27 September, 2020

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‘Sri Lanka Under More International Scrutiny’ – British Parliamentary Under Secretary Alistair Burt

By Dharisha Bastians  –

British Under Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt praised Sri Lanka’s progress since the end of the war on a visit to the island, but warned that as the proposed host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year, the country will be under even more intense scrutiny from the international community.

Alistair Burt

Stressing that economic development alone could not meet the country’s post-conflict challenges, the UK Minister remarked that Britain is yet to decide on its level of attendance at CHOGM in Sri Lanka in November, but stressed that they would be looking to the hosts to demonstrate commitment to upholding commonwealth values of good governance and democratic principles, adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights. “This will help ensure a well-attended and successful meeting,” he noted.

Asked if the Queen would attend CHOGM in Colombo this year, Minister Burt responded the British Government did not make that decision. A decision on the monarch’s attendance would be made by Buckingham Palace in consultation with the Commonwealth, he said.

Burt was presenting a lecture entitled Sri Lanka – 2013 and Beyond organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies and the British High Commission, Colombo where he spoke candidly of Sri Lanka’s challenges in the post-conflict phase.

He said that the UK, UN and others have expressed deep concern at the recent impeachment and dismissal of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice because rule of law is crucial to long term prosperity and judicial independence is a core principle in free countries. He said that as a candid friend of Sri Lanka, the UK spoke frankly to Colombo about the challenges.

“We believe in maintaining independent institutions in encouraging individuals to speak out and engage constructively in debate. The rule of law is crucial to long term prosperity. Respect for our legal systems is part of the cultural heritage of both the UK and Sri Lanka. as a lawyer myself, it is a principle I feel particularly strongly about,” the Minister said.

He also drew the corelation between business, investment and a robust justice system with mechanisms to independently resolve disputes.

“And the concepts found within our legal systems, certainty of contract, non-retroactivity and the equal application of laws are the foundation for business and growth,” the British Minister explained.

“It is why we are so concerned to see individuals brought to justice in particular cases of violent attack, it simply cannot be right for the accused to be walking free,” he said.

Pulling no punches and quoting from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Report Commissioned by the Government of Sri Lanka, Burt said that “the rule of law must prevail, regardless of the political links of alleged wrong-doers.”  He said that he had made clear to Ministers during his visit to Colombo that more work was needed to “deliver the path to reconciliation that the President has frequently advocated.”

Mr. Burt referred to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks as the co-chair of the panel reviewing the UK Millenium development goals, where he referred to the ‘golden thread of development’. “True prosperity is not possible without good governance, property rights and the rule of law effective public services and strong civil institutions, free and fair trade and open markets,” he said.

“These are the reasons why I have welcomed the LLRC report. And why we continue to encourage the Sri Lankan Government to take concrete action to implement its constructive recommendations and why the UK speaks franks to the Sri Lankan Government about what more we believe it needs to do to ensure peace and prosperity in your country,” the British Minister said.

During his visit, Burt said he had encouraged the Government in Colombo to minimize red tape and address corruption to set a more attractive climate for investors. “I have welcomed the end of the war and the end of horrific LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. But I have also called on all parties to uphold civil and political freedoms and for the Government to set an example,” he said.

In an impromptu response to the Minister’s lecture and a brief Q&A session, Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris queried whether “candid” friends of Sri Lanka believed that bringing resolution after resolution was the right way to target a country that was just finding its feet after a brutal conflict. Peiris also raised the question of why Sri Lanka was being targeted while so many other nations were being shown leniency by the international community. “If it is about human rights or morals and ethical values, then they must apply across the board,” Peiris said.

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Latest comments

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    adey peiris, you are a well known liar. you are suppose to be a lawyer and moaning abour resolution after resolutin when you have done f**kall on granting political rights to tamil people.

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      Burt should put his money where his mouth is!
      The CHOGM should not be held to boost the Rajapakse regime in Sri Lanka in 2013 the year the first woman CJ was impeached and replaced by a corruption czar – Mohan Peris..
      The Commonwealth beloved of Rajapassa who has spent billions of Lankan tax rupees on Commonwealth Games bids and entertaining the Commonwealth Parliamentarians the majority of who are like the Diya-wenna Parliamentarians- uneducated goons, fools, criminals, thugs and geriatrics.. has no legitimacy in any case, but will be used by the Colombo regime to boost its image to the Lankan people, particularly Sinhalaya modayas who vote for the dictatorship..
      The CHOGM in Lanka will only further de-legitimize an organization that is a British COLONIAL relic par example, an irrelevant and obsolete outfit that supports third world dictatorships. Dictators like Rajapakse (and Ranil Wickramasinghe who keeps prating about Latimer House Rules as if anyone has heard of these or give a damn about them) love the commonwealth. The Rajapassa-Wickramasinghe- Commonwealth love affair has cost the Lankan tax payer dear!

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    Minister Alistair Burt seems to think Sri Lanka Need Only Pay Lip Service to Commonwealth Values “to ensure well attended succesful CHOGM” Sri Lanka was and is in breach of every one of them: commitment to good governance, democratic principles, adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights. Non So Blind Who Cannot See!

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      Mr. Burt,

      Please. Give us a break. We have had enough of British hypocrisy.

      Look. Commonwealth values are great. I want them implemented in my country, Sri Lanka. I too am tired of the Rajapassa clan. Can’t wait to get rid of them.

      However, Mr. Burt you really do not have much credibility here in Sri Lanka. I will tell you why.

      UK provided sanctuary for LTTE terrorists for 30 years. And still does. Sri Lankans know this well.

      Further, how many resolutions have you brought so far against your allies such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain? None. Why was the barbaric King of Saudi Arabia welcomed in London like Mandela? While our silly President Rajapassa was chased away by the LTTE rump in the UK. So much for freedom expression.

      FYI, BBC still refers to LTTE as rebels. While Al Qaeda are called terrorists. There you have UK’s biggest problem with Sri Lanka.

      Have a pleasant trip back to UK. Thanks for coming anyway.

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        Ben Hurling

        “UK provided sanctuary for LTTE terrorists for 30 years. And still does. Sri Lankans know this well.”

        UK provided sanctuary to Chandrika, Somawansa and his many failed revolutionaries, Dutta Gamini,…….. The list is endless.

        So what is your problem?

        India too provided sanctuary to NM Perera, DIG Udugampola, Somawansa and many of his failed fellow revolutionaries, Amirthalingam, VP, Minister Douglas Devananda, ……..

        Yet India is poking its nose in Sri Lanka’s internal matters as if Sri Lanka is a Sinhala state of India.

        What are you doing about it? Why are you silent on India?

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        Ben Hurling:
        You are a new kind of creature: a fifth columnist for the Rajapassa brand of fascism in democratic clothing.
        Do you think anyone believes you when you mouth criticism of the current Sri Lankan dictators?
        ALL Sri Lankans are not idiots, buddy!

    • 0
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      Thanks, Usha

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    Who is the Sri Lankan politico caught engaging in large scale people smuggling to Australia? Is it NaRa?

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      Who else?

      ”…. That is, till early February 2012, when Namal Rajapaksa paid a pop-visit to the returned villagers of Kokulai. …. ”
      – Returning IDPs in Kokulai, Mullaitivu, being robbed of land, ://www.lakbimanews.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=52&Itemid=78

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      Julia Gillard announced , that the election is going to be held on 14 th September , so don’t expect any thing controversial from Gillard government now , in fact this embarrassing news item was published in Australian print media , Badula J didn’t waste any time , as usual he shot the messenger. Next day Australian government distanced herself from the hot topic.

      Ps . well informed people know the truth.

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      Thilak

      Politico or podi yakko?

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    Minister Peiris should be aware Resolution after Resolution against Sri Lanka comes only because we have left room for this – under this faulty regime. No Sri Lankan administration – UNP or SLFP – previously was castigated in this fashion by the international community. In our peculiar politics one understands the Minister must be in the record he defended the regime – to protect his own portfolio. The good man must ask himself why such heat is not heaped on other countries. Elementary, Sir.

    Senguttuvan

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      For a man who is well versed in politics, you surely know UNHRC is less about human rights and more about politics.

      Previous UNP and SLFP governments tried to eliminate the LTTE but failed. Why, because the international community intervened and saved the day for LTTE. The best person to ask is Lalith Athulathmudali. Such was the determination and calculations of “previous UNP and SLFP governments”. That is how they avoided the censure of international community, by sacrificing national interests for survival.

      Whatever may be the weaknesses of present MR government it was determined to finish the war it started and that it did. I for one, never thought MR would pull it off, but he did.

      The international community is on a witch hunt against GOSL to reestablish their control. Yes, the war was not clean, many innocent people died, but that’s how wars are. But then, its not that you do not understand this no eh?

      If you ask me, is it better to be sanctioned by UNHRC by a bunch of hypocrites than to live with LTTE not knowing when/where the next bomb would go off, the answer is yes, Yes, YES.

      The country is been censured because it went against world powers. Hence it does not need to be ashamed of itself. US’s own human rights track record is well known.

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        Navin says:

        “If you ask me, is it better to be sanctioned by UNHRC by a bunch of hypocrites than to live with LTTE not knowing when/where the next bomb would go off, the answer is yes, Yes, YES.”

        The International Community was prepared to give VP the last opportunity to wear white and white Tamil national dress (the Vellai Veatti). All they asked him was to take a bath before changing his clothes. He refused and ended up in mud.

        Similar situation is arising.

        MR will be forced to have a bath and brush his teeth. If he refuses he too will end up in mud just like his brother VP. China and Russia are not in hurry to save him as they know too well there is life after MR regime’s death. The two will continue to work with new regime, business as usual.

        However this is a long term option for India than IC.

        At the moment MR is a bastard but he is India’s bastard just like his brother VP in his hay days. India loves MR temporarily.

        Dayan is not in the Diplomatic Service anymore to protect the alleged war criminals. Without him how would Sri Lankan state ward off LTTE loving IC (the evil doers who are financed by Tamil Diaspora rump) at Geneva?

        I am expecting more statements from MR’s cronies pleasing and praising India between now and March.

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    ”end of horrific LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka” is OK for the South and the foreigners to do business as usual.

    But for the Tamils 65-yr political, economic, social, cultural and environmental oppression continues. That is, state terrorism continues. How the Minister wishes to have a conversation, in the presence of the oppressive army, with the people oppressed by the army, is puzzling.

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    Yes… Alistair Burt…….. Intenational Council of Jurists gone BONKERS or Did You ???????????

    Adey Rama… First wash your hands & get rid of the blood of those innocent Tamil Youth & Children who were sacrificed by your Sun Goat with the funding sent by you.
    YOU DIASPORA GUYS WANTED TO GET RID OF THE LOW CASTE TAMILS FROM THE NORTH AND AS SUCH GAVE A CONTRACT TO VELU AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE NORTH. IS’NT IT ????????? hOWZ ZAATTTTTTT for a change

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      oi oi dick, prabha was born because of (1) your failure to address the reasonable demands of the tamil people and (2) your suppression of tamil people through violence. don’t talk as though you are angels here. you lot are violent people. how many thousands of innocent tamil people you lot slaughtered during numerous race riots since independence. if prabhakaran wasn’t born i am sure ramanathan would have born with the same ideals. it’s because, it has been an intolerable situation for tamil people . you lot created fear and panic among tamil people. you lot used violence against tamil people at every opportunity. what you lot haven’t realised ( even today) is that you can’t suppress people all the time. dickie, i don’t understand why you are talking about caste and religion here. there may be caste issues but that doesn’t mean the issue of caste played any role in freedom struggle. as far as the catholic church is concerned i am sure they know their place in a predominantly hindu society. you lot are simply frightened that an international investigation would undo your cover up of mass killings, rape and child sexual abuse. there can’t be any other reason for you to hate harper, burt, navi and others who demand an independent investigation into war crimes. when i saw the images of the black primitive savages waiting to attack the lawyers with knives, clubs and machetes , it reminded me of the savages who were involved in the massacre of tamil people during race riots. instead of addressing the demands of tamil people you lot spend time and money by sending monkeys to geneva to fight the international organisations and countries. latest is you lot want to employ some foreign firm to defend you. what a load of brainless monkeys you are.

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        Rama

        I am amazed.

        How did you manage to get a lengthy paragraph published in this forum?

        I must congratulate you for your achievement.

        Well done Rama. Keep it up.

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    resolutions are just worthless paper that waste over time.

    Burth is’nt it time to tell Harper & the Canadians of the Commonwealth values the way they had treated the First Nation todate??
    Better ppay a visit to Canada & give them a bit of your Commonwealth
    values you DOUBLE SPEAK……..

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    Please visit todays feature in Tamilnet to know how Alistair visited the north in the company of military intelligence and how villagers were terrified about speaking with him.

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    We already have a political solution brought in 1987 in terms of the provincial council system and it is functioning well. The provincial councils as they are functioning at present is the political solution, nothing more.

    The govt is not going to give less than 12% of the population over 28% of the land and over 66% of its coastline. The coastal areas and the EEZ is critical to the existence and integrity of any island nation. So for less than 12% of the population to demand over 28% of the land and over 66% of the coastal resources is absurd, unjust, unacceptable and unfair at the expense of the other 88%. One citizen one vote that is how it functions. Nobody is entitled to more than anyone else whether it is rights, land, coastal resources or anything else. Each person is entitled to an equal share nothing more.

    If someone don’t like this then they can go live in any western country of their choosing and demand a separate state there. Canada has a lot of space, can make their demands there.

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    The three major events and blunders that V.Prabhakaran did for his downfall …..leave others to a lesser extent.

    1) USA world Trade Center Bombing.
    2) Assassination of Rajive Gandhi.
    3) Closing Mavil Aru sluice gate.

    CLOSING MAVIL ARU SLUICE GATE WAS THE BIGGEST BLUNDER VP DID FOR HIS IMMEDIATE DOWN FALL.

    Three major Blunders President Rajapakse did for his downfall.

    1) Killing 40,000 innocent Tamil people at nanthikandal lagoon.
    2) Sending Gen. Sarath Fonseka to prison.
    3) Impeaching CJ Dr. Shirani Rajapakse.

    IMPEACHING CJ.SHIRANI RAJAPAKSE IS THE BIGGEST BLUNDER PRES. RAJAPAKSE DID FOR HIS DOWNFALL.

    MR and VP ………on same boat.

    MR definitely crossed the RED LINE when he Impeached first ever Female CJ in Sri Lanka history with fraudulent charges.

    HISTORY HAS ALREADY WRITTEN AND REPEATED AFTER 500 YEARS OF EUROPEAN DOMINATION.

    NORTH IS GOING TO BE A CENTRAL TAMIL HOME LAND AND ALSO THE REST ARE UNPREDICTABLE…..…….NONE WILL BE ABLE TO STOP IT…….. ALL DUE TO MARA’S BLUNDER.

    TAKE MY WORD TODAY.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    MR Alistaire Burt and Mr Savage always gives out mixed messages to the media. Wonder BELL pOTTINGER has a hand. Theres always these mixed messages never speakes in one simple languge that you call it double Dutch.

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    Mr.Burt and the Commonwealth should tell now without delay regarding CW decision, as MR planning to spend additional Billions of rupees for the 4 day event, so MR could avoid additional commissiona and we Tax payers could save that money.

    MR also planning to spend 15 Billion rupees for construction for the next youth games in Hambanthota (don’t know how much his commission percentage and additional kick backs)…..while we never won a single medal at both last Asian games and the Commonwealth Games……..while poor school children are been arrested for stealing next door coconuts to raise money to paint their school building.

    This is President’s “Mahinda CHINA COMMISSION Chinthana Asia’s aishchariya”

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