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
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
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
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
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
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
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.