'Violations of Int'l Law is failure as Government '

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(April 27, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) This morning’s mail brought communication from the UN with the heading ‘SRI LANKA: UN RIGHTS CHIEF URGES FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS INTO REPORTS OF WAR CRIMES’

Last night, I heard young Australian Tamil Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan (of Australian Tamil Congress) say on SBS TV that action should be taken against both sides.

Both of the above spokespersons are of Tamil origins – living largely in Western work environments. As per my assessment - Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan represents the link between young educated Tamils in Sri Lanka to the western world, whilst Ms Navaneetham Pillai holds a position – a part of which links Tamils living in global environments to Global Resources and Management. Their expressions need to be taken in their respective position contexts – natural and official. Similarly, the findings by the UN Panel against the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers respectively. To me, this panel’s findings beyond the Administrative structure – are their assessment of the Sinhalese represented through the Government and Tamils who by choice supported the Tamil Tigers. The rest belongs to Administrative systems of various groups. This to me is a Management Report which needs to be used as a guide by those without positions – official and/or natural. Natural positions are positions as per our true work.

The UN Panel has found fault with both sides. Like with chicken and egg we do not know which side’s wrongs came first. This means that the problem is close to the root and hence the report is for the use of the Public – which is Global Public in this instance. The problem is now more a disease in areas outside Administrative boundaries.

The UN Authority on Human Rights says “As the report itself says, addressing violations of international humanitarian or human rights law is not a matter of choice or policy; it is a duty under domestic and international law,”

Paragraph 247 of the UN Report says:

‘The Panel believes that the credible allegations and violations point to the commission of the following war crimes by persons acting on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.

(a) Serious violations of Common Article 3, including violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, including rape; outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment and failure to collect and care for the wounded and sick;

(b) International attacks on civilians. 

(c) Indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks on civilians; 

(d) Attacks on medical and humanitarian objects, including humanitarian convoys and Red Cross - designated facilities.

(e) Starvation of the population and denial of humanitarian relief; and 

(f) Enforced disappearances.

Paragraph 248 of the Report says:

‘The Panel believes that the credible allegations and violations point to the commission of the following war crimes by persons on behalf of the LTTE:

(a) Serious violations of Common Article 3, including violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment (including forced labour) and torture; and taking of hostages; and 

(b) Forcible recruitment of children’

The Common problems of the two sides are:

violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture
To the extent of this commonness the Sri Lankan Government is responsible directly to the UN and other global agencies with whom Sri Lanka holds membership. To the extent of breach of the fundamental requirements of such memberships, the Sri Lankan Government is guilty of abusing the authority of Sovereignty as a Nation.

To me, the above make us naturally a Nation of common problems which could be cured through common solutions. We may not naturally belong at the higher level – but if we remained local – we would still maintain our sovereignty. By including global agencies and the Global Tamil Diaspora – this opportunity was lost sight of previously.

I see this part of the solution as the joint responsibility of the United Nations and the Government of Sri Lanka. One who finds fault needs to be part of the solution.
Then there are the differences / diverse problems:
LTTE and therefore Tamil Community who failed to use their international standards and powers (including cash) to prevent these diseases:

1.1 Forced Labour
1.2 Taking of hostage
1.3 Forcible Recruitment of children

Government of Sri Lanka and therefore Sinhalese Community who elect Government suffer from these diseases:

2.1 Rape
2.2 Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment
2.3 Failure to collect and care for the wounded and sick

We need cultural systems and solutions to address these and confirm that we are sovereign communities at that level. Towards this we need to move deeper than rights and wrongs into gunas/qualities that have become habitual and therefore need the association of others with strong cures.

Tamil - Forced Labour
The solution I feel from within is job opportunities at village level – so that other opportunities would not seem attractive. We need to help each village feel self sufficient even in physically defending itself from outside attacks. When we follow national and international laws even at village level, we would not fear the presence of official armed groups but expect them to do their duty as per their assessment of the risk in our environment, but without interfering with our natural environments. The Tamil Diaspora is in a good position to lead the Community in this regard.

The UN Report says about the Tamil Diaspora:

417. It is to be expected that the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, large parts of which provided vital moral and material support to the LTTE over decades, continues to harbour grievances about the plight of Tamils and to protest the actions of the Government during the last stages of the conflict. However, significant elements of the disaspora create a further obstacle to sustainable peace when they fail to acknowledge rights violations committed by the LTTE and its role in the humanitarian disaster in the Vanni.

419. The LTTE engaged in mafia style tactics abroad, especially among expatriate Tamil communities, to generate funds for their cause. Significant parts of the Tamil diaspora, who were supportive of the LTTE, played an instrumental role in fuelling the conflict in this way. It is reported that former front organizations for the LTTE continue to operate through private business and to control some of the temple incomes. Activities of these organizations should be monitored. In addition, funds acquired by the LTTE from the diaspora and elsewhere, and which still exist, should be secured for the purpose of making reparations to those in the Sri Lankan Tamil community who were victims in the conflict.

Those of us who have high level credits as employers and independent employees would naturally cure the enforced labor problem at the root level – by our common faith in paid employment. I have heard of temples being controlled by LTTE members. At personal level, I was never exposed to this problem – either in terms of funding or in terms of temple management. I feel part of the community and therefore I naturally take my earned position as per my assessment for which I have to invest at a level above the Administration. I do write to temple Governing Bodies and CEOs when I experience difficulty. This may have kept those driven by status and cash (including LTTE members and supporters) away from me. Others who are genuinely committed to temple Administration have indicated appreciation for my feedback and have shown identity with my wisdom in Public Administration – especially in Financial Management. Hence, to me forced labor is well within our Real Management portfolio. 

Tamil - Taking of hostage
The solution to this would include cultural structures that require the community to value those who contribute to common policy, more than those who are impatient to ‘show’ immediate outcomes.
There is currently low self esteem amongst parents in areas where children have gone overseas for whatever reason. This infects the whole community and the physically powerful tend to intimidate and show the results they desire to show for quick status. Taking hostage is due to this deterioration and resulting loss of self esteem.

The UN Panel reports also as follows about the Tamil Diaspora:

420. Memories of the Tamil diaspora, through their unconditional support of the LTTE and their extreme Tamil nationalism, have effectively promoted divisions within the Sri Lankan Tamil community and, ironically, reinforced Sinhalese nationalism. A stable future in Sri Lanka demands that of all of its ethnic communities, including those living abroad, recognize and respect the rights and interests of others with whom they share a common home land. The diasporas, which is large, well educated and has considerable resources, has the potential to play a far more constructive role in Sri Lanka 's future.

This ‘Nationalism’ is truly Racism on both sides. The real status must first match the official status. First of all the Tamil Diaspora is not limited to LTTE supporters. The Tamil Diaspora largely through mental endorsement did not interfere with the LTTE’s attempts towards self rule. Some submitted due to fear and/or desire. They were largely those who had not consciously invested in Government Administration. A good proportion of Tamils worked in the official Government for money and status. But due to lack of opportunities at the higher levels, equal to those who elected government, Tamils tended to limit themselves to the level of the benefits they were able to comfortably derive from the ‘system’. The downside of this was also that they became dependent on their children once the children started earning money and/or held higher positions through higher qualifications than the parents. This has been carried through to the countries that Tamil migrants now call their ‘home’. Parents who have been sponsored by their children and who have displaced themselves from their cultural roots have become dependents on their children. This is the real punishment for those who ‘cheat’ the system to claim refugee status. These aged parents have the choice of being orphans or dependents of their children. Only a few are independent and in their cases it does not matter where they live.

Separations and Divisions are natural part of young competitors. The moment we give form to our goal at the lower level, there is division of the whole. The more we look at the divided piece alone as if it were a standalone ‘project’ , the more separated we become. The excessive focus on the UN Report on war crimes is a good example of such separation that we bring upon ourselves, from the whole program towards mind mergers.

At the highest level of production by Equals, the outcome is divided into equal halves. The UN panel seems to have sought to produce at its own level. Last night for example, the SBS presented the views of Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan (known to the West as Dr. Sam Pari) as those of the Australian Tamil Community. To me Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan represents only a very small portion of Australian Tamil community. Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan is an impressive presenter and that seems to be the reason why she is often sought by lazy Australians looking for quick responses. From what is being said, we the community work out the level of investment by the media and grade the medium accordingly. It helps the lazy part of our Community identify themselves with the apparent status allocated by the media to the presenter. It is often not the real status felt and naturally taken by the community.

In the case of yesterday’s SBS report, according to Dr. Sambavi Parimalanathan, the Australian Government needed to get involved in taking up the issue with both sides. There was no mention about the Community getting involved at leadership level. In the above areas of diversity – including forced labor – we the Community must undertake the work independent of any government. That is when we are truly a sovereign community. We need to of course be open to others including our Governments participating with us at various levels. Towards this we need to be a facility rather than an administration. To become a facility one needs to renounce all forms of position/status benefits. This would be very difficult for LTTE supporters who accepted the LTTE leadership unconditionally. They just have to sacrifice more deeply than others to become a facility.

Tamil - Forcible Recruitment of children
Children in remote areas and in secluded communities carry this risk of being ‘employed’ at young age. We as a community need to ensure that educational opportunities are made available at our local areas and that they are accessed by the parents for their children. Towards this we must become part of the parental groups in our local areas. Once parents invest in their children through education, they would not easily allow others to take their investments away.

Sinhalese – Rape
When writing about the Sinhalese side, the maximum I am entitled to access for this purpose, is as the ‘other’ side of Tamil community. To me every individual, every community and every natural group has its sovereignty as per its Truth. If I damaged it I damage my own sovereignty. All outsiders need to take a structured approach in suggesting improvements. Like with the UN and with Auditors, we could only suggest but the change needs to be by the group itself.

Tamils as a community are strongly committed to structures of marriage. From my interactions with the Sinhalese community – I feel strongly that the Sinhalese are not as strongly committed to the structures and positions that go with the administration of marriage and therefore sexual pleasures. This has been confirmed by the regular reports that we get about sex related diseases in children in Sinhalese areas. The UN report has confirmed this further, through the rape allegation. The Sinhalese community might want to develop firmer structures in relation to marriage and regulation of sexual pleasures so that rape is not part of the problem in Armed Forces who are not ready for the power they seem to get during war. Every act of rape damages community investment in family. Every thought of rape kills our memories of consensual enjoyment of sex, leading to suffering in old age when the body is no longer able to give us pleasures and we have to live with our memories.

Sinhalese – Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment
This again is due to that ‘Sinha’ / Lion mentality. When there are no ‘outsiders’ with lesser powers, to humiliate and degrade, it would turn to the less powerful in their own community. It is for this reason that in democracy power is divided into equal halves through the position of opposition. The lower the level at which custodians of power ‘show’ outcomes the greater the need for this 50:50 power sharing. Sinhalese as a community would be in a better position to feel with those in National Government than do other races in Sri Lanka. Each time there is a political decision – it would be that of the ordinary voter with weak investment in structured administration. Until the LTTE, Tamils were strong investors in Public Administrative structures, especially through Higher Education. This is supported also by our legends such as Ramayanam and Mahabharatham – through which we naturally invested in strong Administrative structures. Positions help us respect the occupier irrespective of their personal qualities. Excessive use of political power leads to humiliating and degrading those who disagree with us and those who seem less powerful than us.

Sinhalese – Failure to collect and care for the wounded and sick
Armed forces on both sides dictated to the educated mental forces on their respective sides. Thus medical services were demoted below armed services. The wounded and the sick were the enemies of the armed forces. Hence the armed forces naturally would have ‘forgotten’ about the entitlements of the wounded and the sick. That is also a strong indicator that the Sinhalese only doctor is not an independent doctor in a multicultural area, unless s/he consciously brings about that equanimity of mind. Likewise, a Tamil only doctor in multicultural area. Given that the challenge is greater for Sinhalese professionals who are the parallels of White Australian doctors here in Australia – the outcomes produced by them naturally – would strongly smell of racism. Those who seek to stay in their local areas are protected from this problem. The individual usually has the choice. Tamil doctors’ choice in this regard is to go overseas or into private practice in local areas. Doctors from within the Tamil Diaspora have been connecting to doctors in Sri Lanka, more than other professionals.

The Sinhalese Diaspora doctors however, seem to have lost their connection to their roots. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia is reported to have said that there may be LTTE supporters in the refugee detention centers. May be he needs to ask himself whether they are more damaging of Australian society than Sinhalese doctors who carry low level of professional responsibility. The doctors of Sinhala only part of the Government are responsible for the lack of care in war zones dominated by their politically driven government.

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