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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame of  Struggle for Tamil Eelam > United States & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > Ambassador Blake Vs US State Department (Round One):

United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam

Ambassador Blake Vs US State Department (Round One):

Professor Aaron Rajah, 7 March 2007

Comment by tamilnation.org Professor Aaron Rajah is right to point out the discrepancies between Ambassador Blake's pronouncements and the Reports by the United States Department. Having said that, we ourselves are reminded of something that Sri Lanka  Information Minister Ananda Tissa De Alwis said in a press briefing on the 30th of May 1984, some 22 years ago -

"It was not possible for Government Ministers to speak with one voice on this problem. It is not strictly possible. The Government however speaks in one voice but expressed views in different shades."

And President Jayawardene in Hongkong was equally frank on 7 June 1984. Questioned about the different speeches made by Prime Minister Premadasa and his National Security Minister Athulathmudali he cheerfully replied:

"They both represent government policy...They are both members of the government and the speeches they make reflect government policy...No Minister speaks outside government policy".

We believe that if Ambassador Blake was saying anything  which contradicted US policy in relation to the conflict in the island he would have been recalled - many months ago. We as a people may need to examine the underlying US policy which is reflected by the statements of both the US State Department and Ambassador Blake.

On March 6, 2007, the US State department released reports on countries and their Human Rights Practices for 2006. Indeed, there have been sharp increases in human rights violations and the US state department listed most of the violations.

Here we have compiled misleading and contradicting information concerning statements made by Ambassador Blake and the US State Department. Since there were major contradictions between the US State Department report and the speeches made by the Ambassador Blake during that one year period; it’s obvious that Mr. Blake was dancing to the tune of a foreign government in violation of state department guidelines to all ambassadors world wide representing the interest of the US.  

1) “ Mr. President, the United States appreciates the positive steps taken by your government to address some of the most vexing issues associated with the conflict, especially the formation of the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and the active participation by the Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights and the Secretary of Defense.  This committee is making productive strides in addressing important issues relating to humanitarian access and human rights in the conflict zones and all of Sri Lanka’s donor partners hope this valuable dialogue can continue.” Ambassador Blake, January 27th, 2007.

US State Department 2006 report:

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law makes torture a punishable offense but does not implement several provisions of the UN Convention Against Torture. Human rights groups maintained that while torture is prohibited under specific circumstances, it was allowed under others. According to the HRC and other credible sources, the use of police torture to extract admissions and confessions was endemic and conducted with impunity. In addition, the Emergency regulations make confessions obtained under any circumstance, including by torture, sufficient to hold a person until the individual is brought to court; 528 arrests were made under the Emergency regulations during the year, although 288 of those arrested were released within 12 hours. The majority of those arrested were Tamil, although detainees included Sinhalese and Muslims as well. In addition to suspicion of terrorism, people were detained for lack of identification, narcotics, and outstanding warrants (see section 1.d.). Observers estimate that 200 persons remained in custody under detention orders at years end. The SLHRC reported that 433 individuals were tortured in police custody during the year (see section 1.c.).

Methods of torture included beatings-often with sticks, iron bars or hose; electric shock; suspending individuals by the wrists or feet in contorted positions; burning; genital abuse; and near-drowning. Detainees reported broken bones and other serious injuries as a result of their mistreatment.

The trial that began in October 2005 of three police officers indicted by the Kurunegala High Court for the 2002 alleged torture and sexual abuse of Nandini Herat continued at year's end.

The majority of the 44 allegations of police torture came from police stations outside the north and east. The government continued to investigate most cases of torture, according to the SLHRC, with 14 torture cases pending in courts at year's end, with no convictions.

 Question #1 :  Mr. Ambassador, how was it possible you do appreciate a leadership which had continuously violated human rights according to our own US state department human rights report?. How does not implementing several provisions of UN Convention against Torture could be good sign in a positive direction of a leadership of a foreign country? Were you misleading the American people or is the state department misleading the American people? 

2) “Sri Lanka now has an important opportunity finally to achieve peace and that opportunity must be seized.  President Rajapakse has a strong majority in Parliament. His party, the SLFP, is in the final stages of crafting a power-sharing proposal that will then be shared with the All Party Representative Committee, under the capable leadership of Professor Vitharana.”- U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake at the National Peace Council Symposium, 2007.

US state department report 2006:

The government's respect for the human rights of its citizens declined due in part to the breakdown of the CFA. Credible sources reported human rights problems, including unlawful killings by government agents, high profile killings by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated killings by paramilitary forces associated with the government and the LTTE, and disappearances. Human rights monitors also reported arbitrary arrests and detention, poor prison conditions, denial of fair public trial, government corruption and lack of transparency, infringement of religious freedom, infringement of freedom of movement, and discrimination against minorities. There were numerous reports that armed paramilitary groups linked to government security forces participated in armed attacks, some against civilians. Following the December 1 LTTE attempt to assassinate Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaka, the government strengthened emergency regulations that broadened security forces' powers in the arrest without warrant and non-accountable detention of civilians for up to 12 months.

Question #2: If the US state department can report breakdown of CFA had caused for current increase human right violation how come you are so confident about the so called final draft of proposal of power sharing?. Were you sugar coating and mislead the American people of a foreign government alleged attempt to power share with minorities of that country? Or the State Department was misleading the American people?

US state department report 2006:

In January five Tamil youths were shot execution-style in a coastal High security zone in Trincomalee heavily controlled by the police Special Task Force (STF) and the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN). Although civil groups and members of the government widely suspected police STF involvement in the incident, a ballistic report indicated that standard-issue STF guns had not killed the individuals, and the case was dropped. Some credible observers believe the STF committed the killings using non-standard issue weapons.

Statements from Ambassador Blake on the incident: NONE.

Follow-up made on the presidential investigation: NONE.

And yet, Mr. Blake said the following earlier this year to the Tamil daily, “Thinakural,” The human rights minister recently visited Jaffna and I am happy about it. I believe that this is a sign that the government is interested in resolving.” How can a year of no results on the presidential investigation be good sign? Were you simply adding raisins on the pie of deception?

All in all, the US state department report of 2006 listed more two hundred incidents on human rights violations between January and December 2006. The speeches made during the same time period by Ambassador Blake contradict the State department’s own report. This is a great betrayal of trust by Mr. Blake in the view of the American people.


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