29 September, 2020

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Rajapaksa: Then And Now

By Mangala  Samaraweera –

Mangala Samaraweera

The UNHRC, on March 22, adopted by majority consent, a resolution on the implementation of recommendations of Sri Lanka’s president appointed LLRC. Responsible officials of the government and the state media continue to describe the adoption of the resolution as a massive defeat for the country, alleging that pro-LTTE nations jealous of Sri Lanka are behind it and that it is a big challenge and threat to the national sovereignty and an illegal interference of internal affairs by the international community.

The increasing interdependency of states is a key feature of international relations today. Sri Lanka and all other civilized nations have accepted through international conventions that the international community has the ability to intervene if a country denies its citizen’s democratic rights and represses them.

The Westphalian notion of sovereignty, based on the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 which articulates the principal of non intervention of one state in internal affairs of another state, is no more absolute in the modern world.

Today this notion has been replaced by the notion of responsible sovereignty by which a nation can be held accountable if it abuses the rights of its citizens.

For example, we do not have the right to assault or kill a brother or a child of our own inside our house and when the police intervenes, to say that this is my home, therefore you have no right to interfere, and run away from the law.

As a country that has worked to give the UN such powers, we are bound by international conventions and laws to act accordingly.

It was Thamara Kunanayakam, the present permanent representative of Sri Lanka, who first told the UN-CHR in Geneva that the UN should not allow a government to repress its political opponents in the name of national sovereignty.

In 1987, as representative of the World Christian Conference, she made a statement at the UN-CHR. She concluded her speech by appealing to the UN not to allow the concealment of human rights issues in the name of terrorism and separatism. (Thamara Kunanayakam’s speech was tabled in the House with a request that it be included in the Hansard)

Together with me, it was the then Hon. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, as co-conveners of Mothers’ Front, who reiterated in this House that the international community should exert pressure on our country over human rights violations in the post-1989 period.

The information I gathered in Sri Lanka was taken by him (Mahinda Rajapaksa) to Geneva and presented to the UN-CHR in every March and October, with him asking the UN repeatedly to intervene in Sri Lanka’s issues.

According to his speech on 25 October, 1990 in page 366 of Hansard, he said, “I took the wailings of this country’s mothers. Do I not have the freedom to speak about them? It was the wailing of those mothers which were heard by those 12 countries.”

As an MP, he obtained the badge to gain entry to the UN-CHR through Quaker Peace Organization, and he attended the sessions every time with the Nimalkas, Sunandas, Sunilas and Sooriya Gunasekaras, whom the state media is branding as terrorists today.

It was Hon. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa who demanded in Parliament that the UN be allowed to visit our country and investigate.

According to Hansard page 941 of 04 December, 1989, he thanked the government for permitting the ICRC to enter the country, and asked that the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and Amnesty International be also allowed to visit Sri Lanka.

It is Hon. MP Rajapaksa who requested that the Sri Lankan government be imposed conditions over human rights, and page 365 of Hansard, dated 25 October 1990 quotes him thus: “We asked the donors countries as to why conditions cannot be imposed when giving aid. That was the request we made. It is what has been fulfilled today.”

On 25 January 1991, he told parliament, “We went and told donor nations to cut these and these, and to tell this government to protect human rights of the people of this country. Therefore, I am asking you whether it is wrong to impose it as a condition when giving aid.” (Page 424 of Hansard)

I am mentioning here an important advice given me personally and later to the House by Hon. MP Rajapaksa.

According to page 424 of 25 October, 1990, he said, “If the government is going to deny human rights, we should go not only to Geneva, but to any place in the world, or to hell if necessary, and act against the government. The lamentation of this country’s innocents should be raised anywhere.”

Even 22 years later, I am proudly adhering to that advice.

Then, the Mahinda Rajapaksas, Thamara Kunanayakams, Nimalka Fernandos, Sunanda Deshapriyas participated in the UN-CHR.

In UN-CHR’s place, the UNHRC was formed in 2006 with more powers of direct involvement in a country with regard to human rights.

Sri Lanka, together with other countries irrespective of their political and socio-economic differences, voted for the formation of the UNHRC, establishing the UN’s right to involvement at instances of a nation fails to safeguard human rights and to promote basic freedom.

At the time I was the foreign affairs minister, the cabinet, led by the president, gave its approval to the proposal 60/251 in that regard.

Not only that, soon after the war ended in May 2009, president Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed in the presence of UN chief Ban ki Moon to further fulfil international obligations, according to a joint statement issued by the foreign affairs ministry on 23 May, 2009.

(Request was made to include the joint statement in the Hansard)

In this backdrop, president Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the formation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission on 15, May 2010.

Tabling the final report of the LLRC in Parliament on December 16, 2011, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva thanked the commission on behalf of the president for fulfilling its important task with commitment and responsibility within a short period.

The international community too, through the Geneva resolution, has welcomed the LLRC report and its recommendations.

Even the countries that voted against the resolution appreciated the LLRC report and called for time for the implementation of its recommendations.

‘The Island’ has reported that Sri Lanka’s ally Russia too, has said that the recommendations be implemented as soon as possible.

Even the president could be proud by the fact that the LLRC report has been recognized in that manner, at a time when presidential commission reports end up in the dustbin.

If the present regime tries to evade its responsibility or gain time from implementing the LLRC recommendations by calling the widely supported LLRC report as a Geneva resolution conspiracy, that exposes the dictatorial nudity of this government.

I unreservedly say that it is only the traitors, with the national flag tied around their bodies and anti-democrats dreaming of dictatorship, who could oppose the LLRC report.

They are attempting to make Sri Lanka another Congo, Uganda or Zimbabwe. They are trying to make president Mahinda Rajapaksa another Mugabe. At a time when even Myanmar is on the path back to democracy, they are trying to make Sri Lanka the new Myanmar of Asia. We are making enemies of our true friends.

It should be remembered that not only the US and the EU that led the resolution in Geneva, but also our neighbour India which supported it, are our true friends who have always supported us. The US and Europe are the biggest markets for our products.

The US accounts for one-third of our investments and bought 1.7 billion dollars worth of goods in 2010. Furthermore, their support was a key factor in the war against the LTTE.

It was a serious drawback for the LTTE, when president Bill Clinton proscribed it in the US in 1997.

Also, we should not forget the support given by the US when I was the foreign affairs minister for the proscription of the LTTE in Europe.

Then, seven countries in the 25-member EU did not agree with the LTTE ban, and it became a difficulty to adopt the ban as a unanimous decision. Therefore, I met secretary of state Condoleezza Rice several times and through the offices of deputy secretary of state Nicholas Burns, got the consent of those seven nations to proscribe the LTTE on 29 May 2006. Even the LTTE admitted it as one of its biggest defeats and in his Heroes Day speech, Prabhakaran rebuked the international community for having been deceived by the Sri Lankan government.

Furthermore, it was at my request to Mrs. Condoleezza Rice in January 2006 that a special unit was formed with 41 fulltime agents to crackdown on LTTE fundraising in the US through various front organizations. Also, I was instrumental in getting the US to lead a committee at the highest level with support from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to halt the procurement of weapons by the LTTE.

Not only for us to win the war, but in our development efforts, the US decided to become a major contributor. In 2003, the then prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met president George W. Bush and it was at that meeting that Sri Lanka was chosen as one of the 17 beneficiaries in the Millennium beneficiaries, to receive aid, not loans, because the island was recognized as a country with a good democratic foundation. Sri Lanka was allocated 780 million USD for the development of infrastructure.

In January 2006, when I visited Washington, agreement was reached to grant the aid directly to Sri Lanka as the first country to receive that benefit, and it was decided that presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and George W. Bush would sign the pact when the former visited Washington for the UN General Assembly in September.

I named Ajith Nivard Cabraal to coordinate arrangements on behalf of Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately for the country, its international image began to suffer between January and September of that year due to incidents such as the killings of MP Raviraj, Trincomalee students, 17 French aid workers, while disappearances and threats and killings of journalist were reported from both the north and the south and the white van menace raised its head.

The white van threats were first directed at the people of the north and the Muslim businessmen in the south. But, today its targets are opponents of the government, journalists and even SLFP activists, with Sagala Senaratne narrowly escaping death.

Before that, an attempt on the life of the SLFP chairman of Kolonnawa was foiled. Between 18 October 2011 and 27 February 2012, more than 26 persons have been victimized by white vans.

Today, the Rajapaksa administration and the nation are at a decisive juncture and it should be decided whether it will follow the footsteps of the Emperor Dharmasoka to usher in a democratic and prosperous era by implementing the LLRC recommendations, turning a new leaf in Sri Lanka’s history by setting aside the past mistakes and wrongs, or the dictator Robert Mugabe by creating a rogue state that is internationally isolated.

*Mangala  Samaraweera’s Parliament speech on April 4, 2012 

 

 

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Latest comments

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    Exactly, you are correct sir, you are the only person who understood this regime is going authoritarian way. sorry you and Mr. Sripathi. but you still didn’t come with the full account what exactly has happened. Please tell us about the Tiger- Mahinda deal!!

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    “Today, the Rajapaksa administration and the nation are at a decisive juncture and it should be decided whether it will follow the footsteps of the Emperor Dharmasoka to usher in a democratic and prosperous era by implementing the LLRC recommendations, turning a new leaf in Sri Lanka’s history by setting aside the past mistakes and wrongs, or the dictator Robert Mugabe by creating a rogue state that is internationally isolated.”

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      War criminals are running scared now.. We will roast them alive in the international forum and US courts.. Do not worry. Justice will finally prevail..

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        DG US,
        Keep on daydreaming sonny!In the meantime go and have a look in hell where that terror thug “Velu” is still roasting himself.Stop whining poor boy.Why don’t you join the bench in the Tamil Tiger terror Kangaroo courts which is functioning from hell!

  • 0
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    It CT running out of ideas,hence we come across articles written by,expiry date long past characters in the caliber of Mangy,V’bahu,Doc Brian etc?As this is no longer a forum to expose the true absurd nature of such anti Srilankan authors,i will not go any further.

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      Don’t run away, This speech is given yesterday, so what? expiry date???? LOL you don’t have any ideas except throwing mud.I saw it though your comments. Please discuss what Mangala says rather criticising CT for publishing this. :) :) don’t run away Maxa
      Raja

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        Raja,
        AS said earlier why should i waste my time in making a detailed reply when i know that it will be deleted?In the meantime you defeated Tamil Tiger terrorists can have a field day in “smashing clay pots in this abandoned house”.After all with the elimination of your terror lord “Velu”there’s nothing much you can do other than playing clown in your pro Tiger blogs.Time wasters!

    • 0
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      Max, please be civil and face this as it is not out of date but a speech made in Parliament yesterday. The time has come for all of us whatever political hue we belong to, there is only one truth. For the future of this Nation, past wrongs cannot be allowed to carry forward under whatever cover, let it be Patriotism or acting against ruthless LTTE Terrorism. They are history. Let us look for a United Sri Lanka sans HUMBUGS who embezzle public coffers for grandiose illconceived projects like money wasted on ‘Homben Thota’ where this Tsunami Rogue kept Funds donated in a Private Account given for the redress of the poor affected.

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        Gamini, i appreciate you.I wish to interact with you(not that “SON OF Dalai”)in a meaningful discussion.But unfortunately,i can’t do so as my hands are tied.Invariably when focusing on the article,i have to give thought to the author of the article.If a butcher preaches the virtues of being vegetarian,it is not the article itself that i have to comment on but it’s author.But since late i have been deprived of commenting on the authors,who are considered to be “Saints”.Other than abusing Rajapakse and his family,commenting on these distinguished authors are taboo.But the Srilankan masses know of these saints who were patrons to the likes of Tharawathe Ajith,Baddegana Sanjeewa etc.They also know who was behind journalist Rohana Kumara’s murder and how Rookantha Gunathileka and Chandraleka were made to kneel at gunpoint while the duo pissed in night clothes out of fear for their lives.
        Anyway Gamini,if persons in the caliber of Tissanayagam post articles,i would love to discuss such with you.

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      Max Silva:
      How about dealing with the issues that Mangala has raised? Perhaps, proving that EVEN once accusation against your Monarch is untrue/ But that would smack of sanity and we can’t have you ruining your reputation by indulging in such, can we?!

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    Don’t let this Max man to derail this discussion. If you don’t have anything to say, please don’t waste your time.
    Thank you Mangala for reminding all these Rajapaksa history. Now days young people like Silva’s don’t know all those thing. BTW Mangala are you a Tiger too?? LOL

  • 0
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    There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more!

  • 0
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    I’ve read a few good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you place to make this sort of fantastic informative web site.

  • 0
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    Mangala,

    You and SBD kissed CBK’s ass and you thought MahindaR will make you his PM.

    You went around the country with SarathF knowing fulluy well that he was an agent caught to Robert Blake.

    Whatever defects they have MR and Gotabhaya saved SL.

    How much you abused power when you had it?

    People in SL will not give you or Ranil any hope again.

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    Dear Mr. samaraweera,

    Your speech has a lot of substance which records the historical beginning of the State. the concept of the Westphalian model does not apply in the modern day international relations. In my opinion the international community is a vital conduit to a states existence as you rightly said, since the advent of the United Nations interdependence has been the key word and labelled as the second progressive phase of modern IR. But however the failure of this state has not been the interference of the international community rather a prospect our politicians instilled in our system. Sadly you go down as one of the failed politicians in my book simply because none of the opposition bencher’s could not see the visionary view of former UNP prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. Your government was responsible and you were instrumental in staging a coup d’etat while the PM was visiting united states for a meeting with president Bush and on the verge of being the beneficiary of a massive aid package by the donor co chairs. You were bold enough to defeat the democratically elected government through undemocratic means for your own survival. of course im saddened by the fact that you had no choice but to work under the worst president in the history of Sri Lanka politics, However the most detrimental to our system is our political culture is not witnessing a change for the good rather a change for the worse.

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    This Mangala Samaraweera was cheered and aplauded by the same who castigate him here today in this very thread itself, for heaping insult and abusing Ranil Wickremasinghe then. He even carricatured RW as Mr. Bean in posters to ridicule him and pasted right round the country. But the Gentleman RW is, he never retorted or resorted to that low level to abuse back. The IRONY is today he has to fall at Ranil’s feet itself to admit what a Great Benevolent Sagacious Leader Ranil is. One day this Nation will regret dearly for the lapses of these foolish opportunists who have contributed in no small measure to ruin life for millions, for missed opportunities in their lifetime that would have definitely changed life for them for the better.

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    Mangala Samaraweera should go back to the happenings when he was a member of the CBK Government and the LTTE were allowed to move freely in the cities planting boms at random. To him and his boss they were ruthless criminals and everyone and anyone who said a word against the Government of the day was regarded a Terrorist sympathiser. Fair enough, but then they even told Sri Lankan that the war could not be won fighting but being sodomised by the enemy by talking peace. Deserters not given the support with the arms and ammunition they needed ran away by the tens of thousands.But where were these deserters? Working as security guards for Samaraweera and his friends like Sripathi Sooriaarchchi a former naval rating under scrutiny for dodgy logistic deals. It was well known that the State Newspapers were filled with “Journalists” Hilary Rajakarunanayake a ex con and his brother Lucien made Chairman after he was under a cloud for helping himself to the Free Media Movement funds. The departments were filled with voters from the Matara area. Lake House was run dry and that was when he was Minister of Media.
    More money was spent on the security of the Ministers and the President than on the people from vulnerable villages because the policy had allowed LTTE men to walk and drive in uncontrolled. What Samaraweera is doing today was what his colleague in the UNP Jayalath Jayawardena was doing then. Giving a boost to the anti government people and therefore the LTTE suitors. Pakiyasothy Saravanamuttu was at all the cocktails of the President and was openly flouting emergency regulations spreading rumours to the world at large about military “misdeeds”. THE MINISTER OF FORIEGN AFFAIRS LAKSHMAN KADIRGAMAR WAS NOT PRIVY TO ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THE SITUATION IN THE NORTH-EAST AND WAS GIVEN THE IMPRESSION OF BEING A MAN TOLD A STORY THAT WAS NOT THE REAL. I interviewed him after the Fall of Elephant Pass and was one of four journalists allowed to fly to Jaffna when according to MoD “the going was tough there”. The truth was far from that because the Late Mj.Gen Janaka Perera had with his Commandos got the situation under control in a day and a night. Chavakachcheri had to be fought for and Jaffna was “five days away” we were told. Janaka Perera did not see eye to eye with the complacent “make a fast buck and then retire” line of military leaders who were appointed then nor the President and all her “yes” men and Mangala was at her right hand!He fought back and showed that the LTTE could have been crushed if there waas a will to. But under the Kumaratunga- Samaraweera administration the LTTE were able to consolidate and then open their own Bank, Courts of Law and General Administration with their own Police Force when Mangala Samaraweera was a Minister and a confidant of the President who with hindsight was more interested in getting her photographs in the newspapers than solving any of the problems of the country. “Seventeen years of UNP” was the ready answer everytime a question was posed. Fourteen years of the PA and the country was divided in two, the A9 “highway” had been lost and Omanthai in the South to Elephant Pass in the North became a defacto Eelaam. The “dove of peace” Neelan Thiruchelvam was blown up in Rosmead Place. Any journalist worth his salts knows that Mahinda Rajapakse walked out of many Cabinet meeting and as many journalists lost their lives then and there were none going over to “pick up dole cheques”. Was Mangala not one of those who opposed Ranil Wickremasinghe’s overtures to the LTTE then? Did he not join forces with the JVP and JHU to have the Rajapakses in power? Did he not switch alliances from the moronic Anura Bandaranaike (end of the dynasty) to the Rajapakses on conditions? Mangala Samaraweera is a better spinner than Muttiah Muralitharan. But he does not bowl he chucks muck.
    I am disapointed because I once believed that a Government worked for the betterment of her people and then I found that party politics is more important to politicians that the welfare and the good name of our country is. I used to like this man when his mother worked as a Secretary in Lake House when Ranil Wickremasinghe’s father was Chairman. Khema was a young widow with a brood to nourish and educate.
    Where did Mangala go wrong with his patriotism?

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      Peter,
      You saved me my time.I need to add just a couple.How about the money wasted on the “Thawalam”circus and “Sudu Nelul”?And then after the full scale slaughter by the LTTE,in which Gamini Dissanayake and the cream of the UNP were eliminated in the Thotalanga bomb,while Ossie Abeygunesekera was lying in hospital with a coma,Mangy along with CBK and Paki danced their way through the night at Temple trees.There’s no question that Ranil’s days are numbered.Once Ranil departs or is kicked out,it will be the end of Mangy.But still he could resume his fashion career.
      But still the present government must get it’s act together.LTTE or no LTTE,the 17th amendment must be restored immediately and there after political reforms which should be proceeded by the abolition of the executive presidency.

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        Max, pardon me, you are dreaming if you think this murderous rogue, someone as bad as VP, will let go off the reins of power without setting the family dynasty to remain in power. You saw how Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and Maithripala Sirisena who is next in line escaped death at the hands of the LTTE, Maithripala being so insignificant to the LTTE?

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    This is really a good speech which demonstrates the maturity of the speaker and an indication for a proper direction of the foreign policy Sri Lanka should aspire to have. Having said that I wish to remind the speaker that he did not use the good opportunities he had to develop credible policies when he was a minister. A case in point was the ill informed decision to close the Nava Adyapan Sevaya which was a precursor to real public service broadcasting service in Sri Lanka. Mangala listened to his mediocre advisers like Newton Gunarathne and Janadasa Peiris who went all out to crush the Nava Adyapana Sevaya, which was a brain child of a few real professional broadcasters who were working at SLBC. Not only that, when judicial system came on hard on the closer of the Nava Adyapana Sevaya, Mangal advised the government to abolish the license fee, in order to nullify the reason for the court decision which was based on the fact that listeners who pay license fee have the right to demand that their favourite broadcasting services be maintained and cannot be abolished in an arbitrary manner. During his tenure as the media minister Mangala had the ample opportunity to develop the SLBC into a trail braising Public Service Broadcasting Serviced similar to BBC and NHK. Had it was done we wouldn’t have current muffled his master voice type private + state combined broadcasting system which is an indirect monopoly of the government and has become the main tool of the regime to keep people gullible and subservient. With this maturity , we would hope Mangala will do right thing if he has an another opportunity.

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