British Hypocrisy in SL’s HR Protection
By Lakshman I.Keerthisinghe
“It was the largest empire ever to have existed. And as the saying used to go, the sun never sets on the British Empire. At its height in 1922, the colonial power was Lording it over a fifth of the world’s population and for many of them, the sun never rose again. Under the policies of British colonialism, people around the globe were subjected to mass famines, atrocious conditions in concentration camps, and brutal massacres at the hands of imperialist troops. The Brits also played an integral role in the transatlantic slave trade.”
Sydney Criminal Lawyers – ‘Crimes Against Humanity: The British Empire’.
The recent Resolution against Sri Lanka was moved at the 46th UNHRC Session by the Leader of the Core Group, the British Representative Julian Braithwaite, who apologetically said, “Our Core Group is not anti-Sri Lanka. We are friends of Sri Lanka.” Probably Braithwaite may have recalled the atrocities committed in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, by his ancestors who were then the colonial rulers of our country from 1802 to 1948, and even thereafter until 1972 when the Republican Constitution was enacted. It must be noted that even when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in 1948, still there were many colonies under the British and others perpetrating heinous crimes. It appears that even at the present time too this hypocrisy in human rights, by the former colonial master Britain and world power USA, continue in order to pressurise Sri Lanka, aimed at controlling and pressurising Sri Lanka to dance to their tunes due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean region making it a vantage point to oppose Chinese influence with the assistance of the UNHRC, which subsists on the financial assistance provided by these super powers.
Where is British accountability? Britain the great advocate of human rights protection is violating human rights at present in the UK. While preaching freedom of journalists, the harassment UK caused to Julian Assange was abominable indeed. The Sarah Edwards’ case and handling of protesters by the Police in UK are all violations of human rights. Britain leading the core group of nations and others pretend to seek justice to the victims of past civil war in Sri Lanka (1983-2009) on their terms and dictates but the damage caused to our Tamil brethren by their actions can be seen even at the present time. It is a fact that UK is harbouring the LTTE operatives who caused immense harm to their welfare even today. Anton Balasingham was operating with the assistance of the UK. His wife Adele Balasingham, who tied cyanide capsules around the necks of innocent Tamil child soldiers is still living comfortably in Britain after committing atrocious war crimes in Sri Lanka. Whither accountability? UK has permitted the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to operate freely in Britain. If they do not support separatism, why should they allow the TGTE to operate in Britain? The main reason is the franchise of the Tamil Diaspora in Britain which British parliamentarian woo to win at the election.
To remind the British of their past actions in Sri Lanka, consider what J.B. Muller states referring to the General Order issued in 1818, during the British Colonial Rule in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), to put down the rebellion in Uva-Wellassa as follows: “Kill every man, woman and child including babes suckling at their mother’s breast. Destroy all dwelling houses. Burn all crops. Cut down all fruit trees. Slaughter all cattle; take what meat is necessary to feed the troops and burn the rest. Destroy all reservoirs, canals and channels. Poison the wells. Lay waste utterly to the countryside denying any relief whatsoever to the rebels.” Muller further states: “This order was carried out, laying waste Uva and Vellassa, a destruction from which it is yet to fully recover.’
In conclusion, Lord Naseby, has, severely criticised the UK stating that: “I am astounded that our lead representative in Geneva chose to criticise Sri Lanka with incorrect factual information made even worse as there was no Parliamentary oversight in the UK…. It is inevitable that former military senior officers will be accused of alleged War Crimes by the LTTE who escaped and now control some of the Diaspora Groups who pump out propaganda. The Government of Sri Lanka sees that there is no case against their senior officers, indeed Col. Gash in his dispatches praises the Sri Lanka armed forces for the care they took to try to minimise civilian casualties.. Lord Naseby further very appropriately advised the UK Government stating: “As we approach Easter, I remember a phrase from St. Mathew in the Bible: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
The writer is an Attorney-at-Law with LLB, LLM, MPhil.(Colombo)[email protected]