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DateLine Sunday, 25 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Give true face to human rights

The United National Party, which has lost 17 elections under the shaky leadership of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, finally won an election, but this time outside Sri Lanka’s shores.

The election that the UNP campaigned - both here and abroad was the election of member countries for the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

Together with several INGOs, NGOs, LTTE sympathisers and a few political opportunists who opposed the Government’s current anti-terrorist operations, the UNP completed a successful campaign to ensure that Sri Lanka would lose its seat at the UNHRC.

Despite a well-organised sinister campaign to sully the country’s image before the international community by the power-greedy UNP, Sri Lanka did well to secure a majority at Monday’s voting by obtaining 101 votes out of 192 countries.

This alone proved that a majority of the UN member states have placed their trust in Sri Lanka as having the ability and competence to serve as a member of the Council despite unsubstantiated allegations.

Unfortunately, the number of votes Sri Lanka mustered was insufficient to finish within the top four countries in Asia which were offered seats.

Nevertheless, it was a tremendous victory for the UNP and its bankrupt politicians who were eventually backed by INGOs and ill-informed people such as Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter. They lent indirect support to terrorism, unwittingly perhaps without knowing the true repercussions of their acts.

This was the ‘most sensational’ news for Wickremesinghe and Lakshman Kiriella who have been agitating to bring back the UNP to power by hook or by crook. Having shattered all their dreams of winning the Eastern Provincial Council, Wickremesinghe and his cohorts rejoiced as Sri Lanka narrowly failed to retain its seat at the UNHRC.

It is indeed a crying shame that we have an irresponsible opposition which is bent on their political agendas even in matters concerning national interest, something rare in most countries. Most of the INGOs and NGOs operating here would stoop to any level and ignore all accepted norms for a few extra dollars or euros. The NGO mafia has posed a great obstacle in the Government’s battle against terrorism.

Human rights seems to have been an effective tool for different purposes and intentions. Human rights is the right each human being has for personal freedom, justice etc.

Unfortunately, this is not the type of human rights that some countries and certain international organisations are advocating at present. Over the years, the LTTE terrorists have been targeting innocent civilians with bomb explosions at public places.

The bomb explosions in Ampara and Colombo Fort recently are the latest in the series of such attacks in which thousands of people have been killed or maimed during the past few decades.

What is baffling is that there are hardly any countries or international organisations to voice for the human rights of those who were killed and injured in those inhuman and merciless attacks.

Even the few who issue the so-called ‘statements’ to ‘condemn’ those attacks do so merely for the sake of doing it. What is intriguing is that most of these ‘statements’ are carefully worded, putting the blame equally on the LTTE as well as the Government.

This has been more the norm over the past several years. Whenever the LTTE indulges in their terror acts targeting civilians, the so-called ‘international community’ and most INGOs issue statements in a “strategic way”.

The most common feature in those statements is calling upon the “parties concerned in the conflict to respect human rights and find a political solution to the conflict”. Does that imply that a legitimate and democratically elected Government is also indulging in terror acts like the LTTE?

However, the very same countries, INGOs and international bodies adopt a different stand when similar attacks take place in the so-called developed countries.

An explosion in a western city or an attack against foreign forces in Afghanistan are called terror attacks. But when it occurs in this part of the world, such attacks are defined as separatist or freedom struggles.People or groups who indulge in terrorist aactivities are given different labels.

Terrorists are often referred to as rebels, insurgents or freedom fighters. How could a legitimate government and a ruthless terrorist organisation be treated with the same yardstick? Isn’t this tantamount to another form of promoting terror activities? The time is now opportune for all nations to think seriously and identify the real terrorists.

As Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said in his closing statement at the UPR in Geneva, the Government welcomes the opportunity to be reviewed under the new mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review as one of the founding members of the Human Rights Council.

In keeping with the spirit of the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/125, Sri Lanka is committed to the objective of this mechanism in identifying ways in which the international community can work in partnership to ensure all persons enjoy human rights, in a practical way.

The UN should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and the Government’s efforts to eradicate terrorism, in keeping with international norms and standards including the International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.

While the Government has taken all meaningful measures to avoid civilian casualties and hardships to the civilian population, the LTTE used innocent civilians as human shields. Doesn’t the UNHRC see these grave violations of human rights?

Though the LTTE unlawfully holds on to some areas in Mullaitivu and the Wanni districts, the Government maintains an uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid and food supplies to all those areas as well.

Although a considerable amount of those supplies would be consumed by fighting LTTE cadres, the Government has fulfilled its obligation. Sri Lanka is perhaps the only country that feeds its own terrorists, using a colossal amount of public funds.

Terrorism anywhere in the world is terrorism and there can’t be two types of terrorism. The UN and other INGOs should also consider all these factors before arriving at vital conclusions.

Or else, they would be pushing the liberated innocent civilians back into the jaws of the Tigers, who have inflicted nothing but misery to their own community.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Mount View Residencies

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