Category Archives: Peacebuilding

Asylum seekers vs opportunists

The Australian government introduced a milestone bill on asylum seekers last week… It seeks to remove the already limited ability of the courts to evaluate Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in accordance with the international obligations and introduces an “Australian Version” of the international refugee definition. For the convenience of the state, the bills says the government could even remove people with no consideration of their risks of torture or other human rights violations[1].

At the same time, the government of Australia held a toast after signing to resettle refugees from Nauru in Cambodia. Australia has put $40 million on the table to ensure the success of this transaction. In fact, although the Minister of immigration is thinking about unlimited numbers to be resettled there, Cambodia seems to be looking at handful[2].

On the other hand, the Australian civil society is further concerned about the asylum seekers who were returned to Sri Lanka[3].

All these incidents, only leave us with the question “who is responsible for these asylum seekers?”

In the context of the above events, one may argue the fact that recently signed agreement to resettle some refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centres will provide a path to settle and determine the future for the so called illegal maritime arrivals, rather than being in uncertainty in life over years.

However, most rights groups have criticised the agreement calling it as inhumane. Considering the human rights record of Cambodia they have further condemned relocating the vulnerable refugees there.

Whilst the arguments for and against are put through various forms, from a humanitarian point of view, asylum seekers are mostly a symbol of our turbulent times. As each new conflict erupts, the media is filled with pictures of masses on the move, fleeing from their own country. Those who eventually survive depend on the willingness of mostly developed states to open their borders and various humanitarian organisations to provide new arrivals with the basic needs. In fact, subsequently when the message goes back to the country of origin, it is always possible to use this international obligation of another state in an abusive manner.

In the case of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, even after 5 years since the end of the war we hear more and more boats coming to Australia. Irrespective of ethnic differences they are fleeing seeking for better opportunities and life prospects in the developed world. People smuggling is the real problem to be addressed in this regard. I have heard stories about smugglers attempting to pass on people through boats and at the time of failure, if they are returned they torture the people, expose them to media as the next step. If the governments reply they consider to be lucky. If not, the world turns its attention to another crisis and they are left behind in their usual routines back at home.

While we claim that asylum seekers are a responsibility of the entire world and it is imperative to ensure their human potentials are not wasted during their time in exile, providing them with the right solutions, it is also the responsibility of the people not to exploit these humanitarian laws.

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/comment/asylum-bill-is-highhanded-and-cambodia-deal-just-a-quick-fix-20140928-10n51y.html#ixzz3F2U1EGxI

[2] Ibid

[3] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/53-australian-lawyers-condemn-return-of-asylum-seekers-to-sri-lanka-20140707-zsz13.html

යුද්ධය අවසන්ව වසර 5යි | ‘යුද්ධය අවසන් කිරිමට පෙර සිට අපි අහපු මේ ප්‍රශ්න අපිට තවමත් ප්‍රශ්න’

Published in http://www.vikalpa.org/?p=20620

මගේ මතකයේ ඇති කාලයක සිට 2009 මැයි මස වනතුරු යුද්ධයක් පැවති සමාජයක ජීවත් වුනා. මෙම තත්ත්වය මම ඇතුළු බොහොමයක් තරුණ තරුණියන් අත්විදපු දෙයක්. යුද්ධය අවසානයත් සමගම මා මෙන්ම මාගේ පරම්පරාවේ අය ජාතික සමගිය හා එක්සත්කම වෙනුවෙන් ලොකු ලොකු හීන දැක්කා. සමහරුන්ට මේ වන විට ඒ සිහින සැබෑවෙලා. අපිට දැන් යාපනයට මුලතිව් වලට කරදරයක් නැතුව යන්න එන්න පුළුවන්. බෝම්බ පුපුරාවීදෝ කියන බය තවදුරටත් නැහැ. මේකද අපි ජාතියක් විදිහට බලාපොරොත්තු වන සමගිය? එකමුතුකම?

ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන් විදිහට අපි තිස් වසරක් පුරා දිග්ගැසුණු සන්නද්ධ අරගලය ඇතුළු අර්බුද මාලාවක ප්‍රතිඵලයක් ලෙස අපේ ජීවිතවලට හා ජීවනෝපයන්ට සැලකිය යුතු හානියක් සිදු වී තිබෙන බව අවබෝධයක් තිබෙනවද යන්න මට ගැටළුවක්. එකී යුද්ධයේ ප්‍රතිඵලයක් ලෙස ලංකාවේ වාසය කරන විවිධ ජනතාවන් අතර හා ජනයා තුළ අවිශ්වාසයන් හා අනාරක්ෂාවන් ඇති වු බව අපි නොදන්නා කාරණයක් නොවේ. ඒ අනුව 2009 මැයි මස සිට මේ දක්වාත්, අද සිට ඉදිරියටත් ලාංකේය සමාජයේ අපිට ඇති මුලික අවශ්‍යතාවය සාමූහික ලාංකික අනන්‍යතාවයක් ගොඩනැගීම බව මගේ විශ්වාසයයි. ලංකාවේ සියලු පුරවැසියන්ගේ සමානාත්මතාවය පිළි ගනිමින්, සියලු ජනතාවන්ට එක්සත් දේශයක් තුළ ගෞරවනීය අන්දමින් තම අනන්‍යතාවයන් ආරක්ෂා කර ගැනීමට තිබෙන අයිතිය තහවුරු කිරීමට හැකි වු දිනය සැබෑ සාමයේ දිනය වේවි.

ජන වර්ගයන් හා කණ්ඩායම් අතර සමීපතාවය සුහදත්වය ඇති, සමානාත්මතාවයේ සමාජ රිතිය පිළිපදින, තමන්ගේම භාෂාවට හා සංස්කෘතියට වඩා ඉඩකඩක් තිබිය යුතුය. තවද ආණ්ඩු පාලනය සඳහා සියලු ජනයාට එකග විය හැකි දේශපාලන ව්‍යූහයක් ගොඩනගා ගැනීම, ජාතික එකමුතුකමේ මුලික අංගයන් ලෙස අවබෝධ කර ගැනීමට හැකියා ඇත. ඒ තුළ ලංකාවේ අපට ජාතින්ගේ එක්සත්කම ලගා කරගන්නේ කෙසේද? මේ වනවිට ලංකාවේ ජාතික එක්සත්කම ගොඩනැංවී නැත්තේ ඇයි? ලංකාවේ ජාතින්ගේ එක්සත්කම උදෙසා ජය ගත යුතු බාධකයන් කවරේද? එම බාධකයන් ජය ගන්නේ කෙසේද? යුද්ධය අවසන් කිරිමට පෙර සිට අපි අහපු මේ ප්‍රශ්න අපිට තවමත් ප්‍රශ්න. අපිට මෙවට පිළිතුරු නැද්ද? නැතිනම් අපිට මේවා තවදුරටත් ප්‍රශ්න බව අමතකද? යන ගැටළු මට පැන නගිනවා.

යුද්ධය නිමවී වසර පහකට පසු අද දවසේ අප ඉදිරියේ ඇති අභියෝගය ජනතාවගේ ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදී අනුමැතියෙන් සියලු ජාතීන් එකට එක්වී ජිවත් වන එකම දේශයක් ගොඩ නැංවීමයි. අද අපි දිනා ගත යුත්තේ එම එක්සත්කමයි. මෙම එක්සත්කම මගින් සිංහල – දෙමළ ද්විභාෂා පාලනයක් පිළිගැනීම හා එය පරිපුර්ණ ලෙස ක්‍රියාත්මක කරවා ගැනීම අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය කටයුත්තක් ලෙස සැලකිය යුතු වනවා. තවද ජාතීන්ගේ ඔවුන්ට ආවේනික වූ සංස්කෘතීන් හට ගෞරව කිරීමද අපගේ කාර්යයක් ලෙස සැලකීමද අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය කටයුත්තක් බවද මතක තබා ගත යුතුයි.

තවමත් නොවිසදී ඇති ගැටලුවක් වන අපේ පාලන ක්‍රමය කුමක් විය යුතුද යන්න පිළිබද දේශපාලන සංවාදය සියලු පාර්ශවයන්ගේ සහභාගිත්වයක් ඇතුව සිදුකිරීම තවමත් අපට අභියෝගයක් වි තිබෙනවා. අද වනවිට දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධානය ඇතුළු ලංකාවේ වෙසෙන සියලු දෙමළ ජනයා නොබෙදුනු එක්සත් ලංකාවක් තුල උතුරු හා නැගෙනහිර දෙමළ ජනතාවට හා ඔවුන්ගේ නියෝජිතයන් හට යම් බලතල ඉල්ලා සිටින තත්ත්වයක් තුල ජාතික එක්සත්කමේ අනාගත විසඳුම අපට සොයා ගත හැකි දෙයකි. නමුත් ඒ සදහා වන දේශපාලන සාකච්ඡාව ඇරඹීම තව දුරටත් ප්‍රමාද කිරීමෙන් අපට මේ ලැබී ඇති මහගු අවස්ථාව නැතිවී විනාශ වී යාමට නොදීමට වග බලාගත යුතුයි. එහිදී ඓතිහාසිකව ලංකාව සමග එකට බැඳි සිටින අසල්වැසි ඉන්දිය රාජ්‍යයට අපට අනිවාර්යයෙන්ම උපකාර කළහැකි බව අපි මතක තබාගැනීම වැදගත් බව මගේ හැගීමයි.

වෙනම දෙමළ රාජ්‍යයක් දිවයින තුල පිහිටුවීමට එරෙහිව ශ්‍රී ලාංකික රාජ්‍යයද, නිදහස් දෙමළ රාජ්‍යයක් පිහිටුවිම සඳහා එල්.ටි.ටී.ඊ සංවිධානය ද මුහුණට මුහුණලා අවුරුදු 30ක් යුද්ධ කලා. එම යුද්ධය මීට අවුරුදු පහකට කලින් අවසන් වන කොට යුද්ධයකින් දෙමළ ජනයාට නිදහස දිනා ගැනීමට නොහැකි බවත්, යුද්ධයෙන් ලංකාව එක්සත් කල නොහැකි බවත් අපි දැනගත්තා. නමුත් දෙමළ හා දෙමළ කථා කරන ජනතාවගේ සහයෝගය නැතිව ලංකාව එක්සත් කල නොහැකි බව ද, සිංහල ජනතාවගේ සහයෝගය නැතිව දෙමළ ජනතාවට සිය නිදහස දිනා ගත නොහැකි බව යුද්ධයෙන් වසර පහකට පසුත් දේශපාලන අධිකාරිය අවබෝධ කර ගෙන ඇතිද යන්න ඇති ගැටළුවක්.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන් වන අපි, ලාංකිකයන්ගේ අනාගතය වෙනුවෙන් ඇති වගකීමක් ලෙස සලකා ලංකාවේ විවිධත්වය තුළ එක්සත්කම අරක්ෂා කිරීමටත්, මානුෂිකත්වයේ හිමිකම් හා වටිනාකම් නඟා සිටුවීමටත්, සෑම ලාංකිකයකුට ම ගෞරවයෙන් හා විවිධත්වය කෙරෙහි ඇගයීමකින් යුක්තව ජීවත් වීමට තිබෙන අයිතිය පරිවර්තනය කිරීමටත්, කැපවීම තවදුරටත් ප්‍රමාද කල නොහැකි යුතුකමක් ලෙස සිහිගන්වා ගැනීමට මෙය කදිම අවස්ථාවක් ලෙස අවසාන වශයෙන් මතක් කර සිටිනවා.

Emotional Governance as a Challenge for peace-building in multi-ethnic, multi-religious states: Sri Lankan Case

Abstract Submitted to Young Scholar’s Conference on Asian Studies in a Globalized World to be held from 4th – 6th March, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand 

 

Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’ hypothesis that has been revived in the wake of the 11 September 2001, explains that the causes for the contemporary conflicts in ‘New Nations’ are inevitably based on civilisation, ethnicity, religion or race (1998:13-30 ). Reiterating his argument and differentiating the ‘Old Wars’ and ‘New Wars’ dichotomy, scholar Mary Kaldor (1998: 69-89) further explains how ‘identity’ and ‘globalisation’ places significant influence on such conflicts. In these conflict situations, cultural identity therefore is one of the key concepts and is an ideological apparatus that is likely to be mobilized by political interests than as a social datum (Azard, 1990). Hence, it is believed that social movements in most such ‘New Nations’ are politically motivated to mobilize around racial, religious or ethnic identity for the purpose of claiming power (Kaldor, 1998:69-89). While communal discontent and deprivation of basic human rights as a result become key causes for such conflicts, it is important to note that weak structures within such state unavoidably make political capacity further preventing from responding to and meeting, the needs of various constituents in those ‘state-nations’ keeping such conflicts further live. (Azar, 1990:11).

 

It is believed that any government in general is involved in policy making and adopting good governance principles (based on seven attributes of good governance) to satisfy rational choices of its citizenry. However, this paper will argue that in a context where a state is experiencing these new type of conflicts based on culture, religion, ethnicity or race, where cultural identity is mobilized more by political interests than as a social datum and where social mobilisations are politically motivated around racial, religious or ethnic identity for the purpose of claiming power; deviates from rationale actions and adopts slander approaches that constitute emotional governance practices more strategically (Richards, 2007:5). Emotional governance therefore for the purpose of this study is identified as a deliberate and sophisticated attention through mass-mediated communications to the emotional dynamics of the general public by the politicians to gain petty objectives against another race, ethnicity, religion or culture.

 

Ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka consequence due to lack of political consensus on the structure of the state since independence (De Silva, 2001: 437-469) that underwent many phases of a conflict will be taken as the case study to test the above context of emotional governance in multi-ethnic and multi-religious states that face ‘new wars’. In that regard, the most crucial period of the Sri Lankan conflict: 2006 to 2009 will be analysed in detail to understand how Journalism and Politics have been used as emotional labour in governance during the conflict in general and the last phase of the war in particular. As a result whether emotional governance can be identified a critical factor in intensifying the Sri Lankan war during 2006 to 2009 against the LTTE and in the conflict at present, falsifying the rational-choice making of the citizens in such conflict situations. Finally, it is understood that most ‘new nations’ which experience political conflicts based on ethnicity, race, religion or culture tend to be following the approach of emotional governance and consequence characterized by incompetent, parochial; fragile and authoritarian governments that fail to satisfy basic human needs of all the nationalities.

Successes and failures of 3rd party mediation by Norway in Sri Lanka

This post comprise of highlights of an assignment submitted to the  Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences  in May 2012 

“We tried everything to transform our conflict while simultaneously trying to end our war. ‘Pausing’ our war through a ‘Cease Fire’ Agreement (CFA) together with Norway as the third party mediator, gave us the opportunity to transform our conflict peacefully. But what we did not realize was that we unwittingly sowed the seeds for a military end to war (2008 – 2009). Now, we have ended our war but our conflict still remains”   – (Jayawardena & Rathnapriya, 2012; 01)  –  

Although the CFA and the 2001 – 2005 peace process was largely seen as a failure in terms of bringing an end to the Sri Lanka conflict according to most parties (Seneviratne, 2009: 229-255) it actually brought numerous positive outcomes for the scholars in conflict resolution as well as technical experts in the field. This section of the paper will analyse the role of Norway in Sri Lanka as a third party mediator. In that regard my personal experience participating in the process will be mélanged together with the secondary literature analysis.

Norway’s record in Sri Lanka reflects a rare degree of resilience and persistence amidst of any criticism. The utmost success of Norway in Sri Lanka was being entrusted to mediate the conflict by the conflicting parties themselves (Moolakkattu, 2005:399). Moreover, involvement of higher officials in the process by Norway at various levels together with the amount of funds allocated for the process from their foreign aid budget were significant successful achievements of Norway (Ibid). Norway has been instrumental in organising multilateral efforts aimed at bridging the gap between the conflicting parties as an expert in negotiation.

The fact that even after the LTTE withdrew from the CFA in 2003 it still continued over three years informally at various levels including track 1.5 stands definitely to the credit of Norway and places it more securely as a potential dedicated third party mediator in small conflicts around the world (Ibid). As a third party mediator in the process it supplemented the peace-making role by organising donor conferences and harnessing support from the international community, including USA, EU and Japan bringing the true sense of ‘peace work’ as a mediator as Galtung (1996) explains (Moolakkattu, 2005:400). As a peace lover, Norway has been extending peace specially standing as a third party mediator irrespective of the accusations of being partial by the Sinhalese majority (Ibid). Most importantly, the CFA created an atmosphere in which a more comprehensive and sustainable peace could have been negotiated. (Ibid) Norway was successful in ceasing the violent phase of the conflict for the longest period in its history for a period of more than nearly six years amidst some incidents were reported time to time (Goonathilke, 2009:26-27).

Most significantly, Norway as a mediator could bring various positive outcomes to the entire process:
• Psychical security was improved and thousands of deaths and causalities were averted during the no war period.
• Access to and movement of goods and services greatly improved for all communities and all people living in Sri Lanka.
• Economic activity rejuvenated in the country as a whole.
• Humanitarian agencies gained increased access to vulnerable populations, and relief and rehabilitation activities expanded substantially.
• Sri Lanka received financial support from the international community of an unprecedented magnitude in country’s history (Seneviratne, 2009:241).

The CFA was structured on demarcating the territory of Sri Lanka into LTTE controlled and government controlled area. This in a way was interpreted by political elements as a ‘undermining’ of the Sri Lankan state’s territorial integrity. It was also contended that the attempts to demarcate ‘no go’ areas, also known as exclusion zones in respect of the movement of the Sri Lankan Navy, off the coast of certain parts of the Eastern seaboard, allowed the LTTE to facilitate illicit smuggling of weapons and war material (Fernando, 2011:16).
On the other hand the vulnerability of other Tamil militant groups that had held arms before but joined the democratic process later; Ealam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Ealam (PLOTE) and (Ealam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) was heightened (Ibid). Immediately after the CFA was signed these groups were required to demilitarize, irrespective of their security situation (Yusuf, 2011:16). This created a situation where parties to the conflict were treated differently violating an important principle of third party mediation.
Moreover, under the CFA, LTTE cadres were permitted to engage in ‘political work’ in the cleared areas in the North and East, whereby the LTTE was able to extend its influence into areas they did not previously control in the North and East. There was no corresponding access for the Government or other political parties, into the ‘un-cleared’ areas dominated by the LTTE. The issue of reciprocity taken up by the Government but had not been accommodated (Ibid).
Furthermore, there was “a significant lacuna” in the role of Norway in Sri Lanka as a third party mediator was the absence of a Human Rights component in the CFA which resulted in a failure to bind the parties involved in the conflict towards the observance of Human Rights norms (Goonathilaka and Wijemanna, 2010:18). This eventually paved the way for both parties to freely engage in such activities whilst the mediator had no control over such action as well.
Although peoples representatives from the Muslim community kept demanding from the LTTE, the GoSL and Norway to ensure that an independent delegation of Muslims be allowed to take part in the negotiations process, this was not accommodated. This led towards the Muslim community holding a perception that there were deliberate attempts to exclude them from the negotiation process which also violated the main principle of involving all parties of conflict in the process (Yusuf,2011:16).
Norway’s role as expected by the GoSL was facilitation that later developed by themselves as third party mediation. Whilst being the third party mediator of the peace process Norway also took office as the Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission creating a ‘conflict of functions’ (Seneviratne, 2009: 242). However, my personal experience highlights the fact that Norway at times tend to neglect some serious violations of the CFA with the objective of keeping it live, that were negatively articulated as favouring the LTTE by the GoSL.
According to Norway, the most significant reasons for the failure of the CFA are indeed more political (Norad, 2011:xv-xvi). According to them, both the government and the LTTE while staying committed to their cause, made any no significant shift in how they defined their political outcome which continued with the gap between what the south expected (a unitary state with limited devolution) and what the LTTE demanded (a separate state (Ibid). In fact, I personally raise the question whether Norway failed to understand the political climate in Sri Lanka that is completely different to that of there, which made all their efforts unsuccessful in bringing peace to Sri Lanka. The best example with this regard is how they handled both the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during the process; who were from two different parties. Their act of marginalising the President standing in line with the Prime Minister ideally paved the way for the collapse of the CFA.
Moreover, according to them the window of opportunity for a negotiated settlement was only a short one and based upon a unique constellation of domestic and international factors – including a hurting stalemate, leading to an acceptance by both sides of a measure of military and political parity, a Western oriented government and multi-faceted international backing for negotiations (Ibid). Once again the question lies is it that the opportunity for a negotiated settlement was only a short one or that the mediation efforts could not take the maximum benefit out of that short window of opportunity to extent it to bring peace to Sri Lanka.
With the success and failures of Norway in Sri Lanka as a third party mediator it can draw various lessons for the similar processes in future as well.

 

Security is not only about ‘states’ and ‘Regions’, but about ‘us’ as well

Notion of security in the contemporary world is probably one of the most complex ones. The scholarly study of security traditionally has been limited to states and has generally moved to the regional level. The state not only was the object of security, but also was the primary provider of security as well. However, a wide range of security threats through-out the human development has confronted states, regions, individuals and societies.
Understanding of security in Asia varies from inter-state tensions to civil wars to terrorism to environmental dangers to terrorism to cyber viruses to pandemics to new forms of nationalism to biological and chemical warfare to all kinds of security threats that exist at all levels of the society. Across these wide ranges of security threats three distinct features can be highlighted: notion of security up to a certain degree has surpassed the state-boundaries, it further has continued to be state-centric with regard to the military security as yet and security as a concept is interconnected due to globalisation, so that state or regional levels are merged. However, unlike in the West security still remains a state-centric concept and Asia still has the need to continue it given that the notion of uncertainty lies at all levels: state, region, community or individual.
Within the two main approaches of security: prophylactic and reflexive security the western scholars highlight the end of Cold war as a breaking point that differentiate the two approaches (Burgess. 2012). Hence according to Burgess the West, particularly the Europe that used prophylactic measures to ensure security during its bunker life has moved to the liberal society with the wake of the Cold war. However, my argument explains that in terms of security in Asia it continues to be a mixture of the two. Asia continues to use the prophylactic measures such as armies, police, road blocks and surveillance whilst challenging the basic values such as trust, integration, solidarity, recognition as used in reflexive security.
Given the fact that Asia continues to experience intrastate conflicts and inter-state tensions it is important to follow state-centric approaches for security on one hand. On the other hand, as it is also very well integrated to the rest of the world and been the most successful region to benefit out of neo-liberalism it continues to have the need to step beyond the state-centric security measures. Therefore, my thesis with continue to be that the discourse of regional security within the context of Asia has to be analysed within the two main approaches to security: prophylactic and reflexive security and cannot be marked as a shift from one to the other. Hence, security in Asia is not ONLY about ‘states’ and ‘regions’ it is also about ‘us’ the individuals.
Reference:
Burgess, Peter (2011) Mapping Uncertainities and black swans in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats, [ONLINE] http://jpeterburgess.com/ Accessed 27th March 2012
Burgess, Peter (March, 2012) What is Security?, Lecture in Pondicherry, India
Clark, S L (1993) The central Asian states: defining security priorities and developing military forces, Institute for Defence Analysis, Virginia
Kolodzeij, Edward (2005) Security and International Relations, Cambridge University Press [ONLINE] www.cambridge.org Accessed on 27th March 2012

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Diaspora in the middle of its ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Friendship battle

President Rajapakse has been maintaining a healthy relationship with China since he came into power in 2005. During the first few years of his term of office neither India nor the US was too worried about this new friend of Sri Lanka.

“Although Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa trumpets the importance of Sri Lanka’s friendship with China, the relationship is very lopsided in terms of trade. For example, in 2008 Chinese exports to Sri Lanka constituted 96% of total bilateral trade. In terms of investment, Hong Kong has become a key source of foreign direct investment to Sri Lanka, while China proper focuses on direct government aid. In contrast, Sri Lanka investment in China consists of a few tea shops. Though at times the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) asserts it does not need the U.S. and the West since it can turn to new friends such as China, there is no indication that China can replace Western export markets. In terms of investment and trade importance, Sri Lanka’s new friends cannot compete with her old ones in the United States and EU.” -the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington in 2009 on http://www.colombotelegraph.com/

However, the question lies whether Sri Lanka’s new friend actually commenced competing with its old one unexpectedly. As a middle income country that doesn’t continue to be a ‘donor darling’ further was rescued by China’s massive development loans not only from the international economic pressure but also from human rights abuses and other International pressure. By 2011, China became the biggest lender to Sri Lanka by 2011 pledging more than $3bn for infrastructure development, maintenance and other projects, BBC Sinhala Service reported. This novel relationship brought an unexpected state for China in terms of Sri Lankan affairs.

USA and India; good old friends of Sri Lanka that never expected such consequence were disheartened by the whole scenario and were looking forward for means and ways to regain their significant influential capacity in terms of Sri Lankan affairs. The critical question that I raise in this regard is whether the US resolution that was brought-up at the 19th UNHRC session using the support of the Tamil Diaspora was another such attempt to regain their influential power and in the presence of the USA’s scapegoating, whether the Tamil Diaspora also gave up their initial demands for an Independent International Investigation on Sri Lanka’s war crimes.

From the inception of LLRC the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora had been extremely critical about each and every aspect of the commission: its members, its structure, the hearings, the interim-report etc. including its final outcomes. Their demands were strongly in line with an International Independent Investigation on war crimes committed by the Government of Sri Lanka as recommended by the UNSG’s Panel Report on Sri Lanka. This whole paradigm shift is a dilemma for me as yet. How did this shift in the thinking and believes of the Tamil Diaspora go through such a sea-change within such a short period? I can think of two main aspects to it: it could be because anything against the government of Sri Lanka keeps the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora motivated or it could have been that USA was extremely smart enough to manipulate their strong network and worldwide political communication for the benefit of their cause. Was this whole drama on ‘UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka’ actually created to stop the whole wave and demand for an Independent International Investigation on Sri Lanka that would have imposed allegations on the Defence Secretary and the then Army Commander who are also citizens of the USA on one hand and to regain the trust of the Sri Lankan government? In this whole context, have ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora’ been fooled in the middle of diplomacy and politics?

However, at the end of the drama I see the ties between Sri Lanka and its old friends re-gaining…, but are they strong enough to compete with her new friend, China as yet?