Lanka's struggle for human rights and
Both President Maithripala Sirisena and
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are justly proud of the achievement
of their government, especially of Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, in navigating the complex legal demands of
international human rights mechanisms and the geo-politics of UN fora to
take Sri Lanka closer towards a successful search for justice and peace
in our country.
When a previous regime, bent on a seemingly quick end to a complex
ethnic conflict, blundered through with a military solution to
'terrorism', the entire country was left to pick up the bloody pieces.
It was not enough that one ethnic minority was bludgeoned into apparent
submission. As a hoodwinked majority ethnic community waited expectantly
for economic peace dividends that did not come, an easy distraction was
the attempted bludgeoning of the next largest (or smallest) ethnic
minority - no matter that the whole world was watching the aba sarana
spewed from platforms and the burning shops, homes and religious sites.
'Post-war reconciliation', so cunningly voiced by professionals
fronting for that blundering regime's duplicity, soon became seen as the
smokescreen for mere prevarication while autocracy and plunder
flourished. Not that the regime cared. In fact, it lacked the
intelligence to even understand the damage being done to the country's
reputation in the world community.
Demonising of the world community could only last the tenure of the
regime which resorted to such a cheap and simplistic ploy. Even as the
citizenry awoke to its hoodwinking, political fortunes changed
drastically - fortunately for the country and all its communities.
A historic electoral vote in January changed the regime and
immediately changed Sri Lanka's prospects in the world community.
The very electoral mandate of the new presidency and the new
government was directly aimed at recovering the integrity of the State
and a genuine social peace through a process of accountability and
comprehensive peace-building. If new investigative institutions and
mechanisms were swiftly put in place, their output has been necessarily
restrained by the demands of due process and careful justice.
Nevertheless, this very attention to democratic and governmental
detail has revived confidence in the institutions of society and State,
not only in the eyes of the citizenry - as seen in the recent
parliamentary electoral success. Rather, the whole world, that watched
as the Emerald Isle struggled through the political change, soon also
appreciated the recovery of integrity of institutions and also the
revival of a moral governance - relatively speaking, of course.
It is on this bedrock that the new Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime
proceeded to campaign at world fora to extricate the country from the
mire of simplistic chicanery and embarrassingly un-intelligent diplomacy
that reduced Sri Lanka to the status of a 'suspect' state over its
record of social violence and injustice.
'Human rights' that had been made a dirty word by the previous
regime, once again took on a moral value befitting a dharma dveepa.
Global attitudes - that turn on how the outside world sees a society
- changed from a bemused disbelief at the antics of blundering autocrats
and racists to an appreciation of the energetic professionalism of the
new governing team that demonstrated its abilities and vision with
domestic actions first before engaging with world institutions.
As President Sirisena himself pointed out last week, it was the
record of quick and wholesome actions within the country by the new
government that convinced the world community, and especially the UN
Human Rights Council, of its bonafides. Hence the new approach to the
issues of large scale human rights violations and injustice afflicting
As the world community sees a new governing team fully aware of the
enormity of the problems facing it, international agencies, big powers
east and west, all now come forward to offer support in a myriad ways -
whether it is judicial expertise, forensic skills and tools, law-making
advice, or finance for new implementing agencies. The UN process in
Geneva is not the 'enemy' of Goebbelsian creation by the previous
regime, but a component of the world community of which Sri Lanka is a
This is the process that the Government is now taking forward with
the utmost diligence and necessarily with meticulous care. There can be
no room for grandstanding and posturing, nor for cover-ups. This
island's civilisation is at stake, as the citizenry has now realised.
Only for cars . . .
'Hybrid' cars are now the hottest vehicles on the market in these
fuel-expensive times. Even if the proud owners of these complex
automobiles don't quite understand the dense mechanics of their
machines, they yet enjoy the smooth ride and the fuel economy which
makes these 'hybrids' such value for money.
Not so with other forms of 'hybridity' such as practical mechanisms
to, at last, bring Sri Lanka out of the agonies and misdeeds of the
recent past - the hybrid judiciary mechanism proposed by United Nations
human rights experts.
Such 'hybridity', that deals with political blame-games and
accountability, threatens to bring harsh truths too close to the heart
of ethnic identities - an issue of ethnic pride and prejudice. Such a
threat clearly touches such raw nerves that all rationality, humility,
honesty, and standards of civilisation or morality are forgotten in the
narcissistic scramble to save face and affirm some pseudo superiority.