Weiss: Colombo dominated by racist ideologues

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 July 2010, 23:28 GMT]
Arguing the reasons why Sri Lanka is making "fanciful" claims that "as many as half of all Tamil boatpeople have "links" to the Tigers," Gordon Weiss, UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka during the war, says "Its [Sri Lanka's] government is dominated by racist ideologues who promote the notion of the Sinhalese as a "chosen people." Government death squads have snatched thousands of people from the streets over the years. The country's highest court has explicitly rejected the role of international human rights instruments in Sri Lanka's affairs. And the government continues to deny that it killed civilians during the recent war, that there were battlefield executions, that it bombed hospitals, or that there is anything wrong with the sham democratic machinery of the state. The repressive creature of extreme nationalism is alive and well in Sri Lanka."

While "The Australian" ran a story titled "Half of Sri Lankan arrivals have ties to Tigers," written by a student (at Curtin), the terrorism expert at the Australian National University, Clive Williams, said "most Tamils would, as a necessity, have contact with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), given the group ruled a large swath of northern Sri Lanka, but that did not make them potential terrorists," The Age reported.

''It's one thing to be actually engaged in actually killing people and quite another to be simply living in the same area or maybe donating a bit of money because you're pressured to do so,'' Professor Williams said, according to The Age.

Gordon Weiss, former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka
Gordon Weiss, former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka
Weiss who has an on-the-ground knowledge of Sri Lanka's offensives, and who was evicted by Colombo for publicizing the plight of the civilians affected by the war, says further, "It [Colombo] still holds tens of thousands of civilians in internment camps. It shows no sign of instituting a political process to redress the half-century-old grievances of the Tamils, and thus remove the causes for any future conflict. And it shows no sign of seriously investigating allegations that both sides committed war crimes."

Weiss adds, Colombo "broke every guarantee that it gave Ban Ki-moon not to use heavy weapons in civilian areas. Its interests lie in repression, not confession, and it has no interest in potential witnesses reaching these shores."

In February 2010, Weiss said Sri Lanka’s military massacred as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final onslaught against the Liberation Tigers in 2009. The former United Nations’ spokesperson in Sri Lanka resigned from the UN after 14 years and returned home to Australia, where he was interviewed by ABC News. “He’s now free to speak openly about the situation in Sri Lanka, for the first time and does so candidly and unflinchingly,” the media agency said.


Chronology:


External Links:
Age: Most Tamils real refugees, say experts
Curtin: Should we be mindful about refugees seeking entry into Australia?
NP: Gordon Weiss to ABC News: Sri Lanka slaughtered 40000 Tamils.
TA: Tamil Tiger is extinct, and regime knows it
TA: Half of Sri Lankan arrivals have ties to Tigers

 

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