- Reference to the article by Taylor Dibbert, 21 February headlined ‘On Lord Naseby’s Sri Lanka whitewash’ published in the FT, Lord Naseby has sent the following response.
Sri Lanka’s civil war ended tragically; so says Taylor Dibbert, a freelance Yankee journalist.
There was nothing tragic about the annihilation of the LTTE Tamil Tigers; terrorists proscribed in 32 countries who had plagued the life of Sri Lanka for nearly 30 years, killing thousands of innocent civilians across all ethnic groups let alone tens of Ministers, a President and former Prime Minister.
There was no massive slaughter of an alleged 40,000 civilians in the period 1 January to 18 May 2009. Indeed the opposite with close on 300,000 Tamil civilians who had been used as a human shield fleeing to the safety of the Sri Lanka armed forces.
Of course, there were deaths in the fighting but after exhaustive research I stick to my figure of about 6,000 of which about 1,500 were Tigers, many of whom threw away their uniforms. I have used many sources, but the most convincing is the Department of Census report of 2011 on the deaths and missing persons in the Northern Province carried out by Tamil enumerators. Their figure for civilian deaths including those Tigers who came from the Northern Province is for Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi Districts net of normal deaths, i.e. 4890 plus 1,442 untraceable at the point of census.
Reconciliation has already been helped by the restoration of the infrastructure in the north with the rebuilding of the railway, the A9 road and most importantly getting Jaffna on the electricity grid. Of course more has to be done particularly with the Missing Persons Commission, a revised Prevention of Terrorism Act and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with Sri Lankan judges perhaps similar to the UK Chilcot enquiry.
Of course, nothing is perfect in a democracy; just look at Brexit in the UK Parliament, chaos on Capitol Hill in the USA and riots in France. What is clear is 10 years of peace,with people able to go anywhere and over 250,000 British tourists pouring into beautiful Sri Lanka last year.
Incidentally I have tried for well over 40 years to work with every President. Unlike a journalist, I am not paid but where travel and accommodation have been provided it has always been declared in the Register of Interests in both the Commons and Lords.
– The Rt. Hon. The Lord Naseby PC– Honorary President of the All Party British Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group