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Sri Lanka, unfulfilled challenge to peace mediators

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 07:07 No Comment]

A group of well-known people in the peace making profession are gathering for an annual meet in recluse in Oslo between Tuesday and Thursday to reflect on current mediation processes, according to a news release from Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva. The participants include some of those from Norway whose peace process has led Eezham Tamils to face genocide and incarceration in internment camps. The highlights of this year’s meet for discussion are Islamic groups, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea, which means Washington is the peace vantage and war and peace are over for them in the island of Sri Lanka. What they should prioritize for discussion is ways of salvaging the very credibility of mediation itself that is lost in the island. Mediation without justice to people is only contribution to conflict.

‘Mustard is tiny but the effect is strong’, is a saying in Tamil (Kaduku chi’rithen’raalum kaaram perithu).

Whatever small the population of Eezham Tamils are, However hard the powers tried to keep the crisis shrouded and allowed a war without witnesses, the reality was that it made all powers, big and small, to poke their noses and to con. The White House got the nose snubbed and the regional heavy weight has been forced to share the cake with uncomfortable allies.

The so-called tiny issue has brought in new power fault lines in the world. Transcending from the perspectives of a ‘unipolar’ world, now in the Oslo meet the participants are going to ‘reassert diplomacy and mediation in a fragmented world’.

But no peace mediator of the international community can escape from the responsibility of clearing the mess they created in the island of Sri Lanka. The biggest casualty to the international community in the war in the island was the credibility of peace mediation and the international community had invited it by its lopsided application of equations.

However, some among the peace mediators still believe that by continued appeasement with genocidal Colombo peace can be achieved in the island. The problem with some of them is that they approach peace from the vantage of power centres and not from the reality of people’s aspirations.

When both the Sinhalese and Tamils in the island have clearly demonstrated their divide in all violent ways possible, it is futile to impose unity on them just because certain powers want it. There is no point in mediators negotiating with Colombo because the way its polity is shaped it cannot move from the agenda of multifaceted genocide. China is a new entry to the region. It doesn’t have any legacy of natural leverage with the people, whether Sinhalese or Tamils. Its adventurism in the region, possible only through supporting belligerency, is not going to help for peace. Therefore the task of the mediators is convincing India of the need for recognising secession, which only can bring in peace and reconciliation in the island.

The mediators also have another important task. It is their mediations ultimately led to the tilt of balance against Tamils and excluded their voice in the international arena. Today there is a situation that only ‘others’ with vested interests have to mediate on behalf of Tamils or involve in the political organization of Tamils. Once again, Colombo with all its infrastructure advantages has an upper hand in negotiations. The mediators have to now negotiate ways and means for de-proscription so that the concerned people are officially involved in mediation.

Press statement from the Geneva-based Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) follows:

Mediators Reflect on Today’s Peacemaking

Some of the world’s most experienced mediators, high-level decision makers and key peace process actors will meet in Oslo, Norway, from 16-18 June 2009, to share their experiences of peacemaking and reflect on current mediation processes.

(PRWEB) June 14, 2009 — Some of the world’s most experienced mediators, high-level decision makers and key peace process actors will meet in Oslo, Norway, from 16-18 June 2009, to share their experiences of peacemaking and reflect on current mediation processes.

The focus of this year’s forum is "Reasserting diplomacy and mediation in a fragmented world", focusing on the utility of mediation versus that of military force to resolve conflicts. How can mediation and diplomacy be made more relevant and effective? Issues will include experiences of negotiating with organised Islamist groups; assessments of the potential for dialogue in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the threat of North Korea’s nuclear proliferation to peacemaking.

Participants will share their perspectives on conflict resolution and mediation in an informal setting behind closed doors.

The retreat will be inaugurated on 16 June 2009 with an opening speech by Liberian Foreign Minister, Olubanke King-Akerele. Participants to this year’s events include Jonas Gahr Store, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary- General for the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Mr Ahmed Abdisalam Adan, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Former United States Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

The event is co-hosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Geneva-based mediation organisation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre). It is part of a process known as the Oslo forum – an on-going series of informal and discreet retreats for those actively engaged in peace processes around the world. It features an annual global gathering in Oslo, Norway, and regional events in Asia and Africa.

Chatham House Rules prevail at the Oslo forum: the discussions are completely private and quotes during the meetings may not be attributed. However, some participants have agreed to be interviewed by journalists.

If you would like to arrange for an interview, for photographs of participants and the event or to know more about the work of the HD Centre, please contact Flore Brannon on +41 22 908 1157.

Participants:

Mr Ahmed Abdisalam Adan

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia; Managing Partner & Director of Programs, HornAfrik Media Inc.

Dr Ziad Abu Amr

Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Mr Barney Afako

Legal Adviser to the Ugandan Peace Negotiations in Juba

Ambassador Yasushi Akashi

Representative of the Government of Japan on Peace-Building, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka

Ambassador Hiruy Amanuel

Head, InterGovernmental Authority on Development Capacity Building Program against Terrorism

Ms Francesca Bomboko

Member of the Steering Committee, World Movement for Democracy; founder of the Bureau d’Etudes, de Recherche et de Consulting International

Ambassador Merete Brattested

Ambassador of Norway to the Kingdom of Thailand

Atty Sedfrey M Candelaria

Government of the Republic of the Philippines Panel Member, Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines- National People’s Army- National Democratic Front

Mr John Carlin

Senior International Writer, El Pais

Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Executive Secretary, Economic Community of West African States

Mr Luc Chounet-Cambas

Project manager, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Sir Robin Christopher

Secretary-General, Global Leadership Foundation

Mr Chris Coleman

Chief, Policy Planning and Mediation Support Unit, United Nations Department of Political Affairs

Professor Nieves Confesor

Panel Chairperson, Government of the Republic of the Philippines – Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines- National People’s Army- National Democratic Front

Professor Chester Crocker

Professor of Strategic Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Mr Alastair Crooke

Co-Director and Founder, Conflicts Forum

Ambassador James Dobbins

Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, Rand

Ms Lyse Doucet

Presenter, British Broadcasting Corporation World

Mr Jan Egeland

Director, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Mr Vegard Ellefsen

Political Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

The Honourable Gareth Evans

President, International Crisis Group

Professor Ezzedine Choukri Fishere

Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Political Science Department, American University, Cairo

Ambassador Chas Freeman

Former President, Middle East Policy Council

Mr Hans Jacob Frydenlund

Deputy Director General and Head of the Africa II-section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Minister Jonas Gahr Store

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Mr David Gardner

Chief Leader Writer and Associate Editor, Financial Times

Mr Kenny Gluck

Senior Adviser, African Union/United Nations Joint Mediation Support Team

Mr David Gorman

Mediation Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Mr Vasu Gounden

Founder and Executive Director, African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes

Ambassador Thomas Greminger

Head, Political Affairs Division IV / Human Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland

Mr Martin Griffiths

Director, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Ambassador Tim Guldimann

Senior Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Advocate Mojanku Gumbi

Legal Adviser, South African Presidency

Ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer

Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Sri Lanka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Ambassador Tore Hattrem

Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka

Ms Priscilla Hayner

Director, International Center for Transitional Justice, Geneva Office

Professor Nicholas Haysom

Director, Political and Peacekeeping Unit, Office of the United Nations Secretary-General

Mr Kamal Hyder

Correspondent, Al Jazeera International ( English )

Ambassador Mona Juul

Deputy Permanent Representative, Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York

Ambassador Bjørn Janis Kanavin

Head, Afghanistan/Pakistan Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Ambassador Denis Keefe

Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Georgia

Minister Olubanke King-Akerele

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Liberia

Mr Pierre Krähenbühl

Director of Operations, International Committee of the Red Cross

Professor Radha Kumar

Director, Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia University,New Delhi

Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra

Peace and Security Commissioner, African Union

Mr James LeMoyne

Senior Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; former Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General for Colombia

Mr Isaac Maposa

Director, The Zimbabwe Institute

Mr C Andrew Marshall

Deputy Director, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Mr Ian Martin

Head, United Nations Board of Inquiry into incidents in Gaza

Ambassador Haile Menkerios

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs

President Olusegun Obasanjo

Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Democratic Republic of Congo Crisis

The Honourable Santa Okot

Member of the Lord Resistance Army Delegation; former Member of Parliament in Uganda

Ambassador Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia

The Honourable Professor Ramasamy Palanisamy

Deputy Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia

Mr Frank Pearl

High Commissioner for Peace, Colombia

Mr Geir Pedersen

Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Ambassador Thomas Pickering

Former United States Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Dr Surin Pitsuwan

Secretary-General, Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Mr Jonathan Powell

Senior Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Sir Kieran Prendergast

Senior Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Ms Meredith Preston McGhie

Acting Regional Director for the Africa office, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Ms Elisabeth Rehn

Independent Expert, Crisis Management and Gender; former Minister of Defence, Finland

Mr Ying Rong

Vice President and Director of the South Asian Studies Center, China Institute of International Studies

Mr Carne Ross

Executive Director, Independent Diplomat

Ambassador Salim Ahmed Salim

Former Special Envoy on the Darfur Conflict, African Union; former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity

Mr Tamrat Samuel

Director, Asia and the Pacific Division, United Nations Department of Political Affairs

Dr Johannes Schachinger

Mediation Focal Point, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union

Dr Jennifer Schirmer

Senior Researcher and Director, Program on Armed Actors and Peace Dialogues, University of Oslo

Mr Michael Semple

Independent Analyst; former Deputy European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan

Ambassador Svein Sevje

Ambassador of Norway to Sudan

General Sir Rupert Smith

Former Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe; former Deputy Supreme Commander, British Armed Forces

Minister Erik Solheim

Minister of the Environment and International Development, Norway

Mr Tomas Stangeland

Assistant Director General, Section for Peace and Reconciliation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Professor Stephen Stedman

Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Lt General Lazaro K Sumbeiywo ( rtd )

Chief Executive Officer, Moi Africa Institute; former Special Envoy for the Inter Governmental Authority on Development Peace Process in Sudan

Dr Azzam Tamimi

Director, Institute of Islamic Political Thought

Ambassador Roeland van de Geer

European Union Special Representative for the African Great Lakes Region

Dr Michael Vatikiotis

Asia Regional Director, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Ambassador Francesc Vendrell

Diplomat in residence; visiting professor, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; former European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan

Mr Johan Vibe

Deputy Director General and Head of the Section for Peace and Reconciliation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Ms Teresa Whitfield

Senior Fellow and Director of United Nations Strategy, Centre on International Cooperation, New York University

Mr Rahimullah Yusufzai

Editor, The News International, Peshawar

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is an independent organisation dedicated to improving the global response to armed conflict. It mediates directly between belligerents and helps others to do the same. The HD Centre is active in approximately 15 conflicts around the world, some of which are necessarily confidential.

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