News Line

    Go to Home Back
Email this to a friend
Printable version
saturday, March 24, 2012 - 12.31 GMT

HR physicians must heal themselves of hypocrisy

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake


The forces ranged against Sri Lanka have had their day. It is now up to us to have our way. The long exercise in battering Sri Lanka in Geneva is over. Those who carried the day will have their moment of triumph. But their success is evanescent.

If reconciliation in Sri Lanka is the catchword, rather than the theme of their actions, they may well find that what they have done is to make the process harder for Sri Lanka. These pyrrhic victors have not only pushed back the process of reconciliation on which great hope remains in the country.

As Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, the President's Special Envoy on Human Rights and the leader of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC in Geneva stated so aptly in his concluding statement: "This resolution if adopted will not add value to the implementation process in Sri Lanka; on the contrary, it may well be counter-productive and, as such, those who have been using extreme pressure tactics in garnering support for this ill-timed and unwarranted initiative should be mindful of the responsibility that accompanies it."

Stability and peace

Yet these are not people or forces that are mindful of any such responsibilities. From the outset of the campaign against Sri Lanka they have been mouthing shibboleths about Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Values. Every one of those who were active in promoting this resolution have with them a huge burden of violations of these very same values. It is the same in that other cheap slogan of accountability that those from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been targeting Sri Lanka with.

That is why Minister Samarasinghe had remind the UNHRC that despite Sri Lanka's exemplary record of interaction with the Council, "Sri Lanka has been selectively targeted by certain countries at the behest of some who, we believe, still bear resentment at the clear and decisive decision taken at the Special Session in 2009. This attempt to undermine the Resolution of 2009 is unacceptable especially because of the continuing improvement in Sri Lanka during the intervening period. A resolution that dwells on the past will impose on this Council the character of an adjudicatory body, with no limitation as to its competence to reopen and revisit matters of the past, which could have consequences affecting many others. Those who live in glass houses, Madam President, are best advised to exercise caution before throwing stones.
"After 30 long years of instability and violence, we have achieved stability and peace. We need to be given time to further consolidate the clear progress that has been achieved in a short period of three years.

"It is against this backdrop that my country is compelled to face a misconceived, unwarranted and ill-timed draft resolution, which embodies several harmful elements that clearly violate important principles that will have adverse ramifications, not only for my country, but many other countries.

This is why, Madam President, we took a decision, on a matter of principle, that we will not accept such a Resolution, in an endeavor to also ensure that a bad precedent is not established by this Council," he said with compelling eloquence.

International law

There were important words of caution too in Sri Lanka's final assessment of what was taking place in Geneva, at the behest of forces that have never been interested in the genuine promotion of Human Rights, but the use of this slogan for political or tactical gain. The words of caution were that: "The way in which we will deal with this matter today will decide whether or not purely parochial, if not political, agendas far removed from the promotion and protection of human rights, will be permitted to prevail.

" In having our say, as we begin to make our way in the aftermath of this hypocrisy and duplicity on Human Rights and international law, it was necessary for the leader of the Sri Lankan delegation to state that: "When we look at this draft resolution, it is clear that the founding principles of the Human Rights Council which are anchored in universality, impartiality, cooperation, non-selectivity and objectivity, are being assailed. If we are true to our consciences, it is not difficult to concede that the situation in Sri Lanka does not warrant the attention and criticism in this Resolution. We are clearly justified in asserting that we require time to realize comprehensive reconciliation.

"This Resolution also runs counter to the principle of international law that domestic remedies must be exhausted and should be the first resort, prior to superimposing external mechanisms. In respect of Sri Lanka's situation, it is barely three months since the presentation of the domestic mechanism's report. Is it fair for this Council to pre-judge our commitment to all aspects of the domestic process at this juncture? Shouldn't we be given the time and space to continue this process of implementation and of reconciliation without undue interference?

Justice and respect

"If this proposed intrusion is accepted by this Council, no domestic process would be free to deliver on its mandate unimpeded. Instead, a superimposition of an external mechanism would become the order of the day. I ask the question: Madam President, would all delegations in this Council subscribe to such abdication of sovereign responsibility and permit a usurpation of an independent nation's prerogative to act in its people's paramount interests?"

These are indeed question of paramount importance to all countries as the interest in genuine Human Rights rather than the excuse for it that is promoted by the United States and its old and new allies today. The use of the UNHRC to make a mockery of these cherished principles of Human Rights and International Law can soon come to haunt many other countries, both near and afar. There will be other 'Diaspora' emerging in the not too distant future, who will also demand and gain the attention of these preachers of 'Western' democracy and questionable 'accountability'.

The concluding remarks by Minister Samarasinghe were reassuring in its commitment that the government of Sri Lanka will spare no effort to safeguard the sovereignty and independence of the motherland. As we defeated terrorism through resolute and united action, we will dedicate our efforts to guaranteeing equality, dignity, justice and respect of each and every Sri Lankan, who have reposed their trust in our vision for the future. May I add, Madam President that no one has to remind us of this responsibility.

Similarly, he was ready to expose the pretense of the resolution's proponents and the dangers their attitude poses to Asia's oldest democracy, when he said: "We have defeated one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits after 30 years of conflict to free our people. Ironically, proponents and sponsors of this resolution are among those who have proscribed the LTTE and who now seek to give comfort to the proxies of the organization. The impact would be to encourage them to resume their activity under the protective umbrella of these countries and also to undermine a long-standing, well established democracy such as Sri Lanka.

"Finally, Madam President, the resolution before this Council for consideration is not acceptable to Sri Lanka as the country concerned. To the sponsor and co-sponsors of this resolution, I say: "Physician, heal thyself".

Protests and demonstrations

It was a strong reminder of what ails those who were so active in promoting this resolution. Deeply afflicted by insincerity and duplicity, and being so paranoid in their readiness to please the agents of terror, who have not had the least regard for democracy or the right to life of Sri Lankans from all walks of life; they suffer from the arrogance of being part of a self-proclaimed international community.

They are tasked with healing themselves, before they seek to mend the ways of those who come from a society that has a rich tradition of humanitarian values, and a culture of tolerance and understanding, unlike the 'Diaspora' of terror they champion today.

The protests and demonstrations we saw throughout the country and abroad as the duplicity at Geneva kept dragging on, produced many a good slogan. One that caught my mind said "War of Terror: We have won, they are on the run". But what struck me most was at the Satyagraha near the Fort Railway Station that said "Obamaata pragnava saha karunava pahalaveva" which means "May Obama acquire wisdom and compassion".

As the voting in Geneva showed there are many more than him to whom this applies, including those who are affected by 'coalition compulsion' in the face of regional racism and humiliating electoral defeat, with more promise of such defeats.





Contact Information:: Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: March 24, 2012.

Copyright 2008 Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.