Sri lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in UK has written to the Independent challenging its recent reports on human rights issues
2 Derry Street
London W8 5HF
It does seem curious that the British media including your newspaper unearth eyewitnesses to crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces whenever Sri Lanka is in the spotlight. Usually it happens in the weeks preceding a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva which is now in progress.
In this particular instance I refer to the story by Frances Harrison headlined “Witnesses support claims that Sri Lanka army shot prisoners” that appeared on Monday. 26 February.
Like some well-choreographed piece of theatre Frances Harrison has found “two eyewitnesses” who she claims “have come forward for the first time to support allegations’ that the Sri Lanka army executed two Tamil Tigers leaders who had surrendered.
It does seem rather convenient that these two eye witnesses should surface nearly four years after the so-called execution and virtually on the eve of the UNHRC meeting in Geneva so that Frances Harrison could equally conveniently churn out more propaganda spiel.
For one who is said to be a reputed journalist she does not seem very forthcoming and one is left wondering from where these two came forward, to meet whom and at whose behest. Most of all why this sudden appearance.
Nor does Harrison tell us whether she met them personally and interviewed them or is this another piece of hearsay that modern journalism tends to practice so diligently.
Of course Harrison is quick to say that one of the two witnesses did not want to give his name for fear of reprisals against his family in Sri Lanka, a convenient tag under which to hide many a sin.
At least this much she has revealed. The second eyewitness is said to be a government teacher ‘also now in London’ but alas that is all the reader knows about them, when they came here, how they came and a lot of other questions that unfortunately go unreported much to the chagrin of the intelligent reader.
If Frances Harrison, one time of Amnesty International, goes on unearthing eyewitnesses and other hitherto unknown ‘facts’ in her anti-Sri Lankan crusade it would indeed be a great loss to archaeology.
As a newspaper that respects the public’s right of reply I hope you will publish this letter in response.
Neville de Silva
Deputy High Commissioner
Sri Lanka High Commission