Sri Lanka, through its Ambassador in Washington, Ravinatha Aryasinha, has called upon the US House Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) not to proceed with the Resolution on Lanka.
In a communication addressed to FAC Chair Representative, Gregory Meeks, (Democrat, New York) and Ranking Member Representative, Michael McCaul (Republican, Texas), the Government said that it vehemently opposes the contents of the Resolution which contains allegations relating to Sri Lanka that are inaccurate, biased and unsubstantiated, raising grave suspicion regarding the intention of the Resolution, the Foreign Ministry stated in a media release issued yesterday, June 5.
The Resolution H. RES. 413, which calls for an international mechanism for accountability on Sri Lanka on allegations of war crimes, was moved by Congresswoman Deborah Ross (Democrat, North Carolina) on May 18, 2021.
The communication by the Ministry was accompanied by a detailed analysis of the Resolution, to explain the prejudicial nature of each paragraph. The Ministry said that the proposed Resolution, which equates the LTTE to an ‘Armed independence organisation’, exposed the origins and purpose of the Resolution.
The LTTE, which assassinated world leaders and iconic personalities including Tamil academics, remains a proscribed organisation in the US since 1997 and in 2008, the FBI named it as ‘Among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world’.
The Government release added, ‘The Resolution encourages separatism and questions even the nature of the Sri Lanka State, by references to ‘Traditional Tamil Homeland’. This not only misrepresents established historical facts, and present-day realities, but also contributes to supporting the dismemberment of Sri Lanka, which is the ultimate goal of the LTTE and its supporters’.
The Resolution’s willful ignorance of the USA’s own security concerns about the LTTE and its front organisations and efforts at glorification of terrorism, will give inspiration to rump elements of the LTTE and its numerous front organisations in the US and across the world, and other terrorist organisations.
Observing that the USA had been ‘A consistent defence partner of Sri Lanka, including in Sri Lanka’s war against terror’, the Government said, “The Resolution which is at significant variance with stated US policy, across Administrations – Democratic and Republican, may lead to an erroneous conclusion that the House supports armed acts to achieve political goals”.
The Foreign Ministry said that this move would undermine the US Administration’s own foreign policy foundation of being rooted in democratic values, and negatively impact the warm bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the USA.
It was asserted that the Government, having struggled for nearly 30 years to defeat LTTE terrorism, consistent with its Constitutional duties to protect its citizens regardless of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion or place of birth, launched a humanitarian operation to protect and liberate all Sri Lankans.
The communication also outlined the measures taken by the Government since the defeat of terrorism in May 2009, to address the needs of 300,000 internally displaced persons who had been used as human shields by the retreating LTTE.
It also described what has been done to rebuild and develop infrastructure in terrorist affected areas and to restore livelihood opportunities to many, including over 12,000 ex-LTTE terrorists, comprising 596 child soldiers, who were rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
The media release by the Foreign Ministry stated, “It was recalled that following the ending of terrorism, the then Government in 2013 conducted the Northern Provincial Council elections, ensuring democratic freedoms and rights to the people of the North, and since 2017, all minority parties in Parliament, including the TNA and its allies, supported the deferral of elections”.
Foreign Ministry also stated:
“The reports on Sri Lanka cited in the Resolution, including the OISL Report of 2015, constituted a mere subjective narrative of events including ‘Desk-reviewed’ information, which failed to reveal sources and were not verifiable. On the contrary, there was an abundance of verifiable evidence, that has been ignored, contained in, inter alia, the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the Paranagama Commission, reports from the UN and international agencies including the UNDP, UNICEF and the ICRC, and information presented before the UK House of Lords by Lord Naseby challenging among other things the vastly exaggerated civilian casualty figures.
Expert opinions including those by international legal luminaries, and dispatches in real time by the Military Attaché of the British High Commission in Colombo, Col. Anton Gash and statements by Lt. Col. Lawrence Smith who had served as Defence Attaché of the US Embassy during the last phase of the battle against terrorism, also contested the narrative of the reports cited in the Resolution.
For five years neither the UN bodies nor the US and other proponents of this Resolution, pressed the previous Government to carry out its promises.
Calling for an ‘International mechanism’ at this juncture is sinister, at a time the present Government has provided a credible and transparent domestic process to address the concerns raised, in January, 2021 instituting a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCOI), which had on March 4, 2021 invited ‘Any person, persons or organisations to submit written representations or information or any other material which relates to the above for the Commission to inquire into’. The Commission has been conducting hearings since April and heard testimony from witnesses.”