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Wednesday 11 April 2012

On the implementation of the LLRC report

The UNHRC wants Sri Lanka to implement the LLRC report and to monitor the implementation. The UNP shouts from roof tops that if the government had implemented the LLRC report then nothing would have happened in Geneva as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. It is true that the LLRC was appointed by the government without a mandate to go into the so called ethnic problem but one could argue that no recommendation on the failure of the Ranil Prabhakaran Pact aka Ceasefire Agreement, could have been made without reference to the Tamil problem. However the so called ethnic problem is presented with myths that we have analyzed from time to time but it is worth repeating some of them not in the distant future at least for the benefit of those who have become interested in the problem recently.

However, before we go into an analysis of the myths pertaining to Tamil racism we have to comment again on the latest threat in the form of the resolution of the UNHRC at Geneva. There are many pundits who claim that if the government does not implement the LLRC report we will have to face harsh consequences. These are the very same people who argued that the LTTE led by one of the “best military strategists” born into this world could not be defeated. The UNP never thought of defeating the LTTE even in their dreams but were busy with signing pacts with Prabhakaran under the patronage of the Norwegians who were only a cat’s paw of the English and the Americans. Thus if the UNP was in power certainly nothing would have happened in Geneva as they would have given the LTTE an Eelam on a platter. Even at the height of the humanitarian operations we knew that the LTTE was supplied with arms and other equipment by the western countries led by England and America and they were contemplating to stop the operations by applying pressure on President Mahinda Rajapakse. At the very last moment the Americans and the English were all out to send a ship to Sri Lanka to rescue Prabhakaran and the other terrorists, paying lip service to anti terrorism. We remember Nambiar trying to contact perhaps the rescue crew from the wash rooms (they were called toilets then) of the Katunayake airport. We have to be grateful to the President Rajapakse for standing up to all these pressures and to the Defence secretary and the armed forces for finally defeating the LTTE at Nandikadal. From that moment the west has been applying pressure on the government from number of points starting with white flags to implement a so called solution to the “ethnic problem”. However, it does not mean that the west became interested in the so called ethnic problem at that point. They were the creators of the problem who finally aided and abetted LTTE terrorism. The internationalization of the problem took place way back in the seventeenth century when the Dutch wanted labour for their tobacco cultivation.

The LLRC was appointed by the government to report on the failure of the Ranil Prabhakaran Pact and on lessons learnt and reconciliation after the acts of terrorism. The LLRC has come out with a report with recommendations on solving the so called ethnic problem as well. However there is a problem with their understanding of the Tamil problem and any “solution” suggested by an individual or a committee depends on the way the individual or the committee understands the problem. Now England and America have grabbed the report and demand that the government implement the recommendations made by the LLRC. However, what has to be emphasised is that the LLRC, however it may be important to the west, is just another commission appointed by the government and nobody can force the latter to implement the recommendations of the former. If the government wishes it can completely ignore the report or implement a few recommendations which in its opinion are good for the country. The governance of the country whether good or bad is by the government and not by UNHRC or by the UN. It is certainly not good governance for an external body to dictate how the government should govern. The implementation or not of the LLRC report is the prerogative of the government and not of the UNHRC, America or England.

In this regard it has to be reminded that some time ago a commission was appointed by President Premadasa to look into the youth unrest after the second JVP insurgency in 1987 – 1990. Ironically Prof. G. L. Peiris himself was an eminent member of the commission, but after the report was submitted no human rights organisation whether local or “international” demanded that its recommendations should be implemented. To date nobody knows what happened to the report and Prof. G. L. Peiris could enlighten the UNHRC on the recommendations of the commission and how much of them have been implemented. It was up to the Premadasa government to decide on the implementation of the recommendations of the commission and nobody rightfully questioned the intentions of the then government. It is clear that the so called international community comprising mainly of the western Christian white countries were not interested in the welfare of the Sinhala youth then. However, it does not mean that those countries are interested in the welfare of the Tamil youth or the elders but are using the Tamil people against the Sinhala people in this country. Forty years ago after the first JVP insurgency a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of late Prof. Osmond Jayaratne to make recommendations on University reorganization and the University Act of 1972 that amalgamated all the then existing universities into one single university was a result of the wisdom of the eminent academics who comprised the committee. The University Act No. 16 of 1978 repealed the 1972 Act, and the single university died a natural death. However, as a result of the 1972 Act, the Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara Universities which were established in 1959 to promote Sinhala and Buddhistic studies had to give into campuses in the tradition of the Universities of Peradeniya and Colombo and the 1978 Act only made them fully fledged Universities in the same tradition giving step motherly treatment to Sinhala and Buddhistic studies, and the Faculties other than the Faculty of Humanities a high status in the University hierarchy. Today even the names Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara have been dispensed with to the satisfaction of some old academics as well youth who are Macaulay’s children burdened with a superiority complex. Thus the eminent people such as Osmond Jayaratne, V. K. Samaranayke could not come out with a long lasting solution even on University reorganization and the government has to be very careful in implementing recommendations of these committees which may be detrimental to the national interest in the final analysis. The LLRC may have comprised many eminent personals but however eminent they may be their word is not the final, and it is the government which is responsible to the general public unlike the commissions that has to take a decision on the implementation of the report.

It is said by equally eminent people that if the government does not implement the LLRC recommendations Sri Lanka would be isolated and that we have to follow the example of Myanmar and comply with the “international” opinion. Myanmar government is not an elected government and it cannot be compared with the government of President Rajapakse, and what has to be remembered is that even the military government of Myanmar was able to resist the so called international opinion for number of decades. In Sri Lanka the west has no option against the President and that is why they are desperate on the release of Sarath Fonseka in spite of his pronouncement of Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist country. The west at the last Presidential elections was successful in getting the TNA to support Sarath Fonseka, and we all know that before the elections the retired General came out with his white flag story. America is not an emerging “imperial power” but a decaying colonial power that is waiting for its final battle with Iran. One may remind us that Russia who voted against the American resolution has also called for the implementation of the LLRC report and thus the world opinion will finally turn against Sri Lanka as has happened in Syria. The problem with the government is that it rhetorically mentions that it would implement the LLRC report without being specific as to the recommendations it could implement. The government does not have to implement all the recommendations, especially those connected with the so called ethnic problem, and should convene a meeting of the Diplomats of the countries that opposed the American resolution and those that abstained at Geneva to explain to them the so called ethnic problem and the LLRC recommendations. In this connection it would be appropriate to quote from SAIR. “If such an outcome (victory over a terrorist outfit - NdeS) were to be secured in Iraq or Afghanistan or, now, even in Pakistan, it would be embraced by the West as an unadulterated and righteous triumph. In Sri Lanka, however, it appears to have provoked, across much of Europe and among the most prominent international agencies – including the United Nations (UN) – a seething and barely concealed outrage... There is a sense, not of a dreaded terrorist organisation having been defeated and destroyed, but of collaborators, comrades, fellows at arms, lost to the enemy. (SAIR, Volume 7, No. 46, May 25, 2009)


Copyright Prof. Nalin De Silva