The Sunday Leader

Govt Must Buckle Down And Get To Work -Karunanayake

  • Resolution based on past promises given by the govt

UNP Colombo District parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake says the government should not look at blaming others for the issues faced before the international community since the government needs to blame itself for the current situation. He observed that based on the promises made by the government to members of the international community, it is now on the government to walk the talk. “The government thinks that the international community could be intimidated by shouting like a village thug. If the government had an iota of interest in implementing the LLRC recommendations or the resolution, it would have done so by now,” Karunanayake said.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: What do you think of the country’s situation following the adoption of the latest resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva?
A: The resolution against the government of Sri Lanka is something called for by the government. It is based on the past promises given by the government. The international community has now called on the government to walk the talk. The government has forgotten that it is they who have made these promises to the international community. Mahinda Rajapaksa promised UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that he would implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Mahinda Rajapaksa promised the LLRC that the recommendations would be implemented and the report was ratified by the Cabinet of Ministers. Then the Indian External Affairs Minister during a visit to Sri Lanka in February 2012 was promised a political solution based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris confirmed this stance during a subsequent visit to India. It is the government that has given these promises. There’s no point in blaming others, the government needs to blame itself for the current situation.

Q: What are your views on the manner in which the government handled the situation at the UNHRC?
A: I frankly feel that it was handled in an unprofessional and uncouth manner with scant regard to the international community. There’s a sense of internationalization of diplomacy. The government does not have to bend before all external forces, but when the external forces are brought upon due to inaction internally, the government needs to take stock of things. The government handled the resolution at the UNHRC in an unprofessional and unprepared manner. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe did not know that he would be travelling to Geneva to attend the sessions until the last week. If there had been time, the government could have prepared its responses.
When the 2012 resolution was adopted, the opposition said it was an international issue and offered to work together with the government. The government however rejected the offer and has now got a bigger bashing. The sense of arrogance and ignorance of the government has brought upon this situation. The country’s External Affairs Ministry is outsourcing its activities and the government is now caught in its own web. There’s a de facto minister and a de-jure minister handling external affairs. The country’s foreign policy must be an extension of its domestic desires, but it is not so.

Q: Do you think the government would pay sufficient attention to the resolution given its past actions?
A: The government believes that the world is inside Sri Lanka when it is not so. The government thinks that the international community could be intimidated by shouting like a village thug. If the government had an iota of interest in implementing the LLRC recommendations or the resolution, it would have done so by now and not wait to get whipped again. The external pressures are because the government has given promises on a platter and when they are not done, the government is subject to scrutiny. The government thinks that it could fool the international community all the time, but it is not so.

Q: Are you in agreement that the implementation of the LLRC recommendations and the UNHRC resolutions would address the issues faced by the country?
A: The government has led to such a situation. The LLRC is a creation of the government for the government. When the Darusman report was released, the government came out with the LLRC report and ratified it by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The LLRC is not the solution to all that ails of the country, but it is a constructive way forward. As a responsible opposition, the UNP said it would support the government implement the recommendations of the LLRC. The report has 258 recommendations. We asked the government to do what was promised. This is a process formulated by the government; we are assisting a difficult process. LLRC is a good step to move forward and the UN resolutions are stemming from the government promises. The government needs to address these issues and rectify them.

Q: Would addressing concerns on human rights, accountability and democracy alone help the country?
A: No, far from it. That could have been so if there was a sense of democracy in progress. The country is moving away from democratic principles and is moving fast towards a dictatorial governing system. The establishment of human rights alone would not address the problems. It is basic rights that are needed. People need to be able to first live. People are finding it difficult to live. Basic rights are more important that human rights.

Q: What do you think the government needs to do at this stage?
A: The government needs to come down from its high cocky arrogance and understand that it is not a matter about whether the members of the international community likes or dislikes you. The government needs to learn what is on, buckle down and get to work. The government cannot antagonize its neighbour India, or trade partners in the EU. There is a necessity for a complete re-look and ensure that commitments made by the government themselves are implemented.

Q: What role will the UNP play?
A: Our job is to protect Mother Lanka since it is the country of the people. It is not our duty to be protecting a government that is flagrantly and blatantly violating the rights of the people. The country has been pushed to a state where a Buddhist monk, pilgrims, students and even sportsmen cannot visit India. The situation has now resulted in members of the Indian government calling for a separate state in Sri Lanka and the UK calling for a travel advisory against the country. These are the results of the government’s path. As I said we do not need to protect the government, but we have a duty to protect the country and its people.


1 Comment for “Govt Must Buckle Down And Get To Work -Karunanayake”

  1. mavin

    UNP has no moral right what so ever to make this nature of rubbish statement due to all of these guys are responsible for the current situation and still these guys go with TNA to insult the we all paying the price of UNP wrong it is the people who rejected your leadership same as last 20 years next election too.if you are interesting to protect the country an people first stop helping to TAN who is opening asking to have separate state in for Eelam.ASK YOUR LEADERS TO STOP THIS NATURE OF RUBBISH.

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