BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
“…The Government has invited Mr. Pablo de Greiff, the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence to visit Sri Lanka for consultations. He has proposed to visit us at the end of this month. We also look forward to receiving the Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances…”–Mangala Samaraweera (Text of the statement delivered at the High Level segment of the UNHRC, March 2, 2015, Geneva.)
Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the unelected (and therefore, less than legitimate) Government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has just done the equivalent of Jihadi John on the Sri Lankan armed forces. Jihadi John is the ISIS executioner who stands behind captives, makes a speech and cuts their throats in full view of the world’s YouTube watchers and (by extension) TV audiences.
Mangala Samaraweera has just done the same to the Sri Lankan armed forces. His speech at the High Level Segment of the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council appears at first glance, unobjectionable, moderate and reasonable and close to pitch-perfect. But that’s only at first glance. The entire speech is clever camouflage.
Hidden in it is a deadly ambush laid for the Sri Lankan armed forces. The Foreign Minister has not only welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth and Justice, he promises to welcome the UN Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances. This latter is a dangerous and dastardly move.
Sri Lanka has always cooperated with UN Special Procedures and permitted Special Rapporteurs, Working Groups etc. to visit, even during the war. However, like every sovereign state, Sri Lanka has deliberated carefully, in the National Security Council, about which ones would be allowed in, when that might be, and which ones not. One Working Group we were very wary about allowing in prematurely was the UN Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances.