Friday, 5 June 2009

Genocide in Sri Lanka

June 4th, 2009 Posted by: Suren Surendiran
Source: Reuters
Suren Surendiran is the spokesman for the British Tamils Forum. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The news that over 20,000 innocent civilians were killed by the military onslaught of the Sri Lankan army has shocked the world, but not world leaders like President Obama, Prime Minister Brown, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel. For, they knew exactly what was going to happen and what is happening now.

How right Albert Einstein was when he said, “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of those who are evil but because of those who don’t do anything about it”.

“When genocide is happening,” said candidate Obama, so eloquently during the second presidential debate, “when ethnic cleansing is happening somewhere around the world and we stand idly by, that diminishes us.”

The United Nations has yet again proved under the current leadership, that it is an ineffective organisation in conflict resolution and prevention of genocide.

It is a great shame for India to have had a hand in the mass killings of Tamils. The other countries that had helped Sri Lanka militarily do not have the best human rights record in the world and their moral values proved to be questionable. India produced the greatest of men on earth, the great Mahatma Gandhi.

The politicians who do not follow Gandhian principles are not worthy to hang his photograph in their place of work. Mahinda Rajapaksa has admitted that he fought India’s war, but as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and Executive President of the country, he is the one who would be facing the War Crimes Tribunal, even if he pleads insanity.

The U.S., the EU and other forward thinking democracies, should use their financial leverage and force an independent investigation on the Sri Lankan government for war crimes. The resolution passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council on 27 May to allow Sri Lanka to investigate itself is a laughing matter.

The Sri Lankan economy is in the doldrums because of mismanagement, disproportionate military spend and corruption after Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government came into power.

The U.S. and Western governments, having stood idly by when the massacre of innocent civilians by the Sri Lankan State took place, could now show the world that they are taking some action against the perpetrators. This should take the form of punitive economic measures.

The U.S. Secretary of State has indicated that the IMF loan for nearly $2 billion would be stopped or delayed.

The EU is known to be considering the withdrawal of GSP Plus concession worth nearly $2 billion subject to investigation into Sri Lankan government’s human rights abuses. Economic sanctions and curtailment of bi-lateral trade should also play a part. The Commonwealth should suspend Sri Lanka’s membership subject to independent international investigation into war crimes.

Tamils in Sri Lanka have been discriminated by successive governments since independence in 1948. It is widely acknowledged that what is happening in Sri Lanka is genocide. The genocide of a people means that the security of those people cannot be left to the perpetrating government itself. It then follows that some form of separation and self determination for the Tamils in the long term is unavoidable.

It is about time for those who said “never again” in Darfur, to take their “responsibility to protect” seriously and substantiate their words with immediate firm action.

Justice delayed is justice denied!

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