Successes at Geneva

Protest campaigns against US and western nations are being held across several locations over the anticipated resolution regarding Sri Lanka, at the 19th Sessions of UNHRC currently underway in Geneva.

l by Izeth Hussain

(March 07, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It does seem premature to make guesses about the outcome of the UNHRC Session at Geneva, but I feel confident that after all the tumult and the shouting dies down it will be found that successes have been scored on the one side by India, the US, and the EU, plus others who have been coerced by their power, and on the other by Sri Lanka, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries), NAM (Non-Aligned Movement), and their associates. It will be found, in other words, that successes have been scored by the powerful against the powerless, and by the powerless against the powerful.
The reader may think it strangely perverse of me to put India in the first category. This is for the reason that it has become recently evident that should the US move an anti-Sri Lankan Resolution, India will side with Sri Lanka. I believe that that will be only for one reason: should India side with the US, it will lose whatever potency it may presently have to make Sri Lanka move towards a political solution of the Tamil ethnic problem. I hold, in fact, that it is India that together with the US, that has been the prime mover behind the melodrama that has been unfolding in Geneva.
To explain my seemingly perverse position, I will have to refer to an article in which I argued the case for what I called the “Ban-ki Moon conspiracy”. A close partnership had been building up between the US and India over a long period, which in more recent years has been solidly based on a common anxiety about China’s inevitable emergence as the next pre-eminent super-power. It is understandable that the US would want India as a partner in establishing the New World Order. It is also understandable that the US could want to help towards a solution of Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem, partly as a contribution towards the establishment of a New World Order, and more importantly to help India. For India, as I have argued in earlier articles, a solution of our ethnic problem is a matter of primordial importance because if it is left unsolved it could come to threaten the very existence of India as a unity. The US of course will not take unilateral action in promoting a solution, because in that event it will be seen as interfering in India’s backyard. It seems to me therefore that we can assume that US moves towards promoting a solution will be made in declared or undeclared partnership with India.
It is in that perspective that we must view Ban-ki Moon’s decision to appoint a Panel of Experts to advise him on Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. First of all, we must ask why Ban-ki Moon was made UN Secretary General. It is known that after Boutros Ghali the US insisted on having as Secretary General only someone who would be content to act as an official, implementing the decisions of the UN and so on, and showing no initiative of his own whatever. Kofi Anan seemed to fit the bill, but he dared to declare that the military action against Iraq was illegal. It had to be expected that as his successor the US would want someone who would strictly obey US orders. We must bear in mind that for several decades South Korea was a US satellite, not a fully independent country, and that its Foreign Service officials such as Moon would have been programmed to be servile to the US.
In this perspective, it did seem very strange that Moon apparently acted on his own initiative in taking the highly controversial step of appointing the Panel of Experts, without the authorization of any UN body. It was made out that that was a purely internal matter of the UN Secretary General’s office, and that the hysterical reactions of the Sri Lankan Government were totally unwarranted. But it turns out that the Darusman Report has after all been given the imprimatur of the UN. I find it impossible to believe that in taking such highly controversial action Moon was acting just on his own initiative and nothing else. It is reasonable to believe that he was acting on the orders of the US. As I have pointed out above, the US will not act unilaterally on our ethnic problem as that would be tantamount to interfering in India’s backyard. It seems very reasonable therefore to surmise that India and the US were engaged in a benign conspiracy to make Sri Lanka move towards a political solution of the ethnic problem, a conspiracy in which the UN Secretary General has been no more than a dancing puppet. In the perspective that I have drawn out here, it makes sense that the US – which really should have no special interest in our ethnic problem – should have become the prime mover against us at the ongoing UNHRC Session.
It seems to be quite certain that the outcome at Geneva will show that a success, a huge success, has been scored against Sri Lanka by India, the US, the EU and others joining them. The problem preoccupying India has been that of making the Sri Lanka Government really move towards a political solution of the ethnic problem. Earlier the focus was on using the war crimes allegations as a means of exercising pressure on the SL Government. Now the focus is on the implementation of the LLRC Report in which the war crimes allegations are merely a component. The important difference, however, is that unlike in the case of the war crimes allegations the Government is committed to implementing the LLRC recommendations, and doing so could set the stage for a political solution. But there is the suspicion that the Government might temporize and prevaricate, implementing the recommendations in a piecemeal and partial manner, making it all seem a farce. In that case it will be seen that Sri Lanka has been put in the dock and is answerable to the international community, whether or not the US succeeds in moving a resolution against us. That could turn out to be an enormous gain for India.
The powerful could therefore score a success against the powerless, using these terms relatively of course, but the latter could also score a success. I wonder whether at any UN forum the case against the double standards of the US in particular – indeed the absence of any standards which makes it one of the lesser breeds without the law – has been so powerfully presented as during the present Session. The important point, however, concerns sovereignty. We can reconcile ourselves to the erosion of sovereignty as a consequence of the importance given to human rights, and also as a consequence of the irresistible process of globalization. Certainly the nation-state is on the way out, but for the foreseeable future it will remain the building block of the international system, and the question of retaining sufficient sovereignty to enable the small states to resist the assaults of the New Imperialism is a crucially important one. If the US fails to push through a Resolution setting up an international mechanism to overlook the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, a success would have been scored by the powerless states of the OIC, the NAM, and their associates. Alternatively, if the US succeeds, the problem of the sovereignty of small states would still have been brought to the forefront by the present Session. In conclusion I must state that I am in favour of an internal mechanism to overlook the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. To continue trifling over a political solution could be dangerous for Sri Lanka.
( The writer can be reached at )


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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