No Time Bar for Human Rights: Britain atone for 133years human rights violations in Sri Lanka


The UNHRC is all about HUMAN RIGHTS. Sri Lanka’s conflict ended with a military offensive that applied international humanitarian laws and not human rights law. Sri Lanka has to be judged by violations of IHL not HR in a non-international armed conflict. Nevertheless, human rights is human rights and there can be no time bar to human rights violations. This is why the human rights violations committed by colonial rulers upon countries that they invaded matter. UK ruled all but 22 countries around the world (90% of the world) making UK the world biggest human rights offender when tabulating all the human rights violations UK committed. There is no time bar for human rights. The GoSL and all of the former colonies must unite to demand accountability, apology and reparations instead of attending Commonwealth summits to shake the hand of the oppressor! Therefore, the UK Government cannot be peddling any resolutions against Sri Lanka with soiled hands that are bloodied from committing mass scale human rights violations for 133 years (1815-1948) Why is the UNHRC not bothered about human rights violations during colonial rule. If UNHRC insists on going after Sri Lanka even after 12years of peace post-LTTE defeat, we demand UNHRC take action on colonial crimes too.

There were no human rights for the colonized.

Human Rights violations were regarded as a White Man’s Burden to ‘civilize’ the ‘uncivilized’.


Britain is guilty of dividing communities


Britain is guilty of dividing people as majority & minority


Britain is guilty of favoring the minority & hounding the majority


Britain is guilty of suppressing the majority & showering the minorities

Britain is guilty of genocide by scorched earth policy (raid & destroy policy of 1803) – Colonial Governor Brownrigg’s order was to kill anything that moved even babies. Uva-Wellassa was victim to that policy. Even babies were killed by the British. How many human rights of babies did Britain destroy & kill? Entire villages and farms were torched, cattle were slaughtered, vegetation burnt to the ground – all these were human rights violations that have no time bar for accountability of indiscriminate killings.

The Uva Rebellion/Third Kandyan War (1817) turned into a guerilla war with rebels being brutally massacred by the British. The Madulla massacre was one of shoot-to-kill policy leaving not a woman or child spared. What was the human rights Britain adopted?


Britain is guilty of killing unarmed civilians– memos of Colonial officers reveal how they had breakfast watching Sinhalese men being hung to death. How many human rights of Sinhalese men did Britain violate by hanging? Refer the House of Commons Committee for the gory details that would include how Lt. J. Maclaine of the 73rd Regimen

Britain is guilty of throwing babies to hungry crocodiles– where were the human rights of these babies.


Britain is guilty of raping native womenand without accounting for these rapes, how dare Britain manipulate UNHRC


Britain that hung people without trialhas no moral right to be asking for international tribunals.


Britain that starved natives to deathhas no moral right to be questioning Sri Lanka’s humanitarian rescue operation that statistically can prove the essentials sent while militarily taking on the LTTE

Britain that plundered nations of their wealthincluding our own and proudly display this stolen wealth in British museums and on the head of the British Queen, has no moral right to demand accountability


Britain that rolled out policy programs to ‘civilize’ the ‘uncivilized’ resulted in attempting to destroy native traditions, cultures, Buddhism, native legal & social systems and replace with British systems that aimed at creating a generation of brown-sahibs, living in post-colonial times but tapped to continue the colonial project in a modern context. We call these the ‘kalu-suddas’, the brown sepoys.


Britain is guilty of attempting to destroy Buddhism and convert the natives


Britain is guilty of causing demographic change with intent to cook trouble

When the British landed in Sri Lanka its population was just 800,000 by the time the British left 157 years later (1972) that population had risen to 7m. The sudden increase was due to a flood of South Indians dumped to Sri Lanka to work on British plantations. – there was never a time until repatriation in 1971 and 1981 that the Sri Lankan Tamils (a nomenclature created only in 1911) outnumbered the Indian Tamils who brought in as cheap labor from India.


We saw how LTTE committed war crimes against animals. Britain did virtually the same. Samuel Baker was the British elephant slaughterer killing 30-40 elephants on a daily basis. Calculate this into 133 years of British occupation to estimate the elephants that the British killed.

Britain that is taking pot shots at Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces are reminded about the human rights violations British Armed Forces committed upon natives(Britain the invader occupier). Britain cannot judge our armed forces


Lt. J Maclaine of 73rdregiment had breakfast watching Sinhalese being hung.


Col. Braybrooke (Assistant Commissioner for Badulla) reported that he hung Kandyan prisoners without trialand he declared that he relished watching them being hung while having breakfast (House of Commons Committee on Ceylon 1849/50)


Maj. MacDonald guilty of arson in Badulladistrict burning to the ground villages near Hausanwella. He writes to the Governor “this act of severity, I trust will not be disapproved” (CO 54/56 – 7th November 1817)


Campbells’ memo 

“Soldiers wonder about the value of what they destroyed……..! We were under orders to destroy all coconut trees, all fruit trees and paddy fields. We were also ordered to destroy the bunds of the water reservoirs. This water was essential to them for cultivation. We wondered how long it must have taken for them to build these giant reservoirs and how long it would take them now, without having any engineers or the equipment, to rebuild or repair them.”


Major Forbes memo 1818

“We met so many military patrols who had been dispatched for burning the villages and their property. They were not looking for the enemy. The natives who survived our fire would definitely get perished in sickness and in famine as we had destroyed all their cultivation, lakes and villages.”


Sergeant Calladine’s diary of 1818

“Not a single day passed without burning a village and killing the Chingalese men. We didn’t take prisoners.”

British captured wives and children of patriots and held them as ransom until patriots surrendered. These same dirty tactics continue to be repeated.


Col. Hook orders Sinhalese to be hung without trial (1817)

(Mawatagama Nilame a close relation of the Mahanayake of Asgiriya was hung without trial)


Capt. Fraser, Brownrigg’s personal assistant killed 19 Sinhalese.7 of them were executed without trial, other 3 forced to work as his guides. The 7 executed Sinhalese were hung on the roadside in Godamunne and the blood of their corpses polluted the nearby river making it unusable to the natives the next morning.


Diary of Dr. John Davy (British Army Surgeon) Indiscriminate killing of civilians

“We didn’t manage to kill the enemy. But we killed a lot of villagers. We must have killed at least 10,000 men in the villages”


“When a district rose in rebellion, one or more military posts were established in it; martial law was proclaimed; the dwellings of the resisting inhabitants were burnt; their fruit-trees were often cut down and the country was scored in every direction by small detachments, who were authorized to put to death all who made opposition, or were found with arms in their hands… In candour… it must be remarked that our government was hardly answerable for the irregularities committed on our side…….” 


Diary of Dr. John Davey: Killing of children of Patriots

Dr. John Davey of the British Army declares that by 1821 there were no children of patriotic families in Uva-Wellassa.


Dr. Davey estimated at least 7% of the population of the entire Central province was killed by the British Army.

British Colonial Army rape

“Understanding the British Empire” by Ronald Hyam on Sergeant Calladine


Wellington declared in 1914 that the British Army represented the ‘scum of the earth”

Flexner described the British army as ‘recruited from the adventurous & derelict”


UK is taking over US. We do not need to go down the road of modern human rights violations committed by both these nations. We are stupefied that they choose to ignore their own atrocious war crimes and point fingers at other nations.


What moral right does Britain have to speak a word on human rights & rule of law as ample evidence prevails of British crimes in Sinhale during colonial rule. Until & unless these are accounted for, apologized & compensated Britain has no right to be pointing fingers at Sri Lanka.


Britain that is slowly destroying its colonial atrocities has no moral right to be peddling any UNHRC resolutions on account of attempts to destroy records and evidence of British colonial crimes.






Shenali D Waduge

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