President of the National Movement for a Just Society, Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya, emphasized that the government should not act bumptiously and foolishly, but intelligently with mature diplomatic wisdom and honestly on behalf of the country over the resolution against Sri Lanka at the International Human Rights Council.
If the government gets the matter complicated by acting in a bumptious and foolish manner, ignoring these requirements , International Human Rights Council of the United Nations will take a stern decision on this regard, emphasized Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, further stating that it is not the governors or politicians but the helpless citizens of the country who will suffer.
Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya was speaking at a press conference, organized by the National Movement for a Just Society at the Janaki Hotel in Colombo on Thursday (25).
As Sri Lankans, we speak with great sadness today. Our motherland is tangled up in various issues today and therefore we would like to mainly focus on only two such aspects. The people are under great pressure today due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy has collapsed. Due to the sharp rise in the cost of living, the people are going without food and drink. There are many families today who are unable to have three square meals a day.
While the country is facing such a conundrum, several powerful countries in the world have submitted a report to the Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka. It speaks of imposing embargos on Sri Lanka. Faced with the worst terrorism in the world, we fully understand its seriousness and the devastation it has caused to lives and resources. We also need to understand that the world is not made up of only our country. The first draft of a resolution on Sri Lanka has been released recently by several countries including Britain, Germany and Canada. The proposal is reportedly due to be discussed on March 1. All countries represented at the UN Human Rights Council have been invited to attend.
Considering this resolution, it appears that there is no problem with the preamble to it. It reaffirms the commitment of those countries to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. In addition, they have expressed regret over the terrorist attack in 2019 and admitted that the last Presidential and General Elections were held in a democratic manner.
However, there is a serious challenge facing our country in terms of the clauses included in the resolution. We as a country need to pay close attention to this. We hope that the government will represent the country with the utmost intelligence, mature diplomacy and honesty. Under no circumstances should we be arrogant or rash.
As a democratic country that respects and abides by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Sri Lanka must act in a manner that protects the international prestige and reputation that it has established in the past. Therefore, we reiterate that we must face this challenge with intellectual and diplomatic maturity at this juncture while safeguarding our dignity as an independent, sovereign nation.
If we do not do so and further exacerbate the issue and if for that reason the UNHRC takes a tough decision, it will be people of this country who will suffer and not be the rulers or the politicians of this country. Therefore, we hope that all parties will work together to resolve this issue through dialogue and consensus. If that happens then it would be a great mental relief to all. We are not expressing these views to blame or criticise the government but instead because everyone needs to understand the challenge faced by the country.
In such a situation, the whole country should be united and be reconciled. But that is not the case. Today, we are a nation divided on various issues. The 20th Amendment has caused a great deal of confusion in the country today. The vast majority of religious communities, including the Maha Sangha, as well as the majority of society, are opposed to the 20th Amendment.
I would like to ask the parties who stood for the 20th Amendment if the 20th Amendment that has given one individual unlimited powers has managed to fulfil any of the promises given to the country. Is there really any victory the country has achieved due to the 20th Amendment? Did it guarantee the rights of the people of the country? Has the 20th Amendment helped to overcome the economic crisis in the country? What support has it given to combat the Covid-19 pandemic? Was it able to strengthen the parliament, ensure the independence of the judiciary or establish the rule of law? Has the infinite power gained by one person through the 20th Amendment equipped the country to face the Geneva challenge?
But the 20th Amendment has reversed all that. The country's legislative body has been turned into a barren field and the people's representatives have been turned into mere puppets. Must I even speak of the state of the judiciary? The country's economy is on a downward spiral as never before. Today internationally our country has lost many honourable friends. Sri Lanka is becoming an isolated country in the world.
In addition, as the only country in the world that does not allow burial by interfering with the traditional customs of the Muslim community, our country has been strongly opposed by the Muslim countries and the people of the world. According to reports, even though the Committee of Experts were positive about allowing burials and the Hon. Prime Minister making a public statement in Parliament on the matter, the Hon. Prime Minister as well as the Parliament have been humiliated by the statements made by a State Minister and a Member of Parliament. It shows the weakness of the government’s decision-making power and has done great damage to its reputation. These are matters that need the attention of the authorities. The government should take a firm decision about burials.
Also, the catastrophe caused by the 20th Amendment could be the beginning of yet another catastrophe. This is evident from the inclusion of both of the above in the Geneva Resolutions. These incidents took place under the present regime, so we see it as a prudent step to take a closer look at those issues.
But sadly, instead of putting out such fires that have engulfed the country, we have seen a few people intoxicated by greed igniting this fire instead. This is evident through their attacks on politicians who hold different views and those who do not belong to their camp.
We see the report of the Upali Abeyratne Commission as the worst insult to the judiciary. The world sees this as a great joke. It is seen as an attempt by a greedy government to break the backbone of the opposition and create a perpetual dictatorship in this country by depriving the opposition of their civic rights.
Upali Abeyratne's recommendations have done great damage to the recognition and respect that the Sri Lankan judiciary has gained in recent times, both locally and internationally. This situation has caused us great pain. I responsibly state here that in this situation too we act with great confidence in our judiciary. We urge the judiciary to further strengthen that belief.
Accordingly, we tell those individuals who are leading this country to destruction today to not boast about the two-thirds majority. Do not set fire to the country at this unfortunate time. We express these views with the noble objective of creating a just, law-abiding and moral country as wished by Ven. Sobhitha Thera. The vision of making it a success is the sole objective of our organisation.
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