Panduka SenanayakeSri Lanka: “Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and should be allowed to find its own long term and permanent solution to its ethnic problem without outsiders, forcing their will on the country,” said Veterinary Surgeon Noel Nadesan of Victoria commenting on the 23 March passage through the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva of the resolution on “Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.
Mr.Nadesan, from Sri Lanka’s ethnic minority Tamil community migrated to Australia in early 1987 and operates a successful veterinary practise. He edited and published a Tamil fortnightly newspaper and has written four books, one of which has been translated into English, on his experiences as a vet.
Copies of his newspaper had been burnt and he had been threatened over his moderate views by detractors. Following the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s conflict, Mr.Nadesan has built a small hospital at his own expense in the island of Eluvaitivu, his birthplace, in the country’s north.
He was confident of Sri Lanka finding its own home grown solution to the problem and said the Sri Lanka government has the power and the mandate from the people to do it. He said that the government has to have a proper long term plan on devolution and decentralisation of power, economy and culture.
He pointed out that the UNHRC’s resolution would turn out to be counter-productive because the US which brought the resolution, and its supporters were trying to foist their own solution on Sri Lanka.
He said that placing a time frame during which the country has to show to UNHRC, the progress it has made on implementing steps on accountability and reconciliation indicated a lack of trust on the Lanka government.
"Further, this would be considered a high handed act by some of the Sinhala nationalists. Since they cannot take on the mighty USA, they will hold the Tamils in the island responsible for this. Instead of bringing the two communities closer, this would drive the wedge further between them, “he said.
Asked if the time frame was placed to prevent the SL government from shirking its responsibilities and avoid accountability Mr.Nadesan was derisive. “It is a joke for America of all countries to speak of accountability.
They do not wish to be accountable and do not sign the international covenants that would hold their soldiers responsible for violations of human rights in action around the globe; but here they want to subject a small country, which fought a 30 year conflict against terrorism, accountable,” he said.
Of the accusation of `war crimes’ leveled against soldiers, Mr.Nadesan said that war brutalised people and this happened in all wars and all involved parties were responsible for the escalation of violence throughout the years . While it is difficult for the people affected, we should move on, he said.
However, highlighting some action of the soldiers towards the end of the fighting by some groups with vested interest was laughable he said.
If these groups cared at all, they should have done so from the beginning he said pointing out the attack and killing of prisoners at a Sri Lankan jail in 1987. There were many such incidents but none of these champions of human rights spoke out then, he pointed out.
Stating that the country’s own action on the Lessons Learnt and Re-conciliation Committee (LLARC) report to find solutions for a home grown solution was progressing he pointed out the rehabilitation and de-mining activities in the north-east have progressed very well.
He pointed out that the Tamil people of Sri Lanka will have to learn to live with the 81 percent of majority Sinhalese. Any one from outside who does not intend living in the country should not try to force a solution on that country.
Supporters of the resolution should not only talk about it but put money on the table and assist Sri Lanka to develop he said.
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© Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2012