By Ranmali Fernando
Ban Ki Moon has appointed his panel to invesitgate the last stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka or the end of terrorism as many Sri Lankans would put it.
But, to the Western word and the UN it is an end of war. Some western news agencies describe it as the panel to invesitgate war crimes committed by the government. The Indonesian panelist who already has put his foot in the mouth says it is also to invesitgate the LTTE. But, where is the LTTE today? They are headless and they have no leaders in Sri Lanka except in the dispora living comfortable lives.
Panel was annouced, it reached wide media publicity though not much the rejection of the panel by the Government of Sri Lanka. But, reports emanating from UN sources say Navi Pillay and a South Asian diplomat working with the United Nations Secretary General are the brains behind the UN Panel on Sri Lanka. Pillai has been pushing for a panel and a war crime investigation against Sri Lanka to satisfy her appetite for a considerable period of time and now she has got the opportunity courtesy of Ban KI Moon and the South Asian diplomat named after a famous South Indian film star of yesteryear.
It is reported that the panel will operate from Pillay’s office in New York and her staff will be assisting the panel under her direct supervision. All the support services and the desk officers will be provided by Pillay. UN sources in Colombo say that Pillay will have a control of the staff though the staff will work with the panel since they are paid from her budget. It is also said that each member of the panel will be paid 750 US $ per day for their work. Hefty and princely sum for a UN operation against Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan official questioned if the money was coming from the LTTE coffers or the UN budget. This amount is said to be princely even in UN terms and this not forgetting other perks like dining and lunching in the best of resturants.
UN sources in Colombo and the South Asian capitals say that Pillay worked closely with the Top South Asian diplomat in Moons office since the official wanted to prove his diplomatic skills for an extended term both for the betterment of his university going children and to secure his position as a special representative to an Asian country. He has continued to lobby various governments both in New York and in Geneva and also tried to create wedge between Sri Lanka and its friendly countries.
Sri Lankan officials also questioned as to why the UN was in a mighty hurry to appoint the panel. They also wanted to know the link between another top UN official of South African origin attached to Ban Ki Moon and a journalist who follows the Agenda of the American right wing. There are conspiracy theories and other mysteries. Russia has already issued a strong statement from Moscow whilst the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice issued a statment from New York which many say on the instance of the under fire UN Secretary General Moon. There is also a question as to the silence on India on the appointment of the panel.
It is also surprising as to why the darling of the NGOs Navi Pillay has maintained a stony silence on the appointment of the panel on Sri Lanka. A senior UN diplomat from a western country who did not wish to be identified said “Why should she make any statements when she has been castigated over and over. Though she failed in Geneva, the important thing is she had her way finally in New York. She is also behind the appointment of the South African panelist to the Sri Lankan panel. Navi may be of Tamil origin. But, she is now a South African”
Prabhakaran must be singing in his grave and Pillay must be dancing near the Geneva Lake.