Rajapaksa family to blame for Sri Lanka’s current plight - UNP

Rajapaksa family to blame for Sri Lanka’s current plight - UNP

March 28, 2014   06:05 pm

The United National Party (UNP) today accused the government of “playing a dangerous game” with the present human right situation concerning Sri Lanka and risking the wellbeing of the entire nation for mere “political expediency.”

“Confirming our worst fears, the President has himself publicly admitted recently that he does not care at all about the challenges in the human rights arena which culminated on the 27th with a vote concerning Sri Lanka in Geneva,” the party said in a statement.

“The President’s sole interest by his own admission is on a victory delivered to him at the Provincial Council election due two days later,” it said.

The Statement Further Reads: “It is now crystal clear that the regime set the date for the Provincial Council election for the 29th of March in the full knowledge that it would face a resounding humiliation in the international arena in the week preceding the election.

It is nothing short of despicable that the Rajapaksa administration has chosen to turn a major crisis facing Sri Lanka internationally into a political rallying point in order to consolidate power.

The recent arrest, especially of two human rights defenders, who were later released without charge, raises the natural question as to whether the regime intentionally sabotaged its own chances in Geneva to galvanize its support base ahead of the election. There is no other rational reason for a regime that is already under international scrutiny to act in such a self-defeating fashion.

It is deeply ironic, to say nothing of the hypocrisy that senior members of the ruling Rajapaksa regime, who rant about the agendas and conspiracies of the West in general and America in particular, continue to cling to their American citizenship. If America is Sri Lanka’s most dangerous enemy internationally, who has sworn greater allegiance to the enemy state but the chest-thumping, patriotic siblings of the President who are naturalized citizens in the US? We call upon the great patriots, to renounce their US citizenship, even as they call upon the Sri Lankan people to express their displeasure against America at Saturday’s election.

The UNP has repeatedly called on the regime to address the human rights challenges facing this country with the credibility and seriousness they deserve. The UNP has repeatedly extended its support to address these challenges and urged that by restoring public faith in the rule of law and independence of the judiciary, the Government can secure a degree of credibility for domestic inquiries into allegations against the country and its armed forces. We have urged the regime to reverse the draconian 18th Amendment to the constitution and restore the 17th Amendment that sets up independent institutions. We have urged the Government to uphold media freedom, protect the people’s right to information, stop the intimidation and harassment of dissidents and political opponents and prevent arbitrary arrest and killings during democratic civilian protest.

The UNP, as a responsible opposition has also consistently warned that the eventual victims of these international actions will be the ordinary citizens of this country.

The wealth accumulated by the Rajapaksa family and their cronies have already been well safely secured. The ordinary people do not have similar safeguards. International action that is generalized and targeting Sri Lanka as a whole will be a burden the Sri Lankan people will be unable to bear.

The regime has spurned all of our offers. In doing so it has opened the doors for international intervention. Through the illegal impeachment of the Chief Justice and making a mockery of the judiciary the regime has amply demonstrated to the world that Sri Lanka is incapable of addressing human rights issues domestically. The regime has repeatedly denied and rejected all the allegations being brought against it. They believe that hostile rejection and dismissal will work to persuade the international community. The Rajapaksa administration is about to learn a bitter lesson in international politics, and it will be a hell of its own making.

Whether it was regarding the killing of civilians in the North during the final phase of the war or the massacre of civilians asking for safe drinking water in the South, there is little hope of justice for the victims from this regime or the puppet Judiciary it controls. These twin factors remain the fundamental reason for Sri Lanka’s plight in the international arena today. Let us be absolutely clear; irrespective of the chest thumping rhetoric about international conspiracies, anti- Sri Lanka UN officials, omnipresent and omnipotent Tamil Diaspora and all kinds of purported enemies, the sole blame for Sri Lanka’s current plight lies with the ruling Rajapaksa family. It is they that undermined Sri Lanka’s judiciary, it is they who permitted civilian protestors to be shot in cold blood and they who have consistently, determinedly refused to read the writing on the wall for five years.”

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