The Lady trudges looking like a tramp but holds a trump, being the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Her roots beckon a South Indian origin; born to a South African family belonging to the Tamil Valhalla caste and responds to the name of Navaneetham Pillai. She should create no ripple being a South Indian Tamil if she is objective in her determination. True, the issue relates to Sri Lankan Tamils: but that does not deserve a stamp with a bias tag. Tamils are a world, apart from the terrorists. Binding the two is as fatal and unrealistic as merging the two provinces!
More a concern is her South African connection in receiving a political elevation to high judicial office for defending persons incarcerated on account of terrorism activity, including her husband Gaby detained under the Terrorist Act - though it had much to do with apartheid politics. Admittedly, the cumulative effect does not appear to sound proper. For the sake of justice in the interest of transparency, could she not have delegated her functions to another in the UNHRC to exclude any trace of inherent bias? It would have sounded better for her at the time her obituary is written.
"To determine whether Pillay came to Sri Lanka with a mind - open or shut, or with notions - pre or post judged, it is rather her words, conduct and acts that matter"
The Ministry of External Affairs did well in not raising an issue, instead allowing her full access, which she dignifiedly acknowledged. Understandably, with an unlikely second term she takes all that lays before her in the balance term ahead.
Ask yourself, would India allow any exploration of their human rights deficiencies or over the violations by the IPKF in the North, where there are serious allegations? She will be allowed to India as a tourist to see the Taj Mahal but with no checks in the Kashmir Valley. Why does she not wag a finger at India for a change?
Her initial reaction at the present session of the UNHRC on Sri Lanka was to express her lament on the fate that awaits “human rights defenders, journalists and the communities I met during my visit from any reprisals or intimidation or attack.”
Madam, name a name or lay claim to a complaint of any such incident before you shame a nation? That speaks volumes for responsibility, reliability and respectability on your part. We have not heard a grumble from any one but you!
By rushing to judgment are you not falling into the credibility deficit column? The imprints of where your footsteps are leading to are on display, when you act prematurely. It is your expression six days (25th May 2009) after the war ended (19 May 2009) when you joined the European Community to condemn Sri Lanka, that prompted you to lately indulge in semantic acrobatics and to declare holding ‘an open mind’ and ‘without any pre-judgment’ in view of previous biased pronouncements. No judge need assert impartiality as it is presumed to be inherent, unless it attracts a guilty mind that needs a cleansing.
To determine whether Pillay came to Sri Lanka with a mind - open or shut, or with notions - pre or post judged, it is rather her words, conduct and acts that matter. In her opening statement of over 2750 words carrying over to more than 5 pages issued to the media, heavily censured Sri Lanka, while in passing a single sentence dismisses the atrocities of the LTTE (“LTTE was a murderous organisation that committed numerous crimes and destroyed many lives”) in a gross under-statement; remembers only of one life (Neelan Thiruchelvam, MP/TULF) lost due to the LTTE, omitting the massacre of thousands of innocent civilians.
The genuineness of a statement cannot be measured with a foot-ruler or of the names dropped. But is it fair reporting where Sri Lanka is faulted relentlessly, taking a bulk of the marathon misgivings against Sri Lanka, while 28 years of cruel terrorism is dismissed mildly with the aforesaid 13 words against the LTTE. Is there equal treatment or a balanced fair mind at work in the presentation?
Thousands of civilians of all ethnicities including infants and baby monks, children and women, were killed periodically for over 25 years but Pillay lists only the death of a liberal minded TULF MP killed by the LTTE which she mourned by her personal attendance at his memorial service as mentioned in her lengthy statement. No doubt Neelan Thiruchelvam was a much valued life, as was Lakshman Kadirgamar, and to forget the long list of politicians from Presidents to Prime Ministers in the sub continent assassinated by the LTTE is pardonable; yet can she forget while holding her present office, thousands of specifically targeted civilians killed periodically outside a battlefield by LTTE terrorists to whom her office/title is dedicated? It’s not the names but the suppression of facts that tells more.
Lady, to expose Human Rights violations - is your prerogative, which you must do impartially. Instead, you stand more exposed, which is a disgrace to the office you hold. Thankfully for Human Rights you are in a passing phase; sadly for Sri Lanka you are an arbiter during that dodgy chapter.
Either hold domestic inquiries or be prepared to face international trials. Pillayan declared categorically, the military inquiries determined were mock trials. Fair enough - she is entitled to her view with respect. In retrospect, a fatal decision to rue for Sri Lanka, that devalued the prospect of holding a proper court martial. Her premature unjudicious decision in calling for international inquiry before exhausting local remedies, placed her on fault lines, but now she is in safer international waters. Sri Lanka too must get off its silly street and exercise its domestic mechanism, earlier the better. We cannot afford to live like islanders!
The criticism of a government moving towards an authoritarian regime is a reasonable conclusion. It would have carried weight had she said that after a tyrannical despotic rule that existed for years - people of Wanni now enjoy much greater trappings of democracy. Especially after the largest human rescue operation in the recent history, where over a hundred thousand civilians were freed from terrorist’s captivity and carried to safety at the loss of military life and limb.
How did you forget that Pillay lady?
You are vocal against one party and silent against the other?
Is that your style in Human Rights?
Did not the LTTE demand from the Northerners not to exercise their franchise?
Did they enjoy the freedom to vote, free speech, travel, express dissent, and access free media or enjoy political plurality?
Was it the TNA through the LTTE or the Government through the military that brought them closer to democracy?
Look at the voting percentages, then and now - Was it not an election free and fair, if the TNA won the North and defeated the Government?
Not a word from the do-good lady. Lady, be more balanced when you make a presentation, in your own interest. Remember you did not speak a word on rehabilitation or child soldiers in your statement - points that favour Sri Lanka. Your selectivity damages the image of the UNHRC. Pillay, you talk of free media but did you not complain of criticism in the local media?
Is that not a license of the free-press in a functional democracy!