Feature Article

UNHRC ‘Sri Lanka’ roadmap premeditated not to deliver genocide justice to Eezham Tamils

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 March 2019, 15:28 GMT]
The successive UN Human Rights High Commissioners starting from the Canadian jurist Louise Arbour (2004–2008), South African Tamil jurist Navaneetham Pillay (2008-2014), Jordanian diplomat Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein (2014-2018) and the incumbent Chilean politician Michelle Bachelet, have all been following the same roadmap, laid out during the times of Ms Arbour at height of the genocidal war. That approach was based on the paradigm of avoiding looking into the crime of genocide, equating the GoSL and the LTTE and only concentrating on the war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred during the last phase of the war in 2009. The roadmap came to light, straight from the horse's mouth in 2010 when Ms Arbour was the head of the ‘International Crisis Group’ (ICG). The paradigm was also a part of the larger ‘intended’ failure on the part of the UN system.

It is essential to grasp the roadmap as envisaged in the own words of Louise Arbour and understand the actions that followed during Zeid's tenure as UN human rights commissioner.

Zeid, knowing very well that the international space provided to the SL State had also emboldened the extremist Theravada monks in Myanmar to wage genocide against the Muslims, was still sticking to the roadmap without allowing any space for the genocide allegation to gain credibility in the UN system in the case of Eezham Tamils.

Tamils should also grasp the actions and motives behind the resolution-framing member states, particularly that of the United Kingdom, which is behind sustaining the roadmap of the 2015 resolution in the absence of the USA as well as that of Germany and Canada, who were co-sponsoring the latest extension of the roadmap at the UN Human Rights Council this month.

As far as Eezham Tamils are concerned, they are the partners in the geopolitical trade with the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka.

The West is seeking to achieve a trade-off between the international justice and geopolitical access in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Geneva roadmap is conceived to focus minimally on both the criminal (retributive) justice and legal truth.

It continues to thrust upon Eezham Tamils an unworkable truth-seeking version of transitional justice.

One would easily infer the roadmap from the consecutive actions of the Geneva-based mechanisms.

Two key ‘pillars’ of this deceptive roadmap are: (1) the denial of the notion of genocide as applicable to Eezham Tamils and (2) the refusal of right of self-determination to the nation of Eezham Tamils as if that nation has not yet qualified for the ‘last resort only’ claim of remedial secession.

The denial of genocide was also sophisticatedly managed through the Terms of Reference (ToR) specified to the OISL Investigation. The adapted tactic was equating the GoSL and the LTTE on the claims of legal crimes.

Whenever Tamils argued for the case of genocide, they were confronted with the erratic claim that LTTE was also waging ethnic-cleansing

Now, Eezham Tamils have been warned of trials against former LTTE members in the co-sponsoring countries as well.

This week, the Core Group on ‘Sri Lanka’, which comprises of Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom, tabled the follow-up resolution titled "Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. The move, co-sponsored by the SL State, has bought more time and space for the genocidal state. The process is viewed nothing else than a geopolitical manoeuvre which seeks to consolidate the ruling UNP regime in Colombo.

The second pillar, which is the refusal of the right of self-determination, was deployed through refusing to apply earned sovereignty approach and by approaching the Tamils as ‘Sri Lankans’ and refusing to recognise the territoriality of Eezham Tamils.

The agenda-setters of this roadmap argue that Eezham Tamils had failed to ‘earn’ such a right to deny the claim of Eezham Tamils’ right of self-determination.

Therefore, Tamils should scientifically grasp the exact mischievousness of this roadmap without allowing emotions to overwhelm rationality (their feelings should be shaped to strengthen their logical rationality instead).

Revisiting the fundamental concepts of Tamil sovereignty, right of self-determination, genocide justice, and most of all, knowing the traps are keys to shape the path of Eezham Tamils’ own roadmap.

The nation of Eezham Tamils should gain back its lost game-changer mindset in shaping its engagement, which should be rationality-based, action-oriented and shaped not to fall prey to the roadmap trap of the agenda-setters.

First of all, the nation of Eezham Tamils must learn to own its road map of genocide justice.

* * *

Louise Arbour, who became the UN Human Rights chief (2004 - 2008) and later the president and the CEO of the International Crisis Group (2009 - 2014), was reasoning out why the ICG was not supporting the claim of Tamil independence in the island in September 2010.

The ICG, under her leadership, was at the forefront in sophisticatedly denying the genocide committed on Eezham Tamils.

Her successor in the UN Human Rights Commission, Navi Pillay, was also not recognising the allegation of genocide in 2013.

In an address to Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Ms Arbour was also ‘explaining’ why the ICG was not backing the claim of ‘earned sovereignty’ to Eezham Tamils.

The video evidence added herewith would show how the CEO of the ICG was also negating the sovereignty and the demand for independence of Eezham Tamils.

Transcript of Louise Arbour's video excerpt follow:

Since 1998, the International Crisis Group, of which I am currently president since about a year ago, has supported the Independence for Kosovo.

Back then in1998, which as was you know, still at the height of the conflict between NATO and the Serb government, the Crisis Group has taken the position that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been unwilling to permit the free exercise of Kosovo Albanians' Right to Self Determination and that Kosovo was now entitled to create its own international status separate from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The view of the Crisis Group was that the denial by Belgrade of Kosovo Albanians' political, economic, social and cultural rights, meant that they had a right to seek Self-Determination externally.

A few months ago, in fact in May 2010, we published a report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, in which we detailed very severe violations of International Humanitarian Law, both by the Sri Lankan government forces and by the Tamil Tigers, particularly in the last four or five months of that terrible war, which they had waged over a period of over 30 years.

The evidence that our investigators gathered, suggested that in these last few months of the war, tens of thousands of Tamil civilians, man, women, children were killed. Many were wounded, there were deliberate attacks — there is credible evidence to suggest there were deliberate attacks on civilian targets, on hospitals, intentional shelling of civilians by the Sri Lankan forces. And, there is evidence to suggest that, through the chain of command, this would implicate the responsibility of top government and military leaders.

We called for an international investigation into this alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. We felt that this had to be an international investigation given the demonstrated lack of political will or capacity for genuine credible domestic investigations inside the country.

And yet, despite the increasingly authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka and its still appalling treatment of the Tamil minority, the Crisis Group believes that the best mean of ensuring the Tamils' Right to Self-Determination is still within the existing borders of the Sri Lankan State.

We also published a report on the Tamil diaspora, urging Tamil leaders outside Sri Lanka, to not only to renounce explicitly the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) methodology, but also to renounce its separatist ideology, if it is to play a useful role in opening a political space for the accommodation of the Tamils' Right to Self-Determination inside of the existing state of Sri Lanka.

The Crisis Group has dealt with a variety of situations in the last several years, where conflicts including armed conflict were triggered, either by the purported exercise of the Right to Self-Determination or by efforts to resist it.

In many cases, secession claims are rooted in a history of repression, exclusionary visions of governance or the denial of rights of minority groups, which drives these groups to pursue Self-Determination outside the confines of State borders.

I mentioned the three, but I can think of others, just as easily have included Somaliland and Montenegro, where we have supported independence, Northern Iraq, where we have defended the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq or Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Aceh or Kashmir, where we have avoided taking an explicit position, either for or against secession. But, in all of these cases, secessionist movements and claims continue to be advanced.

The Kosovo opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) leaves unanswered the important question whether a right for secession can be found in the Right to Self-Determination, and if so in what circumstances. I think, for that, we have to examine the Right to Self-Determination itself.

As you know, this is a right, which is expressed in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter and also in Article 1 of the two most important international human rights instruments, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

And the way it has done so is by asserting that Self-Determination is a right that must be initially fulfilled internally, that is within the boundaries of existing state. This imposes on sovereign states serious obligations, regarding both democracy – that is participation as the preferred method for people to freely determine its political status – and the protection of minority rights for the fullest protection for the free pursuit of people's economic, social and cultural development.

Secession may provoke population displacement and further unrest if the newly created nation-state is unwilling or unable to accommodate its own newly created minorities.

It is often advanced also that claims of sovereignty have to be earned – now, I must say, in general terms, I am very wary of any notion that fundamental rights need to be earned. In my view, they don't, that is why they are fundamental rights.

And yet, there is no question for instance, in Somaliland, democratic root and functioning institution assist in advancing the legitimacy to its claim to independence.

In the same way, ahead of Montenegro referendum in 2005, we had argued that Montenegro formed a genuinely multi ethnic government without internal conflict. In that sense it is not that the right has to be earned but the realization of the right has to be compatible with the rights of others.

Conversely, at the other extreme, the Tamil Tigers' brutal rule of Tamil areas where it controlled its own people and the atrocities perpetrated over the years by the LTTE – including ethnic cleansing and massacres and their treatment of the Muslim minority inside their areas – undermine very severely their claim, their secessionist claim.

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External Links:
Daiily Mirror: UN Human Rights Council:mere formality, get over with it



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