Sunday Times published an interview recoding of Mr Ban Ki Mun, who will be relinquishing his duties after a two term spell as Secretary General in December 2016. The exclusive interview was conducted by Mr Thalif Deen apparently from a minority group ‘Muslims’. The two terms as SG were troubled filled with many minorities in the world suffering a lot when tyrannical racialist leaders set their armies and militia against the minorities eg. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Yemen and Sri-Lanka.
According to Mr Deen the SG will pay a three day official visit to Sri-Lanka on Wednesday. The purpose of the visit is to travel to the South and the North of the Island and to meet with civil society representatives of both communities, including youth. Mr Mun said “I look forward to discussing with them how the United Nations can best support Sri Lanka on the path to sustainable development and lasting peace”.
Mr Ban Ki Mun visited Sri-Lanka for the first time in May 2009 immediately after the May 19 genocide of Tamils in Mullivaikal when according to him ‘all dust of war have settled’. The dust from all thermobaric and cluster bombs did settle by then so too were the shell from multi-barrel guns and aerial bombs and artillery fire did quieten leaving more than 200000 Tamils dead as a dodo, 90000 women widowed and 40000 crippled and 70000 children orphaned. Their homeland Vanni was scorched earth.
See what a recent Oakland Institute study shows “The conflict, in which the LTTE opposed the government led by the majority Sinhalese Buddhists, killed around 200,000, led to the displacement of more than a million people, destroyed infrastructure across the country, and took a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of the population of the Northern and Eastern Provinces”.
This is the same old Ban Ki Mun who at a meeting of a week of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ugandan genocide said that the UN was still ashamed over its failure to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The congregation mourned the massacre of 800,000 minority race Tutsis by the majority Hutus. This genocide took place over 100 days.
At the same high level mourning meeting Mr Ban also heard the President of Uganda saying “We did not need to experience genocide to become better people. It simply should never have happened”. This philosophy usually happens in cemeteries when we are in a pensive mood of loss. Had this wisdom come before this genocide surely they would have stopped the brutal killing with machetes. A cruel and torturous way of killing.
Mr Ban was not ashamed even a little when the UN under his command did allow Mr Mahinda Rajapkse to carry out the genocide of Tamils in May 2009.
Pl see Mr Callum Macrae’s Channel for video “Killing Fields of Sri-Lanka”. There were a lot of chances to stop this annihilation of the minority Tamils if Mr Ban Ki Mun’s office was a little more alert. Now having failed and accepted UN failure the UN head Mr Ban Ki Mun should deliver remedial justice and provide a mechanism for the two races to exist in Sri-Lanka without the majority using any excuses to destroy the minorities. At the present juncture it can only be ‘Two Nation and one country solution’.
There is a popular belief among politicians that all high principled talks are only for precept and not for practice.
All Tamils hope that Mr Ban Ki Mun, contrary to the above notion, does his best this time during his Sri-Lankan visit to warn the dangers for the Sinhala politicians if they neglect the UN resolution for an International Inquiry (II).
There is a general belief among spiritualist that coming events cast their shadows. Mr Ban Ki Mun’s interview reveals that he has preconceived misconceptions from reports from various institutions. He must remember there are always two sides to a story. A famous American comedian Danny Kaye used to tell this two sides story in his comedies.
Mr Ban KI Mun must listen to the Tamils through their regional councils rather than the elected MP. These men/women are worried more about ministerial post, power and perks as argued in an article titled ‘Triangle of Conflict in Tamil Politcs’ by Mr Kausal Perera, a senior journalist in the Daily Mirror of 28 August 2012. Regional councils were introduced under India’s proposal of regional autonomy-the infamous 13th Amendment of Sri-Lankan parliament. Therefore Mr Ban Ki Mun has a responsibility to listen to the Chief Ministers of North and Eastern provincial councils for a detailed status quo of the war victims. The Sinhala politicians may not allow this meeting as the chief minister Justice C Vigneswaran is a fire brand politician, well-educated and knows the law and stand for justice to the victims of the criminal war that ended in May 2009.
Mr Mun has told the interviewer Mr Deen, his preconception thus “tremendous progress” made by Sri Lanka in overcoming development challenges, including in the health and development sectors. “Successive Governments have promoted strong growth policies that have reduced poverty and increased living standards throughout the country,” This a broad sweep statement. A generalisation that does not apply to the Tamil’s homeland of North and East (TH) of Sri-Lanka. This part of the country was neglected even during colonial times and the Tamils hoped their TH will improve when independence is gained. It was never to be.
Since independence the Sinhalese used all the GNP in improving the Sinhalese areas and treated the TH as orphans in a community. Democracy enjoyed by the Tamils during colonial times too was robbed from them and lately they became second class citizens. The war crimes committed against them demoralised them and frightened them. Now the Sinhalese are misusing this depressed psychological state of the Tamils. They had started to manipulate them for their own advantage. The TNA leadership does not want to demand anything from the government but is waiting to get what falls from the dining table of the Sinhala politicians-crumps.
Mr Deen also mentioned that Mr.Ban was lamenting the slow movement of Sri-Lanka towards implementing “transitional justice and reconciliation.” It is the main issue that broke the camel’s back. The Sinhala government, who had found that intransigency works are slow to give anything to the Tamils as they think they are the victors by fair means or foul. UN’s carrot and stick policy will not work with rogue governments run by tyrants like Mahinda Rajapakse and his colleagues. President Sirisena was one time a cabinet minister in Mahinda Rajapakse government and boasted about killing Tamil terrorist when he was acting defence secretary.
Speaking on the eve of his departure to Colombo, the Secretary-General said it is important for Sri Lankan society and the country’s future to finally undertake a credible and impartial investigation into past human rights abuses, uncover the truth and hold perpetrators of the vicious crimes accountable. Asked if the UN would go along with President Sirisena’s insistence that investigations into charges against the country’s armed forces will not involve the participation of foreign judges or jurists, he was diplomatically non-committal. “Sri Lankans are currently engaged in an important debate on the design of the transitional justice mechanisms, including the judicial components, and I do not want to pre-judge those outcomes,” he declared. This slimy reply of Mr Ban Ki Mun clearly depicts him as a man without a backbone. Sinhalese people call such people as “Sevalaya”. Late Prime Minister Bandaranayke was given this epithet as he could not stand firm on decision made. UN must not allow the Sri-Lankan government to wriggle out of their undertaking given in the UN that it would conduct an international inquiry with foreign judges’ participation.
Mr Ban was submissive, “victims and affected communities believe that international participation can ensure a credible process that will finally deliver justice”.
“Well documented cases of human rights abuses and civilian killings in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen were dealt with by the Security Council and, in some cases, through human rights investigations conducted pursuant to a Human Rights Council mandate”.
But in the case of Sri-Lanka UN machinery failed badly and forgot to use the R2P mechanism to step into the country to stop the genocide in May 2009. Therefore due to pressure from media and group of 9 great Human right activists Mr.Ban had to appoint a special panel to inquire into the war crimes. The Sinhala government of Mahinda Rajapakse conceitedly sidestepped this report. See how the Sinhalese like the electric eel wriggled out of their responsibility and war crimes. The Sinhala government delayed the delivery of justice. There is an adage that that justice delayed is justice denied. Mr Ban Ki Mun if smart must be firm with this government which is following the previous regime in carrying on the Sinhala hegemony and claming privileges for the Sinhala race.
However, credit has to be given to Mr Ban Ki Mun who categorically affirmed that victims and affected communities believe that international participation can ensure a credible process that will finally deliver justice. The reasons for such a conclusion was due to the delays in the pursuit of an effective accountability process, ongoing concerns over the independence of judicial and law enforcement institutions in Sri Lanka, and due to the magnitude and complexity of the alleged crimes, This is why the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council, as well as the Council’s resolution 30/1, affirmed the importance of international participation, precisely because it would enhance the credibility, independence and impartiality of the process in the eyes of the victims.
Mr Mun also said “Sri Lankans are currently engaged in an important debate on the design of the transitional justice mechanisms, including the judicial components, and I do not want to pre-judge those outcomes”. If he is aware of this what is the purpose of his visit now? He might as well visit after the Sinhala regime make a final conclusion on the composition of the Investigation Team. When you read between lines Mr Ban Ki Mun is again giving chances to the Sinhala regime to avoid an II.
Adding further Mr Ban said “The Human Rights Council resolution presents a comprehensive transitional justice agenda, which, aside from a judicial mechanism, also includes truth-seeking, reparations, and non-recurrence dimensions. It is important to recognise the broad-based nature of the Council’s resolution, and I hope that the discussion regarding international participation will not overshadow a larger debate that must include the other critical elements”
Mr Mun has mistakenly complemented the Sinhala regime. He declared that Sri Lanka has made significant progress with regard to restoring and redeveloping war torn areas, and the Northern and Eastern Provinces have witnessed rapid economic development. It is a far cry from the truth.
The SG added “Over the last 60 years, Sri Lanka has made tremendous contributions to the UN system”. The Sinhala regime hid all transgression of democratic rights to the Tamils and the slow liquidation of the TH of Tamils. They violated the UN declaration of the TH concept under the pretext that those are internal affairs of a country. Small violation finally led the Sinhalese to commit the horrible genocide in Mullivaikal in May 2009. The UN also is partly to be blamed for not getting good country reports re violation of human rights of ethnic minorities.
Further Mr Ban Ki Mun added “Sri Lanka has made tremendous progress in overcoming development challenges, including in the health and education sectors. Successive Governments have promoted strong growth policies that have reduced poverty and increased living standards throughout the country”. The statement is false where it is stated ‘through out the country’. It is a truism that the TH remained an orphan of the Sinhala state. They treated TH as Cinderella. Many human rights activists like Dr Brian Senivirutne and Dr (Ms) Nimalka Fernando, both Sinhalese will definitely challenge this statement I hope.
Mr Ban Ki Mun is exact when he revealed “We cannot ignore, however, the decades-long conflict and instability that caused so much pain, grief and tragedy among the many communities in Sri Lanka, and was a period marked by gross violations of human rights perpetrated by all sides”. Mr Ban Ki Mun should know that it was the Sinhalese who were the cause for all these miseries. Had they given the democratic rights to the Tamils as fully as possible after independence in 1948 there would have been no grievances and the rise of the LTTE would have been prevented? Now look how many trillions did the Sinhala government spend to fight a phoney war and end up before the UN accused of war crimes? How clever are the Sinhalese? The inevitable happened to Sri-Lanka and Mahinda Rajapakse himself. We all have to reckon the truism “God fulfilled wants in many ways”
Mr Ban Ki Mun correctly concluded “although the conflict ended in 2009, Sri Lanka has yet to come to terms with its past: as the many victims’ families remain uncertain about the fate of their loves ones. They seek the truth, they seek support and they seek justice. And there are many other victims. Those that were forcibly conscripted, including children who were deprived of a carefree youth, a quality education and dreams to aspire to; men and women who were sexually abused and raped; families whose sons and daughters were sent to die in combat or returned with permanent injuries and disabilities. It is important for Sri Lankan society and the country’s future to finally undertake a credible and impartial investigation into past human rights abuses, uncover the truth and hold perpetrators of the vicious crimes accountable.
“This is not only an obligation to the victims and their families, but it would also signal that the country is ready to overcome past grievances and move towards greater harmony between the communities so that it will never happen again. The unity Government took an important step when it presented its plans to establish a range of transitional justice mechanisms, including on truth-seeking, accountability, reparations, and non-recurrence and decided to co-sponsor the Human Rights Council resolution in October 2015. The Government has since proceeded by facilitating national consultations on the design of such mechanisms, as well as by establishing the Office of Missing Persons. I am hopeful that the Government will continue to make progress and take concrete steps to establish the full range of transitional justice mechanisms. I would like to reiterate the UN’s commitment and unwavering support to these processes”.
I must warn Mr Ban Ki Mun that these are cosmetic dressing to side track the UN. A genuine II only will reveal the truth and convince the International community and the victims. Without finding the cause for the heinous crimes/genocide there will not be any genuine reconciliation. Adopting any other methods will only benefit lackeys, crooks, touts and brief less barristers.