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War crimes: Lanka hopes India will take a 'responsible' decison


Suhasini Haidar,CNN-IBN
Mar 13, 2012 at 09:47pm IST

New Delhi: The Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam, has rejected the charges made by the Channel 4 video which shows Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son Balachandran's body stripped to the waist with five bullet holes to the chest.

The Lankan High Commissioner also spoke on issues of UN resolution on war crimes after the Indian government came under intense pressure from Tamil Nadu's political parties in Parliament to support a resolution in the UN against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes.

CNN-IBN's Suhasini Haidar spoke to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, who says he is confident India will take a responsible decision.

Here is the full transcript of the interview:

Suhasini Haidar:Sri Lanka is denying all the allegation of human rights violations but certainly the action we have seen today in Parliament, putting a new twist or a kind of pressure the government is facing over that vote of the Human Right Council.

High Commissioner, today the Parliament has been adjourned over India's vote at the Human Right Council. And the MPs are demanding very clearly that government actually vote against Sri Lanka, if that vote comes up next week. Your reaction to that?

Prasad Kariyawasam:It's very unfortunate that Tamil Nadu parliamentarian have chosen to disturb the August Parliament of India, for something very simple. They have perhaps been totally misinformed by whoever has briefed them about Sri Lanka's situation. Specially seems none of these parliamentarian have not visited to Sri Lanka in the recent past. Despite the invitations from Sri Lanka to visit and see from themselves what has happened in the past. And what is happening now in terms of reconciliation and reconstructions as well as the rehabilitation work. Without doing any of that, they are perhaps going by lobby and groups, based in the western countries, who were earlier supporters of the LTTE. And that is the problem here and therefore they are demanding those things that are not relevant and unreasonable from the central government. And that is the reason why we object to the revolution in the UN.

Suhasini Haidar:You are saying that they are ill informed, even so how can you deny what seems to be video evidence. Channel 4 has a documentary coming out, its evidence is not just the torture of soldiers, it's the civilians being killed. And particularly of the photograph of the 12 years old son of Prabhakaran, being shouted, what look like point plank range. How do you refuse that kind of video evidence?

Prasad Kariyawasam:It is concocted, uncorroborated and unsubstantiated. It is produced in London. This is time to bring disputes and vitiate that much fear in terms of human rights council meeting in Geneva. You remember last years before the human rights council again channel 4 came up something, again uproar in Tamil Nadu. So this is created by motivated parties to achieve their own ends, in kinds of retribution against Sri Lanka for defeating LTTE. But we are concerned about human rights of our people. We are investigating on our own. We have appointed lesson learner and reconciliation commission and they have come up with the recommendation, how we should proceed. And we will proceed on that basis and we will do in on our own way. We do not need the western countries and others ill-informed and ill-motivated individuals tell us what to do. We have to take care of our own people.

Suhasini Haidar:Alright. You are calling it concocted evidence. Yet that photograph of Prabhakaran's son with bullet injure, does seems to be fairly real. The question High Commissioner Kariyawasam is why don't you investigate? Why don't you say that, you will investigate the photograph, a minor being killed in that?

Prasad Kariyawasam:Surely we will but we have not yet given the footage, that is the problem. This footage should have been first placed before the government of Sri Lanka and for us to examine. It should have also placed before the Lesson Learner Reconciliation Council, none of that has happened. The only broadcast in London and may be in Delhi as well for the commercial purposes and this is the commercial deals with lobby groups. This is all to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in my country and region, very unfortunate.

Suhasini Haidar:You are calling it a western conspiracy, even so the pressure is certainly building on Dr Manmohan Singh government. You have been meeting officials in the government. Have you been given an assurance, how India might vote if this comes to vote in Human Rights?

Prasad Kariyawasam:I did not say it's a western conspiracy. Western countries are our friends. It's a conspiracy by few people who are living in the western countries. Sometimes our own people who are supporting LTTE, these are LTTE groups conspiracy. We do not have problem with any country in the world and we are friends with every body. So I want to be very clear that there is nothing against any country in the western world. And with regard to India, India is our closes neighbour and friend and is a responsible world power. They will take the right decision at the right time. They will be concerned about the human rights of Sri Lankans, about the human rights of everybody and the reality of the situation. And they know what is factually and what is not. So they will take the right decision.

Suhasini Haidar:High Commissioner the resolution that has come to the Human Rights council, very simply ask the Sri Lankan government to implement their own LLRC. The LLRC has actually put into its report, why the resistance and opposition to the resolution?

Prasad Kariyawasam:Can you think of the situation in any country in the world. Where reports has come out and within one month of that report, before translated in the other language for everybody to understand. Before our Parliament can take and study the report, the international forum is passing strictures how to implement it. Has it ever happened or is this is good precedent? In which case you think what will happen is all our regional issue has been handled by Geneva and New York, this is what is the problem. We should be allowed time and space to implement our own recommendation. We need time, we have done things fast. We have resettled 3100 people in one and half year, nobody has done that. People don't give credit what we have achieved instead they are trying to vitiate the atmosphere. So that you create dissension on our regions that we cannot try make not to implement this that is how we see this. There is no reason for them to involved in our implementation until we are given time to implement it.

Suhasini Haidar:Alright. You are saying that you need more time as some would say that the reason Sri Lanka coming under such international scrutinise. Because it's been three years and no sign of the devolution that had been promised by President Rajapaksa. And even though there has been resettlement, the condition of Tamils in the northeast still remains the matter of concerns. Shouldn't Sri Lankan government is looking to address those concerns?

Prasad Kariyawasam:Matter of concerns to whom? Matter of concern for Sri Lankans and if you go there and see, you will realise what a lot we have done. We mean not just the Sri Lanka but the Sri Lanka and India has done. India and Sri Lanka has done lot of work together to reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the northern province. And that is monumental work, so we are doing that. That's what I said people who complain about Sri Lanka should go there and see. And then again what is slow, the report is just out and we need time to implement the recommendations. And to implement you need to talk to each other and come to terms. They must cooperate with the government, the Tamil parties must have elections. All that happened, you need to give us time, if you don't give time, what happening for 30 years will continue to happen. We want time for a sustainable solution and implementation, we can't be cowed down by the pressure who don't want us to succeed.

Suhasini Haidar:Finally High Commissioner Indian has made it clearly that it will only decide on the resolution after it seem the wording closely in Geneva. The question really, are you disappointed that India has not come fully in support of Sri Lanka in this? India is also keeping pressure on?

Prasad Kariyawasam:Responsible power like India will take always right decisions and we are never disappointed with India we have very good cooperation and understand and talk each other.

Suhasini Haidar:So your are hopeful of this resolution being defeated there in Geneva?

Prasad Kariyawasam:Resolution is still on table, whether to vote and not is still is a open question. Resolutions is not a issue for us that it is the procedure. There is no need for resolution.

Suhasini Haidar:High Commissioner Kariyawasam, thanks for joining us.

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