If the first shot to destablise Sri Lanka was fired after the re-election of Indira Gandhi in January 1980, ipso facto with disastrous consequences to the island, then the second shot may well be fired if the international community insists upon international jurists sitting in judgement over the island.
This is in respect of Colombo’s war against Tamil terrorism, more specifically against LTTE terrorism, post-July 1987, where, in July ’87, all other Tamil terrorist groups, with the exception of the LTTE, laid down their arms, under the controversial Indo-Lanka Peace Accord.
Currently, the international community, wearing the self righteous mantle of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is sitting in judgement, not least over Sri Lanka, at its headquarters in Geneva over allegations of war crimes committed by Colombo in its prosecution of the LTTE war.
These allegations, currently may rest, on the resolution, albeit hastily and foolishly, adopted by Sri Lanka at Geneva on 1 October 2015, by ‘agreeing’ to foreign Jurists to hear cases against alleged war crimes, led and committed by the Government of Sri Lanka and of its agents (specifically the armed forces and the police), post-July ’87, specifically.
Subsequently (though, initially, contradictory), Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, nevertheless, has ‘now’ given a ‘firm no’ to international Jurists sitting in judgement over Colombo. President Maithripala Sirisena has also reiterated this position, albeit, post- October 2015.
The ‘Great October Resolution’, when it was first proclaimed in public, ipso facto on 1 October 2015 itself, it may not be wrong to say, came as a shock to the majority of Sri Lanka’s population, especially its majority 75% Sinhala population. They consider this resolution, firstly, as an affront to Sri Lanka’s dignity, and, secondly, by clearly insinuating that Colombo’s judicial system cannot be considered as being fair in the eyes of the ‘international community’ to dispense, or not to be able to dispense justice to the minority Tamil community, as being a further insult to the Sinhala ethos.
Both Wickremesinghe and Sirisena may now have realized their politically disastrous mistake of allegedly supporting this October resolution. They are now backtracking over this issue of foreign Jurists meddling in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs as a result.
The UNHRC, led by Sri Lanka’s former colonial master the UK, and, seemingly supported by the world’s greatest political, economic and military power the USA (which co-sponsored the October resolution) is now asking for the UNHRC to give Colombo more time.(See ‘Ceylon Today’s’ editorial of 3 March, 2017)
In the October resolution, Sri Lanka was given 18 months to get its act right. Now, at Geneva, Sri Lanka has asked for a further 24 months. Obviously, with the USA and the UK now behind the Colombo Government, it’s likely that the UNHRC will give Sri Lanka that extra time that it has asked for.
Meanwhile, the seemingly erudite emeritus Prof. G.L. Peiris, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s External Affairs Minister, has in a local daily, posed the question, that, if Sirisena and Wickremesinghe are opposed to foreign Jurists sitting over Colombo’s affairs, how, then, was the 1 October 2015 Resolution, with Sri Lanka’s blessings, adopted in the first place? A legitimate question, but to educate and enlighten Peiris, the UN’s Kashmir’s Resolution of 1948, which was supported by no lesser country that the island’s closest ‘and largest’ neighbour India, perhaps, the ultimate cause for Colombo’s current misfortunes, called for a plebiscite for the largely Muslim dominated Kashmir, one of the States that comprises India.
The plebiscite, which, however, is yet to be held, after a near passage of 70 years, is to be based upon two questions, ie, whether the Kashmiris want autonomy or not?
For seemingly obvious reasons, Delhi, so as apparently not to offend its 79.8% Hindu population (Wikipedia), has been postponing the holding of this referendum which itself has supported, with not a word of protest from the UN, or for that matter the UNHRC, the ‘self proclaimed’ universal defender of human rights.
In as much as the holding of such a referendum may cause chaos and bloodshed in India, by stirring up the emotions of its 79.8% Hindu population, of which the UN/UNHRC may be aware of, but more importantly, which organizations India apparently doesn’t care two hoots about, nonetheless, with the passage of nearly 70 years since the passing of that resolution, the holding of such a plebiscite is yet to see the light of day.
Unless the UN/UNHRC casts a similar myopic eye on the October Resolution governing Colombo vis-à-vis foreign Jurists, such a stand may ensure Sri Lanka’s stability and be a pivot for Colombo’s progress, not least for ethnic reconciliation. But, if the opposite happens, Sri Lanka may well end up being the victim of extremist forces on both sides of the divide.