Contradictions and Paradoxes of the Peace Process
The utter hypocrisy and partiality of world human rights organisations are no better illustrated than in their refusal to recognise and condemn violations of human rights in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka since the 'Peace Process commenced.
These are violations that they cannot claim to be oblivious of. The Scandinavian manned Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, despite its obvious partiality towards the LTTE, could not but help record abduction of over a hundred children by the LTTE since the commencement of the process. The numbers involved are estimated to be more than a hundred fold of what the monitoring mission says. The University Teachers for Human rights (UTHR (J)) in their reports have given details of child abductions in these regions by name, date and place. Independent journalists of the New York Times recently reported from the Eastern Province that children were being taken away by the tractor load. Yet, where is the outcry of these international defenders of human rights?
In the days when the Sri Lankan security forces were in control of these regions there were constant reports by human rights organisation of disappearances obviously pointing their fingers at the security forces. Members of such organisations around the world wrote to the media citing such disappearances and calling for help to locate these missing persons. But all that had now come to a halt. Perhaps these abductions will be recorded in their annual reports quite unobtrusively so as not to rock the Peace Boat.
In this context we find it somewhat amusing, the report published in The Island yesterday that Ian Martin, former head of Amnesty International, will participate in the next session of talks scheduled for February and will come up with a comprehensive set of proposals on human rights issues. All this may be well and good for the future. But what of the tens of thousands of kids now being held in atrocious conditions in the camps of the terrorists now posing off as diplomats in lounge suits?
Are these children sacrificial lambs at the altar of the peace process?
Apparently the anguish of these children and their cries and blood are of no concern of these professed lovers and guardians of human rights. Is it that now, its the process and not human rights that matter?
This is one glaring contradiction of the Peace Process.
The other is what we commented on yesterday: The Peace Process that is supposed to encompass entire Sri Lanka and all its people is confined to the ruling government party and the group of terrorists who have forced themselves to be accepted as the sole representatives of the Tamil people with the most ruthless form of terrorism the world has known.
Where Sri Lankans are concerned only two ministers and a few selected elite bureaucrats seem to take vital decisions on this issue that will determine the destiny of this country. The rest of the country, the public are not being told of such decisions, which could justifiably be described as being treacherous and have come to light only through the mass media.
We are informed that more such activities are now taking place at the Katunayake Airport where a well-known criminal is said to have acquired unprecedented powers. There are also reports that an over enthusiastic official who now appears to be more LTTE than Prabakaran, is advocating that the British be urged to defreeze funds of the LTTE frozen by the British government when the organisation was proscribed as a terrorist organisation. (However this report is not confirmed)
To those involved in this Peace Process even the all-powerful executive president is an afterthought. She is said to be informed of the decisions after they have been taken and even implemented.
Yesterday it was reported that President Kumaratunga has declined to meet a peace envoy from Japan (Sri Lankas latest Big Brother). We are not certain why the meeting with Mr. Yasushi Akashi did not take place. Mr. Akashi had earlier travelled up to Kilinochchi with World Bank Vice President Meiko Nishimuzi to a meeting on the sub committee on Immediate Humanitarian Rehabilitation needs. Had it been the intention of the Japanese envoy merely to brief President Kumaratunga on the decisions that had been already made, it would certainly not have been keeping with the status of the head of state of this country. Besides it would have served no purpose.
On the other hand, was it necessary for these two highly placed envoys to travel all the way to Kilinochchi for a brief meeting on a vast array of subjects? These issues could easily have been dealt with through the various forms of communications available. The one purpose it would have served is to further sanitise the LTTE from being a terrorist organisation.
Japan in dealing with the LTTE should take heed of the feelings of the rest of the people of this country who have had a deep and abiding affection for Japan and its people.
The other question to be posed is: Where are the UNP stalwarts support for the Peace Process. Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, a highly respected UNPer, has not commented about this process. Nor have the young Turks such as Navin Dissanayake nor Sajith Premadasa. But there are others who say the whole country supports the Peace Process such as Anton Balasingham who thundered so, at Bangkok recently. Now, has Balasingham become a spokesman for entire Sri Lanka?
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