The British High Commission in Colombo declined to verify whether British lawmakers had consulted it as regards accountability issues in Sri Lanka during Eelam war IV before making statements in the British Parliament.
The HC was responding to a query whether Siabhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden-Labour party) had consulted the diplomatic mission in Colombo before alleging in Parliament in September 2011 that the Sri Lankan military killed 60,000 LTTE cadres and 40,000 civilians during January-May 2009. The claim was made during a debate on human rights situation in the Indian sub continent in which British parliamentarians lambasted both India and Sri Lanka for human rights violations.
MP McDonagh’s claimed in parliament on March 25, 2014 that the Sri Lankan government had intentionally targetted ‘no fire zones’ with cluster bombs. She further alleged that nearly 150,000 Tamils remained unaccounted for nearly five years after the final battle.
Military spokesman Brig. Wanigasooriya said that the Amnesty International in a special report titled ‘When will they get justice?’ published in 2011 estimated the number of civilian dead at 10,000, whereas the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News placed the number of civilians perished in the final phase of the conflict at 40,000. The military spokesman said: “Statements attributed to British MP McDonagh since the conclusion of the conflict underscores the pivotal importance of verifying various claims made by interested parties. Unfortunately none of those making allegations want to reveal their sources or explain the basis for their conclusions.”
The Brigadier said that the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) had recommended that identities of those who provided information to the UN body wouldn’t be revealed for 20 years. The recommendation made in March 2011 meant that the very basis for proposed UNHRC probe on Sri Lanka couldn’t be verified until 2031, the Brigadier said.
The United nations Country Team placed the number of killed at 7,721 and 18,479 wounded during August 2008 to May 13, 2009. The Brigadier said that the UN report was yet to be officially released. Interestingly, the UN PoE and others propagating unsubstantiated allegations hadn’t quoted the UN report obviously because the figures quoted therein weren’t big enough for their project.
The Brigadier said that soon after the UNHRC adopted a resolution to set up a war crimes probe against Sri Lanka, a consortium of Tamil diaspora groups alleged that 146,679 Tamils were missing besides over 70,000 Tamils were killed during January-May 2009 period.
The Tamil groups include British Tamil Forum (BTF), Federation of Tamil Sangams in North America, Illankai Tamil Sangam, People for Equality and relief in Sri Lanka, Solidarity group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), United States Tamil Political Action Council and World Thamil Organization.
Subsequently Sri Lankan government has in a decisive move with far reaching implications proscribed as foreign terrorist entities several overseas organizations suspected of being fronts of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). It is understood that these organisations were releasing war crime details to western leaders and by banning them the SL government feels that they can stop the western leaders communicating with them and hide their war crimes.