Look back at the reactions of the UN & International Community Jan-May 2009
(Courtesy of Lanka Web)
The news reports of Sri Lanka’s military cum humanitarian rescue operation is poignant for several reasons. It provides us some real time news sans politicization & influence and now 10 years on it helps us to understand the scale of lies & hypocrisies that have been prevalent since June 2009.
31 January 2009
UN Secretary General commends Sri Lanka on efforts to release civilians in LTTE custody.
He said that the LTTE is bound to protect the rights of the civilians.
UNSG said the UN was ready to assist in any efforts to help these civilians.
5 February 2009
UN accepts Sri Lanka did not possess cluster bombs
UN spokesman in Colombo Gordon Weiss confirms that Sri Lanka has not bought or used cluster bombs in Sri Lanka. Weiss also informed that the UN has accepted the statement by Military Spokesman in this regard.
15 February 2009
British PM attacked on Lankan fiasco
Decision to appoint Des Brown as a special envoy to Sri Lanka has received adverse reactions from Britain’s Opposition Conservative Party Liam Fox.
16 February 2009
India tells LTTE to disarm and surrender
Indian External Affairs Minister P Chiddambaram tells LTTE to disarm & surrender. India chides LTTE for ignoring the 48hours given by the GOSL to release civilians kept by LTTE. All political parties in India including those supporting LTTE too feel it is now time for LTTE to lay down arms & surrender.
Protest against the British Government’s interference into Sri Lanka’s internal affairs in London
More than 5000 demonstrated including Buddhist, Catholic & Islamic clergy participated.
17 February 2009
EU condemns the appointment of a special representative by Britain
The appointment of Des Brown by Britain as a special envoy to Sri Lanka in the midst of a military operation is a violation of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty was the statement made by EU against Britain.
17 February 2009
UN says LTTE should stop recruitment of civilians
UN demands LTTE stop recruitment of civilians especially children. Poignant that the UN mentions the figure of 100,000 civilians. UN also accuses LTTE of keeping UN workers & their families. UN also cites some civilians facing health issues too.
17 February 2009
World Children’s Fund stresses that LTTE child conscription should be stopped
The WFP demands LTTE stop recruiting children as child soldiers some even younger than 14 years. LTTE has conscripted over 6000 children since 2003
19 February 2009
UN Under Secretary General calls on LTTE to free civilians
UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes arrived in Sri Lanka on invitation of the Sri Lankan Government. A press conference held reiterated Holmes request for LTTE to release civilians.
20 February 2009
UN representative monitors displaced civilians who say they are satisfied with relief measures
Civilians at the Social Welfare Camps in Vavuniya speaking to UN Deputy Secretary General John Holmes voiced satisfaction for the relief given by the GOSL. School children speaking to Holmes said they were given opportunity to pursue studies and a vocational training school had been launched in Menik Farm camp
23 February 2009
Japan slams LTTE for using humanitarian issues to promote military offensive
Japans Ambassador & President of the UNSC Yukio Takasu decried the Tamil tigers for exploiting humanitarian issues. The UNSC also spoke on the situation faced by civilians in the Wanni and LTTE was using this situation as a ruse for its own objectives.
24 February 2009
United Nations and the European Union calls on LTTE to disarm and renounce violence.
EU has said a ceasefire is only possible if LTTE disarms and renounce violence and stop recruiting children. GOSL reiterates that the military operation is against LTTE not civilians and the humanitarian operation is for the civilians not LTTE.
28 February 2009
UN Ambassadors say LTTE should disarm
UN Ambassadors call upon LTTE to unconditionally lay down arms & free civilians in their detention. Japan as President of the UNSC told reporters that LTTE is banned internationally and should stop killings. UNSC members said the issue is Sri Lanka’s internal problem.
28 February 2009
UN Under Secretary General tells UNSC that LTTE must free civilians & no ceasefire to bail LTTE
UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes on an invitation of the GOSL appealed to those with influence over LTTE to force them to release civilians. Holmes was critical of LTTE not allowing civilians to leave the conflict area. Holmes said the transit camps were ‘reasonably well’
1 March 2009
British MP Keith Vaz pledges not to express pro-LTTE views
He apologized if he had done harm to Sri Lanka. Leicester Police arrested 4 pro-LTTE for attempting to sabotage the demonstration.
11 March 2009
Britain condemns the LTTE suicide attack in Akuressa
Lord Malloch Brown, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State in Britain has condemned the suicide attack in Matara
13 March 2009
EU Parliament condemn LTTE violence & intimidation
EU adopted a resolution condemning LTTE.
EU MP Jeoffrey Van Orden said LTTE is engaged in a desperate game and called on LTTE to release civilians.
EU Parliamentarian Charles Tannock pointed out that they should be resolute in their support for President Rajapakse.
European MP Jo Leinen was of the view that the LTTE should lay down arms renouncing terrorism to enthrone peace.
Parliamentarian Ferraro Waldner claimed that the LTTE had ignored the call to lay down arms.
16 March 2009
UN accuses LTTE of conscripting UN staffers
UN accused LTTE of seizing its staff & forcing them to work for LTTE – one staff member & 3 members of his family including a 16year old girl. Another UN staffer is yet to be released.
19 March 2009
UN debunks report of Human Rights Commissioner
The UNHRC head Navi Pillay’s special statement was based on information from pro-LTTE website though the GOSL strongly opposed the statement.
21 March 2009
Australia condemns LTTE terror tactics
The Australian Government in a statement by Foreign Minister Stephan Smith condemned LTTE terror tactics and demanded the immediate release of civilians in their custody.
23 March 2009
Majority of UN members against throwing lifeline to terrorists
Co-Chairs of Sri Lanka’s peace process in their last statement called on LTTE to discuss surrender modalities & accept amnesty. The diplomats also stated that LTTE was blocking civilians trying to escape LTTE to safety and the LTTE was abusing the food & medicine supplies sent by the GOSL.
27 March 2009
UNSC tells LTTE to disarm or perish
Under Secretary General Sir John Holmes and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the UN H.M.G.S. Palihakkara talked to members of the UN Security Council on the plight of the civilians held by the LTTE as human shields. Key UNSC members speaking to the media called on the LTTE to disarm and surrender as the quickest way to end the conflict.
3 April 2009
UNSC says good cooperation with Sri Lanka
The UN Security Council says it has very good cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government on the humanitarian situation in the island.
President of the UNSC Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico said the Council in recent weeks had interactive briefings of great value from Sri Lankan officials on the humanitarian issue.
4 April 2009
UN Special Representative for internally displaced persons, Walter Kalin praises facilities provided to civilians
Walter Kalin lauded the welfare facilities including food, granted to about 60,000 civilians who have fled from LTTE hellholes. He praised the Governments efforts to direct young men and women to earn an income. Walter Kalin toured the social welfare transitional village at Kadirgarmarpuram in Chettikulam. He exchanged views with the civilians and inquired into their problems. The civilians said the Government was meeting all their requirements. He also visited the Omanthai area.
4 April 2009
UN issues ultimatum to LTTE to free civilians kept as human shields
A strongly worded statement read out by UN Spokes-person Michelle Montas, UN Chief Ban Ki Moon again warned the LTTE to permit the civilians to leave the conflict area at their own free will. Severe restrictions of the LTTE on freedom of movement violate international law. The UN Chief is deeply distressed by continuing reports from the Wanni region that civilians are at extreme risk. The Secretary General deplored the forced recruitment of civilians, particularly children. Observers in New York said this is the strongest condemnation made by the UN.
5 April 2009
Co-Chairs (US, Norway, Japan, EU) order LTTE to free civilians kept as hostages.
Norwegian Embassy sources said Norwegian Minister for International Affairs Eric Solheim has given notice to Nadesan. Solheim has emphasised to the LTTE that more attention should be adverted to safeguarding human rights, fulfilling humanitarian needs and granting necessary facilities to the civilians.
15 April 2009
The Hindu – No right for the LTTE to enter No Fire Zone with weapons
The Indian newspaper – Hindu says the LTTE, facing annihilation, had no moral right to move into the No Fire Zone with heavy weapons and use civilians as a last ditch shield.
The Hindu stated that there can be no other explanation for the LTTEs refusal to heed international humanitarian appeals. The civilians who had escaped to Government controlled areas give the lie to the LTTEs claim that the Tamil people are staying with them voluntarily. The UN Chief wanted international pressure exerted on the LTTE to allow civilians wishing to leave the conflict zone to do so without hindrance. That is the real solution to the humanitarian crisis. The Indian paper added it will inevitably mean the final defeat of, or surrender by, the LTTE leaders.
16 April 2009
UK and France call on the LTTE to release human shields, disarm and surrender
In a joint statement on Sri Lanka, British Foreign Secretary David Milliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner welcomed the halt announced by the Sri Lankan Government to defensive operations. They said it did not bring the civilians out as expected since it was clear that the LTTE had been forcefully preventing them from leaving the No Fire Zone.
18 April 2009
UNHCR calls on the LTTE to release civilians
The United Nations Humanitarian Agency has called on the LTTE to immediately allow civilians in the conflict zone to move to areas where they feel safe.
The UN agency commended the Sri Lankan Governments initiative to improve conditions in transitional villages sheltering displaced persons. UNHCR Spokesman Ron Redmond welcomed the positive steps taken by the Government to address several protection concerns at the sites in Vavuniya. He told reporters that short visits by friends and relatives to the sites are now allowed and it monitored the first round of visits. He urged international organsiations to help in the de-mining process in cleared areas to facilitate the speedy re-settlement of the displaced persons.
18 April 2009
Links between LTTE and NGOs uncovered
President Rajapakse during his visit to Kilinochchi said he saw no development and queried about the large funds secured from abroad and said that LTTE had built bunkers from these funds. He said he saw Tamilselvans house and his bunker. The iron, cement & other building material used to make palatial houses for LTTE leaders was from funds sent to the people but no roads, nos he was able to notice that no development had taken place. He queried as to what had happened to the large funds secured from abroad as well as given by the government? He said the LTTE had built bunkers with these funds. He had a view of the house and the bunker of Thamil Shelvam. The iron, cement and all the other building material had been used to build bunkers and palatial houses for the LTTE leaders. No roads or schools had been built. But the NGOS were always active in the area.
19 April 2009
President tells those influencing him to influence LTTE to free civilians:
President Rajapakse has said that his govt has undertaken work on mega projects to areas that had been neglected. He said some foreigners asked him to stop the offensive but his response to them was to ask them to tell LTTE to release the civilians.
23 April 2009
UN Security Council demands LTTE release civilians, disarm and surrender
President of the UN Security Council Claude Heller addressing the media following an informal meeting of the Security Council. International media including the BBC had announced the Security Council statement. At the meeting, the security exchanged views on the LTTE activities and the programme mooted by the Sri Lankan Government. The Security Council President demanded the LTTE to immediately prevent using innocent civilians as human guards.
29 April 2009
British and French Ministers told that civilians will not be harmed
President Rajapaksa assured British Foreign Secretary David Milliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner that no civilians will be harmed.
29 April 2009
No need for the international community to protect Prabhakaran: Britigh & French Ministers.
British and French Foreign Ministers have emphasised that there is no need for the international community to protect the LTTE. Noteworthy is that by end April 2009 about 200,000 civilians had been saved.
29 April 2009
British and French Ministers praise facilities provided for civilians
British Foreign Secretary David Milliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner toured the welfare camps. A Tamil civilian told the French foreign minister that LTTE kept them as unofficial prisoners for years and now they are breathing relief.
3 May 2009
Sri Lanka’s future is secure – Japan’s Akashi
Japans Special Representative Yasushi Akashi said that Sri Lanka’s future is secure under the present leadership. He expressed delight that the Government had already unveiled a resettlement programme in the North. He was confident that the Government would be able to complete about 80 percent of the resettlement by December. Thereafter, the civilians who are being sheltered in welfare camps will be able to lead a normal life. Mr. Akashi expressed Japans willingness to support the Sri Lankan Government in these endeavours.
27 May 2009
Sri Lanka Prevails at UNHRC
UN Human Rights Council 11th Special Session adopting Resolution on Assistance to Sri Lanka in Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
- Encouraged GOSL to continue to pursue existing cooperation with relevant UN organizations basic humanitarian assistance – safe drinking water, sanitation, food, medical and health care services to IDPs
- Urged GOSL to strengthen activities to ensure no discrimination against ethnic minorities (this is where GOSL failed to correct the wrong assumption)
- Resolution was voted 29 in favor – 12 against – 6 abstained.
- The UNHRC commended Sri Lanka for the measures taken to address IDPs
As the news releases from January to May 2009 reveal every allegation is against LTTE and not the Sri Lankan troops. However since end of conflict everything has turned upside down simply because of lobbying as a result of the power of money & geopolitics. Truth has got hidden and fabrications, lies and hypocrisies prevail.
By shenali Waduge