President's clarion call
President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the United Nations on Tuesday
that his Government would hold elections in the Eastern Province early
next year, adding that it was an opportunity for the international
community to play a "vital role in breaking the cycle of conflict by
focusing on development".
Addressing the 62nd session of the General Assembly in New York, the
President said human rights were too important to be used as a "tool to
victimise States for political advantage".
President Rajapaksa's fearless address to the UN, where he talked
about the bitter truth on international terrorism and human rights, is
indeed commendable. As he precisely emphasised, State sovereignty, civil
society and the rule of law are increasingly being threatened by
terrorism and other illegal activities in many countries. The
international community should be vigilant about these activities,
keeping a sharp eye at all times.
The United Nations could play a decisive and leading role is this
But to what extent is the UN playing its role? Though the UN system
has set up mechanisms to deal with many of these problems, the capacity
of the UN to address these challenges effectively has been brought into
Many member states of the UN have experienced havoc caused by brutal
terrorism which has stretched its tentacles to many corners of the globe
to mar innocent lives.
President Rajapaksa has stressed that terrorism in any part of the
world is the same because the impact of all those acts brings nothing
but misery and pain to innocent people. That is why the President said;
Terrorism anywhere is terrorism. There is nothing good in terrorism.
Be it in New York, Mumbai, Cairo, London or Colombo, terrorist
attacks threaten the democratic way of life. All peace-loving and loyal
people must condemn them unreservedly.
Why have so many countries become members of the UN? This is because
all those independent states wanted to be a part of an organisation that
was created to let all voices be heard, to avoid trying to resolve
problems through violence, revenge and blame. Instead of seeking
solutions through cooperation, some member countries have often created
suspicion and built walls amongst themselves through double standards.
It's a pity that we experience a new trend to find fault, to place
countries in the dock and penalise those who do not fall in line.
Instead of finding solutions through cooperation, we have often created
suspicion and built walls between ourselves through double standards.
Only a few countries and international organisations condemn the
ruthless terrorist acts of Velupillai Prabhakaran and the LTTE. Many
turn a blind eye to the LTTE's terror acts against innocent civilians.
Nevertheless, the same people react differently to an isolated incident
or to a concocted story by the LTTE.
They make a big hue and cry, as the sole representatives to protect
human rights. Why don't these people utter a word when the merciless
Tiger terrorists violate human rights of innocent civilians in broad
daylight? The aim of the Government is to develop the newly liberated
Eastern Province and bring it on par with the Western Province. To
achieve that, the Government needs the support and assistance of the
international community and backing from our donor countries. If they
are sincerely interested in protecting human rights and contribute to
the well-being of the people in the East, they should join hands with
the Government in the 'Eastern Reawakening' program launched under the
direction of President Rajapaksa.
The LTTE pulled out of the Norwegian-brokered peace talks long before
the fall of Ranil Wickremesinghe's government. Even after Mahinda
Rajapaksa was elected President in November 2005, his government too
made numerous requests to the LTTE to resume negotiations.
Prabhakaran was under a delusion that he would be on a better wicket
if the LTTE pressurises the government though terror acts. Without
giving the new President even a month to settle down, the LTTE launched
a series of attacks on various civilian and military targets.
Could any legitimate government condone this under such
circumstances? Wickremeseinghe and his UNP government did so under the
controversial Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) but President Rajapaksa has
shown no mercy whatsoever to terrorism.
Hence, the government had no option but to embark on several
humanitarian missions - to provide water to farmers at Mavil Aru and to
liberate the suffering civilians from Sampur and Vakarai. The government
launched military operations only to exert pressure on terrorists to
convince them that it will not be possible for them to obtain a military
Whenever the LTTE terrorists and their sympathisers are perturbed,
they use human rights as an effective tool to discredit the government.
Unfortunately, some opposition politicians and a section of the local
media with ulterior motives make a big issue on those lines. However, in
realistic terms, it's the human rights of the majority of innocent
civilians that have been abused due to the LTTE's terror acts. There are
only a handful of human rights activists to speak on behalf of those