The Sunday Leader

Live It Up With Conspiracies…

By Vijitha Herath MP

UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Navaneetham Pillay left Sri Lanka on Sunday (1) evening confirming what I discussed in an earlier article. The article ended stating, “The government, in its election stages, moans that there are conspiracies being hatched against it.

However, it is the government that is conspiring by giving more opportunities for imperialism (and the ‘conspirators’ the government complains about) to interfere in the affairs of the country. It is the Rajapaksa government that has paved the way for the types of Pillay to pulverize the country.”
Navaneetham Pillay gave a thundering knock on the government’s head before she left Sri Lanka after her weeklong visit here.

Pillay concerned over authoritarianism

Speaking at the media conference held in Colombo on August 31, Pillay made several allegations against the government. She said “although the fighting is over, the suffering is not … physical reconstruction alone will not bring reconciliation, dignity, or lasting peace … the country is heading in an authoritarian direction … democracy has been undermined and the rule of law eroded … surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka … critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced … a more holistic approach is needed to provide truth, justice and reparations for people’s suffering.” Pillay also expressed concern about media freedom, incomplete investigations into disappearances and abductions, attacks on civil protests, issues of sexual harassment of women and harassment of human rights defenders.

She said people wanted to know the truth about the disappeared, and expressed her concern regarding the non-inclusion of ‘white van’ disappearances in the LLRC report. She called for an intensive investigation into the Weliweriya incident, and stated that bringing the police department under the President would not serve the purpose of detaching it from the defence ministry. She also expressed her concern regarding the prevalence of the military and its level of involvement in what should be civilian activities, including education, agriculture and tourism.

These allegations needn’t have been left for the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights to point out to the people. For many of them were pointed out to the government and the people by the JVP in 2009, within a week of the end of the war.

Many others were pointed out to the government by political parties, the media and intellectuals. If the government had even an iota of intelligence, it could have understood what the people in the country pointed out. Instead, the government had to invite Pillay and provide her with all the facilities to go round the country to hear these accusations. The government, without listening to the people, has allowed a stateswoman to point out what it has failed to do for the people in this country.
Government’s haste

The High Commissioner of Human Rights is a post recognized by all 193 member countries of the UN. It being held by a South African of Indian Tamil origin, or international organizations being pressurized by imperialism, is irrelevant when extending our hospitality to a person who visits our country.

As a civilized country, and as a member of the UNO, we should have given her the due respect. Fidel once said “be principled, there should be a policy for you and for your enemy. Attack the enemy hard but do not insult him.” However, the government invited her, and when she came, insulted her for the enjoyment of the gallery.

The humiliation went as far as Minister Mervin Silva publicly coming out with a marriage proposal to her.
Another instance that exposed the government’s lack of diplomacy, and its idiocy, was when security personnel were deployed to visit civilians who met Pillay during her visit to the North. The government’s haste was so that they could not wait until Pillay had left the island; the result made room for another serious allegation against the country.

At the press conference held on August 31, Pillay said, “I would now like to turn to a disturbing aspect of the visit, namely the harassment and intimidation of a number of human rights defenders, at least two priests, journalists, and many ordinary citizens who met with me, or planned to meet with me. I have received reports that people in villages and settlements in the Mullaitivu area were visited by police or military officers both before and after I arrived there.

In Trincomalee, several people I met were subsequently questioned about the content of our conversation. This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced. Utterly unacceptable at any time, it is particularly extraordinary for such treatment to be meted out during a visit by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

I wish to stress that the United Nations takes the issue of reprisals against people because they have talked to UN officials as an extremely serious matter, and I will be reporting those that take place in connection with this visit to the Human Rights Council.” It is not convenient for any country to get such a character certificate from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights!

Pseudo-anti-imperialism playacting

The President may yell on stages saying he is not a dictator, but it would be meaningless and Geneva would not hear it as Pillay’s words would reverberate through the halls. The President attempts to say that he is not a dictator as he is holding numerous elections. However, many dictators, including Hitler, began their path to dictatorship merchandising nationalism.

They won elections using dictatorial schemes. Elections are held while masses are unable to struggle for their just rights, the media cannot express the truth, the Army interferes in civil activities and intelligence sections are deployed for election activities. Such moves not only invite the likes of Pillay to the country, but are harmful to the people in the country. For it would deteriorate democracy, as well as create an environment for imperialist intervention in the country.

The pseudo-anti-imperialism of the government is to deceive the public; to plunder votes so that they could be in power. On the other hand the likes of Pillay also lambast the government to give credibility to its playacting. The moves of the government indicate it acts in league with imperialism. At a time imperialist interferences have brought about destruction, carnage and sorrow to many parts of the globe, nobody could support a double dealing government.

Imperialist agendas cannot be defeated by defending a Rajapaksa government that is prepared to jump to any stinking pit to gain power. It is necessary to establish a genuine and humanitarian people’s government in the country. Foreign interventions that would occur on the pretext of protecting human rights could be defeated only by establishing such a government.

3 Comments for “Live It Up With Conspiracies…”

  1. DMR Gunawardene

    This ignorant stupid third world govt have not learnt a lesson and I don’t think will ever. Their stupidity has over taken sense at the expense of the people. Can’t wait for the international enquiry to commence.

  2. CW

    Ms Pillay, If I had an iota of brain or shame, I would not make judgements against these unproven allegations, if I was a person of Tamil origin.

  3. gamarala

    Elections alone are not a complete sign of democracy – many dictaters do hold “elections”.
    How elections are ,is the cornerstone of democracy.
    Sri lanka has NEVER had a fully free and fair election since independence.
    Now the Governer of the nothern provice is campaigning in the north,and the army is intimidating TNA candidates and voters.

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