SL lack lobbying in the West

25 June 2011 06:20 am - 23     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While claiming that Sri Lanka is not a matter for the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said Sri Lanka doesn’t have strong local lobbying in the Western world, whereas the LTTE still has a strong lobby.

“We also don’t have a strong local lobbying power in the Western world while the remaining fragments of the LTTE still have resources and a strong lobby there,” Mr. Kariyawasam said an interview with ‘The Statesman.’ “We have challenged the authenticity of this tape and are very surprised that its backers have the money to go to New York, to Geneva, to air this video.

Also, this video does not help the ongoing reconciliation process; instead of assisting the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation processes, people are trying to undermine these efforts by lacerating wounds that are in the process of healing,” he said. He also said “We think Sri Lanka is not a matter for the UN Human Rights Council.

We regularly brief the UNHRC on the efforts we a remaking in our own country in terms of respecting human rights. But any intrusive examination of our situation is uncalled for since we are capable of handling the situation ourselves.”

Full interview below


Mr Prasad Kariyawasam is Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India. He has also served in New York and Geneva as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He joined the Lankan foreign service in 1981 and has held diplomatic assignments in Geneva, Riyadh, Washington and New Delhi.

He has served as the Deputy High Commissioner in India holding the rank of an Ambassador, the Consul-General of Sri Lanka in Switzerland and the personal representative of the Head of State of Sri Lanka at the G-15. In an interview to SIMRAN SODHI, he spoke on Indo-Sri Lankan relations.

What has been the outcome of the Indian troika’s (foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar) recent visit to Sri Lanka?

This kind of high-level interaction between India and Sri Lanka is very regular and routine. Our external affairs minister, Prof GL Peiris, also visited India recently on an official visit. The troika trip was very successful from our perspective because it gave us an opportunity to review all the issues in our bilateral relationship. Almost everything in our modern and current relationship that includes defence cooperation, India’s assistance to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Northern Province, our commercial and business ties and as well as maritime security were discussed. We were also able to exchange views on how the reconciliation process is moving forward.

The Sri Lankan media reported after the troika visit that India and Sri Lanka were on a collision course…

I don’t know on what basis they made such assumptions. There are some, in both India and Sri Lanka, who are always into conspiracy theories, who want to re-open settled issues, but that is not how the two countries relate to one another. We are going forward, we are not going back. The visit did not give rise to any such adverse result. India and Sri Lanka relationship is not push and pull; it is a cooperative, consultative process. What is the Sri Lankan government’s position on the 13th Amendment of the country’s charter, particularly on land and powers enjoyed by police?

The 13th Amendment remains a point of departure, a basis for us to build on. The 13th amendment is a provision that we have incorporated into our Constitution under certain circumstances that prevailed at a particular time almost 25 years ago. It was seen as the means to address some key issues in Sri Lanka at the time.

What Sri Lanka has gone through during the last 25 years, including the experience in implementing the various provisions of the 13th Amendment, has made us realise that the 13th Amendment is not the perfect panacea to our problems. So we have not ended our quest and we are working on it. Our aim is to find a political arrangement that will have the support of all parties in Sri  Lanka, primarily all those who are represented in our Parliament. Such a solution will undoubtedly be welcomed by India as well.

For long-term reconciliation, for the long-term progress of Sri Lanka, we need to adjust the amendment in such a manner that is acceptable to all communities in this country. Its success depends on acceptance of all communities. Why was there so much of criticism in Sri Lanka after the joint statement issued at the end of Sri Lanka’s foreign minister’s visit to India last month?

Just like in India, there are individuals and parties holding different views and opinions regarding the direction in which India and Sri Lanka should conduct a discourse and its content. Therefore, some parties in our country may not be happy when certain views are expressed.

They have their perceptions and expectations as to what should be the limits of public discourse between the two countries and they are entitled to their views.

What is your expectation at the September session of the United Nations Human Rights Council?

We think Sri Lanka is not a matter for the UN Human Rights Council. We regularly brief the UNHRC on the efforts we are making in our own country in terms of respecting human rights. But any intrusive examination of our situation is uncalled for since we are capable of handling the situation ourselves. For this purpose, we have several national mechanisms that are ongoing that can handle all those concerns expressed by the international community.

We are a democratic country and we have set up sound local mechanisms to address all these concerns. What is your reaction to the video recently aired on an international television channel showing the Sri Lankan army committing gross human rights violations?

The video lacks authenticity and it is a collection of footage aired earlier on LTTE websites. We do not know the exact sources of the footage yet. The information could have been forwarded to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission so that it could be investigated.

The public airing of the video smacks of a conspiracy to bring disgrace to Sri Lanka. We have challenged the authenticity of this tape and are very surprised that its backers have the money to go to New York, to Geneva, to air this video. We also don’t have a strong local lobbying power in the Western world while the remaining fragments of the LTTE still have resources and a strong lobby there.

Also, this video does not help the ongoing reconciliation process; instead of assisting the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation processes, people are trying to undermine these efforts by lacerating wounds that are in the process of healing. What is your reaction to the fact that Tamil Nadu now has a new chief minister and that the TN Assembly passed a resolution against Sri Lanka?

It is unfortunate that such a resolution was passed and such comments were made against Sri Lanka because we only have goodwill for the people of Tamil Nadu and for the leadership of Tamil Nadu. In fact, we look forward to working with chief minister Ms Jayalalithaa. We feel she has been ill informed, she has been a victim of a misinformation campaign against Sri Lanka by some parties who are inimical to my country.

We hope that a team of senior politicians from Tamil Nadu will visit Sri Lanka soon and see for themselves the reality on the ground, the reconciliation process and the development work that is going on and then realise that the situation is very different from what is being perceived.

The killing of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy has resulted in strained ties. How do you intend to deal with this?

Both countries are concerned about this and we have jointly said that whatever violations are committed by the fishermen on both sides, the use of force is not acceptable. Many incidents happened during the conflict period over which we had no control but now we must ensure that even the fishermen who violate the law of the sea are not harassed but are subjected only to the normal laws. Meanwhile, it is essential for fishermen of both countries to refrain from crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

thestatesman


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  Comments - 23

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  • Cheran Sunday, 26 June 2011 08:06 AM

    Cholan, You are right.

    raju Sunday, 26 June 2011 08:31 AM

    accept your weaknes,tamil diaspora is in a strong possition.

    Konde Bendapuchhena Saturday, 25 June 2011 07:03 AM

    Mr.Kariayawasama that is why SL appointed people like you to do it,but we know you are much much better than most of the envoys

    sam Fernando Sunday, 26 June 2011 11:58 PM

    This has to be said and you have said it. Let us see what the rulers say!

    Sam

    cracko Saturday, 25 June 2011 10:44 AM

    Nothing new to save GoSL from the allegations by UN and other truly democratic countries. India too has a guilty face.

    Hareesz Saturday, 25 June 2011 11:24 AM

    Result of political appointments. At least you have the guts to be frank.

    anthewasikaya Saturday, 25 June 2011 12:13 PM

    Mr kariwasam speak louder for Sri-Lanka.

    lal Saturday, 25 June 2011 12:11 PM

    A very bright, capable and inspiring young High Commissioner. We need more such people to represent Sri Lanka.

    raj Monday, 27 June 2011 04:48 AM

    it is not a diplomacy. it is an effort to cover up.

    Concerned Saturday, 25 June 2011 03:00 PM

    Mr. Kariyawasam, You have badly under estimated the capabilities of our GL, WW etc.

    SWRD Saturday, 25 June 2011 03:19 PM

    Sir , IT IS VERY HARD HIDE TRUTH ,THATS ABOUT IT

    I Hussein Saturday, 25 June 2011 03:46 PM

    Thats because there arnt enough capable, credible, learnt diplomats. All are sidekicks & henchmen occupied top slots, so MR has no clue or option other than believe in what those fellas say. Living in their own fantasy world.

    Palitha W Ranatunge Monday, 27 June 2011 05:14 AM

    Well said Prasad, I still back your comments the way I backed you on the cricket field when we were school boys representing Richmond College in Cricket and you were the Skipper of that team.

    eddy Saturday, 25 June 2011 03:47 PM

    Well said Prasad. Sri Lanka does not need to explain to the International World about it local affairs.The ltte does not represent the Tamils in Sri Lanka and will never represent the Sri Lankan Tamils Internationally. Set the facts straight and stop instigating. War crimes should be pursued with the ltte and all their members must be brought to trial. The International World should not allow conchorted lies,videos,any conchorted media to undermine Sri Lanka. Those supporting has ulterior motives or are totally ignorant.Always see both sides of the story and investigate before making judgement. Sri Lankas capable leaders have handled these issues brillantly as compared to most countries.Terrorism is not acceptable in todays World.

    bada-uda-gemmba Saturday, 25 June 2011 04:02 PM

    LAZY Sri Lankans laying on their "backs" for too long!!!
    TYPICAL... Wake up at least now and get-on with it
    Mother-Lanka is crying out!!!!

    Muheed Jeeran Saturday, 25 June 2011 04:16 PM

    Lobbying is not the big issue but lack of funding is the issue this what I found from my experience.

    rajthas Saturday, 25 June 2011 09:57 PM

    fisrt welcome to eu then everything ok.

    Guru Saturday, 25 June 2011 10:05 PM

    At least you have understood that. Good.

    ampare son Saturday, 25 June 2011 10:56 PM

    we need more educate people like you.god bless you sir.

    Smart Alec Sunday, 26 June 2011 04:29 PM

    A reputed Tamil Gent from Canada says, Tamil diaspora" a bunch of scum bags"

    Nissanka Saturday, 25 June 2011 11:46 PM

    I Hussein, I totally agree with you.

    cholan Sunday, 26 June 2011 04:04 AM

    West is not supporting the LTTE but the Truth

    Guru Sunday, 26 June 2011 04:33 AM

    First of all you guys should have the brains. How can you have it by eating Kavun.


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