Arbour did not recommend UN monitoring mission - SCOPP
The Peace Secretariat is sad but not surprised that much of the media
now claims that Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
has recommended that a UN Monitoring Mission be established in Sri
Lanka, said Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretariat for Coordinating the
Peace Process (SCOPP).
Given this determination, it was not likely that, when she made no
such recommendation, they would simply report what had happened or what
she had said, he added in a news release.
Excerpts from the release: “Earlier they had confidently claimed that
the EU would bring forward a resolution critical of Sri Lanka to the
Human Rights Council in Geneva. When this did not happen various
explanations were offered.
The basic claim was that Sri Lanka had been narrowly saved from
censure, principally because the Human Rights Council was dominated by
banana republics and similar potty regimes. No such explanation was
however available when Louise Arbour failed to live up to expectations,
so a new strategy was required.
What might have appealed to the less dishonest amongst them was an
attempt to argue that what Louise Arbour said amounted as it were to the
recommendation that a UN Monitoring Mission be established.
That however would have required some semantic somersaulting that
might not have been plausible. Since retreat was not conceivable, and
subtlety is not the strong suit of the anti-Sri Lanka lobby, the only
available alternative was to claim that Ms Arbour had said what she did
The particular agenda behind all this was made crystal clear in one
of the first announcements of the falsehood, in a radio station that had
a couple of seconds of Ms Arbour’s speech, followed by a long
translation in Sinhala.
Not only was the thrust of this quite different from what the lady
had said: the news had been preceded by the obviously much more
important and newsworthy announcement that Lakshman Kiriella had
announced the full support of the UNP for Ms Arbour’s recommendation of
a Monitoring Mission.
What does this agenda entail ? I have no idea whether its proponents
understand the goals they will attain if they are successful, but
certainly it cannot have escaped their notice that these are precisely
those of the LTTE.
Tamilnet was perhaps the first network to declare categorically its
own version of what Louise Arbour had proposed, and its backers will
leave no stone unturned to have this statement replicated
And perhaps they hope that their opponents will join in too, and
start kicking the poor lady around, and then they can shed crocodile
tears for her as they did for Sir John Holmes.
Interestingly enough, there was an attempt to get Louise Arbour too
to grant an interview to the BBC contrary to her agreement, but
fortunately she did not give in to pressure on this score.
All this could be prevented if Ms Arbour shows herself determined not
to be a football. Sir John did send a fairly handsome letter of apology,
which the Minister who had arranged his visit accepted gracefully, but
this was scarcely noticed in the media which concentrated instead on
But now that Ms Arbour has been so clearly misrepresented, she is in
a position to issue a categorical denial.
For too long now the UN has been in a state of denial about the
antics of the LTTE, its terrorism and suppression of basic humanity in
the area still under its control, its ruthless abuse of UN funding.
If Ms Arbour does actually issue a correction as to what has been
claimed about her, the Sri Lankan government can work with confidence to
develop its relationship with her office as she desires.
As Minister Samarasinghe made clear, the government has already begun
reforms in areas highlighted by her. It would be useful if this activity
could be taken further in active cooperation and confidence.