Colombo: Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) has petitioned South African President Zuma against accepting Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva as Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa. Nicole Fritz, Director of SALC, has forwarded a report to President Zuma citing some of the unsubstantiated allegations made by UNSG Ban Ki moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) and UK Channel 4 television. Well informed sources told The Island that the Foundation for Human Rights and several other South Africa based groups, including the Tamil Federation of Gauteng and South African Tamil Federation (SATF) had been involved in the campaign against Maj. Gen. Silva, currently Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
Maj. Gen. Silva, the former General Officer Commanding (GoC) the 58 Division, the most successful fighting formation deployed against the LTTE, now holds ambassadorial rank.
Sources said that the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) with close links to those engaged in the latest campaign, too, was backing SALC effort. The GTF maintains working relationship with the ANC and the Sri Lanka Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice (SSGP&J).
On behalf of the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora, SALC has requested President Zuma to state South Africa’s decision on the soldier’s high diplomatic posting. The SALC has also sought a meeting with the Office of the Presidency or the Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) to discuss the issue.
External Affairs Ministry sources emphasized that the allegations made by PoE, Channel 4 as well as several other individuals hadn’t been substantiated, though various interested parties continued to repeat them.
Meanwhile, South Africa continued a dialogue with Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a bid to explore ways and means of bringing them to the negotiating table. Sources said that Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem last Thursday (Dec 6) praised South Africa’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Geoff Doidge, concurrently accredited to Colombo for his efforts to facilitate an arrangement between the two parties.
Doidge was in Colombo with a high level Japanese-led UN delegation comprising Permanent Representatives from Nigeria, Romania Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. The UN team was to examine the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report.