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Accountability, reconciliation, democracy

At a recent seminar at the Acadamie Diplomatique Internationale in Paris, a team from the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), on a Paris-London visit, presented on ‘Developments in the Arab World and the Impact on Asia: an Asian Perspective’. I attended eagerly, not only because of the subject’s salience but because these were my recent colleagues and friends.

The team’s presentation differentiated the domestically driven developments, most importantly but not exclusively in Tunisia and Egypt, from external military intervention in Libya’s armed civil conflict or civil war. Prof Tan Tai Yong, the Vice Provost of the National University of Singapore (with which Yale has just signed a deal to establish a liberal arts college) and Executive Director of the Institute pointed out that while Asian opinion agreed that the intentional killing of unarmed civilian protestors de-legitimized any regime and constituted a new ‘red line’ for the international community which if crossed would trigger R2P, Asia with its organically evolved societies and states of long historicity  (contrasting with many an Arab state such as Libya carved out as a patchwork of tribes, clans and ethnicities mere decades ago by colonial fiat, with Egypt a monumental exception), its functioning political parties and use of universal suffrage, its familiarity with and history of street protests, and its better shared prosperity in an era of economic upswing, has states of an entirely different formation and type from those of the Arab world, and does not suffer the same structural vulnerabilities of legitimacy.

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External challenges to Sri Lanka

Behind its splendid stone facade, the Acadamie Diplomatique Internationale has been in existence from the early decades of the last century, and according to its head, was discussing Western military intervention in the Middle East then as it was that very day last week when a team from the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), on a Paris-London visit, presented on ‘Developments in the Arab World and the Impact on Asia: an Asian Perspective’. I attended eagerly, not only because of the subject’s salience but because these were my recent colleagues and friends.

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The Issue ofaccountability

The most recent attempt to raise the issue of accountability concerning events that occurred during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka was by the United States Senate. Of the 4 issues contained in the US Senate Resolution 84, this paper intends to focus on the first two. The first resolution: "commends United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon for creating the three person panel to advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to human rights accountability", and the second resolution: "calls on the Government of Sri Lanka, the international community, and the United Nations to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to look into reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka and to make recommendations regarding accountability".

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Government reassurance regarding NGO probe

Reference article by Jehan Perera (JP), in The Island of 28th March titled, ‘Govt. reassurance regarding NGO probe’. JP had made some observations about the investigations on the massive amounts of foreign assistance received by NGO’s in the past. This flow had continued even after the war ended.

In the past, NGO’s had a free hand with regard to obtaining foreign funds and using them without any transparency. So based on previous records, govt. claims that it has a right to monitor NGO funds, as in other countries. It is an open secret that NGO funds had gone into the hands of the LTTE. As such, the beneficiaries had been the LTTE and not the people who deserve them.

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Nullification of 1818 British Declaration

As the saying goes "every dog has its day". I am no dog, yet the above news made my day that I am compelled to pen these few words. My only fear at this moment of joy is that this will be a short-lived political fiasco intended to slight a nation that has given us plenty of aid in the past and present. It should be a planned negotiated exercise seeking a Crown Apology from the British for the many atrocities committed by their colonial ancestors on the Sri Lankan nation. The erudite editor of The Island has in today’s (14th March. summarized the nasty and beastly deeds committed by the colonial British. The Colonial Office documents are the primary sources for those wishing to know more about those many atrocities. In a small way I too have contributed to sum total of this knowledge in my two books, "The Rebels, Outlaws and Enemies to the British" and "The Kandyans’ Last Stand Against the British". In the first part of my recent book, "In Defence of the Independence and Sovereignty of the Nation" I have put together my efforts in the past to get the British to apologize for their depredations in our country.

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