Chula Rajapakse as President, USLA in Wellington, presenting His Summary Review, 22 March 2019
Since its inception over three decades ago the United Sri Lanka Association in Wellington has fervently furthered its main founding objective viz. doing what it takes to support Sri Lanka in preserving its independent and unitary status. Throughout the USLA’s existence, the main threat to this came from the violent terrorism of the Tamil Tigers and the devious and vicious misinformation from them. With the complete annihilation of the Tigers as a fighting force in Sri Lanka in May 2009, USLA continued its role in the countering Tiger misinformation that now took an even more devious form.
This was initiated within days of their been vanquished in the fields and lagoons of Nandikadal by an internationally orchestrated allegation that this victory was achieved through HR violations claiming a civilian casualty rate of over 40,000 in the last few weeks of the war, a number far in excess of what could be explained on the basis of collateral damage and suggesting targeted shooting of Tamil civilians. They found powerful allies in furthering these in the UNSG appointed Darusman Commission who concurred with this allegation having heard from the Tigers only and not Sri Lanka, and UK Channel Four which produced the film “Sri Lanka Killing Fields” based on film strips, unauthored, undated, & from unknown sites showing acts of brutality, blaming it all on the Sri Lanka forces through a very effective commentary from producer Jon Snow. These allegations were orchestrated internationally and nationally with Joseph Gobellian zeal – adhering to the thesis that any lie repeated frequently enough would eventually be believed.
It was my role as your spokesperson, in the past decade to counter these allegations at every opportunity with the media and politicians — even extended to steps taken to present the screening of the counter film “Lies Agreed Upon” in the NZ parliament.
More Importantly, I mustered the evidence supporting the impossibility of these allegations being true, including the fact that there were nowhere near that number of bodies identified post war, nor were there anywhere near the 120,000 injured as would be expected based on the internationally established injured to casualty ratio in war. Additionally, the initial estimate of the UN resident representatives suggested a figure of seven thousand which tallied with figure of a census carried out for the dept of census in 2012 by Resident Tamil Teachers of the region. Even more strong counter evidence came from WIKILEAKS leaked documents from the defence attaches of both the UK and US embassies in SL who confirmed that the SL forces were exercising every care to safeguard Civilians without which the war might have been over much earlier with significantly less casualties for the SL forces.
With the change of govt in SL in Jan 2015, the field changed significantly with the new govt almost carrying the torch for the Tigers [and] co-sponsoring the infamous resolution asking for foreign judges to hear cases against security personnel accused of engineering civilian disappearances and seeking a new constitution that would weaken SL’s unitary status. These calls for foreign judges raises the spectre of another Darusman-like Commission open to being influenced by the Tiger war chest.
Sadly, even this week the SL govt reinforced this commitment rather than orchestrate the arguments cited earlier by me and the report of the Paranagama Commission whose findings, endorsed by three international legal luminaries, clearly concluded against there being any war crimes by the SL forces.
The even greater disappointment for most Sri Lankans was the failure to present and table Lord Naseby’s revelations in October 2017 at the UK house of Lords clearly establishing that the civilian casualties were more of the order of 5000, and not 40,000 , so leaving no basis for the UNHCR resolution and so calling for it’s withdrawal.
With the Sri Lankan govt arguably being the greatest threat to the SL’s unitary status, in my position as USLA spokesperson, my hands were rather tied this year. However, the political machinations in SL of the last few months would suggest that, SL may soon let go of the Tiger Torch & leave the likes of me in more familiar territory.
Dr. Chula Rajapakse, MNZM 23.3.19
The United Sri Lanka Association (USLA) was incorporated as a community organization in 1983. Since that time, it has remained the premiere Sri Lankan community body in New Zealand. USLA’s main objective is to promote unity and goodwill amongst all Sri Lankans living in NZ. Within the ambit of this principle of inclusiveness, USLA strives to promote the interests and welfare of its members, and helps members in their orientation to the New Zealand way of life.