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Genocide of Tamils : UN Action Appalling

By Dr C P Thiagarajah

17 April, 2009

Having cornered about 200000 homeless, half starved IDP (civilians) by herding them with the help of rocket launching gunships and multibarrel guns into a narrow stretch of land in the East near Puthumathalan called the safety zone, Sri Lanka Army (SLA) had now embarked upon intense attack on the 'safety zone'. It all started in the early hours of 12 April Sunday, targeting a place called Pachchaip-pulmoaddai, aiming for bifurcating and capturing the northern part of the 'safety zone' ignoring the international calls for a ceasefire to avoid genocide of the Tamils, a distinctive ethnic minority. The inconsiderate shelling and bombing is well described by the BBC in its website of 14 April. The United Nations warned of a possible “bloodbath” on the beaches of northern Sri Lanka

The Tamil community had been facing the brunt of all Sinhala government anti-Tamil discrimination, Human rights violations and genocide since independence in 1948. All the Sinhala Sri-lanka Government’s (GSL) violence against the Tamils had been well documented. Please refer, Asian Human Rights Watch website and US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) website. The million dollar question is how come all successive Sri-Lankan government committed this crime on its minorities under the watchful eyes of the democratic world that created the UN to protect against such atrocities.

The core aim of The United Nations (UN) was to maintain international peace and security and international economic and social cooperation. 192 States are members of the United Nations 192 States are members of the United Nations. The UN established many treaties to implement its main duties under its charter since inception October 24, 1945 in San Francisco, California. The core aim was promoted and encouraged through respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. Can the situation in Sri-lanka be attributed to UN failure to implement or help to implement the various instruments drafted under its charter?

One such instrument was the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948. It came into force on 12 January 1951. The word 'genocide' was coined in 1944 to name a particularly shocking and horrific crime of violence. Genocide is the deliberate extermination of a racial, religious or ethnic group. Genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law. Many countries signed the Convention, some of whom have since been party to genocide. Only a few people have been charged with genocide or complicity in it.

In a more detailed sense, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group as such. Killing members of the group deliberately planned and carried out by individuals, all of whom are responsible whether they made the plan, gave the order or carried out the killings, whatever its scale. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, forcible transferring children of the group to another group etc. Genocide had been perpetrated by GSL at all level.

In Sri-lanka there are mainly three individuals who are immediately responsible for genocide both in words and deeds at the moment. They are President Mahinda Rajapakse who is always seen in native dress (probably borrowed from Tamils because it is the cultural dress of the Tamils) and a shawl, his brother Gothabaya Rajapakse and the odd one out with a Portuguese name military head Fonseka.

It was believed at that time when the Genocide Act was passed that genocide could never happen again. Contrarily, that it had been put into practice so many times in one century was even more shocking.

The following were some of the worst genocide of the last century.

1904 NAMIBIA, 1915 ARMENIA, 1932 UKRAINE 1941-45 the HOLOCAUST, 1975 CAMBODIA, 1982 GUATEMALA, 1994 RWANDA, 1995 BOSNIA

In 2009 at the beginning of the early new century and millennium Sri-Lanka is committing unimaginable genocide of Tamils in front of the whole world.

The worst deceit of GSL is to use weapons of mass destructions (WMD) in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) adopted by the General Assembly at its forty-seventh session, on 30 November 1992, and signed and ratified by Sri-Lanka in 1993/94. It had used cluster bombs boldly in the presence of diplomats of all countries in Colombo a distance of 80 miles from the war zone. US diplomat Mr Rob Blake who always defended the Sinhalese government against all odds should have known of this horror and still remained silent without informing the new President Barack Obama.

The NGO, War Without Witnesses criticised Sri-Lanka for the clandestine use of chemical weapons in this war against LTTE with photographic proof. Concerned South Asian Citizens, a forum formed to support ethnic Lankan Tamils stated “it was feared that the Sinhalese Army was continuously using thermobaric bomb, which uses a fuel-air explosive capable of creating pressure equal to that an atom bomb, for mass killings”.

In addition, there are concerns over the use of cluster munitions by the Sri-Lankan air force in this war because its remnants kill or maim civilians, including women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, can negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts, and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years after use,

Because of the serious injury and damage with grave consequences to the victims in the use of cluster bombs the UN stressed the duties of a state to take post war precaution thus “with respect to cluster munitions victims in areas under its jurisdiction or control shall, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, adequately provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion. Each State Party shall make every effort to collect reliable relevant data with respect to cluster munitions victims”. Sri-Lanka cared the least to provide any relief or medical aid to the victims. Many NGOs and the state government medical services in the area where GSL used cluster bombs have complained of this neglect. Instead the GSL had imposed a press censorship and media blackout to hide this macabre scene from the world and barred many NGOs from helping the victims. Intelligently Tamils are exposing these atrocities in ‘YouTube’ videos. The UN or the world also had turned a blind eye to this GSL contravention of warfare rules.

Arrogantly, Government of Sri-Lanka (GSL) is violating all six human rights conventions and declarations based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Sri-Lanka signed on 11/09/80. They are:-
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT),

Barbarity is the fore runner of genocide. The brute force directed towards the Tamil civilians revealed this. Impunity to the perpetrators was another hallmark of genocide. The annihilation of the Armenians in the 1915 genocide began on the orders of Ottoman Turkish leader Taloat Pasha who gave impunity in his orders “Kill every Armenian, woman, child and man without concern for anything”.

The Tamil Centre for Human Rights based in Paris estimated that 83982 civilians including women, children and elderly were killed in the current conflict which the government says were cross fire casualties. Ethnic cleansing is the main modus operandi of every Sinhalese head of state from 1948 to establish Sinhala domination all over Sri-Lanka including the TH. They matched their words that they spelt out to foreign journalist and diplomats with action.

On 11th July 1983during the 1983 pogrom J.R.Jayawardene, Sinhala Buddhist President of Sri Lanka then told a Daily Telegraph journalist, "I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north (TH of Tamils), the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.” In fact he did more than that. He committed genocide of the Tamils culturally, economically and racially. Sinhala leaders had continuously denied that the Tamil People were original to sri-lanka and have used that as a reason for denying them equal rights. Ex president Chandrika Kumaratunge told Sunday Times (South African newspaper) on October 1998 “only a minority group (referring to Tamils) is fighting for a separate homeland, who are not even originals to this country", Therefore they racially discriminated the Tamils contrary to UN principles. This is the bone of contention for the Tamils.

State induced pogroms and riots saw many Tamils displaced one or more times since 1983. The number of Tamils displaced one or more times reached 100%. One third of the population had fled overseas. Many villages had been completely erased to the ground and High security zones were established. The citizens of these areas were sent into IDP camps. The world watched this silently without raising any protest. Only Miss Karen Parker HR worker and some NGOs raised their voices with no good result.
The Sri-Lankan government under MR like Joseph Stalin who caused the Ukraine holocaust of famine, colonized the rice bowl of the East with Sinhalese after killing and driving out Tamils residents. They emulated Stalin and conducted stage managed tour of journalist to show that nothing undemocratic took place in the East homeland of the Tamils during the army atrocities last year.

The Soviets bolstered their Ukraine famine denial by duping members of the foreign press and international celebrities through carefully staged photo opportunities in the Soviet Union and the Ukraine. The Iris born writer George Bernard Shaw, along with a group of British socialites, visited the Soviet Union and came away with a favorable impression which he disseminated to the world. Former French Premier Edouard Herriot was given a five-day stage-managed tour of the Ukraine, viewing spruced-up streets in Kiev and inspecting a 'model' collective farm. He also came away with a favorable impression and even declared there was indeed no famine. Even intelligent world leaders could not identify the real situation when stage managed well by unscrupulous dictators and semi dictators.

In Sri-Lanka the technique of genocide represented a concentrated and co-coordinated attack upon all the elements of Tamil nationhood. Not only physical genocide but also acts aimed at destroying the group’s culture and livelihood. The Sinhalese had blocked the main A9 highway to the North with embargo on some vital items needed for development such as cement and building materials, to starve and inconvenience the Tamil race in the North and the citizen there are in virtual open prisons. Over 2000 Hindu temples and 300 churches were destroyed by aerial bombing or tank fire. Children education had been affected for the last two decades. One third of the children are drop outs. There is malnutrition and the infant mortality rate had quadrupled since before the war. &0% of the people in the TH are below poverty line as their regular employment and occupation had been curtailed by army curfew, fights and other hazards.

The Tamil race had come to their low ebb of their endurance. The TH is scorched earth now. Unless this genocide is stopped forthwith under power vested under UN charter 39-42 military measures it will be another blot on the current century. The UN should use the R2P principle to protect the Eelam Tamils in Sri-Lanka immediately. GSL is in a hurry to finish the genocide before the UN or US could act and compromise after the genocide. If that happens, future Historians will blame those in power in the UN now. Discretion is the better part of Valour.






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