Thursday, July 26, 2007

Protest Leaders Address the Public

Included are clips of Ranil Wickramasinghe, Ravi Karunanayake, SB Dissanayake, Mangala Samaraweera, Mano Ganeshan and Ranjan Ramanayake.


Anonymous said...

Don't know here to poast this - it is a reply to the SCOPP SGs letter of August 13th where he blames ACF for the muttur murders. Please spread.

Dear Mr. Wijesinha,

I write with reference to your recent letter to Mr Samarasinghe, Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights. At the risk of wasting my time in dealing with someone whose insidious agenda cannot be changed by facts or reason, let me hope that you are in fact concerned with the wellbeing of all citizens of Sri Lanka rather than selective manipulation of truth.

I would like to remind you that ACF did not shoot any of its employees. The responsibility for their deaths lie solely at those pulling the triggers and, more importantly, those under whose command the perpetrators of this crime acted.

In your letter, you demand answers to, inter alia:

"why as many as 17 were sent in when, according to my information from another NGO worker, this was unprecedented"

The use of unsubstantiated information like this, relying on information for one single anonymous worker from an NGO is, as previously pointed out by Sri Lankan authorities, yourself included, unacceptable, and only proves that your agenda is to tarnish ACF . It would be beneficial to your credibility if you in the future refrained from using uncorroborated data when making frivolous accusations. It would be even better if you totally refrained from making frivolous accusations.

You also query:

"why they were not withdrawn (as for instance ICRC workers were) when, as reported by the University Teachers for Human Rights, some of them begged to be rescued"


"why they were advised to stay in their headquarters despite repeated efforts by government officials and religious leaders to get them to move to a safer location"

My assumption is that they were not withdrawn for two reasons – one: there was no safe way to extract them from the situation as the armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka was blocking any attempts to reach them, and two: that no right-thinking individual could have imagined that such an unprecedented and brutal act of savagery could take place in a civilized and democratic country.

"why ACF representatives are quoted (by the New York Times) as claiming that the government prevented them from going in to the rescue, when the ACF official position has been that indeed they had decided the workers would be safe if they stayed in their compound wearing ACF t-shirts"

As the armed forces of Sri Lanka prevented ACF from evacuating these workers in the manner deemed safe, the second best option at the time was to rely on the perceived respect for International Humanitarian Law and the unwillingness to commit war crimes among the combatants. ACF, as other NGOs operating in Sri Lanka, have now no doubt learnt their lesson and it is unlikely that any NGO in Sri Lanka will rely on this often repeated but seldom manifested respect in the future.

"why ACF, contrary to the request of the Sri Lankan ambassador in Paris, invited the former Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, "

Again an assumption from my part, but possibly ACF felt that the Sri Lankan Ambassadors request amounted to external interference in the internal affairs of ACF? In these days, as you might be aware, one has to be careful about ones sovereignty.

"why despite the perceived urgency, ACF failed to reach the compound as soon as possible, so that it was left to another agency to discover the bodies"

I think it would be best to ask the armed forces of the government of Sri Lanka this, as they hindered access to the site for all agencies (SLMM, ACF, ICRC) except for the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies.

"why the compensation paid to the families of such workers is nugatory, given the danger to which ACF, by its irresponsibility, had exposed them, and from which it had failed to take appropriate action to rescue them as outlined above."

I understand that the compensation paid is many, many times the compensation paid by the perpetrators of this war crime, and certainly less than the Government of Sri Lanka has paid for the failure to protect its' citizens.

You also state: "There is no doubt that such negligence, if addressed in a European Court of Law, would have resulted in the award of massive damages to the grieved families, rather than the puny amounts that I gather from NGO sources have been awarded."

May I add to this statement that there is no doubt that an incident such as this, if addressed by the law enforcement authorities in a civilized society, would not have remained unsolved for over a year, and that the perpetrators and those responsible for controlling them would have been incarcerated by now.

Finally, you state: "I believe the Sri Lankan government has an obligation to the victims and their families and we should insist on their behalf that ACF follow international norms in this regard."

Sir, I agree. The Sri Lankan government had an obligation to the victims and it failed them the first time by letting undisciplined thugs murder these men and women. It failed them a second time by ensuring that the investigation into their deaths was made in a most ineffective way. You do not seem to take seriously these obligations. Your lapse in this regard only substantiates my suspicion that you began this exercise with a particular agenda, which is sadly that of those in Sri Lanka that are not interested in justice.

Interventions such as your only assist those who are trying to blacken the country's name in the commercial world while also calling for UN monitoring. Unfortunately this campaign is pushed also by various foreign former convenience store managers and others who have found in Sri Lanka employment at a level they could not dream of in their own countries.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention on the following statement attributed to you:

"What they should also be interested in is the manner in which the Sri Lankan armed forces conducted themselves throughout the operation in the east. There were hardly any civilians [sic] casualties, as is borne out by the reports of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission."

It is saddening that a senior official of the Government of Sri Lanka considers that in excess of 100 innocent civilians dying as 'hardly any civilian casualties', but I guess it is rather telling of the care You have for your fellow citizens.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This request is directed to the author of this blog-site.

Here, finally, the world can read and see how under the guise of ethnic strife, skillful power-brokers and war-mongers can manipulate a nation of peoples, their lives and homes in to `near` irreversible distruction.

This blog is long overdue and I therefore wish that you please omit the word `dirt` from your "purpose statement". I do not think its befitting. Thank you - CeK