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Monday 22 December  
pro-government protestors in Colombo today
Richard Walker's picture
The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands

Sri Lankan protests – from street to Tweet

Published on : 27 February 2012 - 1:55pm | By Richard Walker (Photo: Vikalpasl)
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Hashtags took on traditional banner-wavers over the issue of Sri Lankan human rights Monday, both in Colombo and in cyberspace.

By Richard Walker

While pro-government supporters crowded the Sri Lankan capital’s main thoroughfare, multi ethnic and pressure groups organised a tweet shower aimed at undermining the Sri Lankan government’s appearance Monday at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.

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Colombo's primary goal at the world’s highest human rights forum is to thwart a resolution championed by the US asking Sri Lanka to do more to bring about meaningful reconciliation in the bitterly divided north and east of the country. It also wants to convince HRC members that it needs more time to implement recommendations from its own “Lessons Learned and Reconciliation” report, a document criticised by Amnesty International in October as a delaying tactic betraying an intention to do nothing.

Sri Lanka’s bitter 30-year civil war came to a bloody end in 2009 with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) suffering a crushing military defeat. A subsequent UN investigation, as well as several journalistic probes, have levelled accusations of war crimes at both sides--something the present government refuses to accept.

How they Tweet each other

Activists’ use of Twitter makes for a contrast with today’s street marches in Colombo. “We’ve chosen to use Twitter so that we can react in real time to what the government of Sri Lanka is saying at the HRC today,” Fred Carver from ‘Sri Lanka Campaign’ told RNW.
“We’ll hear a rose-tinted view from them, or we’ll hear them ask again for more time… The comments we’ll be making are from anonymous but real Sri Lankans who are too afraid to speak their minds for fear of reprisals.”

Sri Lanka’s independent media is used to being harassed and monitored by shadowy, often violent, groups of men operating from mini-vans or motorbikes believed by victims to be in the employ of the police. Some believe the level of media monitoring is becoming more sophisticated. “The govt will clearly monitor those behind the hashtag campaign and record the output for future reference, and possibly even extra-judicial or punitive action after the end of the [HRC] sessions in late March,” Sanjana Hattotuwa, of the citizens journalism website ‘Groundviews’, told RNW.

But today’s appearance in Geneva is more about the world stage and influencing international opinion than domestic media freedoms. “Ultimately, the governmentt will ride the tide of hashtags this week and rely on its diplomacy to dilute or defeat the US-led resolution. The issue, however, will not go away,” said Hattotuwa.

UN pick ‘n’ mix

As the Sri Lankan government stands in the UN’s human rights chamber today to defend its record on its treatment of the Tamil minority since the end of the civil war, it continues to refute claims by the UN Secretary General’s expert panel, which wants an investigation into allegations of rape, executions and the bombing of civilian hospitals. The EU is as unimpressed by Colombo’s lack of reaction to these charges as the UNSG.

In statement made last week the European Union said: “The EU regrets that questions raised in the report of the expert panel of the UN Secretary General have to a large extent not been reflected. The EU recalls that the issue of accountability is an essential part of the process of national reconciliation and implies inquiries into specific responsibilities for possible crimes committed by the regular forces as well as by the LTTE.”

In other words, a proper investigation is expected and required by segments of the international community. Activists say Colombo’s efforts in Geneva today are aimed at preventing that.


Anonymous 6 March 2012 - 10:51am / Sri Lanka

See Web site address:
Mahinda Weerasinghe writes in the commissioned report after much research:
Posted on February 5th, 2012
‘Tsunami hit Killinochi on 26th of Dec. 2004 and we find this Press Releases In January 2005 Statement of Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party President made In Chennai onJanuary 6, 2005.
He informs that ‘The true nature of the LTTE has also been exposed in the wake of the Tsunami disaster. It’s Chief, V. Prabhakaran, has not come out of his underground bunker despite over 10,000 deaths in the Mullaitheevu area alone.’
Now, I have a lot of respect Dr. Subramanian Swamy, but he has suspended his logical thinking in this case. How can Prabhakaran survive in an underground bunker when the whole area was inundated with water?
So the real question is; was he in Mullaitheevu at all? In fact, was he inSri Lankawhen Tsunami hit Killinochi on 25th of Dec. 2004?
It seems none has done their homework post Tsunami rationally.
The Lankans were waiting for the announcement of this mass murder’s death with baited breath.
According to some private intelligence that I am sitting with, when Tsunami hit Mullaithu, Prabhakaran was in Oslo, spending his X charismas with Westborg and other Christian conspirators.
Further ‘The Island’ had reported that, an expensive coffin “for a top LTTE leader” had been smuggled into a northern Tiger area inside a container carrying relief for tsunami survivors.
Indeed UD needed the time to get him back to Mullaithu incognito or Christian conspirators will be exposed in Norway. And in order to smuggle him back they needed at least 3 weeks. Accordingly they drew up a game plan. LTTE bought an expensive coffin from Colombo and acted as if they were going to bury an important LTTE member. They never told who this important person was, and it is still a secret who was that person? Everybody assumed that it was Prabhakaran. Indeed a red herring had been conjured up by Prabhakaran to divert Lankan’s attention, and keep them suspended in limbo, so they wouldn’t trigger an investigation.
Then the media reported that ‘LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran yesterday (22nd January 2005) ended four weeks of speculation about his whereabouts by surfacing to meet a Norwegian delegation led by Foreign Minister Jan Petersen.’
Sadly Petersen was exploited as a patsy again. He must have been amazed when he met the murderer of Gandhi in Toto. Here too Bondevik has stepped out to do the great chimera on the Sinhalese and Norwegians alike, thus saving the facilitator’s bacon.
Now if we connect up the dots, we get a clear view of this smoke and mirrors. It murmurs of a plot so intricate, so farfetched, so mind boggling, that only a Catholic Jaffna Tamil could have put it together. Erik Solheim, Kjell Magne Bondevik, Jon Westborg and Prabhakaran must have agreed by 2000 or there about, that they coordinate and cooperate their activity in order to gain a Catholic Eelam in Sri Lanka.’
So was it a fact that the mass murder Prabhakaran also the killer of Rajiv Gandhi was with Jon Westborg when Tsunami hit Coast of Sri Lank.
It automatically projects Norway as a financer of terrorism.
That is what should be establishing now!
By a seeker of facts!

A.D.munasinghe 1 March 2012 - 5:04pm / Sri lanka

pleace we suffer too much during the war, when we went out in the morning for work by bus or train not sure that we can come safly home in the evening.that much unsafe during the LTTE bombing every plase.i can not tell you that feling.but now thaks to god we all live in peace. (sinhalese,tamil,muslims,malay,burger)

Abdul Hameed 29 February 2012 - 1:14pm / Sri Lanka

Isn'nt there anybody t otake the USA to task for the killing of scores and scores of Iraqi's Afghan's Pakistani's Libyan's.

Deshamanya 28 February 2012 - 4:06pm

It is time to stop the slow genocide of tamils in srilanka

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