As the controversy over the video allegedly showing Tamil Tigers’ Chief V. Prabhakaran’s 12-year old son Balachandran being shot in cold blood on the last day of Eelam War IV on May 18, 2009, rages, the Sri Lankan government is seemingly on the defensive.
I did a short interview with him on Monday much before the story gathered momentum in the Indian media on Tuesday. Here’s the transcript. Read on.
Nitin Gokhale: Nearly three years after the Sri Lankan forces decimated the LTTE militarily, fresh human rights violations allegations have resurfaced in the West against the Sri Lankan forces. How does Sri Lanka intend to tackle these allegations and how does it respond to the resolution that is being sought to be moved by the United States in the UNHRC at Geneva later this month alleging human right violations in Sri Lanka. To answer those questions we have with us, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam.
Sri Lanka is once again facing these allegations how does Sri Lanka intend to tackle these fresh allegations about human rights violation. What is your response?
Prasad Kariyawasam: Well, it is very surprising why such things are coming up because after defeating this abominable terrorist group three years ago, we want a path of reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation and for that purpose we were looking at what we call restorative justice not retributive justice. Retribution is not in our grain and for that purpose we set up for what we call Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, an independent commission with lot of good credentials to come up with ideas to search for all the solutions as well as address the context of the conflict and to come up with the recommendations. And as we expected, they have now come with the report which has lot of good elements commended by international community themselves and we want time to work on those matters. And in time like that international non-governmental and some governments in the west seek to intervene and try to force of hand in Sri Lanka is something to my mind is misplaced and ill-judged. it does not help in our path of step by step reconciliation.
Nitin Gokhale: What do you think of these new allegations that Prabhakaran’s 12-year old son was killed in cold blood by the Sri Lankan forces?
Prasad Kariyawasam: That is by Channel 4, this is the second time channel 4 in UK has come up with such allegations. Like the first set of productions, this is also unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and not been checked by any authority and we think is concoction. And we would not welcome it because that part of the war was unclear, it was incomplete and to that purpose to set up some examination of what happened, Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has made some recommendations and govt and our parliament is now in the process of looking at those things and take step by step measures as they are recommended and we want home grown solutions. We are a democracy for the last sixty years. We are responsible govt, and our govt leaders have to be elected, so they will take this thing step by step like other democracies like say India. And we don’t need this extra regional intervention in our region. We can very well work with India and other friendly nations. We will find solutions, this is what uncalled for.
Nitin Gokhale: What about the UNHRC resolution that is being moved by the United states against Sri Lanka. What do you think is going to happen there and what is going to be Sri Lankan stand there?
Prasad Kariyawasam: Sri Lanka does not welcome UN involvement in our reconciliation process at this point. I think we are on a right path, we think we have to come up with a home grown solution. We need to talk to our own political parties, own people and have to come up with a understanding that will serve us for the future. UN by trying to force or hand, or US trying to use force to speed up the process is counter-productive. We want to do it at our own pace, we need time and space, that is all we are asking. LLRC has recommended some things, the govt is in the process of looking at it and come up with an idea as to how to…. already some recommendations have been implemented. We have been looking at other things as well, and to our mind, this whole effort is to satisfy a particular lobby and that lobby is Tamil expatriate lobby who used to support LTTE who are stunned by the defeat of the LTTE and are now using western electoral power at their hand to force our hand.