Truth will come to light | Daily News

Truth will come to light

Apparently a recent statement made by the LSSP is being misrepresented as a left wing position. In particular this has created misconception among Tamils which is quite damaging to Sama Samajists in Sri Lanka. One Sama Samajist said ‘I think we should slam Tissa Vitharana for this racist position and make it clear why his political faction that goes as LSSP does not represent anything close to a leftist ideology.

These slimy groups which are aligned with Mahinda and worship this fascistic leader and follow and absorb every dirty political frank he does, cannot be classified as a party at all. This ‘LSSP’ joins with several other Sinhala chauvinist political groups and called for the resolution to be withdrawn. “It is inconceivable that the UNP government, instead of refusing to be a co-signatory and rejecting the Resolution outright, is content to ask for time to implement it under the supervision of the UNHRC,” said the statement of LSSP.

It went on to call the decision of the government, not to object to the resolution, a “grave mistake.” In chauvinist manner it said the government has “permitted the international community to interfere in our internal affairs, thereby surrendering our sovereignty”. They have forgotten that when Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, foreign military help to fight Tamil armed fighters was bought violating completely Lankan sovereignty!

UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

The recent act, the appointment of commissioners to the Office for Reparation, an independent authority created by the Office for Reparations Act passed in Parliament on October 9, 2018, has given hope to the democratic movement that brought the victory of Premier Wickremesinghe after 53 days of unrepentant struggle. Liberals claim this is the second step of the transitional justice mechanisms for reconciliation process agreed upon by the government and international community. Coming shortly after the conclusion of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, it is an indication of Yahapalanaya to continue commitment to the implementation of the resolution of the UNHRC. It agreed to this resolution in October 2015, co-sponsored facing racist fascist opposition. However this opposition cannot see the unconditional support given by US and India to wipe out the Tamil liberation struggle.

The responsibility of the Office for Reparation is to identify aggrieved victims qualified for reparation and provide appropriate compensation individually or collectively to them. With the appointment of Commissioners, the office will commence its functions.

At the recently concluded session of the UNHRC, the Yahapalanaya achieved what it demanded. The government obtained the concurrence of the international community to extend the implementation period of the co-sponsored resolution by a further two years. This created much criticism from both sides of the nationality divide. On the one hand, the criticism that the process is too slow and there is a need to speed up implementation made by Tamils, but without any proposal for pushing Lanka forward.

They indicated the reconciliation mechanisms that the government established, the Office for Missing Persons, has yet to commence finding those who went missing. When United States and India supported erasing the Tamil army physically, will anybody eagerly look for the missing persons! On the other hand, of course there is criticism by the Sinhala fascistic groups that the government continues to be subject to pressures from the international community with regard to post-war reconciliation.

Post-war reconciliation

Experience in implementation of post-war reconciliation, anywhere in the world, whatever measures taken, shows that the process is invariably a slow one. At a recent discussion organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombo, the example of Cyprus was raised. In Cyprus, (CMP) was established; the Committee on Missing Persons in 1981 by an agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the backing of the United Nations (UN). It was to determine the fate of persons reported missing in inter-communal fighting in the 1960s, and as a result of the events of 1974. “The CMP does not attempt to investigate, or attribute responsibility for the deaths of missing persons or make findings as to the cause of such deaths. Its mandate is a humanitarian one of bringing closure to thousands of affected families through the return of the remains of their missing relatives.”

“After the end of the conflict, which ran from December 1963 until August 1974, 2003 people were reported missing: 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,511 Greek Cypriots. Relying on information from the public, the CMP has excavated some 1,254 sites across the island, finding human remains at 1,200 of these. Each site is carefully searched and where found; the remains exhumed and brought to the laboratory for testing. Families of the missing have provided DNA samples to help identify those found.

The CMP reached an important milestone in July 2007, when it began returning the first remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot individuals to their families. Since then the remains of 681 Greek Cypriots and 246 Turkish Cypriots have been found and returned to their families, while hundreds more await identification.”

The important point to note here is the direct involvement of world powers was missing in this conflict, but that it took 26 years for the first body of a missing person to be identified and returned to their family. The problem of dealing with the past is made difficult when those who were part of the structures responsible for the disappearances continue to remain in positions of power. Sri Lanka has undergone democratic revolution which continued up to the recent struggle of 53 days to re-install Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. A far reaching change in either the structures of the parties responsible for the disappearances and other human rights violations has not taken. Those who have a close connection with the events of the past, such days, those who supervised the white vans that caused enforced disappearances or enjoyed impunity during the war period in order to eliminate the LTTE at all costs would be concerned about the issues of accountability that could arise from the facts that are unearthed. Even USA and India were involved in eliminating LTTE as a terrorist organisation.

The problem of missing persons brings to the fore the continuing divide in Sri Lankan society. Sinhala majoritists would prefer to gloss over the problem and move forward without dealing with the past, whereas the minority Tamil speaking would be determined to get to the root of the problem and to ensure accountability.

This fascist-anti fascist perceptions have manifested itself in the contrary opinions being expressed about the need for international participation in the special judicial mechanism, which is the third of the mechanisms that the government committed itself to implementing in terms of the UNHRC resolution. The debate on a hybrid court for accountability has been reignited once again by the UN High Commissioner’s recent report which specifically recommends the establishment of a hybrid court in Sri Lanka.

Office of Missing Persons

The Office of Missing Persons has been active throughout the country. That is great. It has been provided with information relating to the approximately 16,000 civilians and 5,000 Security Forces personnel missing during the war. There are many more who have not registered with any authority, including the families of LTTE cadre who went missing. However these would not dare to report that to any government authority.

As nationality consciousness has entered into the state structure during the period of war; problem has got complicated. From a humanitarian perspective this is the most serious problem in the country which requires an urgent solution. “At a HR discussion in Colombo the concept of ambiguous loss was discussed. This is the loss that has no official verification, no certainty or clarity and therefore no closure. It is an unending ache and a hope that the missing person will one day reappear. Finding the truth about them will require greater support from the governmental system and manifestation of political will.”

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