Warm, close and friendly international relations – Sri Lanka and United Nations in the world family
Posted on May 13th, 2011

Sarath Wijesinghe, LLM (London) Solicitor-Attorney-at-law

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A senior respected member

Sri Lanka is a senior and a respected member of the United Nations respected by the Family of Nations as having embraced modern democratic ideals since 1931 by adhering to adult franchise and having practiced great Asian democratic models for thousands of years.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In that sense in the democratic world Sri Lanka is senior and experienced though some South Asian countries have experienced army rules.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the short history of Pakistan and Bangladesh there were turbulent periods and the good news is currently both countries are democratic with democratically elected governments.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the World Family there are few nations practicing fully fledged democracy.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the African Sub-continent the situation varies very frequently.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The African society is engulfed with tribes and there are reports of mass murders and destruction of wealth, human lives in most parts.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In Latin America there were very pathetic and difficult periods.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The Middle East is going through crisis due to invisible hands and forces.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In Iraq due to external intervention on the pretext of possession of nuclear armaments the country is destroyed and has become a killing field and an area of violation of human rights.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In other parts of Middle East there are agitations from a cross section of the society claiming for freedom.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is not sure whether they are claiming for freedom from iron fist rule or for democracy.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  After having under iron fist rules for decades it is doubtful whether there are matured politicians to take over the reins of the highly tribally separated society in the Middle East with vast differences of wealth from rich to poor.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In that context South Asia as a region is extremely fortunate.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Asia as a region too is fortunate.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The balance of power in the United Nations is uneven.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The formation of the UN in 1945 has not changed since the inception due to the rigidity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Though the members are not happy with the uneven distribution of power they cling together due to the need of a world body.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The UN espouses democracy for the members, and the UN itself need to be democratized.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka in world affairs

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon) is a member of the United Nations from the inception as a protectorate of the United Kingdom having obtained independence on 4th February 1948.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Subsequently Sri Lanka became an independent sovereign and a fully-fledged member of the world club.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  She held number of prestigious positions and took part in internal administration and in world politics.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Bandung Summit, Colombo Plan and the Non-Alignment Movement leading the SAARC Organization which covers one fourth of the globe are leading milestones of Sri Lanka in the arena of international relations.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Madam Bandaranaike, the first woman Prime Minister implemented the policies of her husband Hon. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who masterminded Non-Alignment Movement with the colleagues and contemporaries.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The able senior government officers assisted respective leaders of the country and the Ministers in the formulation and application of the foreign policy.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Indian foreign policy is stream lined, stable and static.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Governments may change but not the foreign policy.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In Sri Lanka the foreign policy is based on non-alignment and friendship with the world family.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka though small has been active and has been a signatory to most of the progressive conventions and international instruments.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  She was prompt in ratifying most instruments including UNHCR which is the basis of the current human rights and humanitarian law.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Human right situation in Sri Lanka throughout has been in conformity with the accepted international standards and human rights jurisprudence.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lanka is no stranger to human rights as it has been practiced for thousands of years in the society which is based on Buddhist and Hindu way of life of non-violence.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The teachings were deep and philosophical.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The people were disciplined, kind and friendly. Yet nations go through difficult periods.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lanka bled in 1970s as a result of an insurrection initiated by youth in South mainly consisting of Sinhalese youth. The rough estimate by the media is the death toll was around 60,000-80,000.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There has been no protest or agitation from the international organizations or NGOs in Sri Lanka on the brutal suppression and inhuman treatment of the Sinhala youth agitated for a regime change.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  After having suppressed the youngsters were humanely treated and rehabilitated.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The next wave of insurrection was from the Tamil youth who were duped and misdirected by V. Prabhakaran who started the killing spree at a very young age after killing the then leader of the Tamil community Mr.AlfredƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Duraiappah, the Mayor of Jaffna.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Then onwards the killing spree of mainly Tamils and Sinhalese started by Prabhakaran and the group of Tamil militants.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  At one stage Prabhakaran wiped up all the other groupsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  by massacring them on the road on broad day light and became the supreme leader of the organization which the international and USA reports branded as the most ruthless and feared terroristƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  outfit in the world.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Prabhakaran was responsible for the killing of world leaders such as Rajiv Gandhi Prime Minster of India, R. Premadasa, President of Sri Lanka, children, youth, religious dignitaries and people of all walks of life.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Successive governments were not able to suppress the killings because LTTE carefully spread the international network worldwide by accumulating wealth from drug trade and human trafficking and many other means and ways.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  He had a fleet of ships and accumulated wealth worldwide which organized and carefully used to look after and bribe local and international media and even universities by awarding large sums of funds to academics to influence the world opinion.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ LTTE as a vehicle for drug trafficking and asylum

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ LTTE was linked with the human trafficking and asylum.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Asylum seekers wanted problems in Sri Lanka for their cases t in the West to be successful.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  UK, Canada, Australia and EU were save heavens for would be refugees seeking asylum to be economic refugees.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It was so well organized with a network of organization lawyers that the Diaspora day by day increased with the ability to influence the members of Parliament in marginal electorates in Western countries.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ They were able to infiltrate into non-governmental organizations and the United Nations thereby they created a voice in the international arena.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They took part in various international seminars and the UN through various channels.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ United Nations the World Body and the LTTE

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ United Nations officers and the other branches were set up in Sri Lanka in various parts.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  UN has made large contributions in kind and many other ways to Sri Lanka to improve health, social strata and in the field of education.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  During natural disasters UN assisted Sri Lanka along with the other international organizations.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lanka acknowledges and appreciates services rendered by UN and agencies and wishes it be continued for the betterment of the peoples of Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Even during the conflict Sri Lankan Government provided food and other facilities to the terrorist affected areas, despite the fact that LTTE snatched a major portion of the food and other provisions sent to the so-called LTTE controlled areas.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The UN and other international organizations were within the LTTE controlled areas and they were compelled to be at the mercy of the LTTE and their employees were completely recruited among the residents in the area who too were directly and indirectly LTTE supporters and sympathizers.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is under these circumstances that the Sri Lankan Government had to launch the humanitarian operation in order to save the trapped citizens with the LTTE.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  LTTE was ruthless and hard.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Families were compelled to at least to give their youngsters, schools were used to training, school children were brain washed and all the government resources were used for LTTE politics.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lankan Government continued to send provisions to government institutions, medicine to hospitals and salaries to Government servants who are under LTTE control.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is a unique situation where nowhere in the world no Government has faced.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is a miracle that Sri Lankan Government somehow infiltrated and successfully launched the humanitarian operation mainly due to the fact that the people were waiting for an opportunity to release from the clutches of the LTTE.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  These are the circumstances under which the UN Officers, officials and the system operated in Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Therefore the information transmitted outside Sri Lanka was completely distorted.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  All the achievements of Sri Lanka and the friendships developed between Sri Lanka and UN were little by little dismantled.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Fortunately the situation is changing now.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The world, UN and the International organizations have realized actual situation because the LTTE today is completely exposed, after the exposure of North and East.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  North and East has become so popular that for a month 500,000 flocks to visit North and East, the virgin and most beautiful lands, sceneries, beach and wildlife.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is time that Sri Lanka regains and reactivates the same close and warm relationship that she had for decades with the UN and the World Family despite the current drawbacks orchestrated by anti-Sri Lankan forces and the misguided media.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The differences with some Individuals are temporary and will be pacified and short-lived.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  As for the Government and the UN organizations the friendship and the relationship is day by day improving.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ No Organization is perfect and need changes after a lapse of few decades.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  No drastic changes have taken place for the UN for the last 64 years due to the rigid nature of the UN Charter as a result of the requirement of a difficult journey for the approval of changes where the five world powers that hold power are jealously guarding the territory with reluctance for changes.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The current Security Council Members are no longer world powers as the world power and the wealth is replaced by India, China, Brazil and Japan which are day by day competing to be world leaders and large economies.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Committee appointed by the Secretary General to advice him

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Now the Committee appointed by the Secretary General to advice himself on Sri Lanka is being discussed in different forums.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There is a misconception and misunderstanding that this is a committee appointed by the United Nations or a subsidiary body.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The Secretary General is only an employee of the United Nations who is the leading figure and the main international civil servant who should act carefully, impartially and in the most reasonable manner.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  He carries on the directions and instructions of the members as the members are powerful and most importantly those members who are economically powerful and who make most contributions are powerful.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The contributions made by the members are a prerequisite and an important factor to run the organization. Without funds organization will be at a standstill.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  On the other hand the Secretary-General has to be reelected for which the goodwill and the assistance of five permanent members out of which powerful permanent members should support.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In this scenario the Secretary General cannot be impartial to that extent as he is prone to be influenced. This is not a very healthy situation but the fact remains that the theory of jungle which is the survival of the fittest applies to the family of nations as well. Therefore Sri Lanka will have to be extremely careful in dealing with the current situation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  She must reactivate and reemerge to be friendly, senior and an effective member of the United Nations maintaining the record of goodwill and the international status in the sphere of human rights.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is also noteworthy to mention that the human rights mechanism in Sri Lanka is of the highest standard and exemplary.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  There is a Human Rights Commission and a very vibrant and effective court any citizens have access to move the court of redress for human rights violations and very powerful non-governmental organizations spread countrywide.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the circumstances the temporary media campaign against the Sri Lankan image will be temporary and it is time Sri Lanka to clarify the issue and to launch a vigorous campaign to clear and enhance the good image of the nation.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Eradication of terrorism

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Today world has become a better place after the destruction of Al Qaeda Movement and the leader by President Obama and the eradication of LTTE Terrorism and the leader by President Rajapaksa.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  While President Obama personally directed the killing of one of the most wanted men President Rajapaksa directed the Sri Lankan Security forces during the humanitarian operation to eradicate terrorism.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is during the process and the confrontation that the leader of the LTTE was killed during confrontation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The leader of the LTTE is one who is carrying a cyanide pill and has given instructions to his followers to kill him if he surrenders.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The world must be grateful and thankful to the two great leaders for having made the world a peaceful place to live.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The relationship of the World Family and the countries are based on international relations which signify the movement of the Nation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lankan foreign policy is based on ‘Mahinda Chintana’ on which the concept of foreign relations are based,

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (The writer can be reached on ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ sarath8@hotmail.com)

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