The United national Party calls on the people of Sri Lanka not to be misled by the propaganda of the regime and to seek rational reasons as to why international allies who once supported us to defeat the LTTE are now acting against the ruling administration.
“We must understand that this militaristic regime that continues to curtail our democratic freedoms in their attempts to establish a dynasty while making Sri Lanka the drug capital of Asia is solely responsible for our current plight. Yet those who will suffer the most through international action are the personnel of the security forces who would be collectively branded as war criminals, the poorest segments of our society through tightening of economic opportunities and all the rest of us, the ordinary citizens of this country. The Rajapaksa family and their selected loyalists have secured their wealth and futures and will not to be affected by these international actions.” the UNP said today.
Issuing a statement last night the UNP called on the regime to restore the rule of law and ensure democracy and good governance in order to wade off international concerns.
We publish below the statement in full;
Despite repeated appeals to the government by the United National Party and truly patriotic elements of this country to desist from taking petty political mileage out of the Geneva human rights crisis it is abundantly clear that the Rajapaksa administration is only interested in furthering its own narrow political agendas even at a colossal cost to the country.
As we had predicted, the timing of the Provincial Council elections that coincides with a vote on a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and now the rhetoric of the regime’s main mouthpieces prove that this government is willing to sacrifice the safety of our security forces, the economy and the overall wellbeing of the people just to remain in power. The regime is clearly trying to make the Geneva crisis in to a political rallying call by portraying it as a conspiracy against Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksas believe they can appeal to the primordial racist sentiments of certain people by this kind of juvenile handling of the country’s foreign policy crisis. We believe that the Sri Lankan people are not so gullible as to fall for such gimmicks any longer.
The UNP has repeatedly warned that the inaction by the Rajapaksa regime to address the alleged violations of human rights and the blatant anti democratic policies such as the illegal impeachment of the Chief Justice, the repeal of the 17th Amendment, introduction of the draconian 18th amendment, militarization of every aspect of our social, political and economic lives and the overall break down of law and order have all contributed to the current crisis. Five years later, the Government is yet to bring to book the killers of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. It refuses to reveal the whereabouts of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda. It is refusing to investigate the disappearance of Lalith and Kugan, the human rights activists in the North. The inaction and lack of will makes it clear that the Government is implicated in each of these heinous crimes, for what else prevents a democratic Government which claims to be committed to protecting the security and rights of the people from investigating the brutal murders of its citizens?
This paralysis on the part of the Government to end impunity has caused the international community to lose faith in the Rajapaksa regime’s ability and willingness to protect the rights of Sri Lankan people. International action being called for today, is a consequence of the Rajapaksa Government’s paralysis on addressing grave crimes committed in this country. Let us be clear on that. This crisis Sri Lanka faces internationally is not, as the Government would prefer the people believe, an international conspiracy or petty jealousy against the Sri Lankan state for defeating terrorism.
It is poignant to note at this point that in the ongoing discussions in Geneva there are not only concerns raised on the alleged violations in the North but also in the South. There are now demands to seek justice for the people who were massacred at Weliweriya and the calls on the regime to stop attacks on minorities by groups with high ranking officials of the government. Rather than be outraged at these international calls for accountability, shouldn’t we as Sri Lankans be ashamed that we have not demanded the same of our Government? How is it that Sri Lankans can continue to ignore the Government’s culpability in the massacre of civilians demanding clean water or the ongoing attacks by religious extremists on minority religious communities and their places of worship?
The UNP has repeatedly appealed to the government to address the allegations raised in the international arena with the seriousness they deserve. In an attempt to protect the interests of the ruling family and their coterie of followers, the regime has determinedly decided to ignore such advice. By doing this Rajapaksa regime has risked our nation being cast as a pariah in the community of civilized nations. Though the Rajapaksa regime is attempting to rile up tribal sentiment among the majority community with its chest beating defiance of the international community, in reality what they are doing is hiding behind the false pretense of nationalism to protect their own political and commercial interests.
The UNP has repeatedly called for a change in the discourse on human rights. We continue to educate the public on why protection of human rights by our government is in the best interest of all of us. Irrespective of the regime’s portrayal of international conspiracies it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself who promised the Secretary General of the United Nations in May 2009 that he would address “the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution” and pledged “to proceed with the implementation of the 13th Amendment, as well as to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil parties in the new circumstances, to further enhance this process and to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka.” Having misled and continuously lied to the Sri Lankan people and our friends abroad the regime is now claiming they are being hounded.
We once again call on the people of our country not to be misled by the propaganda of the regime and to seek rational reasons as to why international allies who once supported us to defeat the LTTE are now acting against the ruling administration. We must understand that this militaristic regime that continues to curtail our democratic freedoms in their attempts to establish a dynasty while making Sri Lanka the drug capital of Asia is solely responsible for our current plight. Yet those who will suffer the most through international action are the personnel of the security forces who would be collectively branded as war criminals, the poorest segments of our society through tightening of economic opportunities and all the rest of us, the ordinary citizens of this country. The Rajapaksa family and their selected loyalists have secured their wealth and futures and will not to be affected by these international actions.
Even at a cost to political expediency the UNP has offered our support to the Government to address these challenges. We have called on the regime to restore the rule of law and ensure democracy and good governance in order to wade off international concerns. Repeatedly the regime has chosen not to take in to account the interests of the people or this country. They do not know how to handle the crisis in Geneva nor the numerous crises at home. Whether it is securing our children from the drug menace, providing equal economic opportunities, protection of basic human rights of citizens or fostering ethnic and religious harmony in order to prevent another war the only party that can deliver is the United National Party.