Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace InitiativeCeasefire Agreement Buried?: 2006 - 2007 > Sri Lanka accuses 'bullying' West

Tracking the Norwegian Conflict Resolution Initiative

Sri Lanka accuses 'bullying' West
Roland Buerk, BBC News, Colombo, 12 June 2007

[see also On the Conflict in the Island of Sri Lanka - Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 12 June 2007]

Sri Lanka's defence secretary has said the international community, especially the UK and other European nations, are bullying his country over human rights. Gotabaya Rajapaksa also said Tamil Tiger rebels had infiltrated the UN's offices in the capital, Colombo, and were feeding it incorrect information. The British government and UN said Mr Rajapaksa's allegations were unfounded.

His claims came after the controversy over a police operation to evict 400 minority Tamils from Colombo last week. What I am saying is, if there is a terrorist group, why can't you do anything?  The Sri Lankan government said the Tamils were being sent to their home areas in the north and east but backed down after an outcry at home and abroad and following a Supreme Court interim order stopping any more evictions.

"This is international bullying," Mr Rajapaksa, who is President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother, told the BBC and Reuters.  "We won't be isolated. We have all the Saarc [South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation] countries, the Asian countries."

"Britain, or Western countries, the EU countries, they can do whatever. We don't depend on them. They think that they we get aid. No, they are not giving anything."

The UK and the US suspended small amounts of aid to Sri Lanka earlier this year citing human rights concerns. The defence secretary said the police had taken action against only a small proportion of what he said were 17,000 ethnic minority Tamils living in cheap hotels in the city.

"We have to do search operations and when we arrest suspicious people... you don't know who is who," he said. "We can't arrest 300 people and then detain them," he added.

"So you tell them: 'You don't have any legal business in Colombo, there is a security problem in Colombo, you are the people who are suspected of... we don't want to detain you, go back to your homes.'"

There have been reports of hundreds of abductions in Sri Lanka, some blamed on the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and elements in the security forces.

President Rajapaksa has said many of the claims are false and an attempt to discredit his government.

The defence secretary also condemned what he called "double standards". "All the militaries do covert operations," he said. "When the US does operations they say covert operations. When something is in Sri Lanka they call abductions. This is playing with the words. What I am saying is, if there is a terrorist group, why can't you do anything? It's not against a community... I'm talking about terrorists. Anything is fair." Mr Rajapaksa added that he was fully against abductions.

And he was critical of the United Nations.

"There are a lot of things happening in the UN," he said. "The UN organisation has taken a lot of locals into the organisation. For 30 years or so the LTTE planned this, they infiltrated the UN. Take most of the local employees and what they feed is completely different."

Orla Clinton, the spokesperson for the resident representative of the UN in Colombo, said there were no grounds for Mr Rajapaksa's statements. The international community is worried about the negative trend of developments in Sri Lanka, particularly in human rights, and we are making this clear

British High Commission

"In light of the recent attacks on aid workers in the country, our concern is for the safety and security of all our staff, particularly nationals who are the backbone of our operations.

"Negative statements can directly impact upon their safety." The British High Commission in Colombo also denied the defence secretary's allegation of bullying by the international community.  "We want to work with the government of Sri Lanka," a spokesman said.  "There is no question of bullying or double standards, but the situation in the country is deteriorating," he added. "The international community is worried about the negative trend of developments in Sri Lanka, particularly in human rights, and we are making this clear."



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