Foregone Conclusions from the UNHRC’s Forthcoming Charade in Geneva

Chandre Dharma-wardana – responding to a vibrant EMAIL DISCUSSION among Sri Lankans re what should be done at the forthcoming human rights charade at the UNHRC in Geneva

I personally think it doesn’t matter who Sri Lanka sends to Geneva. This whole thing is NOT based on facts. It is NOT based on what was said, is said or will be said. They KNOW the facts. The UNHRC’s commissioner is not a fool, but a seasoned politician. If she wants, she can get at the facts.

The British who are now leading the charge because the USA is not there, also has the facts: The stuff unearthed by Lord Naseby is from British Diplomatic cables. So, the British Foreign Minister has all the facts.

Sri Lanka’s representative in Geneva, ex-Journalist Chandraperuma also has at least all the publicly available information at his hand.

So the whole question is: how will the countries in the Commission vote? Can Tamara swing votes in favour of SL more than Columbage? In fact, I would say, neither Tamara, nor Colombage, nor anyone else I can think of can swing the votes in favour of us. If the Indian PM, or the Chinese President, or The Russian President or even the Saudis were to weigh in on our side, dozens of countries will discreetly agree to oppose the West, or at least abstain.

Ex diplomats from minor countries like Tamara have no clout, Diplomats of minor countries, like Colombage or Mohan Pieris have no clout, and even somebody like the French President Macron has no leverage.

The UNHR bosses have to show that their very expensive organization does produce results. So: SL is the test case and the sacrificial lamb. If they can’t get Sri Lanka, the UNHRC only has a string of failures to show since its beginning.

So, Sri Lanka should save unnecessary expenses and merely indulge in a token show. It is better for someone,anyone, t just present Sri Lanka’s case just for the record, and simply state that Sri Lanka, as a sovereign  nation, will do what is best for its people, consisting of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, and that it will brook no interference from any organization.

If Sri Lanka wants to go about finger pointing, Sri Lanka can point to UK record on how they are dealing with allegations of British war crimes in Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Chilcott report was suppressed by Cameron. Theresa May said that “no British soldier will have to face investigations in their duty to her majesty”!

But why bother to even point fingers at the British? They know their game.

Sri Lanka should just politely opt out of being part of that game (but not opt out of the UN).

Period.

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A COMMENT from The Editor, Thuppahi:

Professor Dharmawardana is on the mark. Having received his first lessons in political by-play as VC of Vidyodaya University, his subsequent international experiences in University circles in Canada and elsewhere have given him the wherewithal to decipher the chicanery underpinning high politics.

Note that the ‘genteel’ American lady official heading the UNHRC in Geneva, one Eileen O’Donahue, spat out “We will get you” during a telephone call to Tamara Kunanayakam in September 2011.

“We will get You ….” American Threat at the UNHRC in Geneva in September 2011 .

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Foregone Conclusions from the UNHRC’s Forthcoming Charade in Geneva

  1. CHANDRE …. may i suggestaminor amendment when you refer to the ethnic groups in S:ri Lanka: try and mark all –so that your list becomes Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays, Burghers, Eurasians, Kaberi, and, last but not least, the Achchaaru (aka Thuppahi). ….. speaking here as A THUPPAHI.

  2. CHANDRE DHARMAWARDANA’s Response to my COMMENT sent by EMAIL: “When we make a blood test, we don’t specify all the items found in blood. Depending on the objective, we may list sugar, triglycerides, Heavy cholesterol and light cholesterol. If our objectives were different,
    we may list ALT, ALP, AST, bilirubin, albumin and total protein. So, what one lists is based on the purpose.

    In discussing UNHRC issues, we consider what has been raised in the UN press release: viz The Daily News report:
    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26695&LangID=E shows that the UN does not mention all minorities.

    It says: “that despite the Government’s stated commitment to the 2030 Agenda, Tamil and Muslim minorities are being increasingly marginalized and excluded in statements about the national vision and Government policy. Divisive and discriminatory rhetoric from the highest State officials risks generating further polarization and violence. Sri Lanka’s Muslim community is increasingly scapegoated, both in the context of COVID-19 and in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks of April 2019.<..>The report notes that Sri Lanka’s armed conflict emerged against the backdrop of progressively deepening discrimination and marginalization of the country’s minorities, particularly the Tamils?

    So the UN report does not mention any other minorities. So it would be meaningless for us discussing the UNHRC to make a list of all minorities in Sri Lanka.

    Michael’s list is also incomplete.What about Malays, Ethnics of Chinese origin, Maldivians, Dual citizens of various countries etc., domiciled in Sri Lanka?

    In Sri Lanka even the census does not include some of the groups that Michael may want to see “recognized”. The following ethnic groups are officially recognized. The 2012 census recognized Sinhalese, Indian Tamils (4.2 per cent), Sri Lankan Moors (9.3 per cent), Malays (0.2 per cent), Burghers (0.2 per cent), Sri Lankan Chetty (5,600), Bharatha (1,700) and Wanniyala-Aetto (also known as Veddhas) (estimated to be around 2,000, though not included in the official census).

    As for what Michael calls “achcharu, or Thuppahi”, I think if the word means genetically mixed, then ALL these groups as well as the majority are Thuppahi to various degrees, but even the least mixed is probably over 80% mixed.

    If the word means, something cultural, based on assumed identities, then it is just a belief. I think everyone is an “achchaaru”.

    But the painful thing is, these “Ethnic” labels simply hide popular or naive beliefs about race – Sinhala race, Tamil race, Arab or Semitic race, European mixed (Burgher) race etc. But, If separate racial or ethnic groups or thuppahis actually existed, one may expect “brand defining” alleles and other genetic features that characterize a single ethnic group but not present in any others, and mixture. But the 2002 Stanford study found that only 7% of some 4000 alleles were specific to a given geographic region (e.g., Tamil North versus Sinhala South in the Lankan context).

    Also, even when region-specific alleles occurred, they only occurred in about 1% of the people from that region. That is hardly enough to be any kind of brand mark. So, there is no evidence that the groups we commonly call “races” in the context of the Identity Politics of the Sinhalese, Tamils, or in between people, have distinct, unifying genetic identities. In fact, Identity Politics and history re-writing seem to be mostly about justifying land grabs (Eelamists) or justifying exceptionalism – as practiced by the US with its doctrine of Manifest destiny.”

  3. Pingback: Ethnic Categories in Sri Lanka: Issues | Thuppahi's Blog

  4. I agree Sri Lanka has become a test case, an experiment that is used for the continuance of the expensive HR organisations. There is a lot of money thrown at this particular exercise. But that is not the whole story. We should ponder what makes Sri Lanka an easy target for these organisations. That, we should find and fix it. We cannot control, INGOs but we can control what is happening in SL so that SL no longer can be used as a test case.

    The problem, especially this year has been SL’s domestic policies with regard to minorities in the country. These are issues we can handle. But we dont do that.

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