Rape in War: Mrs Clinton has over stepped the mark
Posted on October 3rd, 2009

Donald Chandraratna, Australia

This incessant talk of violating human rights is fast becoming hollow talk by Western powers who do not apply the rules of fairness to the charges and allegations levelled at poorer nations in the world. No one will deny that there are serious violations from time to time by all states parties including those who are the current accusers. Sadly the international covenants are imprecise in the way due process is specified in the rules of fair play and justice. International statutes do list the crimes but are vague in the manner in which the charges and allegations are to be initiated without injury to innocent state parties. Hence these codes of conduct are subsumed under the rubric ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”in good faithƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Herein lays the problem. In the world of today ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”in good faithƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ has become the royal prerogative of white folks, powerful nations and Western countries. Hence charges are levelled without a shred of evidence against countries like Sri Lanka and the very recent slap stick charge of rape as an instrument of war is the last straw that really breaks our patience. The lack of fairness against Sri Lanka is really appalling.

The acts of commissions and omission against Sri Lanka are manifold. The abuse of powers, in the forms of fraud and corruption, bribery, biased decisions, favoured treatment and sometimes overt and other times covert by a number or individuals in powerful positions is making a mockery of the human rights talk. Even Mr ObamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s glow is seen wearing off because the gulf between the promise and performance of his appointees to positions of power in the international domain is becoming too obvious to many. Mrs Hilary Clinton, Ms Rice, Mr Blake and others are pretending to uphold universal moral values while evincing no genuine sense of impartiality or fairness in apportioning blame. The principle that they seem to follow is that if you keep on slinging mud, some will eventually stick. That they are only posturing for selfish ends, for whatever reasons known to them, is perverting the whole exercise of preserving human rights values in the world. .

I have often alluded to the importance of ethicality and morality in the domain of international conduct purely because of the difficulty in having legal statutes which are water tight in the conduct of international affairs. Investigations, evidence gathering, and other necessary procedures and protocols are cumbersome to say the least. Hence it is morality and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”in good faithƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that most states parties conduct their businesses as members of a universal society. The very same considerations are applicable to an individual politician vis a vis the public interest in the local domain is extended to the member state vis a vis the international society. The two domains ought to be kept separate in the interest of humanity. If individuals who hold high office seem disabled to exercise their independent judgement in public affairs by reason of fetters imposed on them in the electoral process public duty is compromised. Likewise in the case of Sri Lanka, the persons who hold international office are in chains. They seem unable to exercise their duties in the international interest. It appears that they have been chained by the largesse of millions in raising funds for their electoral success and secondly, trapped by vote banks intentionally established to tie them to certain parochial ideologies which extend beyond the shores of their nations. Regrettably, these individuals are incapable of liberation from the trappings now. . This is the current plight of many in the international market place. The Secretary General of the UN, Secretary of State in the US, the counterparts in UK, France, and many others who are leap frogging on them have become the mouth pieces for vested interests. Hence we are confused by the pronouncements of these individuals, not being certain whether they are acting in the international interest or essentially in the private interest. In this particular instance of Mrs Clinton allegation that rape was used as an instrument of war in Sri Lanka is a serious abuse of her authority if she cannot adduce evidence in support of it. She also must know that hearsay and evidence are not the same. If not, she ought to be tried by the same standards and procedures by which mere mortals like you and me will be tried with the penalties that are attached to such infringements in civil life.

She must know that a person in the position of the Secretary of state must act with all the characteristics of an honourable person; honesty, truthfulness, candour, dependability, fair mindedness, objectivity, probity, good conscience etc. A very tall order indeed but if you cannot, then the job is above your competence. Even for Mr Miliband or Mr Couchner, the standards are flexible when it comes to political matters in their country, because with all the frailties of democracy, that is by far the best alternative for national governance but in the realm of international relations you must stand above the local parochialism. Whatever Mrs ClintonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s faults, imperfections, stupidity, cupidity and moral failures are excused while she was a senator or the first lady but she needs to rise above the personal interests when the well being of millions of others in other countries are at stake. The latitude allowed for imperfections in the international realm are limited and that is the reason for the invention of the age old term diplomacy.

One Response to “Rape in War: Mrs Clinton has over stepped the mark”

  1. cassandra Says:

    I think there is something very simple but important that is involved in relation to Hilary Clinton’s statement alleging the use of rape in war, among others, by the Sri Lankan armed forces – responsibility for the things one says.

    All of us, no matter what our station in life, must ensure the truth of what we say. And the more important our position, the more critical it is to ensure this. In terms of international relevance, there is perhaps no more important position in the US Administration, after that of the President, than that of Secretary of State. You cannot if you are the Secretary of State for the USA, afford to make unfounded statements about other countries, you cannot afford to make rash statements, you cannot afford to make silly statements – full stop. The Secretary of State is in a sense the face of the US Administration to the outside world. It is no accident that in the past we have seen the position of Secretary of State being given to persons of stature and maturity, not failed politicians with doubtful credentials. When I think of those who have occupied this position I think of the likes of Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. They were not ‘fly weights’. They were people who were distinguished by achievement in their chosen fields of endeavour. They commanded respect because of their intellect, and who in office as Secretaries of State, conducted themselves with a sense of responsibility.

    Quite simply, Hilary Clinton is not up to her job. Her statement accusing the Sri Lankan armed forces of rape is not her first ‘blunder’. In a matter of a few months she has amply demonstrated that she is simply not fit for the high office to which President Obama appointed her.

    Hialry Clinton is an embarrassment to the Obama Administration.

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