During the recently concluded election campaign for Executive Presidency, people witnessed extremely disturbing racist remarks directed at ethnic minorities, particularly against Tamils and Muslims, by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, inciting racism, with intention of swing majority Sinhalese voters towards him.
Post election Rajapaksa declared that the majority of his voters were Sinhalese and that his defeat was solely a result of the ‘terrorists’ supporting the main opposition candidate. This assertion is grossly unfounded and uncalled for as it has been intended to provoke controversy and racism amongst the people.
The people of the northern and eastern provinces overwhelmingly rejected his ‘divide and rule’ doctrine, whilst the substantial number of voters in the southern demographic voted against him for his blatant failure to observe the notion of good governance. His unpopularity stems from the undermining of the Judiciary, the lack of respect to the Rule of Law and the above all condoning corruption at an unfathomable scale.
The modern civilised world promotes freedom of speech; nevertheless, racial remarks direct or otherwise are not tolerated at all, especially by individuals holding high public office.
Sri Lanka can learn a lost from the proven vibrant democracy, the UK, the mother of social equality, a country with total population of 64 million. This is a good example where ethnic minorities from over 60 countries live in total harmony with the majority white community.
In the UK a zero tolerance system exists for any form of discrimination. The laws prevalent are comprehensive and discrimination of any person on race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, is absolutely forbidden and it covers education, employment, vocational training and access to goods, and other services as well. The relevant laws have been designed in such a way to cover four main types of racial discrimination, which include all forms of victimization and harassment. It also prohibits stirring up hatred against a person or social or social group and all authorities are required by law to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial groups.
The effect of law is far reaching as it includes provisions that should apply to all schools and other higher education institutions to produce race equality policies, with a written statement promoting equality.
The new administration elected to office must not show a blind eye to such dated and immoral ideology, which permits a social hierarchy where the majority dominate. Now given the opportunity the new regime must introduce political correctness by enacting stringent penal provisions by law against any form of racial abuse or discrimination whether verbal or physical with no exception.