Hands off Sri Lanka!
To begin with, we
need to point out that Sri Lanka is not on a collision course
with the UN. Nothing could be farther from the truth than the
contention that the divisive issues growing out of the UN
Secretary General's (UNSG) expert panel's report on Sri Lanka
are pitting the latter against the UN, of which organization Sri
Lanka is a law-abiding member. In fact, Sri Lanka is remaining
committed to the UN and its principles, and this will be the
case in the future as well.
This observation should be taken into consideration by those
sections which are currently agitating in hostile fashion
against the UN. The UN has absolutely nothing to do with the
controversial report and these hot-heads would be doing more
harm than good to Sri Lanka, by projecting the UN as being
responsible for the report. So, we urge these agitationists to
leave the UN alone. Thus far, Sri Lanka has been an honourable
member of the UN. This unblemished record must be maintained.
But it is as clear as day that the contents of the panel
report and the tone and vein in which they have been crafted,
have unsettling implications for Sri Lanka. Some of these
aspects of the report were dealt with at length by Foreign
Minister Prof G L Peiris on Thursday at the press conference
given by him and are now widely and well known. One could be in
agreement with the Foreign Minister, for instance, that the
report is 'fundamentally flawed', in that the panel was set up
to merely advise the UNSG on the so-called accountability issues
relating to Sri Lanka, but not to project itself in the nature
of an investigative body which could exercise punitive powers
over Sri Lanka on the questions taken up by it for deliberation.
In fact, the very publication of the report could be strongly
called in question because the panel's primary function was said
to have been to advise the UNSG and do nothing else. However,
the panel has gone well beyond its mandate and not only drafted
a report on the issues in question but gone on to recommend what
could be seen as counter- measures to remedy the questions Sri
Lanka is supposedly raising. We are compelled to comment that
the whole affair smacks of a premeditated attempt at defaming
Sri Lanka and at victimizing it.
We observed in this commentary a few days back that this
effort at holding Sri Lanka responsible for issues raised in
connection with the humanitarian operation of the early months
of 2009, smacked of efforts by the hegemonic powers of the West
to demoralize and brow beat Sri Lanka into a state of supine
submission. That is, a case of the 'empire striking back'. The
issue, in other words, is one of sovereignty. Sri Lanka's
inalienable and sovereign right to secure and safeguard its
legitimate interests is being seriously undermined and trampled
on by those major powers which continue to dream of establishing
vast spheres of influence and control worldwide.
This is neo-colonialism in one of its most abhorrent forms.
What the hegemonic powers cannot achieve by means of military
power and economic might, in the current international political
order, they are seeking to achieve by some international
structures of control. By trying to hold Sri Lanka accountable
over issues which are said to have arisen in the course of this
country exercising her legitimate rights, such as, protecting
Sri Lanka's citizenry from the scourge of terror, the hegemonic
powers are really trying to undermine Sri Lanka's independence.
To these powers, we say, hands off Sri Lanka!
One of the most important observations made by the Foreign
Minister was that the panel report could have the effect of
trammelling the reconciliation process Sri Lanka has launched.
Having rid herself of the terror scourge under the leadership of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka is enjoying the
possibility of emerging as a strong economic and political power
in South Asia. For the purpose of advancing on the road of peace
and reconciliation, Sri Lanka has put in place the Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which is expected to
address some issues of the past and to pave the way for true
reconciliation among the country's citizenry. Rather than allow
this healing process to continue apace, the hegemonic powers are
in an endeavour to undermine Sri Lanka's independence and
integrity and to thereby reduce Sri Lanka's efforts at beginning
anew to naught. In other words, an effort is well underway to
relentlessly undermine Sri Lanka and to eventually ruin her.
Accordingly, we call for a rejection of the panel's report.
In fact, the UN is obliged to take cognizance of these harmful
trends and join with progressive sections the world over to
defeat these efforts at reducing Sri Lanka to a state of
hopelessness. Independent and well meaning sections of the world
must now unite behind Sri Lanka.