A Tribure to Subathiran by a Tamil Coward, from the Ceylon Daily News, 21st June 2003
This latest report by UTHR(J) examines grave contradictions between the rhetoric of peacemaking in Sri Lanka over the past 21 months and its reality. UTHR(J) contends that while the LTTE leaders were honing their diplomatic skills abroad, their cadres were carrying out their orders for military and political expansion, terrorising opponents and sowing communal discord at home.
Special Report 17, Rewarding Tyranny: Undermining the Democratic Potential for Peace, provides documentary evidence of the LTTE’s continued abuse of civilians: killing of political opponents, violence against Muslims and conscription of children, and shows the destabilizing effect of these activities on Sri Lankan society. Communal violence is on the rise, and party and inter-party squabbles at the parliamentary level are growing increasingly bitter. The report warns that the LTTE’s concurrent military build up and strategic deployment threatens not only Sri Lankan security, but the security of the region.
UTHR(J) remains critical of the continued “appeasement” policy towards the Tigers, practiced most strenuously by the UNP and Norway but also embraced by other international and local institutions. The strategy, no doubt intended to persuade the LTTE to continue to engage in talks, has also encouraged its utter disregard for international norms.
As the new report notes: “the course of the ‘peace process’ tells its own story very clearly:”
In December 2002 in Oslo, LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingam claimed that the LTTE had embraced human rights norms as a basis for talks, and pledged to “allow other political parties and groups to participate in the democratic politics.” Meanwhile in the east, murder and abduction of LTTE’s opponents and child conscription intensified.
In Hakone talks in March both the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) subverted Mr. Ian Martin’s proposals for independent international human rights monitoring – the only way to effectively ensure that the rights under discussion would actually be protected.
Having boycotted the aid pledging conference in Tokyo, the LTTE also rejected the Tokyo Declaration of 10th June 2003 that tied support for the peace process to human rights, democracy and pluralism.
Four days later, as though to signal its contempt for the Declaration, the LTTE assassinated its most potent political opponent, T. Subathiran who was an embodiment of the principles outlined in the Declaration. By this time, members of the international community were in a quandary. They had almost stopped talking about democracy and human rights, so intent had they been on encouraging the peace process.
By mid-July2003 the LTTE had successfully changed the terms of debate. It renewed its early demand for an Interim Administration for the North-East on terms that would in effect confer on it unchecked power in exchange for continued participation in negotiations. It demanded control over not only economic matters, as proposed by the Sri Lankan government, but also policing and judicial services. The LTTE is not waiting for any constitutional settlement involving the whole of Sri Lanka. Its blueprint for a hierarchy of councils reaching down to the villages, and having the leader at the apex, is already in circulation.