Landmark verdict by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has given a landmark ruling by endorsing Sri
Lanka's human rights commitment. Friday's verdict by the most supreme
body in Lanka's judiciary would no doubt nullify attempts by various
local and international bodies to tarnish Sri Lanka's image.
Sri Lanka has been waging an unrelenting war against the most
ruthless terrorist organistion in the world. The LTTE has taken
thousands of lives and brought misery to millions of people both here
No Government anywhere in the world would ever tolerate and show this
much of patience in dealing with a merciless terrorist outfit.
The Government and our brave Security Forces have done their utmost
to protect human lives as well as human rights in every manner possible.
Even at risk to their lives most of the time, our Security Forces have
always made a valiant attempt to maintain a clean human rights record.
Nevertheless, there have been innumerable attempts by some countries,
international organisations, human rights bodies, NGOs and shady
politicians to paint a gloomy picture before the international
community, thereby making desperate attempts to fulfill their various
goals, political or otherwise.
Several NGOs and INGOs, through their agents who are after dollars
and euros that fill their coffers regularly, make a big issue over human
rights. Terrorism has apparently been a blessing in disguise for those
whom the country takes second place in their craving for money and other
It is in this context that the Supreme Court determined that
internationally accepted human rights conventions have been enshrined in
Sri Lanka's legal system. The landmark verdict has been returned by the
Supreme Court on a request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to seek a SC
determination on Lanka's stand vis-a-vis the legal enshrinement of human
According to Minister of Export Promotion and International Trade,
Prof. G.L. Peiris, this determination has nullified attempts by certain
elements here and abroad to tarnish the human rights record of Sri
Lanka. It's strange that some countries and INGOs are taking their
allegations forward without any basis or facts.
Minister Peiris said that HR accusations have surfaced mainly in the
backdrop of Sri Lanka reapplying for GSP+ duty free status for apparel
and other exports to the European Union this year. The aim of these
disgruntled elements was to deprive the EU apparel quotas to Lanka and
hurt its economy.
The GSP+ status is reviewed every three years and is applicable to
7,200 categories of goods. President Rajapaksa, who envisaged the
immense loss that could occur to the country by this move, requested the
Supreme Court to determine whether Sri Lanka maintained and respected an
internationally accepted human rights legal framework, which would
satisfy the European Union. The Government's commitment to human rights
has been reinforced by the Supreme Court verdict.
The apparel industry is the biggest beneficiary of GSP+. More than
350,000 persons are directly employed in the apparel sector where an
estimated one million enjoy the indirect benefits. Three million
families depend on the apparel sector.
The GSP plus status enhances Sri Lanka's success in the apparel
industry and much depends on it. We trust the Supreme Court verdict
would be an appropriate answer to those who had attempted to show that
Sri Lanka had no respect for human rights, with the aim of scuttling the
GSP+ quota allocation.
The other developments during the past week were the bold and
encouraging words from the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert. He
told the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake
that Sri Lanka should not give in to terrorism because it will only
bring destruction to the island.
The Israeli Premier said that terrorism has to be fought tooth and
nail and that there is no alternative method of combatting terrorism.
Those words are indeed most inspiring in Sri Lanka's fearless battle
against terrorism, which should be an example to the world.
It has now been unequivocally proved that the LTTE is maintaining
strong relations with internationally accepted terrorist groups such as
PKK and some affiliates of the dreaded Al-Qaeda.
Hence, the LTTE has not only become a threat to Sri Lanka's
sovereignty and territorial integrity but also to world peace. Despite
the ruthless Tiger terrorists being responsible for thousands of brutal
murders through their inhuman acts, only the European Union and a few
countries such as the USA, UK, Canada and India have banned the LTTE.
There are enough and more international organisations and INGOs who
make desperate attempts to give a human face to the LTTE. As President
Rajapaksa said in no uncertain terms, terrorism in any part of the world
There are no two definitions to terrorism - one for the West and
another for this part of the world. Terrorism spawns nothing but misery
to humans and all nations under one banner should eradicate world