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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2619

America’s Boucher, Norway’s Hanssen-Bauer and Japan’s Akashi to assemble in Sri Lanka on October 19 to bring peaceful sett

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 14 October (Asiantribune.com): United States Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher is scheduled to be in Sri Lanka next Thursday, October 19 to bring a halt to the fierce fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels and to facilitate the forthcoming talks between the two warring factions in Geneva on October 28-29.United States Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher is scheduled to be in Sri Lanka next Thursday, October 19.United States Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher is scheduled to be in Sri Lanka next Thursday, October 19.

During Boucher’s visit to Colombo, he will be joined by mediator Norway’s special peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer and Japan’s Yasushi Akashi to have talks with the Sri Lanka government leaders and LTTE representatives.

Hanssen-Bauer and Akashi are expected to meet with Tamil Tiger representatives, but the American envoy is barred from having any contact with the Tiger outfit as the U.S. federal laws prohibit such contact because of its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

The Co-Chairs have in recent weeks, especially the United States, have expressed their dismay of blatant human rights violations by both the Tiger outfit and the government forces. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reiterated his government’s commitment to allow an international body to investigate human rights violations, especially the killings of 17 aid workers in the north.Japan’s Yasushi Akashi to have talks with the Sri Lanka government leaders and LTTE representatives.Japan’s Yasushi Akashi to have talks with the Sri Lanka government leaders and LTTE representatives.

The pressure by the international community regarding the violation of human rights is totally on the Sri Lanka government as only legitimate governing entities are obliged to adhere to United Nations and other international covenants. Sri Lanka is a signatory to Geneva Convention.

Two weeks ago, when the UN Human Rights Commission met in Geneva, it discussed the human rights record of the Sri Lanka government as mandated by the Convention. It has no mandate to discuss the human rights practices of non-state entities like the Liberation Tigers or the LTTE.Hanssen-Bauer  is expected to meet with Tamil Tiger representatives,Hanssen-Bauer is expected to meet with Tamil Tiger representatives,

The international community, on the contrary, have a severe disability in exercising pressure on non-state entities, in this case the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE), as they have no obligation to adhere to globally accepted norms on human rights or to internationally accepted covenants. The United States, and other Co-Chairs, are fully aware that they are unable bring accountability to any actions of the non-state entity the LTTE but are in a position to bring severe pressure on Sri Lanka when these donor countries connect such pressure to foreign economic assistance.

The congregation of the three representatives of the Co-Chairs, it is learned, will bring pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka to exercise restraint in face of Tamil Tiger military offensive but will have a disability to restraint military action of the Tiger outfit except bringing pressure on this non-state rebel entity to join the negotiations in Geneva end of this month.

The United States, this week, issued a statement through its State Department spokesman that it welcomes the talks between Sri Lanka and the separatist Tamil Tigers in Geneva.

The Tamil Tigers, this week, especially last Wednesday, killed 129 Sri Lankan troops in the fighting in the north. Thursday, the Tiger outfit handed over bodies of 74 troops to the ICRC. The government claimed that they killed about 400 LTTE fighting cadre.

Boucher and the other two mediators are visiting Colombo next Thursday amid these escalating military offensives between the two warring factions.

The LTTE is fighting for a separate ethnic Tamil state in Sri Lanka since mid-eighties accusing the successive Sri Lanka governments, which the Tigers claim are largely controlled by the majority ethnic community Sinhalese. The ceasefire agreement signed between the two warring factions in 2002 has been confined to the book amid escalating violence between the two parties. The Rajapaksa administration, recently in New York and in Havana, reiterated its commitment to a political package of devolution to the periphery within a unitary state. The government releasing demographic and census data said that 54% of ethnic Tamils live outside the predominantly Tamil districts of north and east dismissing the Tamil Tiger claim that it is the ‘sole representative of the Tamil people.’

Asian Tribune

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