The evidence on ‘the ground’
disregard by the West of Sri Lanka’s achievements on ‘the
ground’ with regard to rehabilitation and resettlement is the
proof that the UNHRC is indeed being politicized. As should be
known, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Tamara
Kunanayakam has effectively refuted US allegations that Sri
Lanka has failed to show progress on Human Rights and connected
concerns, against the backdrop of attempts by the West to bring
a resolution critical of this country before the ongoing UNHRC
sessions, and what should be noted by the world is that progress
is being made steadily by Sri Lanka even as these events unfold,
to prove the country’s critics wrong.
For instance, it was reported by us on Saturday that the
government has provided the Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms
Ministry Rs. 300 million for disbursement among rehabilitated
former LTTE cadres to enable them to launch self-employment
ventures. The report went on to say that a little over 10,000
former LTTE combatants have been rehabilitated and returned to
mainstream society to date. Most of these persons have been
provided vocational training by the state and been equipped with
the necessary skills to lead a normal life.
Rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres constitutes only one
area in which the state’s normalization efforts are being
evidenced. To this must be added the state-powered development
drive in the North-East, the resettlement of the displaced in
their former homesteads, the building of rural amenities,
language reform, the curtailing of High Security Zones and a
host of other initiatives which speak volumes for the state’s
ongoing efforts at returning the country to normalcy.
It may be far from the case that the critical sections of the
West are not aware of these positive developments. They are
likely to be fully aware of them but the need to harass and
brow-beat Sri Lanka seems to be getting the better of them.
While the more enlightened sections of the world are of the
opinion that Sri Lanka must be given a chance to grow and
prosper and not be shackled to the past, this country’s critics
seem to be overzealous in denying it these opportunities. It is
a question of keeping Sri Lanka in what could be considered a
position of subjugation, thereby denying it the opportunity of
marching into a good future. Thus the ‘Empire’ is in a desperate
attempt to ‘strike back.’ The critics of this country are in an
effort to keep the ties of colonial subjugation firmly intact.
This is neo-colonialism at its height.
It is most unfortunate that attempts are thus being made to
politicize the UNHRC. Whereas it is the principal task of this
respected UN body to help in the fostering, protection and
perpetuation of Human Rights the world over, the sections who
are straining every nerve and sinew to deride Sri Lanka, could
do immense harm to this worthy cause of the UNHRC. They must
desist from this disastrous course if the respect and dignity of
the UN system is to be upheld.
This is of some relevance to our commentary of last Saturday,
where we spoke of the dangers inherent in efforts by the major
powers to undermine International Law and the time-honoured
principles in the conduct of international relations. Such
efforts could result in anarchy being unleashed in increasing
degrees the world over, because the Rule of Law would be
relentlessly undermined and the more volatile international
actors would take the law into their hands, although Sri Lanka
would remain staunchly on the side of law and order and justice.
Hopefully, therefore, a more enlightened approach would be
adopted by particularly the Western critics of this country
towards the issues facing Sri Lanka. We need to steadily
implement the LLRC recommendations while showcasing to the world
our achievements on this front. But Sri Lanka needs to adopt a
realistic approach in handling these questions.
The mighty of the world cannot be expected to adopt a
charitable attitude towards us, considering that what is at
stake for them is international power and influence. The
powerful are seeking to subjugate the developing world and this
must not be forgotten.
\However, the developing world too must clearly demonstrate
that it has the power at its command to blunt these designs of
the world’s mighty. Canvassing opinion among the developing
countries and winning their support is an approach that has to
be persisted with and we are happy this is happening.
The West must not be allowed to wield its power unjustly and
it is a united and strong developing world which could
neutralize such destabilizing tendencies.