Sri Lanka’s representative in Australia must be getting training from the Israelis. Deny every war crime, allege bias in every report and cause intelligent people to treat you with contempt. Well done, Colombo:
ELEANOR HALL: The Sri Lankan Government has hit back at renewed criticism of its human rights record.
The country’s senior diplomatic representative in Australia says a report into the civil war in his country by the International Crisis Group is full of fabricated evidence.
High Commissioner Senaka Walgampaya told our reporter Simon Santow that he also rejects calls for an independent investigation into the conflict.
SIMON SANTOW: High Commissioner, will the Sri Lankan Government accept the call from the International Crisis Group for an independent international investigation into these war crimes?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: The Sri Lankan Government has rejected this so many times because the Sri Lankan Government has already set in motion its own mechanism. A commission was appointed last year consisting of very imminent lawyers from Sri Lanka.
SIMON SANTOW: But why not have an independent investigation?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: Well, Sri Lanka does not think that is required. You see even in England on the (inaudible) war they set up their own tribunal and that’s proceeding. So I mean that’s the standard set by the West and why should Sri Lanka be held to do otherwise.
SIMON SANTOW: Well, your country’s critics say that there’s too much intimidation that can happen if the inquiry is an internal one?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: That’s absolutely false allegation. This is being maintained by people who want to make a case out for people to seek asylum in other countries. That’s the whole crux of the matter. It’s very clear from what they finally end up with that the Government of Australia here should start reprocessing their applications. The Diaspora who are behind this, they’re saying that the must be an inquiry into war crimes because they want us Australian Government, to relax its criteria for asylum seekers.
SIMON SANTOW: If you look at the International Crisis Group and its credentials, there are some very well respected people involved in the ICG, not the least of which is Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: But the people who are behind the ICG at the moment, they’re people who are be absolutely hostile to Sri Lanka over a period of time. Louise Arbour, Gareth Evans, they have been hostile to Sri Lanka for a number of years. They have been attacking Sri Lanka, this is nothing new to Sri Lanka.
SIMON SANTOW: So Louise Arbour and Kofi Annan, you don’t have faith in them being a great part of the ICG?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: Kofi Annan, I don’t know his connection to the ICG, but they’re, Kofi Annan can’t be involved in every case, but there are others who have been providing the information who have been very hostile to Sri Lanka, who are biased and what they are giving is not bona fide information about Sri Lanka.
SIMON SANTOW: So when the ICG says that it has multiple witness statements and hundreds of photographs, videos, satellite images, electronic communications and documents. Can they be anything but what they say they are?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: They made, most of them are not authentic. I mean they can, anybody can make images, get photographs, and, you know, how these things operate.
SIMON SANTOW: So you think these people…..
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: This is a huge, huge propaganda machine over the last 30 years and they are very quite capable of doing all these things.
SIMON SANTOW: So you think that these people from the ICG have been hoodwinked?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: Of course they have been.
SIMON SANTOW: Really, that they can’t distinguish between fake documents and fake testimony – with the real thing?
SENAKA WALGAMPAYA: I think so. Yeah.
ELEANOR HALL: Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya, speaking there to our reporter, Simon Santow.