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Dear Lord Bates, Good Intentions can be squashed by Poor Information

Dear Lord Bates, Good Intentions can be squashed by Poor Information

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Published by Puni Selva
Comments on Lord Bates' contribution to the debate on Sri Lanka on 08.01.2013 in the Grand Committee, House of Lords, UK Parliament
Comments on Lord Bates' contribution to the debate on Sri Lanka on 08.01.2013 in the Grand Committee, House of Lords, UK Parliament

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Published by: Puni Selva on Jan 23, 2013
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07/03/2013

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Dear Lord Bates, Good Intentions can be squashed by Poor Information - comments on Lord Bates
 contribution to debate on Sri Lanka, House of Lords, 08.01.2013Sri Lanka, Question for debate, Lord Naseby, Grand Committee, 08 January 2013To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment to date of the implementation of theindependent report from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in Sri Lanka, and of thechallenges facing Sri Lanka in implementing recommendations still outstanding -http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130108-gc0001.htm Please let us comment on a few points
in Lord Bates’
contribution*:
1.
’’conflict went on for 26 yrs’’ 
:
26-yr war was over but the 65-yr conflict goes on unabated:''When the war ended in May 2009, it was the worst that was over, but the ethnic conflict that spans more
than five decades is not yet over’’
- National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, 14 November 2011
‘’Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to
achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development inwhich all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage ouraffairs has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. We need to rectify this bad
governance’’
-
Jayantha Dhanapala’s submis
sion to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25August 2010 (Dhanapala is a Buddhist Sinhalese and was formerly UN Under-Secretary General forDisarmament)Sri Lanka is earning tourism business on the ethnic conflict:''A knock on the sturdy front door of this grand mansion - little different from other homes of Colombo's richand famous - one late-*September day in 1959 propelled this prime ministerial residence into the headlines.A saffron-robed Buddhist monk was welcomed, bypassing security because of his religious status. The visitorwas a genuine monk - but he was also an assassin who reputedly believed Ceylon Prime Minister SolomonBandaranaike, a fellow-Buddhist, wasn't tough enough on Hindu Tamils. He pulled a revolver from under hisrobes, shooting the politician who was kneeling respectfully. Bandaranaike died hours later in hospital'' -TOURISTS, SERENDIPITY RETURN TO SRI LANKA, 21 January 2013, http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/article/15893959/tourists-serendipity-return-to-sri-lanka/ (* Prabhakaran was a toddler then)
2.
‘’the peace treaty was signed two or three years ago’’ 
:
Which treaty please? No treaty was signed 2/3 yrs ago. A Ceasefire Agreement was signed in 2002 and wasabrogated unilaterally by the govt in 2008. There were Banda-Chelva Pact of 1957 and Dudley-Chelva Pact of 1966 abrogated unilaterally by the then-governments when there was opposition from the SinhaleseBuddhists. Non-violent sit-in protests by Tamils in 1956 and 1961 were crushed by Sinhalese mobs (watchedpassively by the Police) in Colombo in 1956 and by the armed forces sent by the government to Jaffna in1961. Because Tamils demanded federalism, a state-aided pogrom was unleashed on them in 1958. BecauseTamils began to seek separation in 1976, a state-aided pogrom was unleashed on them in 1977. But state-aided violence of varying quality and quantity has been going on non-stop till today
 –
reports by national,
 
regional and international organisations. Many Sinhalese critics have been to their maker or driven out of the country over the last 5/6 decades till today.Paradise Poisoned: Learning about Conflict, Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka 's Civil Wars(2005),
John Richardson, Professor of International development, American University: ‘’
Paradise Poisoned is theprincipal product of a seventeen year project, devoted to understanding linkages between deadly conflict,terrorism and development, by viewing them through the lens of Sri Lanka's post-independence history,from 1948 through 1988.
…….My vision is of a day when no citizens in today's developing nations will have to
ask 'how did we come to this?' Paradise Poisoned will have achieved its purpose when that day comes.''
3.
‘’I guarantee as a fact that the people of Sri Lanka will still b
e wrestling with this issue in not five years' 
time but in 50 or 100 years' time’’:
 
Ohhh, Lord Bates? WHY?Textbooks prepared by the Dept of Education of previous governments and programs prepared by thepresent Defence Secretary have the answer:http://www.scribd.com/doc/104760706/Sri-Lanka-Education-for-War-Must-Be-Transformed-Into-Education-for-Peace Recommendations in scores of reports over 4/5 decades by UN Human Rights Committee and very manyorganisations and groups of eminent persons have all been ignored by successive Sri Lankan governmentsand by the international community.Paradise Poisoned: Learning about Conflict, Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka 's Civil Wars(2005),John Richardson, Professor of International development in American University's School of InternationalService and Director of the University's Centre for Teaching Experience: ''How could we have come to this?What could we have done to prevent the conflict that has killed our family members and friends, devastatedour lives, destroyed what was being so painstakingly developed? What can we learn and share from ourexperiences that may help others to avoid following a similar path? How can we share what we have learnedmost powerfully and effectively? The 'we' of these questions are, principally, political leaders and citizens of the nations, from Angola to Zaire , that have been victimised by civil war. There is another group of individuals, too, who must continue to pose questions about the causes and prevention of civil wars. Foreignpolitical leaders, multilateral and non-governmental organisation leaders, leaders in the private sector anddevelopment practitioners share in the responsibility for causing civil wars, though they bear few of thecosts.''
4.
’’South Africa would be much better placed’’:
 
That’s exactly what the President of International Crisis Group suggested: What South Africa
can do to helpwith reconciliation in Sri Lanka, 24 July 2011. When Ministers in South Africa government offered help, theSri Lankan government quickly declined it. In the Late 1990s when Nelson Mandela offered help at UNGeneral Assembly, the then-president of Sri Lanka instantly declined it. Research shows that intrastateethnic conflicts are very vicious and can only be resolved by a third party.
5.
‘’I am disappointed all other parties did not take part in it (LLRC)’’ 
:
LLRC, was appointed by the President and no political parties were expected/invited to join it. That is the
usual procedure of a ‘’Commission
of Inquiry
’’ any government appoints.
 
 
But Sri Lankan National civil societies are critical of the government for appointing a series of 15commissions and committees in the last 6/7 years and for not following up with publication of their reports:Centre for Policy Alternatives has posted this online:http://www.scribd.com/doc/85007346/A-List-of-Commissions-of-Inquiry-and-Committees-Appointed-by-the-Government-of-Sri-Lanka-2006-%E2%80%93-2012
‘’So far there has been little or no ind
ication of any special effort on the part of the government to
implement the LLRC recommendations that formed the centrepiece of the UNHRC resolution. … It is
unfortunate that actual implementation of the promises made by the government at the last session of the
Universal Periodic Review in 2008 has been hardly satisfactory’’
- National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, 9 July2012
‘’ The challenge for human rights and civil society groups is to keep hope alive in the people who are not
receiving either the fruits of development or justice. The questions of people like those who attended thatworkshop in Batticaloa must receive answers whether through the UPR process in Geneva or some other
process. The government’s Action Plan to implement the LLRC report with i
ts large gaps can only be taken as
a preliminary document that needs a second look and much review’’
- Dual Reality And InternationalPressures, 8 October 2012, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dual-reality-and-international-pressures/Colombo Telegraph:
‘’Even one year after the LLRC report was published, the Government continues to
prevaricate on implementing the proposals in
the LLRC report’’, 11 Dec 2012 and ‘’the almost non existentimplementation of an LLRC Action Plan’’
, 13 January 2013,
6
.
’’they have been working at conflict prevention rather than intervention’’ 
:
Whatever the government has been doing has been only exacerbating the conflict: Though the people of Northern Province have voted in Presidential and General elections, they are not yet given the chance of electing their own Provincial Council:
‘’ The government’s delay in restoring full civil administration to the north means that there will be a vicious
cycle. So long as the government is mistrustful of the Tamil people of the north, and the Northern Provinceremains the one province in the country in which provincial council elections are not held, the government
will continue to alienate the people of the north and keep communal discord alive’’ –
National Peace Councilof Sri Lanka, 16 July 2012Instead the government formed a Presidential Task Force for Northern Development funded by foreigndonors:
‘’The macro
-economic decisions that the government makes in terms of developments in the north are notmade with the participation of the people or their representatives. This is a major problem and cause forresentment. An example would be the Presidential Task Force for Northern Development. Thisgovernmental regulatory body is located in Colombo and is virtually all Sinhalese in its ethnic composition,even though most of the people in the north are Tamil. Several of its members are retired military officers.This money comes from international donors for the rehabilitation of the people of the north. But decisionmakers in C
olombo decide what should be done without reference to the wishes of the people of the area’’
-DISPELLING PERCEPTIONS OF UNCARING GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTH, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka,26 July 2012

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