Making Geneva Defeats Victories Of The Masses
By Vijitha Herath
The head of the Sri Lanka’s delegation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has already addressed the UNHRC summit. However, most of the ‘affairs’ of the council are not over yet. There have been views that these ‘affairs’ would not be auspicious to Sri Lanka. The government was in fear of the 22nd session of the UNHRC for; it was at this session Sri Lanka’s progress regarding the US resolution presented to the 19th session was to be reviewed. The government figured that the 22nd session would be held in two years time. It calculated that the 20th session would be held in 2013, the 21st in 2014 and the 22nd in 2015. However, UNHRC held two sessions last year erring government’s calculations.
Government’s fear of the session was due to its neglect of moving in accordance with the resolution adopted at the 19th session as it was engaged in carrying out other ‘affairs’. Among these ‘affairs’ was also the ‘task’ of removing the former chief justice and appointing one of its confidants to create a judiciary that would tow its line. According to international political sources the present session would be very disadvantageous to Sri Lanka due to its failure to act in accordance with the resolution passed at the 19th session and the bad conduct of the government during the year (undemocratic acts such as destroying the independence of the judiciary). The view of the human rights sector is that the conduct of the government of Sri Lanka has been so shameful that the countries that voted for it at the last sessions are in two minds regarding defending Sri Lanka at the present session.
It is possible to adopt one or several resolutions calling for international intervention in the country stating that the government had ignored acting in accordance with the resolution adopted at the 19th session and pointing out human rights violations and the attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary. A situation has been created so that such a proposal or proposals would be adopted with majority votes at the 22nd session and Sri Lanka would be left high and dry losing even the votes she received at the last session. It is the Rajapaksa regime, more than anyone else that is aware of this situation. The recent actions of the Rajapaksa government indicate this. However, all diplomatic manipulations to wriggle out of the situation seem to have been evaporated and it seems the regime is awaiting the consequences without any struggle.
This is an entirely opposite situation to the attempt the government made last year to show that it took great pains to defeat US led resolution. The government may have been dejected when India announced, before hand, that it would vote against Sri Lanka. The government, to win India to its side, had promised it would implement the 13th amendment. Also, President Rajapaksa visited India recently in an attempt to meet Indian leaders to get Indian support. However, he was unable to meet any important Indian leader though he met an official of RAW. There is no doubt that India will support the USA at the Geneva session.
As the outcome of the Geneva session is quite evident the government took a curious decision. It is not to participate for a losing battle but to avoid it; to accept defeat without any fight. Media spokesman for the government Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced to the media about a week before the sessions that no cabinet ministers will participate at the Geneva sessions but a team of officials will be sent. However, this decision was later changed. This was after it was known that officials cannot represent Sri Lanka at the UNHRC summit and only a government minister could do so. This is a good example of government’s lack of knowledge regarding diplomatic affairs. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had to rush to Geneva and he had the opportunity to speak on behalf of Sri Lanka. The government may have thought Mahinda Samarasinghe’s pro-USA stance would allow it to wriggle out of the situation.
However, his speech too included nothing new but what the government had been reiterating all these months. He said there were no displaced persons’ camps, all lands taken over would be returned in due time, all investigations are being carried out by security forces, there was a significant progress in Sri Lanka’s human rights sector and the government is acting in the most democratic, open and a transparent manner in all sectors. However, there is no doubt that the international community is fully aware that the truth is far from what he had stated. On the other hand a considerable length of time in the minister’s address was allocated to talk about the partiality of the Human Rights Council and its president. Although Minister Samarasinghe and the government could achieve self-gratification of lambasting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, it is very doubtful that the act harvested anything worthwhile diplomatically. For Navi Pillay, acts not on her personal whims and fancies but according to the agenda of the imperialists led by the USA.
Whatever hullabaloo is displayed on the surface the imperialists have no need to topple the Rajapaksa regime immediately. They are aware that the Rajapaksas are more than ready to fulfill the interests of imperialists and do a better job than Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP. What they need is to apply more pressure on President Rajapaksa and enter into a long-term political strategy of manipulating Sri Lanka according to their economic, political and military agenda. Until now they have manipulated President Rajapaksa and his government appropriately. Despite wearing a patriotic mask in the country for its existence, it cannot be hidden that the Rajapaksa regime acts according to the agenda of imperialists. The anti-imperialist act of Rajapaksa regime in front of UNHRC sessions in Geneva is only a screen to obscure its pro-imperialist stance. The government may be thinking that the mass opposition to it could be submerged in its anti-imperialist gimmicks.
Under these conditions defeating imperialist pressure on Sri Lanka and driving away the undemocratic government are no longer two struggles. This should be and could be done through one struggle. This struggle should be launched to defeat both pro-imperialist regime and imperialism at once. The quickness of building forces of progressive masses would quicken victories of the people.