“India has made an immense contribution to the North. We believe, therefore, that India has a moral responsibility to support Lanka”, said External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris in an interview with Hindustan Times.
It is in her interest, no less than in ours, to ensure that there is a stable, long-lasting settlement. To do anything that would polarize an already complex situation would be a mistake, the Minister has said.
Speaking of the US resolution, the Minister has said that not everyone is pursuing Sri Lanka and pointed out that during his recent visit to Japan, the Japanese officials were amazed by the progress Sri Lanka has made in a short period of time since the war ended in May 2009.
He has said the Japanese officials were amazed that thousands of Tamils including 595 LTTE child soldiers have been reintegrated, demining is almost complete and schools are running.
QUESTION: On March 21, the US will introduce a tough resolution at the UNHRC to make Sri Lanka culpable of human rights violations during the war against the LTTE. What is Colombo doing to convince countries not to support it ?
ANSWER: Not everyone is pursuing Lanka. I just returned from Japan. Officials there are amazed at the progress within just three years since the end of war.
Thousands of Tamils, including 595 child soldiers, have been reintegrated, demining is almost complete. In how many countries of former conflict — many of whom are supporting the US resolution — have you seen such speedy work?
QUESTION: India is likely to vote against Lanka again. Will there be repercussions on bilateral ties?
ANSWER: India has seen and made an immense contribution in the north. We believe, therefore, that she has a moral responsibility to support Lanka.
It is in her interest, no less than in ours, to ensure that there is a stable, long-lasting settlement. To do anything that would polarize an already complex situation would be a mistake.
QUESTION: Human rights organisations, too, slam Sri Lanka. Journalists have disappeared, the SLA allegedly tortured Tamils.
This is not about moral issues. It is a vicious political campaign. The war is over, but for those who funded and nurtured the Tigers, only the modality has changed, not the objective.
We have evidence of threatening letters written by such overseas Tamils to their local MPs. We have proof of foreign MPs who repeatedly attacked us, taking on paid jobs with LTTE-friendly groups after their term.
The diaspora also commands a media network. Those ‘missing’ journalists showed up in other countries.
Cases of alleged abuse that HRW gave us in Japan turned out to be uncorroborated applications for asylum.
QUESTION: What about the latest Channel 4 footage showing Prabhakaran’s dead son? Your military authorities are reportedly examining it. So is it authentic after all?
ANSWER: We have never refused to examine any new material brought up, even though our past experience shows that these videos were fakes.
But why is it that Channel 4 material invariably surfaces on the eve of events like the UNHRC session? If you have incriminating material, why not put it all up? Why in instalments?
Is it admissable for an independent body like the UN to screen a film by a private party and accept it as evidence without conducting its own forensic investigation?
Definitely not. The UN is supposed to be an impartial body. UNHRC chief Navanethem Pillay called for a probe into human rights violations by our army a week after the war ended.
What evidence could she have possibly gathered within seven days? We invited her to Lanka two years ago to assess the situation herself. She laid some conditions — which we fulfilled — and promised to come. We are still waiting.