there was no bridge between the constitution and the actual administration. Within a short period of time, the constitution lost all practical relevance for the administration of the country. Thus, it was possible for the CPP of Hun Sen to reassert their control. Thus, Cambodia became a liberal democracy only in name.

Sri Lanka had a very much longer history of development of civil administration and judicial institutions on the basis of the common law tradition. When the country became independent from the British, Sri Lanka also adopted a liberal democratic constitution. There was a tradition of judicial institutions which had a history of 200 years. The system of civil administration was also had a more or less similar history. Education on liberal democratic principles had gone on for a long period and many persons were qualified as judges, lawyers and civil servants, in foreign universities. Later, the local educational institutes of high quality also developed in the country. The constitution after independence operated on the basis of these developments.

In 1978, however, there was an abrupt change in the constitutional structure of the country. While keeping a façade of liberal democratic jargon, an executive presidential system without any checks and balances was introduced into the country. The executive president was placed above the law and was not answerable to the courts. This was in radical contradiction to the tradition which had existed in the country until then. In the initial stages there was resistance to the new system introduced by the 1978 Constitution and the first Chief Justice, Neville Samarakoon, appointed by the same executive president who created the constitution, symbolized this resistance by his own open opposition to the executive president. However, over several decades, the system got consolidated, undermining the parliamentary system, judicial service and also all the public institutions of the country. Gradually, the executive presidential system devoured and destroyed the liberal democratic system, and its course was completed by the 18th Amendment to the constitution, which was passed just a few weeks ago.

Cambodia and Sri Lanka have reached the same point of rejecting the liberal democratic foundations of their countries. The jailing of the opposition leaders of both countries is symbolic of the commonality of the political strategies and ideologies. The idea that economic development requires a strong leader who is not opposed by other political forces is the core of the ideology that is common to Cambodia and Sri Lanka now.

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Euroville given freehand by the President’s brothers.

In order to recoup the commissions paid to the government ministers, Euroville is allowed to go around and demolish private properties without due permissions from the owners.

by Our Correspondent in Colombo

(September 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Following our news ‘Government awards contracts to commission paying contractors in the North’ datelined 29 September 2010, our investigations reveal, governments blue eyed Euroville Engineers and Constructors (PVT) Ltd owned by the Tamil militant N Ramathasan is given freehand to demolish war damaged properties illegally and to use the rubble for his construction projects in the north.

In order to recoup the commissions paid to the government ministers, Euroville is allowed to go around and demolish private properties without due permissions from the owners. The properties abandoned during the war and those still unoccupied or unclaimed for by the expatriate Tamils are systematically reduced to rubble according our investigations.

The properties demolished are mainly in Kilinochchi and Jaffna. According to our source, the government too is recognising the work of Euroville as useful contribution to erase the traces of war ravages in the north.

Our investigations further reveals that Euroville is using the services of the paramilitary leader and the government Minister Douglas Devananda to operate freely for payment for his service. Tell a Friend

President endorses 3o month jail term on Fonseka

(September 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has endorsed a verdict of the second military court martial sentencing the ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka for a 30 month jail term after finding him guilty for violating tender procedures in procurements for the army.

The court martial recommended the sentence on September 17, but the President was away from the country attending the UN General Assembly in New York delaying the implementation of the sentence.

Military sources said that Mr. Fonseka would now be transferred from the Navy headquarters to the Welikada prisons to serve the jail term.

Mr. Fonseka’s lawyers said they were awaiting the confirmation of the sentence to file papers in the court of appeal.

The ex-army chief was accused for favouring his son in law Danuna Tilakaratne who had tendered through his company Hicorp Pvt Ltd to supply items to the army. Tell a Friend

Kim Jonh-Un : Will He Change North Korea?

Will Kim Jong-un be able to consolidate his position and emerge as the unquestioned leader of North Korea? (file image)

by B.Raman

(September 30, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a dispatch from Pyongyang, the Capital of North Korea, the Government and Chinese Communist Party controlled Xinhua news agency of China reported on September 29,2010, that a one-day conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) held on September 28, 2010, had taken the following “significant decisions” regarding the party leadership:

* Kim Jong Il, who had served as the General Secretary of the Party since October 1997, was reelected to the post.
* It elected a 124-member Central Committee, which included among others, Kim Jong-il himself, his 27-year-old youngest son Kim Jong Un ( pronounced Kim Jong-Woon) and Kim Kyong Hui, the 64-year-old sister of Kim Jong-Il.
* At a plenary session of the new Central Committee, attended by Kim Jong Il, the party's innermost leading core, the Presidium of the Politburo of the WPK Central Committee, “came into being”. Beside Kim Jong Il there are four other senior members in the Presidium, known as the Standing Committee of the Politburo, including Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, and Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA). Choe Yong Rim and Jo Myong Rok would be the other members of the Presidium. The Politbureau includes these five members of the Presidium plus Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Yong Chun, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop and eight others. The alternate members include Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Il and 13 others. Kim Jong-Un has not been elected to the Polibureau, but his aunt Kim Kyong Hui has been.

* Also at the Central Committee meeting, Kim Jong Un was elected to the 19-member Central Military Commission.
* Kim Jong Un will serve as one of the two Vice-Chairmen of the powerful commission, headed by his father. Ri Yong Ho will be the other Vice-Chairman. A day earlier, Kim Jong Il had issued an order in his capacity of the supreme commander of the KPA promoting Ri Yong Ho to the rank of Vice- Marshal and Kim Jong Un to that of General, a rank below Vice- Marshal and above Colonel- General.
* In the amendments made to the WPK Charter, "the duties of a party member and the contents of the work of party organizations at different levels are comprehensively revised and supplemented." The revision also adds a new charter to the current charter regulating the party's logo and flag and further stresses the need to strengthen the party's leadership over the civilians as well as the military. The participants in the conference were convinced that the modifications "will provide a sure guarantee for strengthening and developing the party ... and victoriously advance the revolutionary cause."
* In a report seemingly indicating that the WPK conference has concluded, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the conference "was held with success in Pyongyang on Sept 28" and that "Kim Yong Nam made a closing speech."

The Xinhua dispatch added: “The historic gathering was the third of its kind in the party's history and the first in 44 years. Outside the country, the international community is also closely watching the development in the DPRK, as the country is trying to secure a peaceful international environment for its economic development and has recently repeated its intent to resume the Six-Party Talks for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. Contributing to the wariness of international players are the high tensions that have clouded the region since the March sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors. Seoul accuses Pyongyang of torpedoing the vessel and has since carried out several military drills with the United States off the Korean coast, while the DPRK denies any involvement and has repeatedly warned that the "provocative" exercises would threaten regional security. “

According to the Wikipedia, the Conference also re-constituted the National Defence Commission as follows:

* Chairman: Marshal of the DPRK Kim Jong-il (1993-)
* 1st Vice Chairman: Vice Marshal of the KPA Ri Yong-ho, Chief of the KPA General Staff
* 2nd Vice Chairman: General of the Army Kim Jong-un
* Assistant Vice Chairmen:
o Chang Sung-taek, Secretary, WPK Administrative Department. He is the husband of Kim Kyong-Hui.
o Vice Marshal of the KPA Kim Yong-Chun, Minister of the People's Armed Forces
o Vice Marshal of the KPA Ri Yong-mu
o General of the Army O Kuk-ryol, Secretary, WPK Department of Operations
* Members of the Commission
o General of the Army Ju Sang-song, Minister of People's Security
o General of the Army Kim Jong-gak, 1st Deputy Director, KPA.
o Colonel General U Tong-chuk
o Jon Pyong-ho, Secretary of Military Industries
o Ju Kyu-chang, 1st Deputy Secretary, Department of Military Industries
o Paek Se-bong, Chairman, WPK 2nd Economic Committee.
o Pak Myong-chol , Councillor of the Commission.

The Xinhua dispatch, which was based on the press releases issued by the KCNA, did not report the reconstitution of the National Defence Commission. The National Defense Commission (NDC) of the State, which is different from the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the WPK, is defined by the 1998 constitution as “the highest guiding organ of the military and the managing organ of military matters.” The chairman of the NDC controls the armed forces. It is responsible for the management and direction of all military affairs and defense projects under the commission's authority. The NDC, though nominally under the Supreme People's Assembly, is the highest state body, with ultimate executive power (including responsibility for the armed forces) resting with its chairman, Kim Jong-il. It takes all decisions relating to nuclear and missile development.

The Central Military Commission is an organ of the WPK and is responsible for coordinating the Party organizations within the Korean People's Army. Its full and official name is the Commission for Military Affairs of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. Its functions are similar to those of the Communist Party of China's CMC. In addition to Kim Jong-il and Kom Jong-Un, the Commission has another 16 members, including Kim Yong Chun, Kim Jong Gak, and Jang Song Taek.

The elevation of Kim Jong-un to the rank of a General and his election as a member of the Party Central Committee and as one of the two Vice-Chairmen of the NDC of the State and the CMC of the party clearly places him in a position to succeed his father as the ruler of North Korea. Kim Jong-il suffered a stroke in August 2008 and has reportedly been in poor health since then. Since January last year, the South Korean intelligence agency and media have been saying that after the stroke Kim Jong-Il had decided to groom Kim Jong-Un as his successor after superseding his two elder brothers and as the first step towards this, a special party conference would entrust him with important responsibilities relating to the State and the Party.

They have been proved right. However, there are still certain questions to which even the well-informed South Korean Intelligence agency and media do not have answers: Why did Kim Jong-il send Kim Jong-Un to Switzerland for three years of schooling? According to one unconfirmed report, all the three brothers had done part of their schooling in Switzerland. Did Kim Jong-Un study in China too, where Kim Jong-Il was himself educated? What impact his three-year stay in Switzerland have on his thinking? Would his exposure to the Swiss society, political system and economy have any influence on his policies? Would he gradually open up North Korea and take it on the road to economic liberalization and eradicate its image of a “rogue state” and a “state of concern”?

Kim Jong-Un was reportedly in Berne, the capital of Switzerland, from the age of 12 to 15 studying in the local international school where he was, according to some media accounts, enrolled as the son of the chauffeur of the North Korean Embassy in Berne. He returned to North Korea in 1998 and subsequently attended the Kim Il-sung Military University. He was reported to have accompanied his father to China in August 2010. Apart from that, it is not known whether he had ever stayed in China and if so, in what capacity.

The fact that China itself may not be well informed about the happenings in the North Korean Government and Party became evident from two factors. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was earlier this year reported to have dismissed South Korean and Western speculation that Kim Jong-Il had decided that Kim Jong-Un should succeed him. Chinese newspapers such as the “Global Times” have often been reporting on North Korea on the basis of South Korean and Western speculation.

Chinese views over what could happen in North Korea after Kim Jong-il were reflected in a “Global Times” article of September 28, which said: “Despite varied versions of the successor choice and to which post the figure will be elevated to at the meeting, some analysts are dismissing the possibility of political chaos as a result of such a transition, saying the country won't undergo any significant policy change that could pose downsides on the security situation of the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia. A stable North Korea is in China's national interests, regardless of who will be the next leader, experts say. Some cautious analysts also suggested that Jong-un's ascendancy could still be undone by political infighting, The New York Times reported. Xu Baokang, an expert on Korean Peninsula issues, told the Global Times that "any major shifts in its existing economic, social or foreign policies look impossible to take place." "North Korea's policies will remain to be strictly in line with Kim Il-sung's ideas. Intensive speculations in Western media that Pyongyang is likely to adjust its policies dramatically are incorrect," he said, adding that North Korea "can't endure risks stemming from major reforms." While predicting that the north will be politically stable, Lü Chao, a researcher of Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that "China supports North Korea to be part of the international community, and the Chinese side will actively create favorable conditions so as to help the North get rid of its isolated situation in the world, which also serves China's national interests."

Will Kim Jong-un be able to consolidate his position and emerge as the unquestioned leader of North Korea? The answer to this question will depend on how soon his father leaves the political scene----either due to death or poor health. If his father manages to continue in power for some years, that could enable Kim Jong-Un to consolidate his position in the Army and the Party. If his father leaves earlier than expected, he may find it difficult to deal with his potential adversaries in the army and the party. Among his adversaries will be his two superseded brothers and Chang Song-Taek, the husband of his aunt, who is today reputed to be the second most powerful man in North Korea after Kim Jong-il. Other Army officers may not like working under a 27-year-old person with very little exposure to the army and the world of diplomacy. Any infighting in the party and/or the army could lead to an active Chinese involvement in internal politics to prevent the country coming under the influence of elements not well-disposed towards China.

This may please be read in continuation of my earlier articles cited below:

(a). Article dated August 27,2010, titled “Chinese Concerns over North Korea & Vietnam”.

(b).Article of August 31,2010, titled “Visit of Kim Jong-IL to China---An Assessment “.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, E-mail: )

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IPKF monument is a monumental blunder for the island’s history

 " India let down the Tamils more than once. Now that China is given preferential treatment for the development of infrastructures India feels left out of investment opportunities and it is shedding crocodile tears that China would emerge the darling of the Sri Lankan government. "

by Pearl Thevanayagam

(September 30, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Does Sri Lanka need a monument for the IPKF? How many Sri Lankans were killed by the IPKF in the three years they went on a rampage scuttling civilians from pillar to post, conducting midnight raids and raping women, splintering Tamil militant groups and pitting one against the other? Stories are abound of how when the IPKF marched over bodies they slain and advanced into civilian homes slaughtering them by their hundreds.

Monuments are erected for bravery, national pride and sacrifice. Can IPKF honestly fit into any of these categories?

IPKF soldiers did not want to leave the shores of Sri Lanka when they saw the prosperity of the North and East where even the humblest of houses had a well each; a far cry from the tenements of Indian cities with a public tap to get water from for at least 500 people where the common recruits of IPKF came from.

Peace-keeping was the furthest from their agenda.

The war left over 77,000 dead and many thousands displaced in the North ande East. The invitation of the IPKF following the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 to wipe out Tamil rebellion left a bloody trail of thousands dead, mililtant groups fighting pitch battle against each other and generally putting the island in a permanent state of terror. Defence analysts bellieve that had the IPKF not been forcibly sent back by Premadasa, India would have exercised its dominance with more vigour in the Indian Ocean. India’s strategy is not unlike that of the colonial British. Divide and Rule.

It is pertinent to note here that Dr Jonathan Goodhand ( the same person who is now working with Norway on Sri Lanka ) who worked with NGOs in the North in the ‘90s and Alan Bullion, a defence strategist who was based in Delhi during the same period delivered talks during a workshop a few years back in London on how India found a golden opportunity in the internal strife to etch its dominance in the Indian Ocean for its own maritime strategeic interest in the Indian Ocean.

The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka were furthest from the minds of the Indian govenrment.

There were talks between JR and India to retain IPKF to quell the JVP rebellion in the South. But Premadasa would have none of this. He sent his own Black Cats under Udugampola to massacre 50,000 Sinhalese youth between ’89 and ’90.

The methods used by the STF led by Ravi Jayewardene, a former Buddhist monk and brother of JR, were described by the British contingent brought in to train the STF as, `far more barbaric than any torture methods imaginable’.

India distanced itself after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by an LTTE suicide bomber. And there is mounting evidence that India along with its counterpart and foe Pakistan not to mention US, UK, Ukraine, China and Russia provided the necessary weapons, training air surveillance to exterminate the LTTE and end this war which considerably altered the demographic statistics of the percentage of Tamils.

While sympathisers in Tamilnadu protested and went on hunger strikes and fast unto deaths the Central Government remained unperturbed harking back on the assassination of Gandhi for its apathy towards the plight civilians in th final thores of the war.

Ashok K. Mehta writes,

Mr Rajapaksa does not wish to have anything to do with the 13th Amendment. At the UN General Assembly speech on September 23 he said: “If history has taught us one thing it is that imposed external solutions breed resentment and ultimately fail.”

The President is damned bloody right. While there are pernicious problems regarding the way he governs he is right this one instance.

India let down the Tamils more than once. Now that China is given preferential treatment for the development of infrastructures India feels left out of investment opportunities and it is shedding crocodile tears that China would emerge the darling of the Sri Lankan government.

It is to the credit of our President that he is not fooled by either China or India. Even the Tamil diaspora are with the President when it comes to our own economy and how we market our potentials.

As to appointing Pillayan and Douglas as key ministers the President may have been short-sighted. But given time I hope he would exercise his powers to curtail excesses.

As for an IPKF monument in the city, there is no need for it.

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The Real Pirates in Somalia: Washington, Paris and Oslo

"Let us beware of Norwegian wolves or their Somali ‘counterpart’ Warabe appearing in the skin of an Ido and pretending to be a friend. Let us stand and stay strong in defending the sovereignty of Somalia as a whole, including its waters and natural resources."

by Abdulkadir Salad Elmi

(September 30, Mogadishu,Sri Lanka Guardian)Many people seem not to understand, or refuse to understand, that more than half of Somalia consists of the seas around the country. This makes the oceans vital to the survival of the Somali people.

Somali territorial waters (TW), declared in 1972, consist of an 825,052km2 area. A 1989 exclusive economic zone (EEZ) overlays the same area as the TW. An additional 55,895km2 of continental shelf zone (CSZ) makes up Somali ocean territory.

The sum of the total internal area of Somalia of 637,657km2, together with the TW and EEZ, make up a total of 1,462,709km2, which with the additional CSZ expands to 1,518,604km2.

These figures hopefully make clear the importance of marine waters for the Somali people and also why vested interests try to get their hands on these waters, thereby trying to push back the interests of the Somali people.

The Legal Regime

Somalia has territorial waters of 200 nautical miles (nm), based on Law No. 37 on the Territorial Sea and Ports, of 10 September 1972. This law states clearly that fishing in territorial waters and the regular transportation of persons and goods between Somali ports is reserved for vessels flying the Somali flag, and other authorised vessels with a licence and permission from the legitimate Somali government and not by a regional government.

States like the USA do not like to recognise and/or respect this law and pressurise states to give up their 200nm of territorial waters established by acts of law. Meanwhile, for reasons of national sovereignty or security the USA has not even ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and pushed for alterations to its provisions, which would otherwise curb their rights.

Many peoples and states around the world do not like that the USA does not respect many international laws or conventions like the land-mine ban. A vast majority of people and states want the USA to abolish national laws that impose the death sentence, but nevertheless the country applies their own laws in their territory.

Likewise, they have to at least tolerate Somalia applying its own laws in its territory. The Americans would never give up an ounce of national sovereignty unless they thought they could win it back – along with a little chunk of the sovereignty of other states. Just look at the farce of the Organisation of American States. The plan was to cow Latin America and Canada into a neo-imperial arrangement with ‘USAmerica’ as the core and the rest of the two continents of North and South America as the economic periphery dependent on ‘USAmerican’ patronage to maintain export-oriented primary industry-focused economies. This was disgustingly parasitic of the USA, but, crudely efficient at dominating the world for the past 60 years, this regime has persisted.

It was the USA who was the first country to expand its territorial waters beyond the common idea of the old-world states, which had claimed since medieval times only three nautical miles (the distance where it could be enforced by a canon shot from land) as their territory on the sea. Using the customary international law principle of a nation’s right to protect its natural resources, US President Truman in 1945 extended US control to all the natural resources of its continental shelf. Other nations were quick to follow. Between 1946 and 1950, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador extended their rights to a distance of 200nm to cover their Humboldt Current fishing grounds. Other nations extended their territorial seas to 12nm. By 1967, only 25 nations still used the old three-mile limit, while 66 nations had set a 12-mile territorial limit and eight had set – like Somalia in 1972 – a 200-mile limit. As of 28 May 2008, only two countries still use the three-mile limit: Jordan and Palau. The limit is also used in certain Australian islands, an area of Belize, some Japanese straits, certain areas of Papua New Guinea, and a few British Overseas Territories, such as Anguilla.

The visionary expansion of the territorial seas to 200nm by Somalia and other states therefore has legitimacy and – although perhaps belittled by piracy – it is also an expression of taking responsibility. Notwithstanding the present deplorable state of Somalia’s security, the vision that the Somali people will again have the strength to fulfil their responsibility to govern the Somali seas to a distance of 200nm, must and cannot be neglected.

Somali Law No. 37 also governs the so-called ‘innocent passage’ of foreign merchant vessels, which can only be permitted if the state whose flag the vessel is flying is recognised by Somalia and if the Somali authorities have at least been made aware and raised no objection to the passage. Illegal weapon transports like that allegedly done by the MV Faina, French research vessels prospecting for oil or foreign-flagged vessels fishing illegally in Somali waters certainly have violated this basic Somali law.

Article 10 of Somali Law No. 37 also stipulates that since 1972: ‘Foreign warships are not allowed to pass through the territorial sea (200nm) unless they are authorised by the Somali Government.’ That was and is the rule and was internationally respected and enforced from 1972 until 1991.

However, a non-existent letter, allegedly signed by former Transitional Federal Government (TFG) president Abdullahi Yussuf, or the illegally signed later version – signed by the non-Somali Ould-Abdallah, who anyway held no Somali governmental powers – certainly do not bear any legal significance concerning any such ‘permissions’ or requests, which makes the present occupation of Somali waters by the naval armada likewise illegal. Although everybody clearly agrees that piracy has to end and sees the necessity to curb piracy and other crimes on the high seas as well as inside Somali territorial waters, one has to realise that one injustice cannot be curbed with another injustice. Meanwhile, it has become clear to anybody that piracy originating from the Somali coast and maritime crime committed by Somalis cannot be exterminated by a naval armada violating the rights and sovereignty of Somalia and the Somali people. Laws are made and should be enforced to avert and fight injustices, but not to create new injustices.

Somalia has an exclusive economic zone of 200nm based on the United Nations Common Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) derived from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which Somalia was one of the first 40 signatories and which was ratified by the Somali parliament on 24 July 1989 – five years before the required number of countries signed on to make it applicable. The convention came into force on 16 November 1994 and is therefore binding for all signatory states – even if they have not recognised subsequent Somali governments after 6 January 1991. Even when certain states argued that there would be no ‘legitimate and recognised Somali Government’, this does not mean that the legal regime of persisting national legislation and the relevant international laws – like UNCLOS – are no longer applicable. It is very simple to understand: If you knock on the door of a house which is not yours and nobody welcomes you inside, you certainly do not have the right to enter just because nobody answers you. Likewise, if for example the captain of a fishing vessel wants to enter Somali waters and believes that it is not necessary to have the permission required by national or international law because the flag-state of the vessel has not recognised the legitimacy of a given Somali government or simply because nobody had responded to a request for entry, he would be wrong, and would have to stay outside Somali waters – no matter what.

It doesn’t matter that certain states and groups repeatedly try to create the impression that Somalia does not have an EEZ arguing that the relevant maps are not shown on the UN website. The Somali government has declared its EEZ and the relevant charts were in Mogadishu and also with the UN offices before the war. It is not the fault of Somalis if the UN has misplaced them.

However, the key issue here is that Somalia did declare its EEZ based on and together with its signature and ratification of UNCLOS in 1989. The concept of the EEZ cannot and should not be misused to diminish the rights of Somalia concerning its waters.

Somalia has a CSZ of 350nm, based on international law and Somalia’s claim documented and handed in by Somalia on 17 April 2009 to the UN and the International Seabed Authority before the deadline of 13 May 2009. The establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200nm is the right of all coastal states under international law. That there might be issues about how the law will be used and interpreted to elaborate binding agreements concerning specific boundaries is notwithstanding to the fact that the boundaries (for example, between Kenya and Somalia or between Djibouti and Somalia) have been and are clear since Somalia signed and ratified UNCLOS in 1989. Attempts to bend or alter such memoranda, which like in the case of Kenya was instigated by Norwegian interests, should be a warning.

Somali Sovereignty, Marine and Maritime Rights

While the AU (African Union) and states like Indonesia and Germany respect the Somali Law of the Sea and the Somali EEZ, countries like Spain or Italy only respect this legal regime indirectly by having told their state-flagged vessels to stay out of the 200nm area, while Spanish- or Italian-owned vessels fly flags of convenience and like many others, continue poaching fish in Somali waters.

But even states like France, who tried at first to maintain the line that since the UNCLOS-EEZ maps were not shown on the UNCLOS website and therefore Somalia should not have an EEZ, have by a declaration of their president Nicolas Sarkozy – given during a meeting in Libya – officially stated that now France will also respect the 200nm zone of Somalia. The fact that the European Union (the conglomerate of old-world countries) shares its economic zones does not affect Somalia, but was interestingly the reason why Norway itself did not enter the EU as a member.

But what Norway (and other players like the EU and IMO – International Maritime Organisation) try to manifest with the ‘re-establishment’ of the Somali EEZ and their unwarranted ‘help’ is not only to follow the line set by the USA, which would force the Somalis to abolish the Somali Law on the Sea and its 200nm territorial waters, but also that all the cases involving violations of Somali law which have been documented over the last 20 years should be brushed under the carpet and forgotten. All the cases over the last 20 years – during which Somalia could hardly defend its rights – would be thrown out because it would be argued that this newly done ‘formal establishment of an EEZ’ would mean that there had been no EEZ before, which is simply not true.

Many were present in Mogadishu in the years before 1991 and are still living as key witnesses to events, when delegation after delegation from other countries tried to coerce or convince the Siad Barre government to do away with the Somali Law on the Sea and its 200nm provisions because they wanted unhindered access to Somali waters and resources.

Laws of states like Somalia and Peru led the international community to realise that it would be a good idea to have marine waters governed by the coastal states to which they belonged. This gave rise to the legal provisions found today in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the basic idea of creating a 200nm EEZ for all coastal states, and to make provisions for those who had yet to declare a 200nm zone. To turn this around now and go against one of the founder nations must be seen as an outrageous act of aggression.

Today, after 20 years of civil war, and while the Somali government and the Somali population, which never in Somali history has been so weak and vulnerable, outside forces believe they have an ideal moment to press for the twisting of legal history solely for their own interests.

Let us not forget that the only interest the Norwegian state machinery has in Somalia are the potential oil reserves and fish resources. This is especially so with offshore oil concessions, where they believe they can gain an advantage over the French, who already have secret contracts concerning offshore drilling in Somali waters. That the Norwegians actually did help to beat the deadline of 13 May 2009, which the International Seabed Authority had set for the declaration of interests in the CSZ, should not lead to a situation where Somalis can be blindfolded into giving up other rights.

Though with the new 350nm continental shelf regulations further Somali rights have been manifested, this should not lead to a situation where an expansion of certain limited rights is traded in for a weakening of core-rights in the rear. That especially the USA is not happy with states, which based on international and national law can refute the US Navy from sailing right up to the shores of a sovereign state, is clear and was recently manifested by a near-deadly stand-off between China and the USA in the South China Sea.

Likewise, Indonesia’s UN delegate stated at the UN that the south-east Asian nation had joined Security Council efforts to address piracy incidents off the Somali coast by adopting UN resolutions 1816, 1836 and 1846. But the delegate stressed that while the resolutions tackled piracy, they must not affect the rights, obligations or responsibility of states under international law, which first and foremost was to respect the sovereignty of a nation in the first place.

Somalia has a 200nm zone of territorial waters, like the recognised nation states of Benin, Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia and Peru. In Peru these provisions are even enshrined in the constitution.

Such maritime dominion and the right to exercise sovereignty and jurisdiction should not be given up by Somalia, especially also because the 1952 Santiago Declaration in its preamble affirms that ‘governments are bound to ensure for their peoples the access to necessary food supplies and to furnish them with the means of developing their economy’. The declaration also affirms how the economic zone should extend not less than 200nm from the coast.

The 1970 Declaration of the Latin American States on the Law of the Sea further added that the decision to extend the jurisdiction beyond the former territorial sea limits was a consequence of ‘the dangers and damage resulting from indiscriminate and abusive practices in the extraction of marine resources’ as well as the ‘utilisation of the marine environment’ giving rise to ‘grave dangers of contamination of the waters and disturbance of the ecological balance’.

The natural resources of Somalia’s seas are the only sound assets left for a prosperous future of the Somali people, which is why even the AU during the 1990s and at the Maputo and Cape Town conferences on the coastal development of Africa clearly urged the world to respect the Somali EEZ. Anybody who says that Somalia has no EEZ is giving a slap in the face to the Somali people, but also to all nations of the AU.

Let us beware of Norwegian wolves or their Somali ‘counterpart’ Warabe appearing in the skin of an Ido and pretending to be a friend. Let us stand and stay strong in defending the sovereignty of Somalia as a whole, including its waters and natural resources.

That we might have to go through a phase of sorting out internal issues by strengthening regional and local government in order to regain our former unity are issues of our own internal affairs and do not affect the internationally relevant legal provisions. Somalia’s problems must not give reason to disrespect our commons or weaken our common defence against any outside aggressor.

Even when we are down on our knees and have to sometimes beg for help, the so-called international community has to first and foremost respect Somalia’s sovereignty and laws before they can be accepted as friends. Gifts in the form of Trojan horses must be rejected and those colluding with such scams must be seen for what they are: traitors and enemies of the Somali people.

* This article was first published by Somali Talk. Tell a Friend

LLRC in the Vanni

by K. Godage

(September 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Many Journalist friends have inquired of me as to whether I knew why the LLRC did not allow the foreign media to cover the sitting of the LLRC in the Vanni. From all reports the LLRC appears to have missed out on a great opportunity to tell the world the whole truth and nothing but the truth by being defensive. I am reminded of a previous instance when we stupidly sought to cover-up and shield the men responsible for the killing of five boys in Trincomalee and the workers in the French NGO. We were concerned about the adverse fall out —- yes there has been an adverse fallout but nothing compared to what would have happened had we brought the culprits to justice and apologised for what had taken place, if any government agency was at all involved. By appointing a Commission to investigate a Police matter and indulging in a cover-up, those responsible brought the whole Human Rights watch-dogs down on us and our country’s image was tarnished. Those responsible had no experience in dealing with such situations, they blundered and the whole country is still suffering and paying for their sins.

Why has the LLRC refused permission to foreign journalists to cover the sitting of the LLRC in the Vanni ? They would have done so with the best of intentions because the country has been facing a hostile press since this government came into office. They would no doubt have thought that damaging statement could be made and the hostile foreign press would have added their journalistic spin on what was said and damaged the image of the country.

Reliable sources that had followed the proceeding state that the Tamil citizens who came before the Commission had related a horrendous tale of suffering at the hands of the LTTE; of the forced recruitment of children, of they the people being used as a human shield and the numerous cruelties visited on them by their so-called ‘saviours’ who were ever prepared to use them as canon fodder. The foreign journalists in particular would no doubt have been surprised to hear of what they had to say about their seeking refuge for they had no other option. They have said that they feared the worst but in the circumstances that prevailed at the time they had no other option. They had been told that the Sinhalese soldiers were monsters. They had stated that they could not even now believe or come to terms with the kindness and understanding that was shown to them. We are reliably informed that they came willingly and of their own accord to without out any duress to relate their stories

We appear to have missed a golden opportunity to tell the world from the ‘horse’s mouth’ as it were, what actually happened. It was indeed a pity that even the local press did not cover the sittings (was it a protest to support their foreign colleagues?) for we have not seen any reports by that respected senior journalist Shamindra Ferdinando who has been ‘compulsory reading’. We do hope the latter would obtain from the Commission the transcripts of the evidence led and share the same with us the people; this would of course be no substitute for hearing from the ‘horse’s mouth, particularly for the foreign journalists for what has been stated by those who gave evidence; I would urge the Commission to release the text of their testimony to the information of the public. I would also urge that a ‘Peoples’ Commission’ be established by a non-government group comprising of well known and eminent persons who have been working with people on both sides of the divide, to inquire and report to the government the ‘story’ as told to them —— I would suggest that such Commission comprise only of women and include such eminent and dedicated persons such as Indrani Iriyagolle, Dr. Anula Wijesundera. Hiranthi Wijemanne, Mrs. Kailasapillai and Jeseema Ismail. I have no doubt that they would be able to elicit valuable information which would help with the reconciliation process.
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India loses the plot

Colombo continues to drift away from New Delhi and towards Beijing as the UPA Government flounders on foreign policy. That's bad news for us

by Ashok K Mehta

(September 29, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) The construction of the memorial for the Indian Peace Keeping Forces in Colombo has been mired in politics. First, it was an internal land row. Then, a minor debate on a mutually acceptable design for the memorial. And finally a political argument on when and who should inaugurate the memorial. Owing to a land dispute involving the Mayor of Colombo, it was decided to construct it alongside the World War II Memorial in the heart of town but even this was not acceptable. It came up eventually outside Colombo at Kotte near the new Parliament building. It must be acknowledged that the Sri Lankan military played a constructive role, the Navy particularly being responsible for it.

In 2008, Lt Gen AS Kalkat, who was the overall Commander of IPKF, was asked by India’s Ministry of Defence to assemble a team of Sri Lanka veterans to be present at the formal inauguration, at one time, planned during the SAARC summit in 2008 with both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh present. That would have been a fitting tribute for the 1,200 brave men who sacrificed their lives for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Politics got in the way because by then Mr Rajapaksa, having liberated the East, was closing in on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to deliver the mortal blow in the North.

Twenty years after the withdrawal of the IPKF, India’s High Commissioner Ashok Kanth laid a wreath on August 15 this year at the black marble memorial marking its formal inauguration without any political or diplomatic representation from Sri Lanka. Since then, the Indian Naval and Army Chiefs have visited the memorial in quick succession. Interestingly, no Indian Prime Minister has visited Colombo on a bilateral visit since Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assaulted by a Naval sailor in the honour guard in 1987.

As the India-Sri Lanka Accord-enabled IPKF became a key political irritant in India-Sri Lanka relations, it was hounded out by then President Ranasinghe Premadasa and what is worse, the Indian political and diplomatic establishment blamed it for the failure of its coercive diplomacy.

Sri Lankans were extremely emotional, even irrational, about the IPKF. After the Sri Lankan Government had manipulated a duplicitous deal with the LTTE, Colombo wanted the IPKF to “go back”. When Sri Lanka was in deep trouble after the LTTE overran Elephant Pass and threatened the Jaffna garrison in 2000, Buddhist monks pleaded for IPKF to “come back”. During the most recent offensive, when the Army was on the threshold of victory, Sri Lankans asked for the IPKF to “keep out”. The IPKF kept out though New Delhi helped Colombo to win a comprehensive military victory over the LTTE.

Nearly 30 years after New Delhi set out under its ‘Indira Gandhi Monroe Doctrine’ to help Sri Lankan Tamils secure their legitimate political right in a merged North-East, there is little India can cheer about. Rather it has been left carrying the can: The merged North-East Province has been demerged and the frequently promised 13th Amendment on devolution has turned into a mirage. From all accounts, the proposed 19th Amendment is to replace the 13th Amendment ostensibly to make the Provincial Council system more effective.

Mr Rajapaksa does not wish to have anything to do with the 13th Amendment. At the UN General Assembly speech on September 23 he said: “If history has taught us one thing it is that imposed external solutions breed resentment and ultimately fail.” That is why he has been talking about a home-grown solution though he has told everyone, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh downwards, that the 13th Amendment would be improved and implemented in full.

A high-ranking Sri Lankan security expert told me recently that if at all there is any political devolution in the North-East it will occur only after security stabilisation and that could take five to 10 years. After all, he said, the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Mr Pillaiyan, is a former terrorist. The ‘Eastern Awakening’, meant to be a rejuvenation of the war-wrecked Eastern Province, is confined to development. A full scale militarisation in the East and North is underway with cantonments coming up on scarce land. Locals have not been consulted on development projects which focus on tourism. Tamils are complaining that Sinhalese are being brought in under the garb of workers to further colonise the province.

India has not only been ignored over the power-sharing arrangement but also in the manner in which Chinese interests have got a boost across Sri Lanka, including in the North-East. Relations with China expanded after Mr Rajapaksa took office in 2005. From a bit player, China has become the largest donor ($ 3.06 billion) surpassing Japan. Sri Lankans value the robust political and military support provided by Beijing during the war and the developmental assistance after it. Colombo says “there are no strings attached”.

India should fear that the Hambantota port constructed by a Chinese consortium could become the southern anchor of its ‘String of Pearls’ around India. The refurbishment of Colombo harbour has also been bagged by China. Sri Lanka has drawn capital from India’s strategic silence over its pivotal military assistance in defeating the Tigers. This has helped Colombo to “look beyond Delhi” and openly acknowledge China’s key role in winning the war. Like Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Nepal, Mr Rajapaksa has a grand vision of reducing dependence on India,courtesy China. Clearly New Delhi has lost the strategic plot in Sri Lanka. The outright defeat of the LTTE has diminished its influence in Colombo.

Former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan had warned Colombo in 2008 that it should not seek weapons from Pakistan and China when India was the pre-eminent power. It turns out that last week Sri Lanka’s most powerful Defence Secretary and brother of the President, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was in China, underwriting the Defence Cooperation Agreement with PLA Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde.

It should have been payback time for Sri Lanka. Instead Colombo has subtly introduced the China card, complimenting the traditional Pakistan linkage to balance India. With China burrowing deep into Nepal in the north, it is repeating the exercise in the south. India’s optimistic claims of “decisive influence without direct involvement in Sri Lanka” are no longer valid. Mrs Indira Gandhi’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’ has been superceded by ‘Mahinda Chinthan’.
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Opinion: Sri Lanka holds tight to China

Why the world should be worried about Sri Lanka's deepening ties with China.

by Karunyan Arulantham
Courtesy GlobalPost

(September 29, Los Angeles, Sri Lanka guardian)When the voters of war-torn Sri Lanka cast their ballots in last January’s presidential election, little did they realize that the winner, incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, would take such an expansive view of his victory.

Eight months into his second term, Rajapaksa is engaged in an unprecedented power grab that is marginalizing religious and ethnic groups and endangering the island’s fragile democracy. Earlier this month, the country’s parliament abolished presidential term limits, effectively creating an imperial presidency.

No doubt Rajapaksa figures he deserves some spoils for being the leader who finally liquidated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after a 26-year civil war. But he has given himself the portfolios of defense, finance and planning, ports, aviation and highways, and he has appointed one brother economic development minister and another defense secretary. Add a third brother as Speaker of Parliament, a cousin as deputy minister of water and drainage, and a son in the family’s seat in parliament — and it’s clear this is dynasty-building run amok.

People around the world greeted the end of Sri Lanka’s war with relief. But it is time for Western governments and businesses to recognize the rising threat to freedom and use whatever leverage they have to stop Rajapaksa’s divisive and anti-democratic policies, which are dovetailing with island’s ever tighter embrace of China.

Dynastic politics is nothing new in South Asia, but the creation of this family juggernaut is particularly troubling. It comes after Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan military achieved a decisive — and needlessly bloody — end to Sri Lanka’s long war, killing as many as 40,000 people in the final weeks of fighting. Most were unarmed Tamil civilians.

In the wake of that campaign, Rajapaksa called an early election and coasted to an easy win, pledging to heal the wounds and divisions that left the country so devastated for so long. Tamils were skeptical, but hopeful.

Two weeks after his re-election, Rajapaksa’s government arrested his defeated presidential opponent, who remains in custody on politically motivated charges. As part of a broad campaign to silence opponents, independent organizations report that press intimidation and human rights violations remain rampant.

Instead of embracing democracy, Rajapaksa and his supporters in parliament — where brother Chamal, as Speaker, sets the agenda — have launched a frontal assault on the constitution. In addition to abolishing term limits, other changes have ended independent oversight of appointments to the country’s Supreme Court, human rights and electoral commissions — moves that vastly expand presidential powers and leave them unchecked by other branches of government.

The problems with these changes are numerous: Election promises to decentralize authority and grant more autonomy to Tamil areas in the north and east have been tossed out the window. Vital development aid is being poured into building beach resorts for foreigners and new military bases, while Tamil communities destroyed by warfare go without vitally needed new housing, hospitals, schools and churches. Tens of thousands of Tamils are still detained in camps, unable to return to their homes, while the government conducts a campaign to colonize Tamil areas with Sinhalese families, many with ties to the military. Tamil communities, and indeed the entire culture, are threatened with annihilation.

With Rajapaksa himself acting as Defense Minister and his brother Gotabaya serving as Defense Secretary, no one can challenge the use of Sinhalese Army troops to police Tamil majority regions of the island. But the continued military deployment is exacerbating ethnic tensions that originally sparked the civil war, and reports of harassment, plunder, and rape are multiplying. This will only get worse absent a legitimate peace and reconciliation process.

Truth and accountability are critical elements of reconciliation, but when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon created a three person panel of experts to look at war deaths in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa’s own housing minister rallied hundreds of protestors outside the UN’s headquarters in Colombo, forcing the offices to be closed and the resident U.N. coordinator to be recalled to New York.

Rather than accept an independent probe, Rajapaksa formed his own “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission,” which most outside observers consider is no more likely to uncover the truth about war crimes in Sri Lanka than the nine other government commissions that preceded it, none of which held anyone accountable.

The international community is not blind to what’s happening in Sri Lanka, but democratic friends seem impotent as Rajapaksa ignores critics in the West and deepens ties with China. While China may be unfazed by the island’s march toward autocratic rule, Sri Lankans should consider what a future with such limited friendships would look like. And the West should consider how many more borderline democracies it can afford to watch fall.

Karunyan Arulantham is a member of the Tamil American Peace Initiative, a group of Tamil Americans formed to help bring lasting peace and justice to Sri Lanka, as well as to focus attention on the destruction of Tamil communities and culture caused by the war. Tell a Friend

Transcript of President Ahmadinejad's U.N. Speech

The following is a transcript of remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 23 September 2010

(September 29, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. President,Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to the Almighty God who granted me the opportunity to appear before this world assembly once again. I wish to begin by commemorating those who lost their lives in the horrible flood in Pakistan and express my heartfelt sympathy with the families who lost their loved ones as well as with the people and the government of Pakistan. I urge everyone to assist their fellow men and women as a humane duty.

Let me thank H.E. Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, the President of the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly, for all his efforts during his tenure. I also would like to congratulate H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, the President of the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly and wish him all success. In the past years, I spoke to you about some of the hopes and concerns, including family crises, security, human dignity, world economy, climate change as well as the aspiration for justice and lasting peace.

After about one hundred years of domination, the system of capitalism and the existing world order has proved to be unable to provide appropriate solutions to the problems of societies and thus is coming to an end. I shall try to examine the two main causes of this failure and picture some features of the ideal future order.

a) Attitudes and Beliefs

As you are well aware, the divine prophets had the mission to call everyone to monotheism, love, and justice and show mankind the path to prosperity. They invite men to contemplation and knowledge in order to better appreciate the truth and to avoid atheism and egoism. The very nature of the message of all prophets is one and the same. Every messenger endorsed the messenger before him and gave glad tidings about the prophet to come, and presented a more complete version of the religion in accordance with the capacity of the man at the time. This continued up to the last messenger of God who presented the perfect and all-inclusive religion. In opposition to that, the egotist and the greedy stood up against this clear call, revolting against the message. Nimrod countered Hazrat Abraham, Pharaoh countered Hazrat Moses and the greedy countered Hazrat Jesus Christ and Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon them all). In the recent centuries, the human ethics and values have been rejected as a cause for backwardness. They were even portrayed as opposing wisdom and science because of the earlier infliction on man by the proclaimers of religion in the dark ages of the West. Man’s disconnection from Heaven detached him from his true self.

Man with his potential for understanding the secrets of the universe, his instinct for seeking truth, his aspirations for justice and perfection, his quest for beauty and purity and his capacity to represent God on earth was reduced to a creature limited to the materialistic world with a mission to maximize individualistic pleasures. Human instinct, then, replaced true human nature. Human beings and nations were considered rivals and the happiness of an individual or a nation was defined in collision with, and elimination or suppression of others. Constructive evolutionary cooperation was replaced with a destructive struggle for survival. The lust for capital and domination replaced monotheism which is the gate to love and unity.

This widespread clash of the egoist with the divine values gave way to slavery and colonialism. A large portion of the world came under the domination of a few western States. Tens of millions of people were taken to slavery and tens of millions of families were shattered as a result. All the resources, the rights and the cultures of the colonized nations were plundered. Lands were occupied and the indigenous people were humiliated and mass-murdered.

Yet, nations rose up, colonialism was alienated and the independence of the nations was recognized. Thus, the hope for respect, prosperity and security was revived amongst nations. In the beginning of the past century nice talks about freedom, human rights and democracy created hopes for healing the deep wounds of the past. Today, however, not only are those dreams not realized, but memories, even at times worse than before, have been recorded.

As a result of the two World Wars, the occupation of Palestine, the Korean and the Vietnam Wars, the Iraqi war against Iran, the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as many wars in Africa, hundreds of millions of people were killed, wounded or displaced. Terrorism, illicit drugs, poverty and the social gaps increased. The dictatorial and coup d’etat governments in Latin America committed unprecedented crimes with the support of the West.

Instead of disarmament, the proliferation and stockpiling of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons expanded, putting the world under a bigger threat. As a result, the very same old goals of colonialists and the slave masters were, this time round, pursued with a new facade.

b) The Global Management and Ruling Structures

The League of Nations and, then, the United Nations were established with the promise to bring about peace, security and the realization of human rights, which in fact meant a global management.

One can analyze the current governance of the world by examining three events:

First, the event of the 11th September 2001 which has affected the whole world for almost a decade. All of a sudden, the news of the attack on the twin towers was broadcast using numerous footages of the incident. Almost all governments and known figures strongly condemned this incident. But then a propaganda machine came into full force; it was implied that the whole world was exposed to a huge danger, namely terrorism, and that the only way to save the world would be to deploy forces into Afghanistan. Eventually Afghanistan, and, shortly thereafter, Iraq were occupied.

Please take note: it was said that some three thousands people were killed on September 11th, for which we are all very saddened. Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced and the conflict is still going on and expanding.

In identifying those responsible for the attack, there were three viewpoints.

1- That a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack. This is the main viewpoint advocated by American statesmen.

2- That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view.

3- It was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation. Apparently, this viewpoint has fewer proponents. The main evidence linking the incident was a few passports found in the huge volume of rubble and a video of an individual whose place of domicile was unknown but it was announced that he had been involved in oil deals with some American officials. It was also covered up and said that due to the explosion and fire no trace of the suicide attackers was found.

There remain, however, a few questions to be answered:

1- Would it not have been sensible that first a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack and then map out a rational plan to take measures against them?

2- Assuming the viewpoint of the American government, is it rational to launch a classic war through widespread deployment of troops that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people to counter a terrorist group?

3- Was it not possible to act the way Iran countered the Riggi terrorist group who killed and wounded 400 innocent people in Iran. In the Iranian operation no innocent person was hurt.

It is proposed that the United Nations set up an independent fact-finding group for the event of September 11th so that in the future, expressing views about it is not forbidden.

I wish to announce here that next year the Islamic Republic of Iran will host a conference to study terrorism and the means to confront it. I invite officials, scholars, thinkers, researchers and research institutes of all countries to attend this conference.

Second is the occupation of the Palestinian territories. The oppressed people of Palestine have lived under the rule of an occupying regime for 60 years, been deprived of freedom, security and the right to self-determination, while the occupiers are given recognition. On a daily basis, the houses are being destroyed over the heads of innocent women and children. People are deprived of water, food and medicine in their own homeland. The Zionists have imposed five all-out wars on the neighboring countries and on the Palestinian people. The Zionists committed the most horrible crimes against the defenseless people in the wars against Lebanon and Gaza. The Zionist regime attacked a humanitarian flotilla in a blatant defiance of all international norms and kills the civilians.

This regime which enjoys the absolute support of some western countries regularly threatens the countries in the region and continues publicly announced assassinations of Palestinian figures and others, while Palestinian defenders and those opposing this regime are pressured, labeled as terrorists and anti-semites. All values, even the freedom of expression, in Europe and in the United States are being sacrificed at the altar of Zionism.

Solutions are doomed to fail because the right of the Palestinian people is not taken into account. Would we have witnessed such horrendous crimes if instead of recognizing the occupation, the sovereign right of the Palestinian people had been recognized? Our unambiguous proposition is the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the reference to the vote of the people of Palestine to exercise their sovereignty and decide on the type of governance.

Third is the nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is clean and cheap and a heavenly gift which is amongst the most suitable alternatives to cut the pollution emanating from fossil fuels. The Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows all member States to use nuclear energy without limits and the International Atomic Energy Agency is mandated to provide member States with technical and legal support.

The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon and which must totally be eliminated. The NPT prohibits its development and stockpiling and calls for nuclear disarmament.

Nonetheless, note what some of the permanent members of the Security Council and nuclear bomb holders have done: they have equated nuclear energy with the nuclear bomb, and have distanced this energy from the reach of most of nations by establishing monopolies and pressuring the IAEA. While at the same time, they have continued to maintain, expand and upgrade their own nuclear arsenals.

This has entailed the following: not only the nuclear disarmament has not been realized but also nuclear bombs have been proliferated in some regions, including by the occupying and intimidating Zionist regime.

I would like here to propose that the year 2011 be proclaimed the year of nuclear disarmament and “Nuclear Energy for all, Nuclear Weapons for None”.

In all these cases the United Nations has been unable to take any effective course of action. Unfortunately, in the decade proclaimed as the “International Decade for the Culture of Peace” hundreds of thousands were killed and injured as a result of war, aggression and occupation, and hostilities and antagonism increased.

Ladies and Gentlemen, very recently the world witnessed the ugly and inhumane act of burning the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran is the Divine Book and the eternal miracle of the Prophet of lslam. It calls for worshipping the One God, justice, compassion toward people, development and progress, reflection and thinking, defending the oppressed and resisting against the oppressors; and it names with respect the previous Messengers of God, like Noah, Abraham, Isaaq, Joseph, Moses and Jesus Christ (Peace be Upon them all) and endorses them. They burned Quran to bum all these truths and good judgments. However, the truth could not be burned. Quran is eternal because God and truth are everlasting. This act and any other act which widens the gap and distances between nations is evil. We should wisely avoid playing into the hands of Satan. On behalf of the Iranian nation I pay respect to all Divine Books and their followers. This is the Quran and this is the Bible. I pay respect to both of them.

Esteemed Friends, for years the inefficiency of capitalism and the existing world management and structures has been exposed and the majority of States and nations have been on a quest for fundamental changes and for the prevalence of justice in global relations. The cause of the United Nation’s ineptitude is in its unjust structure. Major power is monopolized in the Security Council due to the veto privilege, and the main pillar of the organization, namely the General Assembly, is marginalized. In the past several decades, at least one of the permanent members of the Security Council has always been a party to the disputes. The veto advantage grants impunity to aggression and occupation; how could, therefore, one expect competence while both the judge and the prosecutor are a party to the dispute? Had Iran enjoyed veto privilege, would the Security Council and the IAEA Director General have taken the same position in the nuclear issue?

Dear Friends, the United Nations is the key center for coordinating the common global management. Its structure needs to be reformed in a manner so that all independent States and nations will be able to participate in the global governance actively and constructively.

The veto privilege should be revoked and the General Assembly should be the highest body and the Secretary-General should be the most independent official and all his positions and activities should be taken with the approval of the General Assembly and should be directed towards promoting justice and eliminating discrimination.

The Secretary-General should not come under pressure from powers and/or the country hosting the organization for his stating the truth and administration of justice. It is suggested that the General Assembly should, within one year and in the framework of an extraordinary session, finalize the reformation of the Organization’s structure.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has clear suggestions in this regard and stands ready to participate actively and constructively in the process.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I announce clearly that the occupation of other countries under the pretext of freedom and democracy is an unforgivable crime.

The world needs the logic of compassion and justice and inclusive participation instead of the logic of force, domination, unilateralism, war and intimidation. The world needs to be governed by virtuous people like the Divine Prophets. The two vast geographical spheres, namely Africa and Latin America, have gone through historic developments during the past decades. The new approaches in these two continents, which are based on increasing levels of integration and unity as well as on localizing growth and development models, have borne considerable fruits to the peoples of those regions. The awareness and wisdom of the leaders of these two continents has overcome the regional problems and crises without the domineering interference of non-regional powers. The Islamic Republic of Iran has expanded its relations with Latin America and Africa in all aspects in recent years.

And about the glorious Iran, the Tehran Declaration was a hugely constructive step in confidence building efforts which was made possible through the admirable good will by the governments of Brazil and Turkey along with the sincere cooperation of the Iranian government. Although the Declaration received inappropriate reaction by some and was followed by an unlawful resolution, it is still valid.

We have observed the regulations of the IAEA more than our commitments, yet, we have never submitted to illegally imposed pressures nor will we ever do so. It has been said that they want to pressure Iran into a dialogue. Well, firstly, Iran has always been ready for a dialogue based on respect and justice. Secondly, methods based on disrespecting nations have long become ineffective. Those who have used intimidation and sanctions in response to the clear logic of the Iranian nation are in real terms destroying the remaining credibility of the Security Council and the trust of nations for this body, proving once and again how unjust is the function of the Council.

When they threaten a great nation such as Iran which is known throughout history for its scientists, poets, artists and philosophers and whose culture and civilization is synonymous to purity, submission to God and seeking justice, how can they ever expect that other nations to have confidence in them? It goes without saying that domineering methods in managing the world has failed. Not only has the era of slavery and colonialism and dominating the world passed, the path to the reviving old empires are blocked, too.

We have announced that we stand ready for a serious and free debate with the American statesmen to express our transparent views on issues of importance to the world in this very venue. It is proposed here that in order to have a constructive dialogue, an annual free debate be organized within the General Assembly.

In conclusion, friends and colleagues, the Iranian nation and the majority of the world’s nations and governments are against the current discriminatory management of the world. The inhumane nature of this management has put it at a dead-end and requires a major overhaul. Reforming the world’s affairs and bringing about tranquility and prosperity requires the participation of all, pure thoughts and the divine and humane management.

We are all of the idea that justice is the basic element for peace, durable security and the spread of love among peoples and nations. It is in justice that mankind seeks the realization of his aspirations, rights and dignity, since he is wary of oppression, humiliation and ill treatment. The true nature of mankind is manifested in the love for other fellow humans and love for all the good in the world. Love is the best foundation for establishing relation amongst people and amongst nations.

As Vahshi Bafqi, the great Iranian poet, says:

“From the fountain of youth, drink thousand sips
You’ll still die if you don’t have love’s grip”

In making a world full of purity, safety and prosperity people are not rivals but companions. Those who see their happiness only in the sorrow of others and their welfare and safety only in others’ insecurity, those who see themselves superior to others, are out of the path of humanity and are in evil’s course. Economy and materialistic means are only some tools to serve others, to create friendship and strengthen human connections for spiritual perfection. They are not tools for show off or a means of dominating others.

Men and women complement each other and the family unit with pure, loving and long-lasting relations of the spouses. In its center is the guarantee for the continuity and the bringing up of generations, for true pleasures, for spreading love and for reforming of the societies. Woman is a reflection of God’s beauty and is the source of love and caring. She is the guardian of purity and exquisiteness of the society. The tendency to toughen the souls and behaviors of women deprives them of their very basic right of being a loving mother and a caring wife. It would result in a more violent society with irreversible defects.

Freedom is a divine right that should serve peace and human perfection. Pure thoughts and the will of the righteous are keys to the gates of a pure life full of hope, liveliness and beauty. This is the promise of God that the earth will be inherited by the pure and the righteous. And the people free from selfishness will take up the management of the world. Then, there will be no trace of sorrow, discrimination, poverty, insecurity and aggression. The time for true happiness and for the blossoming of the true nature of humankind, the way God has intended, will arrive.

All those seeking justice and all the free spirits have been waiting for this moment and have promised such a glorious time. The complete human, the true servant of God and the true friend of mankind whose father was from the generation of the beloved Prophet of Islam and whose mother was from the true believers of Jesus Christ shall wait along with Jesus the son of Mary and the other righteous to appear in those brilliant times and assist humanity. In welcoming them we should join ranks and seek justice.

Praise to Love and worship, praise to justice and freedom, praise to the true humanity, the complete human, the true companion of humankind and peace be upon you and all the righteous and the pure.

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