The Sunday Leader

Irish MP Wants UK To Act On Lanka

Ian Paisley Jnr

An Irish parliamentarian has asked the British government to use its not inconsiderable international influence to advocate a patient approach in Sri Lanka.
Ian Paisley Jnr, a Member of Parliament for North Antrim, said Britain must also refuse to rush in with international declarations and resolutions that will not work, but to promote the model for an international approach based on an experience that did work.
“Ultimately the path to reconciliation can only be laid by the citizens of that country. The UK should look to plant the seeds of progress by allowing Sri Lanka to take the lead in addressing its own past,” he said in a statement.
The statement further said “The Sri Lankan parliament has begun debating the resolution from the UN Human Rights Council urging Sri Lanka to conduct an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during its battle against Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009.
On hearing of the UN passing the resolution the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, immediately hailed the council’s action, saying it encourages the government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward reconciliation following 27 years of civil war.
As someon e who has grown up in a war torn country I have some experience of what it is like to be a citizen in a place where the territory is disputed and where such a dispute brings conflict and eventually conflict resolution. Sri Lanka has emerged from a long and difficult conflict; now what is important is how it advances as a society today. Undoubtedly part of this will be measured by how willing Sri Lanka is to accept its past and progress to the future. However, I fear while many will welcome the decision by the UNHRC as a step in the right direction, determination to achieve their objective may well make achieving a lasting peace for the citizens of Sri Lanka less not more likely. The debate in Sri Lanka’s parliament will be fascinating to follow.
There is a fundamental question for someone such as myself who has seen their community follow a path of reconciliation: have international governments learnt nothing from building a lasting peace in Northern Ireland?
The resolution passed in Geneva is provocative and effectively commences the internationalisation of the internal politics of Sri Lanka. As we have seen in Africa with similar intervention by another body, the International Criminal Court, this can be destabilising and counterproductive. Such a move, no doubt well intentioned, has the potential to set back the difficult progress that has already been made.
Let me be clear, human rights violations, and allegations of atrocities anywhere, must be openly and transparently addressed by the local government in a manner that builds the confidence by all in that administration. However, there is more than one way to address this and the international community, by now, ought to appreciate the methods which work, achieving lasting settlements, and which escalate tensions thus creating further hurdles to reconciliation.
The strategy being pursued by the US is in stark contrast to the way administrations under Presidents Clinton and Bush assisted in the process of building a lasting peace process in Northern Ireland. Simply put, bullying did not work. Encouraging, cajoling and charming internal actors to step up to the mark and lead was what proved successful.
Steps that internationalise internal and historic problems – allowing external siren voices to dominate – will not lead to realistic progress in Sri Lanka. Some may point out how US senator George Mitchell was imposed as chairman of the talk’s process in Northern Ireland. But, the subtle fact is the role he played was sought by the sovereign government of the disputed territory. By contrast the US administration is attempting to force Sri Lanka to accept America’s regulations and “advice and technical assistance on implementing” the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) report, when the internal government has already commenced this process.
International governments must know when to push and when to hold back. Nothing sets back progress more than when communities feel they are being pressed by a foreign government to take action that they will take in their own time. I am the first to understand the impatience many feel with progress being made, but impatience should not be a substitute for diplomacy.
In Sri Lanka, a country emerging from 30 years of conflict, a more subtle and tested approach ought to be followed. The UK and USA have good cause to pursue such an approach when they consider what worked for Northern Ireland. The internal LLRC report made positive recommendations about building a credible reconciliation process that has the potential to build political confidence and judicial independence, thus enabling human rights. It is a step-by-step process that will lead to the necessary confidence to address allegations of military violations of human rights at the end of the conflict. The international community appears to be putting outcomes before process and, as we in Northern Ireland know, the long hard road to peace and reconciliation is process – not a single event.
It amazes me that, after the success of such a process here, the lessons are not always transferred abroad. Unduly rushing the process flirts with a breakdown that will benefit no one.
Patience is required with process politics. Ultimately justice will follow only by a process of evidence gathering, charges, trial, prosecution and punishment. Even in this process victims feel the slowness of progress but ultimately accept that the wheels of justice turn slow but they turn fine.
I would urge the UK government to use its not inconsiderable international influence to advocate a patient approach. To refuse to rush in with international declarations and resolutions that will not work, but to promote the model for an international approach based on an experience that did work. Ultimately the path to reconciliation can only be laid by the citizens of that country. The UK should look to plant the seeds of progress by allowing Sri Lanka to take the lead in addressing its own past.

25 Comments for “Irish MP Wants UK To Act On Lanka”

  1. Ravi Austalia

    We too have grown in north and know very well about SL Government. Killed own citizen using bombs and not expecting any new things as they did in last 64 years.British created the problems. It is a good lecture and thoughts from Irsih MP for a government really wants to do ,but SLgovernment will not do because they get votes from Singalese by showing the racism

    • Aussie

      IDIOT 1st class, you know nothing about the situation. Speak when you have something intelligent to say.

    • love2beTRAITOR

      just like i thought, whenever someone talk about Human rights in sri lanka, racist down south guys will talk about LTTE n tamil diaspora. they make LTTE n diaspora look like larger than life. even if obama talks about human rights, they still say LTTE n diaspora. these people dont understand human rights is to protect the people, so u dont get kidnapped in whote van tomorrow

  2. jaliya

    Like starting another terrorist campaign using M4 agents like “Adele Balasingham”?

  3. West is best

    But the corrupt Sri Lankan uneducated third world government cannot be trusted to implement anything.

  4. For truth and against thuggery

    This is Ian Paisley Jnr., folks! Do you remember who Ian Paisley Sr. was and the role he played as the MILITANT LEADER OF THE PROTESTANTS in Northern Ireland. It is unfortunate that this man’s REAL credentials were not mentioned while publishing this piece.

    This man and the rest of his kind played a most reprehensible role in the conflict in Northern Ireland, suppressing the minority Catholics and subjecting them to every kind of indignity possible. Perhaps, that’s why he is so free with the kind of advice he is providing the British government!

  5. kudu

    what Ian is saying is that the international community should look the other way

  6. Rajapassa

    Onna Babi billo enawa send that rat imbecile Mervin the world crumbling around the maha raja of the south four members of UNHCR leaving now this? Lol

  7. Rubert Vanderkoon

    Wow, like father like son, straight talk, meaningful and seriously honest, unlike the likes of Biliband, Simon Hughes and McDonagh.

  8. Gulflad

    Racist monks begining to destroy mosques/temples. Where can the minority worship.
    Sr ilanka leaders should resist such act vigorously.

  9. Rohan


    • For truth and against thuggery

      Why don’t you offer your services as an advisor to the Dambulla monks with whom you obviously share a common philosophy?

  10. nadarajah rajendra

    Dear Mr.I. Paisly MP
    We Tamils from Tamil Eelam have gave more than 60 years for Sinhalese(Sri Lanka) to plant the seeds of progress. It is enough. If you want to know the history of the Tamil Eelam, please contact me. I can give you lessons on the history of the Tamil Eelam.
    Thank you
    Nadarajah Rajendra

    • kandyan dancer

      so what?

    • vivek ananthan

      How about write the history of the Tamils of Sri Lanka impartially And make both the groups has a discussion befpre the details are accepted by both the groups?

    • Please see my Facebook comments under the above name.I am a Sinhalese
      Christian (Anglican) and my grandfather was a parish priest.
      I do not want to repeat ad nauseam what I have said in my Facebook.
      You are living in a fool’s paradise not having the capacity to put yourself in another man’s shoes.

    • suren

      O!!! Nadarajah you become a MP in Germany being a tamil tiger terrorist and if your eelam dreams come true you never leave Germany cos’ you are not a true Tamilian but an OPPORTUNIST

  11. Sangaralingham

    human psyche is mysterious. no consensus or agreement is reached certain segment group to upgrade their image even it turns out more irresonsible than their own psyche tell them as it it is well known they are seeikg false glory under pretext to be doing something but in reality they are not doing anything constructive stating some words and phrases condemning others who honestly want peace harmony. so things go on nothing happen countyry need unified approach to solve the problem. higher echeleons are responsible to act and behave bravely honestly to solve problems not behave in manners to underestimate the social fabric of the nation.
    the country is not alone or isoslated the world is watching via social cultural facebook twiiter google . let me alone concept is no longer there in this global world.

  12. Newton

    What a change? From Ian Paisley Snr. to Ian Paisley jnr. I remember very well questioning Senior Paisley in an event sponsored by LTTE in a foreign country like today. Senior Paisley’s verbal attack was so blunt and ferocious for questioning the credibility and sincerity of those involved in the LTTE movement. I said then one day “the Truth will prevail” in Sri Lanka. I was very happy and elated to read Paisley jnr’s comments. However, it is obvious Prabakaran’s brain child “Tamil Diaspora Inc” built on deceit, falsehood will never change their position. “Kotiya kale maru karata pulli wenas wenne Na”

  13. Max

    What an Idiotic response from Nadaraja.

  14. dagobert

    Finally some brains over brawn dawn from the West.

    Mr. Ian Paisely, thank you for your thought.

    People like Ravi, Nadaraja Rajendra, Gulflads MYOB, then country may progress.
    Read Raisa Wickremetunge’s Torch bearer on 29.04.2012 before opening yours gabs..

  15. pragmatist

    Dear Mr Paisley:
    Thank you for expressing your observations and thoughts on this matter and appealing to the UK and US govts to pursue a more patient approach, based on your own experience in Northern Ireland. What I perceive is that the Tamil Diaspora in UK and USA, most of them still on the war path, are driving the policies of UK and USA. You are absolutely correct in that Sri Lanka is being treated by USA and UK very differently than how Ireland was helped. Indeed, it will take a long time for all the wounds from a 30-yr brutal war to heal. Even good intentions will be looked at with suspicion, when they come from countries where policies/politicians are heavily influenced by the wierd unrealistic Eelam desires of the Tamil diaspora and their money.

  16. Sunanda Yosef

    Fat chance most Sri Lankans will approve of him. Even before this, Ian Paisley Jr has been heavily antiCatholic and Pres Rajapaksa’s wife is Catholic. He’s already angered even some minorities in Sri Lanka.

  17. Iqbal

    Peace and reconciliation in N.Ireland was made possible by negotiation under the chairmanship of US Senator George Mitchell whereas in Sri Lanka a similar Ceasefire Agreement facilitated by Norway was broken by the Sinhalese government and more than 40,000 Tamils were killed with heavy bombardment of hospitals and civilian targets by outlawed cluster bombs and phospharous bombs. Tamil areas are occupied by Sinhalese armed forces who abduct, torture and beat any Tamil who does not obey the orders.

    Building Buddhist temples and war memorials are speeded up while demolishing religious buildings of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Unless UN intervenes to establish law and order and reconciliation military triumphalism will destroy the language, culture and identity of ethnic minorities.

  18. c.mawalagedera

    well articulated mr.paisley.Tamil diaspora is not in touch with he tamil community in SL.Their aim is to amass the wealth at the expense of tamils in Sl.Diaspora is enjoying all the luxuries in the west they wish as and will never return to live there.
    So let those who want to be in SL decide their future.

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