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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

Human Rights Watch confirms Sri Lanka agreed on foreign judges

By Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune Political Note
Washington, D.C. 14 January (Asiantribune.com):

Contrary to what the authorities in the Government of Sri Lanka constantly state, the 2017 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on January 10 affirms that, in adopting a consensus resolution at the Geneva UN Human Rights Council in October 2015, Sri Lanka promised to establish a special court “integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” with an independent investigative and prosecuting body.

The HRW states in its report: “In October 2015, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a consensus resolution in which Sri Lanka pledged to undertake many human rights reforms, including resolving the many transitional justice demands arising out of the civil war. Under the resolution, Sri Lanka promised to establish four transitional justice mechanisms, including a special court In October 2015, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a consensus resolution in which Sri Lanka pledged to undertake many human rights reforms, including resolving the many transitional justice demands arising out of the civil war. Under the resolution, Sri Lanka promised to establish four transitional justice mechanisms, including a special court “integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” with an independent investigative and prosecuting body. The resolution also called for an office on missing and disappeared persons, a truth-telling mechanism, and a mechanism designed to guarantee non-recurrence and reparations.”

“The Sri Lankan government initiated discussions with the UN and other stakeholders on the possibility of incorporating Sri Lankan security forces in international peacekeeping operations, although the mechanism for doing so had yet to be finalized given the difficulty of vetting forces who might have been engaged in war crimes” the report laments.

What the UNHRC forced Sri Lanka to be a signatory to the October 2015 resolution and bind this South Asian nation to establish ‘War Crimes Tribunals” was the result of the U.S. State Department foreign-policy plank popularly described as ‘Accountability Process’. Washington, which came under increased pressure and influence from operative professionals within the Tamil Diaspora – who were once sustaining the separatist Tamil Tigers for decades – worked through the Office of the United Nations Under-Secretary-General (Political) which for many decades was occupied by retired senior State Department officials. This office maintains direct contact with the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Commission in Geneva.

This whole process of American adventurism and providing fillip to the operative professionals and their organizations within the Tamil Diaspora – whose aim was to bifurcate Sri Lanka adopting the initial trajectory of ‘de-legitimizing the Sri Lankan State’ – has been extensively dealt in this writer’s just-released book Tamil Tigers’ Debt To America.

The Sri Lanka government’s awareness that a majority of Sri Lankan population has kept the ‘Armed Forces’ in high esteem and respect following its defeat of Tamil Tiger separatism/terrorism, the transitional justice mechanism is being delayed to the disappointment of the HRW and its Western benefactors.

Sensing it the HRW 2017 report states: “A government task force designed to hold public consultations nationally on the four transitional justice mechanisms was slow to get off the ground. Shortly after, the government announced a framework to create an office to discover the fate of those missing and forcibly disappeared, leading to an outcry over inadequate public consultations. This lack of trust has marred the ongoing public consultations on the other three mechanisms.

“Senior members of government continued issuing contradictory statements on the need to have international participation in the four transitional justice mechanisms, with the president and prime minister both claiming these would be wholly domestic processes, contrary to the Human Rights Council resolution.”

The report further notes: “The government failed to properly implement important recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the country, including a repeal of the PTA and reforms to the Witness and Victim Protection Law. Other undertakings, such as broader reform of the security sector and return of private lands confiscated by the military, were halting at best. An update from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in June 2016 mentioned the need for greater progress, and was due to provide a more comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council in early 2017.”

The rise of populist leaders in the United States and Europe poses a dangerous threat to basic rights protections while encouraging abuse by autocrats around the world, Human Rights Watch said in launching its World Report 2017. Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign fomenting hatred and intolerance, and the rising influence of political parties in Europe that reject universal rights, have put the postwar human rights system at risk.

In the 687-page World Report Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights not as an essential check on official power but as an impediment to the majority will.

This note needs to be concluded highlighting what was written by Canada-based Centre for Research on Globalization in its Global Research web page on March 17, 2016 which gives a vivid picture of ‘Human Rights Industry’ undertaken by global rights organizations and the U.S. State Department, most of which were extensively underscored by this writer’s just released book.

(Excerpts) Washington’s HR Revolving Door

It’s no secret that a revolving door exists between the US State Department and many of the western world’s leading human rights organizations. That relationship can be gleaned from this Council of Foreign Affairs policy paper which states:

“To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war … Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership – diplomatic, economic, and not least, military – to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).”

That passage, taken in the context of the Syrian conflict, reveals a stark picture of how Washington really works. It was written by Suzanne Nossel, one of Washington’s most high-profile humanitarian advocates who managed to transition seamlessly from her position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the US State Department – directly into an executive director position at Amnesty International USA in 2012. Prior to the State Dept., Nossel was also served as chief operating officer for Human Rights Watch, vice president of strategy and operations at the Wall Street Journal and a media and communications consultant to CFR founding corporate member, law firm McKinsey & Company.

Here we see a powerful public relations resumé, combined with established links to Washington’s foreign policy core, and at a time where multiple Middle Eastern nation states, like Libya and Syria, were being forced into submission under the yoke of US-led international pressure. Projecting Washington’s preferred narrative is paramount in this multilateral effort and Nossel would be a key bridge in helping to project US foreign policy messaging internationally through top tier NGO Amnesty.

Inside Washington’s inner sanctum, ‘soft power’ has given way to Smart Power. Indeed, it was Susan Nossel who coined the term ‘Smart Power’ while working alongside US humanitarian hawks like Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, and also with Washington’s lesser known Atrocity Prevention Board, all of whom worked to successfully implement this new range of intervention marketing concepts including humanitarian intervention and R2P. (End Excerpts)

- Asian Tribune -

Human Rights Watch confirms Sri Lanka agreed on foreign judges
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