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Victory for the government at UNHRC centre-court

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 28, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) The US and the rest of the West have pulled the wool over our eyes once more. Now we’ll sit and wait for 2015 for the government to come out with excuses such as it had bellyache and therefore could not adhere to UNHRC recommendations. The UNHRC has given grace period of two time-frames for Sri Lanka to come up with tangible domestic investigations.

Meanwhile Tamil victims and Tamil politicians have been assured the West is backing them all the way. Sri Lanka will sit on its posterior laughing its sides out and thumbing its nose at the UNHRC until 2015 which is another 12 months to say the least.

Human Rights Council - 25th Session| Voting of resolution L.1/Rev.1 " Promoting reconciliation, accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka " during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. 27 March 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
Who knows that during this interlude, an asteroid might find its way and hit all the Western countries which voted against Sri Lanka including UNHRC office in Geneva. After all, as some theories go, the extinction of dinosaurs was due to a spot-on hit by an asteroid hurtling at the speed of lightning when they just happened to be converged in one place minding their own business so to speak.

Diaspora political pundits with PhDs can have a well-earned rest and concentrate on their daily tasks such as attending to domestic matters (taking the missus out to dinner and kids to McDonalds) and looking for another venue to impart their long-winded dissertations and theories at a price of course. Having put away their filofaxes and laptops it would be back to basics.

Perhaps they could jump on the bandwagon of INGOs and conjure up new funding proposals to obtain Western aid on projects such as conflict resolution, designing a road map (whatever that means but it is floating in the air among UN elites) rebuilding North and East and reconciliation etc., etc.

Talking of PhDs, I am reminded of something I read somewhere. There was this champion basketball player who was awarded a scholarship to Harvard. One semester went by and as the proud father went over to the dean and enquired how his son was getting on he replied with a poker face, “We—ell, He got straight A’s but his B’s are a bit crooked.”

On a serious note, India abstained from voting for UNHRC resolution as expected since its own complicity in the island’s war when it supplied thousands of its soldiers to quell Tamil militancy is an open secret. That the IPKF marched trampling over bodies and went its merry way raping women, killing and plundering Tamil properties also would emerge when UNHRC proceeds with its own independent investigation into all the atrocities committed during the 30 year old ethnic war is not lost on international observers.

Any show of sympathy for war victims would jeopardise its trade links with Sri Lanka and opposing US sponsored resolution at UNHRC would be eyed with hostility by Tamil Nadu which has considerable clout in the forthcoming elections.

With his cheeks distending like a tom cat, SL ambassador to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinghe ranted raved that Sri Lanka is out-rightly rejecting UNHRC resolution. But would Navi Pillay listen? No sirree. She is braying for the blood of the government and she minced no words in conveying that it would henceforth be international probe and nothing else.

At least this time there was no heavy contingent and verbal diarrhoea from President-elect Tamara Kunanayakam who set up the precedent to indict Sri Lanka with her foul mouth castigating the UNHRC High Commissioner. The lessons learnt this time round for the President is to set aside his obligations to his sycophants for private interludes and not expose them to international scrutiny.

Aryasinghe carried out his mission with aplomb and diplo-speak even though it was pooh-pooed.

That UNSG Ban Ki Moon has halved her term of office would not be a deterrent since UNHRC carries on where Ms Pillai left off and she would still be available for consultancy. Moon’s term too is not assured so there we go, hey ho.

Where do we go from here? Only time will tell.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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