Don’t allow Govt. to use ‘Geneva’ to obscure burning issues

The government should not be allowed to sweep under  the carpet the burning issues confronted by the masses by bringing up the human rights issue taken up in Geneva and having various dialogues about it says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (4th) to clarify the party’s stand on the resolution adopted at the UNHRC.

Speaking further Mr. Tilvin Silva said, “As the resolution regarding Sri Lanka was adopted in UNHRC in Geneva the government defines it as a victory it has achieved. Also, the government states there is no harm to the country as a result of adopting the resolution. On the other hand Mahinda Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa and the crowd say the situation is very critical. Both these parties are using the human rights issue for their political agendas. The government or other groups that are bankrupt politically do not analyze the issue with a thought to the country.

The JVP considers the taking up the issue, which is an internal affair of our country, for discussion in UNHRC and presenting an investigation report itself is damage to the country. Getting an internal affair of the country to discuss internationally is a harm committed by governments of this country. Who committed this harm to the country? The country was dragged to this precipice by Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and those around it. Mahinda Rajapaksa regime violated human rights drastically after the end of the war. Without stopping at that the human rights issue in the country was used for the political advantage of the regime. Mahinda Rajapaksa, at all elections, asked people to vote for him to give a message to the international community. He asked people to vote to save him from the ‘electric chair’. He lied to the people of the country as well as the international community.

Former regime murdered people who asked for their rights at Katunayaka, Chilaw and Weliweriya. These incidents were used by the international community to aim charges against our country. Journalists were assaulted, attacked and murdered. Media institutions were set on fire. These incidents too were used by UNHRC. Also, Mahinda Rajapaksa manipulated the judiciary. The trust on the judiciary was completely broken down. Also, the international community said it was not prepared to trust any internal investigations. As such, it was the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime that included the likes of Wimal Weerawansa, who shouts meaninglessly at present, that opened doors and created reasons for international community to interfere in our internal issues.

On 22nd May, 2009 a session of the UNHRC was held. Thirteen countries brought a resolution on Sri Lanka at this session. As a result the resolution the USA was planning to present was avoided. According to the resolution presented by the thirteen countries Sri Lanka promised to work with the UNHRC to protect human rights. Also, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa signed a joint statement with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23rd May, 2009 when he visited Sri Lanka. According to this statement Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to protect human rights in the country according to instructions from UNHRC. Mahinda Rajapaksa also agreed to devolve power according the 13th amendment. However, Mahinda Rajapaksa regime did not act according to the agreements reached. Instead, the regime carried out moves to boost his political power. In March 2010 Ban Ki-moon stating that the government of Sri Lanka was not fulfilling promises made appointed a special committee headed by Darusman to investigate human rights in Sri Lanka. During this period the Sri Lanka’s permanent representative in the UNO had tamashas with the member s of Darusman Committee. Also, certain individuals carried out bogus death fasts locally. Rajapaksa regime appointed LLRC commission against Darusman Committee in May, 2010. Meanwhile, Mahinda Rajapaksa who went on a visit to India in June, 2010 signed a joint statement with Indian Premier Manmohan Singh promising devolution of power according to the 13th amendment.  However, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not care for any of these agreements but had his own way of doing things. It is due to this series of moves that UNHRC has put forward its charges against Sri Lanka.

When LLRC report was released Nimal Siripala de Silva said the government believed that perpetrators should be punished after a legal proceeding if there was a human rights violation issue. The country has been burdened with an international investigation due to the failure of the government to act accordingly. Meanwhile, Ms. Navaneetham Pillay was invited to Sri Lanka in 2013. After a tour she said if the government of Sri Lanka failed to conduct an investigation regarding human rights violations an international probe would definitely be carried out. It is Mahinda Rajapaksa regime that made the issue worst. Rajapaksa played with the issue. He used it to protect his power. We are confronted with the consequences of his muddling.

There was an idea about a ‘hybrid’ court in proposals of UNHRC. It is such an environment that the US put forward a resolution.  We have to be considering whether or not the resolutions are favourable to the country. Now the government states what has happened is better than what was going to happen.  At a glance certain clauses in the adopted resolution seem to be good. However, certain proposals have left space to intervene in our affairs. Clauses that would harm our country in the future exist in the resolution. Hence, we believe that the report cannot be accepted in its entirety. There are several drastic points in the resolution. The report states the government did not have credible accountability and transitional justice mechanisms that meet international standards. It also states Sri Lanka would be urged to implement recommendations given in the report. The report recommends the establishment of an ad hoc hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators. The report further states the Northern issue should be solved according to the 13th amendment.

When taking these facts into consideration, it is obvious that the issue of the international community interfering in our affairs has not been solved. Who do we confront this challenge as a country? We should be alert regarding strategic targets of international mediations of western countries. Also, we should have our own strategic programme to confront interferences carried out by imperialists.

Also, we should frame a strategic programme as a country to confront interferences targeted by imperialists. Trying to evade such issues without doing having such a programme would not bring any solutions. It is on the strategic interest of western countries that an attempt is being made to make Sri Lanka submissive. They are on the lookout for opportunities. Former regime created such opportunities by violating human rights and abolishing democracy in the country. The USA, while carrying out murders in other countries, talks about human rights violations in our country. What governments in Sri Lanka should do is to close all doors they could enter the country.

As such, governments in our country should protect human rights. Also, just should be meted out for those who have been victims of human rights violations. Friendships of Ranil Wickremesinghe or Maithripala Sirisena with USA cannot solve these issues. The government should find local solutions for the issues of the country. Then the international community loses an issue to use against us. The institutional system in our country is quite adequate to carry out investigations regarding human rights violations in our country. What is necessary to do is to make judiciary independent and strengthen local investigations. Not carrying out an accepted investigation in the country would invite interference from the international community. International probe in whatever form should not be allowed. The governments in our country are morally bound to protect human rights in the country. We should be ashamed to allow other countries to point their finger at human rights violations in the country.

Hence, the government should mete out justice to the distressed. Legal action should be taken against offenders. The burning issues of the people in the North, who are at the center of this issue, have not been solved yet. These issues could have been solved during the ‘100 day’ government. However, even the present government doesn’t seem to take any action to solve the issues. The JVP has continuously presented proposals to solve the issues. The government does not act according to the mandate. Recently, we presented 20 proposals for the government as issues that should be solved immediately. In our proposals too we proposed a ‘truth commission’. However, the government just ignored it. Now when the USA states a ‘truth commission’ should be established the government accepts it. The government should be ashamed to carry out proposals presented by the USA when the same proposals presented by political parties in the country are ignored.

The issue of the disappeared has not been solved yet. Still there are political prisoners. While KP, a leader of the LTTE, is released, Tamil youths are imprisoned in camps. The international community could consider these facts as well. UNHRC could use these issues to bring up various resolutions against Sri Lanka. Hence, the government should find immediate solutions for these issues. The JVP strategically acted from the beginning of these issues. On 27th May, 2009 we put forward 14 proposals to Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. In it we proposed a council consisting of representatives of all political parties representing Parliament to develop the North and the East. Mahinda Rajapaksa just ignored such proposals. In the series of proposals we presented recently we have emphasized that a special mediation is necessary regarding the North. It is regrettable that the government has chosen to ignore such proposals.

We have not achieved any victory though the government claims so. There is a danger to the country behind the adopted resolution. We should recognize this. The government should recognize eh danger and act accordingly. The government, without trying deception should act truthfully. The law should be implemented justly. The government is trying to create a big dialogue regarding human rights issue taken up in Geneva to  sweep under  the carpet the burning issues confronted by the masses. Various dialogues and forums have been allowed to mushroom. There are other issues that have come up in the country. The government has cast aside investigations regarding serious frauds and corruption that took place during the former regime. There is suspicion that the attorney General is biased towards the moneyed. The suspicion towards the judiciary in the country is growing.  The government that does not investigate frauds and corruption taking measures to carry out a fair investigation regarding violations of human rights is suspicious.

Meanwhile, the country is confronted with a colossal economic crisis. The rupee has come down. The situation has become critical due to the destruction the previous regime carried out on the economy. Foreign debt has increased; the interest installment has gone up and foreign reserves have come down. As a result the rupee has falling drastically. The prices of goods are rising. Due to this crisis the present government following the previous regime is burdening the people with taxes. The Minister of Health comes out with marvelous theories of increasing prices of food items to improve health of the people. This leads to increase in prices of sugar, flour and oil. The way the government is acting only Ridge Gourd and snake gourd would be free of taxes. All other good would be taxed. Hence this government should be pressurized to give solutions for burning issues in the country while solving human rights issues.

The Information Secretary of the JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath also was present.

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