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Statesmanship In Governance Not Denial To Buy Time

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Once again Sri Lanka has received unfavourable exposure internationally when the UN Human Rights Council voted by 20 votes to 7 to pass resolution No 51/1 titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” against the wishes of the government.  Many of the countries that spearheaded and supported the resolution are those on whom we depend on to extricate us from the current financial and economic crisis the country has fallen into.  Countries that voted for the resolution and those who abstained, such as India and Japan, essentially have the welfare of all Sri Lankans and the country to live up to its inherent resilience.  We can only hope that the confrontational attitude taken by the government in Geneva will not affect their continued support for Sri Lanka.

This was the 9th UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka that different governments, including the present one, have refused to accept. Each resolution has made new demands.  The list of demands in them grows longer including on economic corruption which has national implications.  The international community may not wish to impose punitive sanctions on Sri Lanka so as not to cause harm to the innocent Sri Lankan people who are suffering from the economic downturn.  However, there can be international law and punitive sanctions directed against individuals against whom there are allegations of violations of international law.  The government has a duty to protect all its citizens from both the economic crisis and the growing reach of international law.  There is a need to consider the reputational damage and the impact on economic flows to the country.  

The moral of the Aragalaya is that the sufferings and unmet needs of the general public should not be ignored as it awaits ignition by the events of the day and the hardships faced by them. Sri Lanka requires statesmanship in governance to be displayed in Parliament and by the President at this time and not denial of truths to buy time.  The National Peace Council believes that the most important issues to be taken up are those of missing persons, finding the truth of what happened during the war through a truth commission, the misuse of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the enactment of other laws that can violate human rights of people, addressing the political grievances of ethnic minorities through power devolution, holding of local government and provincial council elections and overcoming the economic grievances of general population. 

National Peace Council of Sri Lanka

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