Lord Naseby urges resolution co-sponsors to lower civilian death toll to 5,000

‘Failure to do so is a gross dereliction of justice’


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Following Sri Lanka’s decision to send a delegation led by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana to the ongoing Geneva session, Lord Naseby PC has stressed that all countries, involved in the latest UN Resolution, couldn’t ignore the need to review allegation pertaining to the deaths of 40,000 civilians during the final battle on the Vanni east front.

The Island submitted the following query to Lord Naseby: "Lord Naseby, in Oct 2017, you provided information to GoSL to counter Geneva Resolution co-sponsored by GoSL in Oct 2015. Aren’t you surprised that the GoSL co-sponsored the latest Resolution without, at least, requesting Geneva to re-examine Sri Lanka’s case following the disclosure made by you. 

Lord Naseby has sent The Island the following statement: "Having done extensive further work on the UN claim of 40,000 civilians killed in the final stages of the War Jan1 - May18 2009 here is my comment of what should happen at Geneva now: ‘There is now irrefutable evidence from multiple independent sources particularly Col. Gash’s Dispatches and the Sri Lanka Census of the Northern Province in 2011 that the UN claim of 40,000 civilians killed is totally bogus. The real civilian death figure is estimated at around 5,000 maximum.

It is incumbent on all parties involved in the UN resolution review at 

Geneva, that is particularly the UK, Sri Lanka, Germany and Canada as 

well as the USA to state in unequivocal  terms that 40,000 deaths no 

longer has any validity particularly in terms of any potential War 

Crimes probe  undertaken by either side in the War. In my view any failure to do so is a gross dereliction of Justice’

Following debate on Sri Lanka in the House of Lords on Feb 5, 2019, Lord Naseby has sent further information regarding the Sri Lanka conflict to some of the other speakers from Labour (Lord Collins) and the Liberal Democrats (Baroness Northover) who also participated in the debate.

Lord Naseby released to The Island a copy of letter sent to Lord Collins of Highbury and

Baroness Northover dated 11.03.2019:

In the interchange of views I said I would copy Lt Colonel Gash’s dispatches that I obtained from HMG /FCO after a near 2.5 year Freedom of Information Request. These are now enclosed for use by you.

My main concern remains the highly inflated UN Darusman report of 40,000 civilians killed. I have looked at many sources. I now enclose a summary page I sent to the UNHCR in 2017.

You will note my conclusion that there were about 7,000 civilians killed but that included about 25% who were actually LTTE fighters who either never had a uniform or threw it away & changed into clothes so that they looked like civilians. This makes an estimated net total of 5,250 civilians actually killed.

Since 2017 I have worked on the census for the Northern Province. I now enclose part of a letter recently sent to Lord Ahmad, Minister in the Lords responsible for FCO matters.

You will note the census now suggests between 3,500 – 4100 civilians killed.

I repeat the claim I have made that this is not genocide but the natural consequence of war.

You will be aware of the highly respected late Sir Desmond de Silva QC statement: ‘The European Convention on Human Rights, upon which the British Human Rights Act is based, is wholly inappropriate for application in combat and battlefield conditions. The law that should operate in such circumstances is the law of armed conflict, otherwise known as International Humanitarian Law’.

Sir Desmond was chief prosecutor of a UN sponsored war crimes tribunal.

I am also enclosing a copy of the Expert Military Report by Major General John Holmes DSO OBE MC which forms part of the ‘The Paranagama Report’ technically known as ‘Report on the Second Mandate of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into complaints of Abductions and Disappearances’ published August 2015. It is too long nearly 200 pages for me to photostat.

This is the most objective report on the war that I have found in Sri Lanka.

I leave you to make your own judgments but if there is to be true reconciliation plus possible War Crimes then it must be based on as true a picture of the genuine casualties as we can obtain.

Certainly the 40,000 claim is now totally discredited and should be withdrawn by the UN and the UK Government.

I am copying this letter to Lord Ahmad so he knows I have my commitment to you both."

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