Friday, May 23, 2008

Dethroned for violations or...?

Sri Lanka has lost its seat in the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) due mainly to a disrespecting of the world system, arrogance, complete lack of counter propaganda against LTTE and bungling and rantings by a group of theoreticians and technocrats.

International norms dealing with torture, disappearances, and political killings have emerged due mainly to the atrocities committed elsewhere. Human Rights groups, pioneered by the work of Amnesty International have used fact finding, consensus building, principled norm construction, norm application etc paving the way for HR standards and measures broadly described as 'principled norm emergence'.

In times of war, the principle Jus in Bello (Justice in War) is said to apply to regulate the conduct of military forces. The rules of warfare aim to safeguard human life and some other fundamental Human Rights, and to ensure that war is limited in its scope and level of violence. It is the premise that combatants have voluntarily forfeited some of their rights whilst civilians have not and carry at all times the full rights under the UN Charter.

Although international law suggests that the inhabitants of non-occupied territory, who take up arms on the approach of the enemy and resist the invading troops, even if they have not had time to organize themselves, count as armed forces, a guerrilla or insurgent force fighting mostly without uniforms are miles apart and cannot be easily distinguished from unarmed civilians.

Some have maintained that in these cases, the burden is on the government to identify combatants, while others argue that "the nature of modern warfare dissolves the possibility of discrimination."

The most fundamental failure that occurred in the hands of the Sri Lankan technocrats who ignored important developments in the world order is that International Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have changed the international political system in fundamental ways. They are often more powerful, more so than weak states like Sri Lanka who have little say in global politics.

The government has failed miserably to present their case, let alone a case against its foe. We have on this blog, repeatedly demonstrated with statistics-- from Sri Lankan peace NGOs, the rise-in-scale of violations in Sri Lanka directly attributable to the LTTE.

But some, so-called disappearances and abductions are unaccounted for and the government may have to accept either full responsibility, or that the system of law and order has failed.

The most prominent of violations in the charge-sheet against the Sri Lankan state remains to be the 17 dead employees of French NGO action contre la faim organization. The said organization, and many International NGOs routinely risk the lives of 'Local Staff' but are quick to retract its 'Expatriate Staff' once the danger level increases to Orange.

In the case of Mutur, that danger level was red, but no orders were issued for the employees to return. Moreover, by that time, the LTTE was in complete control of Mutur, as Counsel Gomin Dayasiri's cross-examination of survivors indicated. Foreign investigators claimed the government was uncooperative in the examination of the truth.

On September 16th US Defence Contractor Blackwater worldwide killed 17 civilians at Nisour Square. The New York Times, in an article last year states that "Investigators who arrived more than two weeks after the shooting could not reconstruct the crime scene, a routine step in shooting inquiries in the United States...investigators did not have access to statements taken from Blackwater employees, who had given statements to State Department investigators on the condition that their statements would not be used in any criminal investigation like the one being conducted by the F.B.I."

However, a good and honest look at the overall picture says a million words. The two graphs below indicate the overall effects of state-rule and improvement in Human Security in the Eastern Province as opposed to the generally deteriorating situation during the same period in the North.

Political Killings in the East upto April 2008
Political Killings in the North upto April 2008

41 comments:

Parakrama said...

DefenceWire, well done!

I raised the issue of human rights a few months ago on DefenceNet and some patriots quite strongly disagreed with me!

Mainly it's our arrogance that has led to this situation! When Jimmy Carter Foundation and Desmond Tutu says something about our HR record, our response is to try to discredit Jimmy Carter & Desmond Tutu! This simply isn't going to work.

Two things need to happen as a matter of urgency:

1. If existing people can't do the job of countering LTTE propaganda, then hire people who can!
2. Rather than dismissing all allegations against government as baseless, try to investigate and try to improve HR record.

GOSL is playing a dangerous game here. They cannot always talk their way out of trouble, it's time to clean up the act!

Having said this, LTTE is in no position nor have they any right to talk about human rights!

This is like a heroin dealer saying "We've got to do something about this heroin problem"!!!

hemantha said...

DA,
Good partial analysis. But I would prefer if it has covered all aspects of the problem (I know, it may require many many articles).

And a few suggestions for the ways out of the quagmire would have been great (The hardest part).

hemantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hemantha said...

China does not approve of the conditions put forward by European and other western countries, to provide aid to Sri Lanka.
-Chinaese Additional
Foreign Minister
click here.

Moshe Dyan said...

Thanks DW for the two quick TIMELY articles.

parakrama,
respect your views mate.

"When Jimmy Carter Foundation and Desmond Tutu says something about our HR record, our response is to try to discredit Jimmy Carter & Desmond Tutu! This simply isn't going to work."

hillariously yes.

protecting human rights is essential, no argument. but there are limitations.

it is unwise safegurading human rights of a small percentage of the population while disregarding the safety of all SLs. may be i didn't word it right???

for instance "enforced abductions" by govt. (or related) agencies are essential to stop bomb attacks on civilians in colombo, etc.

someone named lrrp has written an article somewhere according to it (something like) if you plot a graph between the number of abductions against the number of bombs going-off in colombo, etc. during times of war, there is clearly an inverse relationship.

in JRJ's time at the height of war, almost no abductions took place and a very large number of bombs went-off.

in RP-DBW's time (specifically when we were at war with the LTTE) very few number of bombs but very high number of abductions.

in CBK's time very few abductions and VERY HIGH number of bombs, open attacks - sapugaskanda, katunayake

in MR's time when the war is at its most ferocious so far lesser attacks and high number of abductions.

as long as terrorists hide among civilians and attack, abductions and other similar methods should continue. otherwise VERY LARGE SCALE disasters will happen.

although the EU, US, etc. shout about SL's "enforced abductions", they are the worst. they opeate cross-country torture houses for al qaeda suspects mainly in eastern european and north african countries that are friendly and have less developed human rights laws.

also why guantanamo bay? because it is not covered by US judicial review.

unfortunately public safety and human rights cannot go together when terrorism is involved. the priority should be obvious.

but needless human rights violations should be stopped, investigated and criminals punished.

a practical approach should be taken about human rights. in virtually all the recent wars more civilians have died than combatants. it is an undeniable fact. trying to fight this fact won't work.

(however published figures suggest 40k combatants and 30k civilians have died in the SL war but these numbers are far from true. the MASSIVE number of people killed in tiger areas are not included here)

the war must be won ASAP (possible). that will drastically reduce human rights violations. that is the ONLY long term solution.

hemantha said...

"From the north of Palampiddi, which was taken by the troops from 57 Division, it was now heading towards Periyamadhu – north west of Palampiddi and another batch were advancing towards Mundrimurippu – north east of Palampiddi."
-Defence Column, Daily Mirror

I didn't expect this advance towards Mundrimurippu thing.

click here.

RanjithT said...

It is too little too late. This analysis should have been done long before the event to prevent the mess.

hemantha said...

Sorry DW. This is the last one for today.

Much ado about a vote
-Editorial, The Island

click here.

Bhairav said...

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 May 2008, 01:14 GMT]
Keith Noyahr, Defence writer of English weekly The Nation is reported missing after he left his office at 10:30 p.m. today 22nd May 2008, was later released after being severely beaten up, sources in Colombo said. He has been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital, according to reports.

Free Media Movement (FMM), a Colombo-based media watchdog, earlier in an urgent press release requested all press freedom organizations to take urgent action to get the journalist released.

Full text of the release follows:

Keith Noyahr, Defence writer of English weekly The Nation reported missing from late evening today 22nd May 2008.

He has left his office around 10.30 pm but has not reached home. His vehicle was found close to his house, head lights and engine running.

Editor of the Nation has made a complaint to the Dehiwala police on the incident.

FMM request all press freedom orgaisations to take urgent action to save the life of journalist Keith Noyahr.

Please make phone calls.


The President of Sri Lanka + 94 112447400
president@presidentsoffice.lk
Secretary to the President +94 112 2326309
prsec@presidentsoffice.lk
Minister of Information + 94 112596557

----------------

Who is next? Iqbal Athas? I doubt that he will be abducted since he has connection with high profile military leaders. SL Government would love to kill Iqbal Athas, buth they can not afford it now since their recent past.

Hey..Have you forgotten that same Banana Republic killed 87K+ of its own people in the JVP uprising in late 80s. Rolling one more head like Iqbal Athas won't be a problem for Lankans.

Bhairav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bhairav said...

DW,

If you are not MI or Covert agent, the chances of you be involved in the future interrogation by SL agents are very high. Anyways, you do not reveal much about any specific Military Operation except providing some Wiki type generic military analysis.

--Cheers---

Parakrama said...

Moshe,

Right, I agree with you.

"but needless human rights violations should be stopped, investigated and criminals punished."

That's exactly it!

The government should be in complete control of the situation. Right now it isn't.

There are many criminals who carry out enforced disappearances, intimidation etc. and credit this to "government’s account".

All this has left certain ministers of the government with a get out of jail free card, which is really bad news for the general population.

I'm ok with human rights violations of criminals & terrorists, we just need to have it under control and make sure there is minimal "collateral damage".

And of course I agree with you that US, UK and other countries that go on about HR don’t have a clean record themselves. We all know about US, the UK is also guilty of HR violations as it is one of the biggest producers of torture equipment in the world!

But, we cannot get away with "if you can do it, why can’t we" approach! We need to be smarter than that as these countries are much bigger and powerful than us.

Moshe Dyan said...

parakrama,

"But, we cannot get away with "if you can do it, why can’t we" approach! We need to be smarter than that as these countries are much bigger and powerful than us."

fully agree.

i highlighted their examples only to point to the ever raging contest between human rights vs public security and the ways they have used to mitigate responsibility. of course we can't use any of their methods.

if we say "you do it, we do it" then it is again like discrediting Carter and Tutu 'in retaliation' for 'discrediting' us!! lol

once again a predominantly killing strategy in the battlefield as opposed to a predominantly 'chase away' strategy would have taken care of most trouble-makers and infiltrators BEFORE they hide among civilians in colombo, etc.

BTW what are you views on the two latest articles in historyandwar blog?

CriMeWatCh said...

HI all jumped in to DW now. Jayaweva..

DN on strike...
good entire DN bloggers use to knew the alternative site DW.

DW Dont ever take DN decision in future..

B#1 said...

DW,

17 feared dead in claymore blast in Wanni

Reports claim that 17 people who were in a bus were killed, when a claymore mine exploded in an LTTE controlled area in Wanni.

Any updates?

londonistan said...

I think the news of the claymore that has apparently killed 16 was the work of the LTTE to stoke of anti-govt sentiments among the civilian populace in the area.

In the unlikely event this was indeed the work of the army (which i doubt very much), praba and co attended the last funeral in a bus.

Before they adopted this type of transportation they staged another 'claymore attack on a school bus' by 'DPU'. This may be yet another effort to get those commanding LRRP cells to think twice before following through on plans based on cerdible intel.

CriMeWatCh said...

if the claymore mine was fixed by LTTE. no issues (Side effects) If it by SLDF then we can expect a return Pub Bus Blast any moment or a blast.

Wake UP..All. Think twice when you all travel during weekend.

timhortons said...

DefenceWire- I would like to ask where did you derive your figures from? The numbers are colorful lies just like the graphs it self! What is your take on all the DPU attacks?

Parakrama said...

Moshe,

Thanks for giving us that link, I had a quick read, I'll post my thoughts later on as I'm busy with a project at the moment ok.

Parakrama said...

Guys,

No need to split hairs on who carried out the blast, here's the motive for it:

"If it by SLDF then we can expect a return Pub Bus Blast any moment or a blast.

Wake UP..All. Think twice when you all travel during weekend."

Parakrama said...

timhortons,

"The numbers are colorful lies just like the graphs it self!"

This does not make sense mate. A graph is a graphical representation of the underlying data. They both represent the same concept or entity but in two different ways.

If you are accusing DW of colourful lies, I'd like to see the facts that you used to come to that conclusion, thank you!

Parakrama said...

Moshe & others,

All this business of Senpathi disappearing & re-appearing with his head kicked in got me interested in this nation newspaper!

I don't think I've read this one before, so I had a quick look at Senpathi's military matters column from last two weeks. The column from two weeks ago (here's the link) deeply disturbed me!

Basically he's alleging that Leu. Gen. Sarath Fonseka has changed the way the promotions work in the army. My opinion was that this was a good thing and officers got promoted on merit. Senpathi seems to contradict this. Any ideas? Is this Senpathi the same as Iqbal Athas or does he usually write better stuff? What is the real situation within SLA?

Thanks!

Moshe Dyan said...

As far as i noticed Senpathi had a sudden transformation. he was 'moderate' in reporting military matters until a few weeks back. then things suddenly took a change.

but some of his allegations in this article are unfortunately true. SF has made heaps of adversaries. some say that he is not in good terms with the SLN commander and we know about the prasanna silva episode.

BTW i'm not influenced by et bailey's description of SF which i do not FULLY agree although i am begining to have doubts.

he is one of the best we had. but then (to say the least) he can improve. this is not the time to rock the boat.

my two cents

Parakrama said...

Moshe,

I just read both articles on E.T. Bailey's blog comparing Jaffna with Fredericksburg. I have to say that I'm not familiar with American Civil War, apart from watching a couple of movies!

I do generally agree with his conclusion that it is better to attack from the south. However, I think following are the reasons for our generals repeatedly trying to breakout from Jaffna front:

1. It will give us a huge psychological boost if we can get EPS & Kilinochchi back and it will certainly break the back of LTTE

2. It seems more daunting to get to EPS from south as you have to travel a longer distance

3. Ego

4. They must be thinking that they tried to march northwards from south during Jayasikurui and failed, so now it's time to try the other option

Being a non-military guy, I just don't see why it is impossible to break through the northern front. SLAF should be able to take out tiger artillery at k-point and bomb the trenches so that they have no other option but to fall back. Once this happens SLA can move forward and SLAF will have to keep on engaging LTTE until we build our new line of defences. This should work as we have complete air superiority but may be SLAF is not capable (logistically) of supporting such a massive offensive for a prolonged period.

The only available option then is to push from the south. If we manage to capture Viduthalthivu and Mullaittivu, then that will seriously hamper their supply lines. This seems to be the current strategy of SLA and I think it is correct. The part that I'm not sure about is the support from SLAF.

I've seen footage of battlefronts on Rupavahini and the tiger strong points shown don’t look that strong! For example, most of them are not made of concrete. I just don't understand why we spend two weeks trying to capture such a point when SLAF can drop a bomb that would blow the thing wide open. Am I being silly here?

I strongly disagree with E.T. Bailey's suggestion that we should dismantle the air-defence system. This is for two reasons:

1. Downing a tiger plane will give us a huge morale booster
2. Just now they may have Zlin's, but it is always possible that they may acquire something better, in which case an air-defence system becomes absolutely vital.

I think we probably have spent too much money on the air-defence system, but now that we've already spent the money, let's not dismantle it, let's put it to good use!

Bhairav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bhairav said...

[BTW i'm not influenced by et bailey's description of SF which i do not FULLY agree although i am begining to have doubts.]

Given the country's situation, should he need $500k Benz car for his Colombo wanderings after all he uses AF resources round the clock?

LKDOOD said...

Parakrama

who is E.T. Bailey ??

samantha said...

Thanks Defencewire bit detailed analysis. I am sure these things can be improved.

It is shame on people who are working on SL foreign ministry and other responsible people. They don't have strategy at all. This why LTTE becomes this strong and we as a country most of the time out thought by them. We have to accept these hard truth if we want to win this bloody war.

Riyaz said...

About senpathi... I used to read his column for sometime.. as moshe pointed out from few weeks ago, His reporting did show some changes..

First of all we have to condemn attacks on senpathi, no matter who did it. The culprits should be found out and duly punished.

I think we have to weigh the claymore attack in wanni, senpathi abducted and tortured and UNHCR loss in perspective..

Since it is no secret that tera infiltrations in colombo and other south areas(intel and suicide cadres) is high, most of them entered these areas during and immediately after CFA.

There is a serious concern now the Tigers want to disrupt the normalcy in liberated areas. And they will go to whatever extent to do it. Recent happenings indicate us this dangerous trend.. Since by now they know that Wanni is slowly but surely losing from their grip, now they want to halt the operations in wanni by any means..

And There could be some loose elements from the south who would like to make some quick cash by supporting these terras in this mission. It is these people that have to be stopped. without help and consent tigers can do nothing. When the recent bombings are analysed it is very clear they got inside support from the local support to do them.

Riyaz said...

About senpathi... I used to read his column for sometime.. as moshe pointed out from few weeks ago, His reporting did show some changes..

First of all we have to condemn attacks on senpathi, no matter who did it. The culprits should be found out and duly punished.

I think we have to weigh the claymore attack in wanni, senpathi abducted and tortured and UNHCR loss in perspective..

Since it is no secret that tera infiltrations in colombo and other south areas(intel and suicide cadres) is high, most of them entered these areas during and immediately after CFA.

There is a serious concern now the Tigers want to disrupt the normalcy in liberated areas. And they will go to whatever extent to do it. Recent happenings indicate us this dangerous trend.. Since by now they know that Wanni is slowly but surely losing from their grip, now they want to halt the operations in wanni by any means..

And There could be some loose elements from the south who would like to make some quick cash by supporting these terras in this mission. It is these people that have to be stopped. without help and consent tigers can do nothing. When the recent bombings are analysed it is very clear they got inside support from the local support to do them.

And I doubt some hidden elements here.

Parakrama said...

LKDOOD,

E.T. Bailey is the guy who writes in this blog. The last two articles were about comparing the situation in Sri Lanka to American Civil War. It's well worth a read!

LKDOOD said...

thanks Parakrama

Rover said...

Attacking Senpathi was a shameful act. He used to write fairly well researched (given the circumstances), articles that did not support the terrorists (it does not matter if he support the GOSL or not, as long as he does not help people who use terrorism as a tool to gain political power). All in all, he was a thoughtful guy, and such guys are usually rare among journalists. So I deplore that attack.

People point out that he was recently highlighting shortcomings of our military leadership. If there are faults they should of course be highlighted. Self criticism is something quite healthy, it will help us improve. If someone can't take it in that spirit, that is too bad.

The attack also shows that there is anarchy within our forces. A good soldier would not attack without a command from his superior.

I don't buy the argument that the UNP did it. For one thing they don't have balls to do it (even if they wanted to).

But political elements within the UPFA could have done it (without the knowledge of the military). This is quite possible. It looks more like something a politician would to rather than a good soldier.

But the final outcome is it puts our country, forces and people in a bad light. And it helps the bloody terrorists. Come on guys, get your act together.

tangara said...



LTTE will attack Trinco before organising more arms shipments to tiger held areas.Therefore SLN must do everything to avoid an AAB style attack on their assets.

That is the only way LTTE can sustain this war. A decapitating strike on SLN will cripple all operations of SLDF.

Be aware....

Bhairav said...

By the way, Tamil Eelam will reach the second world country status within the 10 years of liberation from the banana republic, given the infusion of investment from diaspora Tamils and the Western investors. With the two third of sea resources, the chances of pushing the Singapore into backseat are higher to be a great business hub as Trinco will be a busiest sea port in Asia given its strategic location.

Everyone will be dieing to be a next Warren Buffet in new Eelam with the tons of money in their hands. Fellow Sinhala bros and sisters, we do not hate you, but what happened between us was inevitable as we were forced to take arms to protect our territorial integrity and cultural values, so you will be always welcomed to share our wealth in our new prosperous Eelam.

Shan said...

Bhairav

wake up man, it's morning.

Moshe Dyan said...

bloodyrav,

if tamil elam has a port, no ship will EVER go there for fear of sea mines, sea tigers, frogmen, pregnanat women with suicide bras swimming around.

it will be busy with LTTE women exploding themselves for pure fun.

tangara said...

What is the possibility of LTTE attacking SLA positions in Welioya from front and rear?

Asiantribune warned that there are over 1500 LTTE caders roaming in and around Trinco/Batti borders.

It looks to me LTTE may be planning to attack SLA positions in Welioya/Vauniya sector from both North and South..

This is just my 2 cents.

GoldenEagle said...

Our army needs to buy some 300mm MLRS units, it will be a very worthwile military investment. This will give us steel rain capabilities so we can roast any form of mass LTTE offensive. Plus it can be used to blast our way into Wanni in short time if we are pressed for time.
-----------------------------------
"http://www.sinodefence.com/
army/mrl/phl03.asp"

"http://www.sinodefence.com/
army/mrl/a100.asp"
-----------------------------------
China is willing to sell us almost everything they have in their inventory, so instead of buying for 122mm MBLRs we must go for a few 300mm MLRS units.

Moshe Dyan said...

These bloody barbarian LTTE terrorists are trying very hard to bomb a bus/train now.

yesterday and today alone 3 big bombs were flund in buses.

this is according to LTTE barbarians is "retaliation" for "DPU" attacks on hiace vans.

this shows that there are MANY tigers and a large number of bombs in the south that can be used at short notice.

SLDFs must bust all these terror cells soon using whatever methods.

there should be hard retaliation for any and all LTTE attacks on civilians. LTTE should never be allowed to have the last laugh.

san said...

yes once LTTE said third and final eelam war is in the sea.trinco harbour is their primary target

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