Pillay’s impending Sri Lanka visit, an
Human rights and reconciliation are bandied
about by some Western countries to intimidate Sri Lanka after the
Security Forces liberated the country from the grip of LTTE terrorism.
Rather than hailing Sri Lanka's singular achievement, which set an
example to the world in eradicating terrorism, certain international
organisations and Western countries pontificated on reconciliation and
human rights to appease LTTE cohorts in their countries. These Western
politicians, who survive on the vote of adopted Tamils from Sri Lanka,
dance the fandango round the LTTE cohorts. On the pretext of advocating
reconciliation, they only exerted pressure on the Government to gratify
LTTE cohorts and a section of the Tamil diaspora.
Two successive Resolutions against Sri Lanka at the United Nations
Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had only rekindled fresh hopes in LTTE
It is indelibly etched in people’s minds how some world organisations
and certain Western countries spared no pains to thwart Sri Lanka's
humanitarian operation and pump the last drop of oxygen to moribund
Tiger terrorists. They issued a plethora of statements to retard the
advancement of the Security Forces.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka's friendly countries proved their mettle and
overwhelmingly supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his praiseworthy
efforts to liberate the people from the clutches of LTTE terror.
Some international organisations and certain Western countries took
Sri Lanka to task during her relentless battle against terrorism. The
UNHRC was no exception and the statements by its head Navi Pillay
renewed fresh hopes in the Tiger terrorists.
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in London, Dr Chris Nonis, in an
interview with the BBC World News last week, gave an appropriate reply
to those who shout from the rooftops and expect Sri Lanka to perform
miracles in national reconciliation.
When BBC's Mishal Husain asked Dr. Nonis as to how many years Sri
Lanka would take to complete reconciliation targets, Dr. Nonis cited
South Africa and the post-apartheid period, where there are still
substantial issues, and Northern Ireland where, despite the “Good
Friday” Agreement, issues remain unresolved. “In comparison, I think we
have done pretty well,” Dr. Nonis was quoted as saying.
When Sri Lanka was at the receiving end of LTTE terror, the West
preached to us on peace while it went all out to crush Al-Qaeda
terrorists. When the LTTE was militarily crushed, the West exerted
pressure on Sri Lanka over displaced persons and made a big hue and cry.
Despite Sri Lanka having resettled over half a million displaced persons
in the North and the East in double quick time, thereby setting new
world standards, the West is now showing extraordinary concern in Sri
Lanka's reconciliation efforts. What is more intriguing is the manner in
which certain Western countries expect Sri Lanka to perform miracles and
do something that no other country has achieved so far. Sri Lanka’s
speedy resettlement of displaced persons, which no other country had
done after a conflict situation, sent shockwaves to the world. UN's High
Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has eventually accepted Sri
Lanka's invitation and plans to visit Sri Lanka from August 25 to 31.
She would have definitely changed her mind, had she done so earlier. In
April 2011, Sri Lanka invited her to tour the country.
Regrettably, rather than coming here to gain first-hand experience
and making an assessment of the true ground situation, Pillay seemed to
have been misled by the LTTE cohorts. Her sweeping statements on Sri
Lanka had clearly shown that her knowledge on Sri Lanka's achievements
and development is far from reality.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ravinatha P.
Aryasinha had told the UNHRC's 23rd Regular Session in Geneva last week
that Sri Lanka considers Pillay's visit as part of its continued,
transparent and proactive engagement with the High Commissioner and the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Pillay's visit would undoubtedly enable her to experience at
first-hand the significant strides Sri Lanka had made and the efforts
under way in reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The international community
should bear in mind that barely four years had elapsed since the end of
the ruthless terrorist conflict that had devastated the country for
nearly three decades.
It is earnestly hoped that Pillay’s forthcoming visit would not only
be an eye-opener to the UN human rights chief, but also to other Western
countries which are making ludicrous statements on Sri Lanka due to
ignorance. Hence, Pillay's visit would help build a platform for
constructive engagement between Sri Lanka and the OHCHR, debunking the
fallacies that guided the UN system's actions and engagement with
respect to Sri Lanka and its reconciliation. It is deplorable that there
is lack of “financial independence” as far as the Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned. This leads to
disproportionate attention being paid to country-specific action in the
UNHRC which selectively targets some countries.
Sri Lanka is convinced that there is an urgent need for more
sustainable resourcing of the OHCHR to ensure efficient and objective
fulfilment of its mandate. This could be checked only if the bulk of the
OHCHR funding comes from the UN regular budget.
Though countries such as Sri Lanka are often targeted, human rights
violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the world that
warrant more urgent and immediate attention and action continue unabated
for reasons best known to the West.
On an axiomatic basis, the continuation and proliferation of the
selective adoption of country-specific resolutions in the UNHRC is a
tool that exploits human rights for political purposes. Hence, Sri Lanka
has reiterated time and again that such politicised action runs contrary
to the ideals and principles of the Council and must be arrested
The call for an international investigation on the situation in Sri
Lanka emanated at the UNHRC, barely a week after the Security Forces
vanquished the LTTE leadership in the Nandikadal lagoon and that the
“ill-conceived resolution” on Sri Lanka resulted from “politicised
action, diaspora compulsions and reports not mandated by the
inter-governmental process”. Such controversial resolutions lack
transparency and credibility. Resolutions against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC
are totally unwarranted as they have been brought in at a time Sri Lanka
is making a determined effort in national reconciliation while affording
a new lease of life for people in the North and the East.
Sri Lanka had quite rightly pointed out that the collusion which is
becoming increasingly evident among some countries that support action
against Sri Lanka and certain extreme elements of the Tamil diaspora
with vested interests must be addressed more comprehensively by the
OHCHR. It was amazing that some of these diaspora elements had been
accredited as members of a country delegation at the previous UN Human
Rights Council sessions. This is indeed, alarming.
This would by no means assist the ongoing reconciliation in Sri
Lanka, nor help people in the North and the East, who had been subjected
to untold misery when the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit was at
its peak. Moreover, it only caused mistrust about the international
process among Sri Lankans while negatively impacting on the country's
reconciliation efforts. President Rajapaksa had on several occasions
invited all those who level allegations against Sri Lanka to visit the
country and see for themselves. The aspirations of the Tamils rescued
from the jaws of death are poles apart from the Tamil diaspora and LTTE
cohorts in the West. In this scenario, Pillay will be afforded a golden
opportunity to understand this stark truth. Sri Lanka considers her
visit as part of its continued, transparent and proactive engagement
with the High Commissioner and the OHCHR. If the international community
is sincerely interested in the well-being of the people in the North and
the East, they must feel the pulse of those who had been liberated
during the world's largest human rescue mission, and not merely go by
what the domiciled Tamils in the West project.