Images from Vanni at Geneva exhibition GSLF: ‘ US pullout from UNHRC beneficial to Lanka’
(Courtesy The Island)
In the absence of a government initiative to counter pro-LTTE Diaspora elements propagating lies, the Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) has organised a three-day public exhibition at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) early next month.
The exhibition will begin on July 2 (9 am to 4 pm).
Ajantha Premaratne of the GSLF told The Island that the exhibition was meant to highlight restoration of peace in Sri Lanka following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009. Premaratne said that the exhibition was part of the GSLF’s initiatives to counter Eelam propaganda meant to pile on the pressure on Sri Lanka.
Responding to a query, Premaratne alleged that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had done nothing since the change of government, in January 2015, to defend the country. Instead of countering lies, the new rulers ended up co-sponsoring a US-led resolution, in Oct 2015, that recommended a hybrid war crimes investigating mechanism, Premaratne said.
The activist said that the Sri Lanka mission in Geneva was silent in the face of accusations of war crimes, genocide and discrimination.
Treacherous government leaders and the ‘toothless’ Foreign Ministry had neglect their responsibilities, Premaratne said, pointing out how the people of one-time LTTE heartland, Vanni, had endorsed Sri Lanka’s post-war national reconciliation process. The government simply ignored the video footage and images of Tamil people, including some of those who had fought for the LTTE, lovingly responding to Lt. Colonel Rathnapriya Bandu leaving the area after completing his task, Premaratne pointed out.
The GSLF spokesman said that government websites, including those maintained by the armed forces, conveniently ignored the images from Vishvamadu though the social media extensively used them.
Premaratne said that the GSLF exhibition would include images from Vishvamadu.
Responding to another query, Premaratne emphasised that the Special Forces had achieved the unthinkable and it was an accomplishment the entire country could be proud of.
Premaratne said that the country should be grateful to the people of Vishvamadu who had unreservedly expressed their appreciation much to the consternation of those demanding the withdrawal of the military from the Jaffna peninsula and the Vanni. The GSLF activist appreciated the intervention made by National Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganeshan, on behalf of the former LTTE cadres, to stop the army officer’s transfer out of Vishvamadu.
Asked whether the GSLF had been successful in countering high profile costly campaigns undertaken by the UK headquartered Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and other influential groups pushing for war crimes probe, Premaratne said that the people of Vishvamadu had silenced them. Powerful images from the Vanni had jolted the Diaspora groups, Western embassies and the UNP-led government working overtime to appease the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Premaratne said that the proponents of Geneva Resolution had sought to humiliate Sri Lanka had suffered another heavy blow due to the recent unexpected US pullout from the UNHRC over its handling of war crimes accusations directed at Israel. The US move couldn’t have taken place at a better time, Premaratne said, urging the government to take serious note of wartime Foreign Minister and current Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama’s call to immediately renounce the Geneva Resolution. Premaratne pointed out that Bogollagama was commenting on the US move in Geneva and also close on the heels of outgoing US Ambassador in Colombo Atul Keshap’s assurance that the US would be committed to Geneva process vis a vis Sri Lanka.
Premaratne flayed the government for taking advantage of the situation caused by the US pullout. If the US believed the UNHRC was bias why did it demand the Sri Lanka government to subject itself to that process, Premaratne asked.
By Shamindra Ferdinando