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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2964

Government Responds Louise Arbor: Abrogation of CFA, Government’s Inalienable Right in the Face of LTTE’s Grievous Violations

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

In a strongly worded statement, Sri Lanka reiterated its decision to abrogate the Cease Fire Agreement, while assuring the UN High Commissioner Louise Arbor that all necessary and meaningful measures to avoid civilian casualties and hardships to civilian populations will be taken by the government. The government viewed the right to abrogate the CFA, an inalienable right of Sri Lankan government, stipulated in the cease fire agreement.

In the face LTTE’s continuous and grievous violations of the CFA, causing loss and damage to civilians and endangering the security of the State, the government had not other choice. The government could not allow LTTE’s attempt to establish a mono-ethnic mono-political separate State in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. LTTE’s very participation in the CFA was explicitly for that reason. Thus, the only reasonable option available was to abrogate the CFA, the government believed.

Sri Lankan Government’s response to a statement made by United Nations High Commissioner Louise Arbor is given below:

The Government of Sri Lanka wishes to inform perpetrated by the LTTE with its aim of establishing A consideration of the conduct of the LTTE during the period commencing February 2002 (when the CFA came into operation) reveals clearly that this terrorist organization had not entered into the CFA in good faith and that it was not interested in resolving the problems of the Tamil ethnic minority through peaceful dialogue and acceptable political means.

Its unwavering intention of establishing a separate State became even more evident in 2004 when the LTTE leadership went back on its post 2002 February declared intent of seeking a solution to the ethnic conflict within the framework of a constitutional solution and extensive power sharing. LTTE’s withdrawal from this declared intention clearly reveals the continued objective of the LTTE to create a separate sovereign State.

With that intention, the LTTE has continuously and grievously violated the CFA, causing loss and damage to civilians and endangering the security of the State. Several attempts by the Government of Sri Lanka to motivate the LTTE to change its mind and to take part in meaningful and peaceful political negotiations, turned futile.

Furthermore, credible evidence has surfaced that the LTTE is readying to launch a major terrorist offensive against the State and its people. Thus, the Government of Sri Lanka had no other option than to end the CFA.

The Government of Sri Lanka remains conscious of the need to resolve the country’s ethnic conflict through political and constitutional means. With that in mind, the government is currently awaiting the proposals of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) appointed to propose constitutional means by which the ethnic conflict could be resolved. These proposals are likely to be received by the government in the very near future. Military measures the government would implement to eliminate terrorism would remain independent of steps the government would take to implement through constitutional means a solution to the ethnic conflict, so that all people of Sri Lanka would through their democratically elected representatives enjoy devolved power within the framework of the sovereign Sri Lankan State.

The Government of Sri Lanka wishes to inform the UN High Commissioner that, as a responsible State in the global community, the government is committed to the enforcement of military and other lawful measures to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and to eliminate terrorism, in accordance with the laws of Sri Lanka and in compliance with international norms and standards including International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. As in the past, even at the cost of delay in the implementation and successful completion of military operations, the government will take all necessary and meaningful measures to avoid civilian casualties and hardships to civilian populations, some of whom remain kept against their will by the LTTE as human shields. An example for this policy would be seen in the preemptive military operation the government was compelled to take in 2007, to liberate parts of the Eastern Province and its people from the unlawful control of the LTTE. The government would also continue to uninterruptedly supply humanitarian aid and food supplies to areas being unlawfully held by the LTTE, knowing well that a considerable portion of such supplies would be consumed by fighting cadres of the LTTE.

The Government wishes to assure the UN High Commissioner that it remains a policy of the State not to tolerate any forms of Human Rights or Humanitarian Law violations by members of the security forces and the police. The command, rank and file of the security forces and the police have been regularly briefed through state sponsored awareness campaigns of the need to adhere to laws of Sri Lanka and applicable international legal norms including.

Subordinate members of the security forces are aware that they are obliged to only carryout lawful orders given by superiors. Superior officers of the security forces are well aware of legal principles relating to command responsibility. All members of the security forces and the police are quite aware that certain violations of the law attract individual criminal responsibility.

The Government wishes to take this opportunity to reiterate its intention to continue the existing dialogue with the UN High Commissioner, with the intention of obtaining assistance the government may require strengthening domestic mechanisms including the National Human Rights Commission, so that its functions including the investigation and reporting of alleged Human Rights violations could be efficaciously discharged. The government remains committed to strengthen domestic mechanisms, and wishes to avail itself of this opportunity to restating its opposition to the proposal made by the UN High Commissioner to establish UN field presence in Sri Lanka for monitoring and reporting. The government is of the view that the proposal has not been made applying objectively laid down transparent criteria adopted by the international community and does not reflect the actual ground situation. Furthermore, objective and accurate reasoning which would necessitate the implementation of such a mechanism has not been given by the UN High Commissioner. Thus the proposal is totally unacceptable to the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Government is compelled to indicate to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that it considers her Statement on the end of the CFA containing warnings on ‘individual criminal responsibility’ as being untimely, inappropriate and unacceptable. Therefore, the government regrets that the UN High Commissioner deemed it necessary and appropriate to issue such a statement.

The government wishes to state that, its decision to end the CFA would not be reversed and would be implemented as previously stated, in the best interest of the country and its people. Following the end of the CFA, with the assistance of its well trained, professional and disciplined security forces, the Government of Sri Lanka would take all necessary measures to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country and eliminate terrorism.

Mahinda Samarasinghe MP,
Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights

- Asian Tribune

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