Defending Sri Lanka at Geneva in 2009: Wijesinha’s New Book

Rajiva Wijesinha, presenting  his new book unders the imprint of Godage & Bros, Colombo

In 2006 the United Kingdom, as now 15 years later, was in the forefront of bringing Sri Lanka before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The resolution was not taken up but kept on the table, and in September 2007 the UK proposed discussing the text with the recently appointed Sri Lankan Representative Dayan Jayatilleka.

He refused since the motive was to hold back our forces from overcoming Tiger terrorism. Instead, he arranged meetings in Geneva to convince delegates of the righteousness of the Sri Lankan cause.

He asked for just three others apart from himself, unlike later when circuses were sent at great expense and to no purpose. The four members of the team who held intensive meetings in the early days of September are pictured on the front cover. They were

Mahinda Samarasinghe: Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights

Dayan Jayatilleka: Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva

C R de Silva: Attorney General

Rajiva Wijesinha: Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

Beginning with those meetings this book covers the immensely successful campaign in Geneva to win support for Sri Lanka. This led to a notable victory over hostile forces at a Special Session in May 2009. But that professionalism made it seem so easy that the Sri Lankan government thought there were no further problems. We are still suffering from the consequences of the unthinking lethargy that replaced the coherent arguments and active engagement of that great period of Sri Lankan diplomacy. 

Rajiva in Switzerland


Contents Part 1 – Winning over the Western World

  1. The Human Rights Council in Geneva, 2007
  2. The European Union and Liberal contacts
  3. Attempts at international intervention early in 2008
  4. Human Rights Initiatives
  5. Towards victory in the war
  6. The triumph in Geneva and the seeds of future failure 81

Part 2 – Slow self-destruction in Geneva and Colombo

  1. A dismantling of defences
  2. Appointing Tamara Kunanayakam to Geneva and undermining her

Part 3 – Lone efforts to stem an overwhelming tide

  1. London, Brussels and Rome after the war
  2. Work on the other side of the world
  3. Last efforts

Addendum – Asian Travels

  1. As an official
  2. As a Parliamentarian
  3. The death of liberal Sri Lanka


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We will get You ….” American Threat at the UNHRC in Geneva in September 2011 ”  . ·27 September 2019,



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One response to “Defending Sri Lanka at Geneva in 2009: Wijesinha’s New Book

  1. EMAIL COMMENT from Professor Gerald Peiris, 18 August 2021: ” Michael

    Thanks for sharing. …………Rajiva Wijesinha is not a person whom I favour much — unlike his father with whom I lunched on two occasions (with Shelton Kodikara) during the gloomy aftermath of the 1971 insurrection), It was Sam Wijesinha who made it possible for all the university insurgents incarcerated at various prisons to be brought to Bogambara and then to the Pallekele Prison camp so as to enable us to conduct lectures and even hold the university exams there..

    When he arrived at the Senate Room here during his brief tenure as Minister of Higher Education, Rajiv conveyed the impression of being a cocky person completely lacking the charm of his dad.

    Best regards, Gerry

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