UN must respect Sri Lankan traditions!
Posted on February 28th, 2020

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake Courtesy The Island

February 28, 2020, 9:17 pm

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Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said at least one thing that rings true in the minds of most Sri Lankan people. It is the lack of belief in the appointment of another Commission of Inquiry by the Government. 

Her concern was about addressing impunity for past violations of human rights. Our objection is much wider. We seem to be the country with the world record for Presidential Commissions of Inquiry with the more important aspect of Commissions that achieve nothing; the reports of which are often kept secret. Commissions that have become a political joke in a country, where political humour is the stuff of the vulgar!

The current political mood, the mood of political power, is one of great joy and triumph; rejoicing at Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from co-sponsoring the UN Resolution 30/1 that related to the postwar situation in this country, and especially the situation of the victims of the war, that of missing persons, and the wider postwar issues that relate to democracy and human rights.  

Whatever thinking Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena may have had when talking of a new Commission of Inquiry (CoI) headed by a Justice of the Supreme Court, to review previous Sri Lankan CoIs on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, his mind may have had a block about the wider Sri Lankan attitude to such commissions, whether headed by a Justice of the Supreme Court or not.

Michelle Bachelet says the Sri Lankan State should work for “all its people and the needs of all communities, particularly the minorities”. Come on. She must know the political history of this oldest democracy in Asia. We are a majority-led nation. That has been the growing tradition from the time we obtained freedom or independence from colonial rule.  We are today the proudest advocates of Sinhala-Buddhist dominance and power in our country. They are the majority voters, and how can one have true democracy, without the satisfaction of the majority?

By the way, does the UN High Commissioner Bachelet have no idea of how minorities are treated in the world’s two biggest democracies – India and the United States? The violence currently seen in India is proof of the majority power pudding. The rise of Hindu majoritarian power is making a mockery of the old values of freedom and equal rights that the founders of the Indian Constitution put down as the values of independent India. It has much more to do with the values that prevailed in Gujarat  – when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister; the Muslim minority has nothing to do in such thinking.

Does Bachelet need any education and instructions on how the minorities, whether Black or Muslim, are actually treated in the United States? Does she not know how President Trump prevented the migration of persons from Muslim majority countries to be US citizens, a position not knocked down by the US Courts? Does she not know why the call for Black Power is a continuing political clamour by the Black Americans? She would learn more if she reads more of the current election campaign of the Democratic presidential candidates, and the pressures brought to curb the rising influence of Black voters.

She has told the UNHCR that Sri Lanka has still not addressed impunity for past violations, not undertaken security sector reforms needed to address their drivers and enablers. There is a fundamental reality that Bachelet must understand. It is that Sri Lankan or Sinhala – Buddhist traditions that are the trumpet call of our people today, are far older than the United Nations and its values, which can only date back to the 1940s.  This is a culture that is more than 2500 years old, and as academics and historians of new ‘learned thinking’ say so much today, we cannot and must not be made to follow the traditions or current values of our colonial rulers. 

 Why must the present day people of Sri Lanka be bothered with any ‘past violations’ when their concerns have everything to do with current progress with majority dominance? How does she say we have not undertaken security sector reforms, when we have now moved to getting the security services to play their own roles in traffic control in the cities?

 She must also understand that the ‘drivers and enablers’ of the security sector are now at the very height of their positions. Does she not read our media or even visit the Internet on Sri Lanka? How many key positions in governance and administration are now held by persons who are from the security sector? Today’s government, that is against co-sponsorship of the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka, is certainly in favour of the highest honours being bestowed on the uniforms of power and authority. A huge majority of the population has voted for a new political figure of the security sector to be the Head of State and National Leader.    

 It is time the United Nations itself, as well as the UN Human Rights Commissioner, began to realize that members of the UN and its Commissions have their own traditional values and standards, especially those that date more than two millennia, and traditions of monarchy and caste-based governance, which need recognition in a world that seeks to ignore the past. Post-colonial modernism must take note of the realities of monarchic and non-democratic histories, and work towards and coming together of the past with a modern revival of such past.

 The United Nations can have its meetings in New York and Geneva, it can have interesting agenda for discussion, but it must never forget that member nations must have the right to follow their own traditions, that were nurtured and developed long before the concepts of Human Rights, Democracy and Minority Rights and Interests came to the political vocabulary.

 Three hearty cheers Sri Lanka – for withdrawing from co-sponsorship of a resolution that will remain with no change in the agenda of the UNHRC!

One Response to “UN must respect Sri Lankan traditions!”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    There is a place these bully boys can get busy. It is on this planet of course, place called Syria. None of these
    human rights monkeys can’t open their mouths since Mr Putin is there. So these shameless two legged creatures
    get busy bullying small nations until they confront a powerful backer. Shameless bullied Myanmar (being a Buddhist
    country get more bullying points of course). When China sided with them, human rights monkeys took a back seat.
    Sri Lanka? Of course shameless bullies score more points since we are also a Buddhist country. No Mr Puting or
    China in the vicinity so bullying goes uninterrupted. If you have an iota of shame, you should at least shed some
    crocodile tears for victims in Syria.

    The five precepts of Buddhism:
    1 refrain from taking life, ie killing any living creature.
    2 refrain from taking what is not freely given, ie theft.
    3 refrain from misuse of the senses or sexual misconduct, ie overindulgence in sex or committing sexual offences.
    4 refrain from wrong speech, ie lying or gossiping.
    5 refrain from indulging in intoxicants

    Breaking the Five precepts are the major sins any two legged creature can do anywhere under the sun.
    Buddhism’s Five Precepts are the basis for every country’s penal code under the sun. What The Buddha preached
    over 2,5000 has been proved by science again and again. No mythical gods! All true! All science. These human rights monkeys should be careful not to lie (which is a major sin) which can result them to be not a two legged creature s in their next lives. Singing for supper. If I were you, I will find a job rather than being a bully
    boy (girl)!

    Syria, Yemen etc. etc. Don’t know they exist? Or know world powers there and stay away from the hot spots and
    keep busy bullying Sri Lanka?

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