Accountability applies to West too
Human rights have now turned out
to be an effective tool for the so-called big countries to intimidate
small countries to suit their hidden agendas.
Amnesty International (AI) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have more
often than not used this tool effectively to fall in line with Western
conspiracies and tame countries which the so-called big nations identify
as 'threats' or challenges.
Has Sri Lanka too been categorised under this group, chiefly due to
the fact that it accomplished a successful battle against naked
terrorism, apparently against the wishes of the West? When powerful
nations in the West turned a Nelsonian eye on Tiger terrorists exploding
powerful bombs targeting civilians, Sri Lanka had no option but to
launch its own battle against terrorism with the support of friendly
It is now manifest that some organisations and certain countries with
vested interests are attempting to 'use' the United Nations Human Rights
Council (UNHRC) to achieve their ulterior motives. LTTE poltergeists,
shadow organisations and a section of the Tamil diaspora are hell-bent
on going ahead with their action plan at the UNHRC through their
influential governments in the West. Politicians in some of these
countries pandered to Tiger sympathisers as they rely heavily on the
votes of these 'adopted' Tamils for their political survival.
HRW, AI and the UNHRC demonstrate a keenness to protect international
human rights. On the contrary, however, the conduct of these
international human rights watchdogs has become highly controversial. AI
and HRW are seemingly biased and employ double standards in their
operations. Their observations woefully lack political neutrality and
their research methods are ambiguous.
HRW's recruitment of unqualified workers has also affected the
credibility of its recent report. It reflects its hidden agenda before
passing judgement on others. Hence, international organisations such as
the UNHRC and the US and UK should not merely rely on AI or HRW's
one-sided reports. Quaint expressions such as 'estimate', 'possibly' and
'probably' are used extensively in these concocted reports to mislead
AI and HRW are notorious for passing judgement on human rights
conditions of a country or region through tinted glasses. It is more
baffling that it turns a blind eye to human rights issues in some
countries while it comes down hard on others.
The American press even quoted a human rights insider in the United
States as saying that the HRW caters its reports to the US government,
which greatly affects its objectivity.
The US government has been over-emphasising its so-called values in
diplomacy, by playing the human rights record ad nauseum against
countries and regimes which it doesn't favour for reasons best known to
it. In this regard, the HRW and AI interests fall in line with the US
diplomatic strategy, despite its INGO status.
The US should first and foremost make its own assessment and take
stock of the human rights violations of the US-led NATO forces in Iraq
and Afghanistan, apart from the drone attacks in Pakistan. What action
has the US taken against such indiscriminate aerial attacks which have
killed thousands of hapless civilians?
Rather than putting its own house in order, these self-same countries
weep buckets of tears over the human rights of LTTE terrorists who had
been engaged in a relentless war against a legitimate Government. It is
in this context that we stress that human rights have now turned out to
be an effective tool for powerful nations to intimidate small countries
to suit their hidden agendas.
Marc Garlasco, a reputed expert for investigation of war crimes in
the Middle East, who was employed by the US Pentagon for seven years as
a senior analyst of Iraqi intelligence, acknowledged that he had been
involved in over 50 air attacks which missed its targets and killed
hundreds of civilians.
An air strike targeting Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Chemical
Ali, because of his use of chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds, on April 5,
2003 in Basra missed its target and killed 17 civilians. This is merely
one of the numerous examples but there are more flagrant violations of
human rights in the recent past by the US-led forces. Regrettably, no
one questions the American Forces' for such violations and
accountability. Certain Western countries, which shout from the rooftops
over human rights issues, should first practise what they preach.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka had acted in a highly responsible and
transparent manner when it conducted its humanitarian operation, having
maintained a zero civilian casualty rate at all times. Sri Lanka's
democratically elected Government has a sacred duty to protect its
people and safeguard the country's unity and territorial integrity.
It is now time that the West ceases its grave-digging campaign and
extends a hand of solidarity and goodwill to Sri Lanka in its
reconciliation efforts. It should, ungrudgingly, commend Sri Lanka's
exemplary role as the first country to eradicate terrorism.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UPFA Government are making a
sincere effort to usher in a better tomorrow for all communities in Sri
Lanka. It would be far better if those who level various allegations
against Sri Lanka tour the North and the East and see for themselves the
progress the nation has made in reconciliation and resettlement.
Top priority has been given for infrastructure development projects
while thousands of ex-LTTE cadre have been rehabilitated and integrated
into the mainstream society. The recommendations of the Lessons Learnt
and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) are now being implemented and the
Parliamentary Select Committee would seek solutions for the genuine
grievances of the people in the North and the East.
As Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe quite rightly told the UNHRC last
week, there was no justification or urgency whatsoever to float a
resolution calling for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations
and engagement with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights when this
has already been effectively undertaken by the Government. Sri Lanka has
taken tangible steps in implementing the recommendations of the domestic
process, barely two months after the LLRC Report was made public.
Certain countries and international organisations, which turn a blind
eye to all these stark facts, continue to exert undue pressure on Sri
Lanka to 'protect' the human rights of terrorists who had butchered
thousands of innocent people, including women, children, religious and
world leaders. They made a desperate attempt to denounce Sri Lanka,
perhaps, because it scored a first in eradicating terrorism.