Response to US Ambassador’s remarks
- By The Nation
- Saturday, 13 April 2013 02:00
US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Michele J Sison, addressing the Foreign Correspondents’ Association last week, warned that if the Government fails to address concerns regarding human rights and accountability as contained in the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka in Geneva, and furthermore does not show progress in reconciliation matters, the international community will be compelled to consider other options. She also warned that Sri Lanka could very well see a return to war if these issues are not adequately addressed. The Nation solicited opinions from several individuals who hold different perspectives on this matter.
Sri Lanka doesn’t have to dance to US’s tune-Gomin Dayasiri
Sri Land does not have to dance according to the US tune. What needs to be done is to act in the best interest of the country and its citizens. For this to happen, we should implement those recommendations of the LLRC that are beneficial to the country within a framework that we ourselves design. I believe that in the next phase of this process we will see India playing a far more prominent role than the USA. Today, we can see even the Indian Opposition submitting to the dictates of Tamil Nadu in order to further their selfish and greedy political agenda. Implementing the LLRC would help solidify the support extended to Sri Lanka in Geneva by those countries that stood with us.
UNHRC should help protect Human Rights- Dr. Prathibha Mahanamaheva
Every member of the United Nations enjoys independence and has the right to assert its own identity. Accordingly, the policy of the UNHRC should not be to act against a member state and isolate but rather to help that country strengthen mechanisms to protect human rights. The USA is but one member state. However strong they may be economically, in terms of UN representation, they are as equal to a small state like Sri Lanka. They have essentially operated as though on contract by the pro-Eeelam sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates. Having failed to get the UNHRC to adopt a resolution against Sri Lanka in 2009, partly due to the good relations we had with India at the time, they have used Jayalalithaa to turn things against us. The LLRC recommendations cannot be implemented overnight. It is likely that the US will further petition the UNHRC against Sri Lanka in October this year. Similar resolutions against Israel and Cuba have been passed but these countries were not perturbed. We have to keep in mind that the manufacturing of crises in this manner is not prompted by any special love or regard for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, but greed for our resources, our territorial waters. If we implemented the LLRC and educated the international community through our diplomatic missions we can stump these moves by the USA.
All countries have right to chart own destiny- Dr. Dilantha Vithanage
The LLRC Report was compiled subsequent to a Government initiative. No foreign country needs to interpret, demand and interfere with respect to this document. All countries have the right to chart its own destiny independently. No one likes to be browbeaten and bullied. We are totally opposed to such maneuvers. Our organization will not hesitate to support all measures aimed at resolving problems faced by our citizens, regardless of the ethnic identity or religious faith. We are opposed to threats and condemn them without reservation. We need of course to operate in such a manner that there is no return to war. Similarly, resettlement should be done in a way that the rights of all stakeholders are upheld.
Why should we fear economic sanctions- Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera
This is not news. This is something that has frequently and for long been articulated by those who stand for the division of this country. We will not be subdued by such statements and threats. Those who articulate such things should never forget that we are a sovereign nation. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be repealed. Neither should we fear economic sanctions. Both Government and citizenry must be ready to face such challenges. If the Government acts in any manner that subverts our sovereignty, we will oppose it and take whatever steps necessary.
Defence Secretary opines…..
The Government clarified its stance over the numerous requests and demands to recommence a dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on political devolution and asserted the necessity of correctly identifying the TNA politically. Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, commenting on the US Ambassador Michele J. Sison’s assertion, said that the US still had not realized that the TNA was playing politics with the issue.
Ambassador Sisons at a recent gathering in Colombo highlighted the necessity of strengthening those who are still pursuing a separatist agenda, both here and abroad, and the Defense Secretary questioned her understanding of post-war situation in Sri Lanka. He pointed out that Prabhakaran compelled the TNA to recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of Tamil speaking people way back in 2001 and the same fact kept the TNA out of the Norwegian-led negotiating process. He emphasized that the TNA had regained its right to represent Tamil speaking people again only after the eradication of the LTTE in May 2009. Until then, the TNA simply acted as the LTTEs mouthpiece both here and abroad, he said.
Sison had been invited to speak on ‘The next steps for U.S. engagement with Sri Lanka’ where she had claimed that the US will renew its consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond. She had also taken time to speak more on the resolutions on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. Ambassador Sisons who appreciated the LLRC said that the government had failed to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and that this was also a reason to go for a second resolution.
The Defense Secretary offering a long description of LTTE’s behavior in the past said that those who demand accountability from the Government, keep strangely silent on the TNA’s role during the conflict. Defense Secretary Rajapaksa also charged that the US, although proscribing the LTTE has been working with LTTE operatives at different levels.