Sri Lanka’s president denounced Washington’s plan to move a UN human rights resolution against the island nation today, comparing the US move over alleged war crimes to a professional boxer taking on a schoolboy.
“There should not have been a resolution at all,” Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his first news conference with the foreign media in Colombo for more than three years. “If they have evidence they should have given (it) to us.”
Pressure has mounted on Rajapaksa’s government ahead of a UN Human Rights Council debate next month, where the United States plans to propose a resolution that may call for an international investigation in Sri Lanka.
In a report released this week, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said many thousands of civilians were killed, injured or remain missing after the 26-year civil conflict between government forces and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north of the island that ended in May 2009.
She said the government had failed to do its own credible investigations and there had been little progress in establishing accountability for “emblematic” wartime crimes.
Rajapaksa, president since 2005, said he was at a loss to understand why Washington was pressing for an inquiry.
“God knows why,” he told reporters at Temple Trees, an imposing brilliant-white palace built near Colombo’s oceanfront by British colonialists. “If they tell us, at least we can look at it.”
He likened Colombo’s standoff with Washington to a fight between a schoolboy and Cassius Clay - the former world boxing champion better known as Muhammad Ali.
“This is like Cassius Clay playing against a schoolboy,” he said.
“ARBITRARY” AND “INTRUSIVE”
A UN panel has said around 40,000 mainly Tamil civilians died in the final few months Of the war. Both sides committed atrocities, but army shelling killed most of the victims.
Pillay’s report, which directed criticism at the rebels as well as the government, also focused on allegations of allegations of abuses since the conflict.
The West and rights groups say rights violations have continued, including abductions of anti-government critics, attacks on churches, mosques and the media, as well as curbs on freedom of association and labour union activity.
Rajapaksa’s administration, in 18 pages of comments as long as the human rights chief’s report, rejected her recommendations as “arbitrary, intrusive and of a political nature”.
The president said Colombo has done its best to move ahead with a post-war reconciliation process, sometimes spending more money on infrastructure in the north - where the Tamil minority is concentrated - than the south.
He said support from Britain and Canada for the resolution proposed by the United States was the result of domestic pressure from Tamil diaspora in those countries. However, he noted that Sri Lanka could count on support from China and Russia at the United Nations, and possibly India too.
Aides say that Rajapaksa, who abolished the maximum tenure of two six-year terms for a president, may call an election later this year to seek a third term.
However, he said he had not yet decided whether to hold an election before his current term ends in 2016. — Reuters
chinthaka Nugegodage Saturday, 01 March 2014 04:07 PM
I thought mervin silva married her . Now where is silva who blasted Pillei in kiribathgoda rally ?????!
Dr. Shamla Friday, 28 February 2014 08:58 PM
hats off to our president ;) via DM Android App
Nims Saturday, 01 March 2014 11:12 AM
US gave Chemical weapons to Sadam Hussain to attack Iran and killed Sadam. Gave weapons to Bin Laden to fight Russia and killed Bin Laden. Who is next on the list. Definitely not MR - but one of those who support US. Read the history of US dirty politics
Sarathsk Saturday, 01 March 2014 01:49 AM
It should be corrected as a fight between "a Naughty schoolboy and Cassius Clay" . lol
Amila. G Saturday, 01 March 2014 02:06 AM
All this is because a innocent outfit was defeated .
Calistus Jayatilleke Saturday, 01 March 2014 11:38 AM
A more apt example would be a dual between an incorrigible school boy and a professional wrestler.
game-on Friday, 28 February 2014 04:05 PM
Your game is up Mr President. The whole world knows you now.
King Mihiraj Saturday, 01 March 2014 11:49 AM
We, all Sri Lankans are with our President at this difficult moment, no way we will allow any external power to invade and divide our mother land. India must have now realized that the so called Tamil Ealam is Tamil Nadu and not the Northern Sri Lanka, the later will only be used by the terrorists as a base to fight with India to capture the Dream Land of Ealam (Tamil Nadu).
Jan Chandra Sunday, 02 March 2014 09:47 AM
Good on you mate. God bless our President and Sri Lanka
S.Perera Saturday, 01 March 2014 07:50 AM
It's a fact that politicians in those countries like Canada want to impress Tamil voters since most Canadians are disinterested in voting then the Tamil vote matters. Those Tamils can be easily misled because most of them have never seen SL and others are of Indian origin.
sootikka Saturday, 01 March 2014 08:34 AM
Tamils dont have a country of their own but they live in every country in the world where ever they live theres so much trouble !!!! The british are responsible fir bringing them to Sri Lanka !!! Sad there was no united nations during the colonial era then one would know how much of people were killed in sri Lanka also america is responsible for all the trouble going on in the middle east Iraq killed all innocent people Afghanistan who will speak against these crimes do you need power to be on top
appi wenuwata ballo Saturday, 01 March 2014 05:54 PM
USA why bother about human rights??? in Sri Lanka we fight for rights of dogs and cattles.we even try to suicide to stop eating beef.so USA understand to whom Sri Lanka belongs to via DM Android App
M.V.R.Perera Saturday, 01 March 2014 04:09 AM
Why not our President abolish Provincial Councils to end this communal activities and the establishment of elam in Sri Lanka
Perumal Sunday, 02 March 2014 12:14 PM
No, naughty school boy and his teacher, in line with present scenario in education.
modaya Saturday, 01 March 2014 02:02 PM
Only the guilty are afraid! So dear president I do'nt know why you are worrying so much.!!
Raj Saturday, 01 March 2014 02:07 PM
# sootikka- Learn your history properly, only the Tamils from the upcountry were brought from India for the tea plantation. tamils from North and East were in sri Lanka for many hundred years like the Sinhalese.
sigiri Saturday, 01 March 2014 02:35 PM
The whole world knows that he was the only President who had the guts to demolish a ruthless LTTE terrorist our fit
dharmapala Sunday, 02 March 2014 01:32 AM
president whole world knew about you. you can not fool srilankan, as well world.
fawzan Saturday, 01 March 2014 03:30 PM
LTTE was wrong. But why we should support another set of criminals headed by president?
Suq Madique Monday, 03 March 2014 03:26 PM
Do you have proof the prez and his cohorts are criminals? Enlighten us please!
Kumar Saturday, 01 March 2014 04:01 AM
Mr President p.o.q to save your head via DM iPad app
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