Why is the West blind to Sri Lanka's reconciliation efforts?
The United States has said that there has been no softening of its
stand on Sri Lanka with regard to the human rights situation. State
Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, denying recent news reports in this
regard, has told reporters in Washington that only thing that he could
confirm was that was right was that the US Secretary of State John Kerry
had a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the
UN General Assembly.
Anti-personnel mines recovered by the mining teams in the North
"He (Kerry) did so with the express purpose of conveying that US
policy with regard to Sri Lanka has not changed and it certainly has not
softened," she said in response to a question.
First and foremost, what we would like to point out is that Sri Lanka
does not want to win the sympathy of the US, or any other player in the
international community for that matter, as far as the human rights are
concerned. Sri Lanka has nothing to hide and has told its true picture
to the world in a transparent manner.
All what we want is a fair deal without being unfairly harassed,
using the UNHRC as a stage to fulfill the whims and fancies of a few
We never begged sympathy from the international community regarding
human rights as Sri Lanka has not violated human rights.
In fact, the Government has reinstated human rights of 21 million
people who have been subjected to untold privations due to LTTE
terrorism. Hence, we would like to put the record straight by telling
the US State department that Sri Lanka does not need sympathy soften any
stand but only want a fair hearing without being discriminated for no
fault of its.
"We would, of course, like our relationship with Sri Lanka to achieve
its full potential, but that will only happen if Sri Lanka builds
enduring peace and prosperity for all of its diverse ethnic and
religious communities. That's why the Secretary, in no uncertain terms,
made clear that Sri Lanka needed to take meaningful steps to act like a
country that is no longer at war and instead is now building a future
that includes all of its citizens. So certainly it had the opposite
purpose," Psaki was quoted as saying.
As much as the US, Sri Lanka too likes its relationship with the US
to achieve its full potential. But we don't want to take any conditions
from any country to build friendships. Such efforts should be genuine
and sincere. Hasn't Sri Lanka taken numerous meaningful steps to act
like a country that is no longer in the battlefield.
Thanks to the untiring efforts of President Rajapaksa, we are now
building a future that includes all of its citizens belonging to
different communities and religious faiths. Is the US totally blind to
see these stark facts?
It is unfortunate that the US State Department seems to be unaware on
the efforts made by the Government, under the leadership of President
Rajapaksa, to strengthen peace and prosperity among all communities.
The Government has taken enough and more meaningful steps to
strengthen ethnic harmony and build national reconciliation.
It is deplorable that some Western countries have not shown any
interest whatsoever to come here and get firsthand experience on these
landmark achievements of Sri Lanka since the terrorism was eradicated
little over five years ago.
Northern youth who joined the Sri Lanka Army undergoing training
We need not beg from the international community and plead for their
sympathy vote at the UNHRC. We ask nothing but a fair hearing for Sri
Lanka's sincere efforts to eradicate terrorism and save its 21 million
people, rescuing of over half a million Tamils from the jaws of death as
they had been held as a human shield by Tiger terrorists and the
praiseworthy steps taken by the Government to rebuild the country's
North and the East.
Those have set new world standards. No other country, after such a
bitter battlefield experience, has done so much to resettle people in
double quick time, finding them shelter and livelihood activities.
At the same time, preferential treatment has been given to the
terrorism-affected areas in national development. Billions of rupees
have been spent on infrastructure development in the North and the East.
All those efforts have been made to strengthen national
reconciliation and build a peaceful atmosphere for all communities to
live in perfect peace and harmony.
But the LTTE rump and the Tiger sympathisers have been projecting a
totally different picture and some Western leaders seems to be either
swallowing those concocted stories or showing a Nelsonian eye for
reasons better known to them.
The government is taking measures to promote reconciliation and
coexistence among communities as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Various Government institutions are implementing programs and
projects based on the recommendations of the LLRC from national level to
regional level and the government plans to create a mechanism to
regulate these programs implemented with the objective of ensuring
mutual friendship and trust among communities.
The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by the President to
form a cabinet sub-committee on Social Reconciliation and Coexistence
The President will preside over the sub-committee which will comprise
ministers to monitor and facilitate the implementation of the LLRC
recommendations aimed at strengthening of coexistence among communities.
The Cabinet also approved forming a Committee of Officers comprising
Ministry Secretaries to assist the sub-committee. Secretary to the
President, who functions as the Chairman of the Committee which
supervises the implementation of the recommendations of LLRC, will
preside over the Committee of Officers.
The demining process is nearly 98% over and work to free the
remaining land area from mine risk is progressing fast.
There is only about 80 square kilometers remaining to be cleared in
comparison to the 5000 square kilometers of land mass that was left at
the end of the war. The cleared areas were thoroughly inspected and
assured by UNDP officials prior to the handing over of lands back to the
More than 68 percent if the de-mined was carried out by the Security
Forces demining teams and the rest was de-minded by local and foreign
NGOs. Only the forested areas remains to be cleared hence the delay in
completing the work but it will be completed by the earliest possible
The LTTE rump is giving wide publicity in twisting stories to suit
their agenda. the fishing issue at the Iranamadu tank is one of them.
There are no restrictions imposed by Sri Lanka Army for fishing in the
Iranamadu tank. However, the local fishery societies don't allow
outsiders to fish due to long standing drought experienced in the area
at present. This is how the Tiger rump attempt to discredit the Security
Forces to woo international sympathy.
The efforts taken by the Government are honest and sincere steps to
further strengthen ethnic harmony. Those needs the support by all
peace-loving people in the country. But we are not prepared to dance to
the Western melody and allow interested parties to rob Sri Lanka'
hard-earned peace. The country's valiant Security forces scarified their
life and the limb to get rid of the scourge of terrorism which had
devastated our country for nearly three decades.
We can't go back to that dark era once more to satisfy the LTTE rump
or certain Western politicians with vested interests.
What LTTE failed through and armed struggle killing thousands of
people could not be granted under the guise of reconciliation or human
Unfortunately, none of those Western peace merchants utter a word on
human rights of thousands of people killed by the LTTE.
But there are enough and more Western agents to talk on human rights
of terrorists killed when confronting a legitimate army of a sovereign
state. We reject these Western double standards in disgust.
Sri Lanka has set an example to other nations by meeting most of its
responsibilities towards the country's child population.
Among the steps taken for the betterment of our children is making
our country a safe and secure place for them. Thousands of children were
brutally killed when the LTTE terrorism was at its best.
Young boys and girls in their early teens were dragged from their
homes at gunpoint to be enrolled with the LTTE as child soldiers.
It was the Security Forces who ended all those under the directions
of their Commander-in-Chief - the President. Most people have forgotten
these, especially those who shed buckets of crocodile tears over human
What Sri Lanka needs are sincere friends, who will lend a helping
hand in the country's determined reconciliation drive and further
development of the North and the East.
We need stakeholders in Sri Lanka's efforts to strengthen peace and
development and not those who merely pontificate to us thinking Sri
Lanka is still a colony of the West.
We are a sovereign state and enjoy the same rights as any other
country in the UN. Hence, we will not tolerate discrimination and
attempts to meddle in country's internal matters in the guise of human
rights and reconciliation.