Hon. Mahinda Samarasinha 12.10.2009
Ministry of Human Rights
2, Wijerama Mawatha
Statement of clarification
Dear Honourable Minister Mahinda Samarasinha,
In August 2009, a video film showing some armed men summarily executing unarmed, naked victims was aired by British television Channel 4. It was described that this killings happened in Sri Lanka, and was committed by the members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. This video film was provided by the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), as it was reported by Channel 4.
This film drew immediate reaction from the Sri Lankan government in general and you in particular as the Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, as soon as it became public. While speaking in the Sri Lankan Parliament in mid of September you held me, my wife Barbara Lochbihler, who is a Member of the European Parliament, and the members of the International Network of Sri Lankan Diaspora e.V. (INSD) responsible for the distribution of this film. I herewith state, that we have not been involved at all in any way in acquiring or distributing this film to Channel 4 or any other media institutions. The responsibility of distributing this film purely lies with the JDS and they have issued a statement claiming responsibility and clarifying that the INSD and the persons connected to the INSD have nothing to do with it at all.
The address of the INSD e.V. was given to the JDS according to a request made by the latter, to use as a “c/o(care of)” address, on a temporary basis, until they find a permanent address for their use. This is not very unusual, as many times in the past I had offered our address to Sri Lankans, whenever they were in need. For example when Mr. Godawatta, the private secretary to the then Minister of Labour, currently President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accompanied him to Geneva in the mid-90`s I offered him a similar help. He fell sick and got hospitalized. I registered him under my address in order to be able to get treatment.
Moreover, I would like to use this opportunity to respond further to certain allegations levelled against me which were deliberately fabricated with the intent of tarnishing our reputation. Throughout the recent past, the Sri Lankan newspaper ‘Divaina’ has repeatedly printed vicious and outrages lies against me and my wife accusing that we have been supporters of the LTTE and involved in various other crimes.
These wrong accusations, manufactured mainly by the journalist Keerthi Warnakulasuriya in Divaina newspaper, started since I organised a study tour for Sri Lankan parliamentarians to Europe to study different federal systems and models for autonomy, with the intention of helping to find a political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. This tour took place in January 2003 and visits were made to Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy. Amongst others the following persons participated and most of them are currently serving as parliament members and some as even ministers: Mr. Sarath Amunugama, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mr. John Senevirathna, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, Mr. P. Candrasekaran, Mr. Rishad Bathurdeen, Mr. Ramaiyah Yogarajan, Mr. Jayalath Jayawardana, Mr. Kabir Hashim, Mr. H.M.H. Harees, Mr. Dr. Thideer Thoufeek and Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thero.
Since its inception, the INSD and I firmly stand for a political solution to the national question in Sri Lanka based on the principal of devolving power and establishing equal democratic rights to each and every citizen of the country. At the same time, we have constantly maintained a clear and open policy of opposition to any version of separatism while vehemently denouncing political violence used by any party to achieve their objectives.
In the above context, I kindly appeal you to take the necessary steps to rectify these wrong accusations while sincerely hoping that the threats against my family in Sri Lanka will end soon.
I would also urge you to table this letter in Sri Lanka’s Parliament in order to make all the other members of political parties aware about the true facts that have been suppressed by venomous hate campaigns carried out by certain sections of Sri Lankan media.
Ranjith Henayaka- Lochbihler
His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka
Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs – Sri Lanka
Leader of the Opposition – Sri Lanka
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The President of the European Parliament
The Sri Lankan Embassies in Brussels, in Geneva and in Germany,
The German Embassy in Colombo.
Ranjith Henayaka Lochbihler
Filed under: Petition & Statement Tagged: | Channel-4, clarification, INSD, INSD e.V., International Network of Sri Lankan Diaspora e.V., JDS, Journalists for Democracy, Mr. Dr. Thideer Thoufeek, Mr. H.M.H. Harees, Mr. Jayalath Jayawardana, Mr. John Senevirathna, Mr. Kabir Hashim, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mr. P. Candrasekaran, Mr. Ramaiyah Yogarajan, Mr. Rishad Bathurdeen, Mr. Sarath Amunugama, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, political violence, Ranjith Henayaka Lochbihler, Statement, Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thero, war