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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

UN misled by its bureaucrats: Ban Ki-Moon surrenders to Tamil Tigers

By H.L.D.Mahindapala

E. Kaushalyan, the senior military commander of the internationally banned Tamil Tiger terrorist outfit, was gunned down by unidentified anti-LTTE agents on February 2, 2005, presumably by the break-away Karun Group. This was soon after the tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the UN, too was in Sri Lanka touring the tsunami affected areas during this time. Kofi Annan caught everyone by surprise when he issued a statement on February 8, 2005 offering his condolences to the family of Kaushalyan – one of the key operatives in the killing machine of the banned LTTE. He also softened his message by referring Kaushalyan as “a senior political leader of the Kofi Annan caught everyone by surprise when he issued a statement on February 8, 2005 offering his condolences to the family of  E. Kaushalyan – one of the key operatives in the killing machine of the banned LTTE.Kofi Annan caught everyone by surprise when he issued a statement on February 8, 2005 offering his condolences to the family of E. Kaushalyan – one of the key operatives in the killing machine of the banned LTTE.

LTTE, Eastern Province Division” without giving his substantive position which was the Eastern commander of the LTTE – another wing of the LTTE accused by the Tamils and NGOs of running a repressive regime eliminating Tamil dissidents.

Annan’s statement led to an outrage in Sri Lanka. Protesters took to the streets and marched to the UN Office in Colombo accusing him of overstepping his mark and siding with the deadliest terrorist group in the world. The angry protesters, most of whom were Buddhist monks, accused him of being a naïve tool of the pro-LTTE agents in the UN office in Colombo. In any case, Annan, who was the supreme commander in charge of protecting human rights under the UN Charter, shocked the Sri Lankans by issuing a statement of condolence to a terrorist commander, an act that sent the wrong message to the terrorists groups at large. Protesters asked whether he would send similar messages of condolences if and when any of Osama Bin-laden’s lieutenants are trapped and killed.

Recently, UN came under fire once again when Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, sent Alan Rock, former Minister of Justice in Canada who had hobnobbed with the “Snow Tigers” in Canada and refused to ban the Tamil Tigers, as her emissary to investigate accusations of forcibly recruiting child soldiers. Predictably, after a brief tour of the east he accused the Sri Lankan government of turning a blind eye to the abductions of the break-away Karuna group. It was a smart of move of Ms. Coomaraswamy – or so she thought -- but it left a permanent black mark on her integrity. She was doing a “Kofi Annan” using her prestigious office to play politics of the UN kind.

UN is not averse to playing this kind of perverse politics, all in the name of human rights, of course! It was in the name of human rights that UN ran a blockade denying the supplies of essentials to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq which led to the deaths of 600,000 children resulting from malnutrition and lack of medical supplies. (Incidentally, this is written merely to jog the memory of Radhika Coomaraswamy when she writes the next report on children of war!).

That apart, it is pretty clear that the UN, misled by its misguided bureaucrats, has not got its act right in Sri Lanka. Whether Kim Ba-moon, the new Secretary-General, will go the way of naïve Kofi Annan, or smarty-pants Coomaraswamy is yet to be seen. His future and integrity depends, to some extent, on the advice he gets from his staff. Being experienced politicians in bureaucratic clothes, the UN panjandrums are quite capable of producing documents, reports, analyses (e.g., Alan Rock’s report on child soldiers in Sri Lanka) to suit their political agenda.

The latest report of UN secretly negotiating with the Tamil Tigers in the Vanni to get its two workers released is alarming, to say the least. The Island report today has sent shock waves in Sri Lanka. They are concerned that the UN headquarters had virtually surrendered and condoned this “unprecedented act of terrorism directed against the UN staff.”

The Island report states that the UN did not bring this act of detaining UN workers for a month to the notice of the Sri Lankan government immediately. The UN had brought this to the notice of the government only when it failed in its negotiations with the Tigers.

This adds to the list of crimes against the international community, starting from the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to the latest attempt to assassinate the Pakistan High Commissioner in Colombo.

Ban Ki-Moonhas to face up to realities. When the UN, the prime instrument of keeping peace and fighting terrorism too (if one is to believe in numerous resolutions) is held to ransom what would the next crime of the Tamil Tigers? Will the UN condone this act? Or will voice its serious protest and demand action against future acts of terrorism against all civilians, just not the UN workers?

This is a big test of Ban Ki-Moonwill to stand up for what is right for peace and stability in a terrorist-free world. He should not let his bureaucrats to mislead him like his naïve predecessor, Kofi Annan. There is no doubt that the eyes of the member states will be on Ban Ki- Moon. So will the eyes of the other terrorist groups. What message will the new Secretary-General send to the world now?

- Asian Tribune -

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