Democratic process in North restored - Kohona
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United
Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona yesterday said that Sri Lanka is booming
economically and the President and the government are enjoying
unprecedented approval ratings. He also said, the democratic process has
been restored in the North. Access to the North is open.
Dr. Kohona was speaking at the screening of video, 'Lies Agreed
Upon,' which is a point by point response to the Channel - 4 video which
was screened in New York a few weeks back and the controversial Darusman
Following are the excerpts from the speech made by Dr. Kohona in New
"I wish to welcome you to the screening of the video, 'Lies Agreed
Upon', which is a point by point response to the Channel-4 video, one of
which was screened in New York a few weeks ago, and the Darusman Report.
The Channel-4 video paints a harrowing picture of the final stages of
the war, and it all but convicts the government and the Security Forces
of Sri Lanka of waging a deliberate war against the Tamil population.
The LTTE's record airbrushed
Let us pause for a second. It must not be forgotten that the war was
initially brought upon the people of Sri Lanka by the brutal terrorism
of the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE. It was after attempting to talk to them
over and over again, to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, that
the government of Sri Lanka launched the military offensive to bring the
conflict to an end.
Let us also not forget that the Tamil Tigers, according to the
UNICEF, recruited over 5,700 children as armed combatants. The LTTE
invented the suicide jacket and deployed it hundreds of times against
civilian targets killing thousands. They massacred hundreds in cold
blood; bombed UNESCO protected places of worship and ethnically cleansed
the Northern Province.
The LTTE eliminated almost all moderate Tamil political leaders who
did not toe their line.
The LTTE marched thousands of Tamil civilians forcibly as a human
shield and bargaining chip as they retreated from one town to another
and one village to another. They ignored calls by the international
community, including the Secretary-General, to let these people go.
The LTTE, you will see very clearly from this video, located its
heavy weaponry in the midst of civilians to attract retaliatory fire.
The LTTE either through coercion or other means collected millions of
dollars to fund its brutal separatist campaign.
The Channel-4 video airbrushes all this and points an accusatory
finger at the government and the current video 'Lies Agreed Upon' seeks
to counter the material presented as evidence by Channel-4.
Post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction
It is also to be remembered that at the end of the conflict there
were approximately 300,000 IDPs. Dark allegations of long-term
concentration camps, hunger, epidemics, abuse etc. were loudly predicted
at the time, even by responsible politicians in the West. But none of
Over 70 International and domestic NGOs operated freely in these
All child combatants have been rehabilitated and returned to their
families. Over 7,000 former adult combatants have returned to their
communities. They are all trained killers and buried caches of weapons
are still being recovered. The emergency regulations, that have been in
the books since 1971, will be repealed this month.
The democratic process has been restored - Access to the North is
The country is booming economically and the President and the
Government are enjoying unprecedented approval ratings (recent Gallup
But all this seems to count for nothing to Channel-4.
Towards the end of the conflict, serious efforts were made by certain
Western leaders to arrange a ceasefire. But with the LTTE on its last
legs and having the experience of previous ceasefires, exploited by the
LTTE to rearm, regroup and attack with greater ferocity, the government
persisted in pushing the LTTE to the end.
Surrender demands made over the months by the government were
dismissed by the LTTE leadership. Therefore a ceasefire at that late
stage would have served only one purpose, it would have thrown a life
line to the sinking LTTE.
One begins to wonder why Sri Lanka, one of the few examples in recent
history of a country that has defeated terrorism, continues to be
hounded in this manner? Is it because Sri Lanka was not expected to
defeat the LTTE, but did? Is it because Sri Lanka did not comply with
the ceasefire demands of certain leaders? Is it because the defeated
LTTE supporters in Western capitals continue to exert enormous
There were other factors that may be motivating the Channel-4 line.
If you carefully analyze the material presented by the Channel-4 video a
critical message comes through. The Sri Lankan security forces
deliberately targeted the Tamil civilians and, of course, this is the
basis for a charge of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Then the Channel-4 video goes on to produce so-called evidence to
back this claim. Much of the evidence is obtained from the Tamil Net
(The LTTE's official web outlet) and LTTE propaganda material.
Even though the evidence is flimsy or non-existent, over the years a
lie repeated often enough can gain legitimacy. This is something you
need to keep in mind.
Please watch the video and come to your own conclusions.