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Alston questions Lanka's stand

2010-06-15 15:19:43
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By Jamila Najmuddin


The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston has accused the Sri Lankan government of double standards for rejecting an international investigation over alleged war crimes in the island but backing a similar probe on Israel.

In an email interview with Daily Mirror online, Alston said that the mandate given to the local Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the commissioners appointed fall short of being independent and impartial.

“It is also interesting to contrast the Government’s insistence in the UN Human Rights Council that it should be left entirely alone to conduct its own inquiry, with its strong support for an international investigation into Israel’s killing of nine people in the raid on the Gaza flotilla carrying humanitarian aid. Sri Lanka apparently feels so strongly that international measures are needed in relation to Israel that its ambassador to the UN in New York is the Chairman of the so-called Group of Three currently carrying out an international investigation into Israel’s activities.  I believe there are strong grounds for international action in both cases,” Alston told Daily Mirror online.

The UN envoy, who had authenticated a recording shown on UK’s Channel 4 TV allegedly of troops killing unarmed LTTE cadres during the war, said Sri Lanka’s capacity to heal and forge a unified national identity which embraces all of its different ethnic groups will require a genuine examination of the past sooner or later.

“Well, first of all, the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation has not, as you suggest, been appointed to look into alleged war crimes.  As an article on the website of the Ministry of Defence summarizes its purpose, it is “to find out the root causes of the terrorist problem”.  There is not a single mention of “human rights”, “humanitarian law”, “violations”, “war crimes”, or any comparable term. The mandate accorded by the Government very carefully avoids any of these issues.  Instead, the President has indicated that the Commission should look forward, which is generally a way of saying that past violations should be ignored.  Consistent with this he has spoken of restorative justice designed to further strengthen national amity, which is another way of making the same point. Even if the mandate were to be changed, the question would then be whether the commission meets international standards for a credible inquiry into alleged human rights violations,” he said.

Alston noted that Sri Lanka has an unparalleled track record of ineffectual commissions of inquiry of this kind and it is precisely because such inquiries have been utterly unconvincing that they have not succeeded in drawing a line under the contentious issues of the past that need to be addressed before they can be transcended. (Daily Mirror online)


  Comments - 24

  • Tuesday, 15 June 2010 16:19

    As far as world is concerned the Palestenians and the fighters for the freedom Palestine are terrorist.so why lanka is supporting the Palestine? Good question Mr.Alston.

    Reply : 64       51

    Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:06

    The Israeli attack was on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid, and not on Paslestenian freedom fighters as such.

    Reply : 19       49

    Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:30

    Alston's comments clearly indicate how prejudiced he is, against Sri Lanka.

    Reply : 30       56

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:18

    ALston is also having double standards. UK and US are never investigated for their war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is enough of credible video evidence to support this as well. Most of all.. was Harry S Truman ever accused of the greatest war crime committed: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed thousands of innocent people!!

    Reply : 9       17

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:27

    Wait. Who in the world has said that Palestinians are terrorist???? you have seriously got your information wrong Shan!! Even US is working towards a independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

    Reply : 6       14

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:51

    Shan, your knowledge is zero. You need to do some reading to know about middle-east history. Palestine is a country that is occupied by Israel. In true sense Israelis are the terrorists as known to the rest of the world but not to the US and the Europe.

    Reply : 3       6

    Tuesday, 15 June 2010 19:07

    Thanks Alston, for pinpointing and bringing-out the truth about the Presidenttial Commission - so, it is really a 'eye-wash'?

    Reply : 54       38

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 04:42

    the superman alston has special powers to decide and condemn a commission of it's authenticity even before it has commenced operating.

    Reply : 6       11

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 03:25

    MONEY TALKS... we know there will be more

    Reply : 4       13

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 03:32

    you can't expect logical thinking from Sri Lankan leaders, Mr Alston.

    Reply : 11       14

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:13

    Have you just come out of hiding? Where were you during the last 30 years?

    Reply : 6       11

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 04:09

    Phillip - We don't really care much for your opinion and tiger loving ways... go bark up another tree.

    Reply : 13       15

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 04:27

    Can he frighten MR who was not frightened by the world's no 01 Terror Praba??

    Reply : 16       13

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 04:52

    Western governments are all out in their campaign to enslave and destabilize emerging countries.

    Reply : 13       15

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 04:55

    Alston you are rasing a issue that happened inside Sri lanka which is an internal matter. As in the case of Isreal yes we ask for a commssion without delay as it happened in international waters and not inside Isreal.

    Reply : 15       14

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:07

    Terrorists are made. Not born. This is the truth Mr. Alston.

    Reply : 4       17

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:39

    You are 100% Right.

    Reply : 6       9

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:11

    Alston can join with Obama/David Cameron to design a suitable cap to close BP leaking in Gulf of Mexico if he is really interested in rights of humans, flora & fona.No point jabbering on SL as SL terror issue is long over.

    Reply : 13       10

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:28

    Mr. Alston, isn't your comparison of what happened in Sri Lanka during the final phase of a war against terror (purely an internal matter) with the brutal murder in international waters of civilians from other countries on a goodwill mission to deliver essential relief items to a people suffering from a two year merciless blockade, totally misplaced? Its like chalk and cheese, Alston dear.

    Reply : 13       14

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:04

    Mr. Alston, if you have no other work to do join us to grow some manioc

    Reply : 10       8

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:11

    Where was Alston when the bombs set by the LTTE terrorists were going off all over the country, when the Central Bank was bombed killing over 60 employees and customers, when the Min Buddhist Shrine was bombed, when the Muslim mosques were bombed and worshipers gunned down while praying, When poor bus travelers and train travelers were killed while traveling. While entire Sinhalese Villages were brutally destroyed at night. OH! GOD WHERE WAS HE?

    So who is the hypocrite? Dont interfere in our affairs.
    I also like to ask who gave you a mandate to question our matters?

    Reply : 10       10

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:12

    Alston as we all know, there are so many standards when it comes to these kinds of issues. US & UK like countries have their own standards for what they do in Iraq,Afghanistan and numerous other places where they commit inhuman genocides. They can kill millions of innocent children and say "we have freed the country". SL might have things to improve on it's human rights record, but by eliminating LTTE it has at least saved 1000s of Sri Lankan lives including of Tamils.don't look stupid by comparing Freedom Flotilla attack with fighting an internal terrorist group!.. that's stupid!

    Reply : 8       11

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:38

    Mr Alston, there is no logic in your argument, don't mess-up two different stories. SL force killed terrorist but Israel killed Civilians, SL force killed inside SL Soil,
    Israel killed in international water, SL force killed in war but Israel killed not in war.

    Reply : 10       12

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:41

    to be fair why not have commissions for every one, USA, UK, Israel, France, Russia , China, India etc. and Sri Lanka at the end

    Reply : 5       9

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