Sri Lanka is in the bad books of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada. Many other Western Nations condemn our nation for alleged human rights violations. Fascinatingly, many of these Western Nations, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, are not themselves clear from similar accusations. United States soldiers are at this time infamous in Iraq and Afghanistan for human rights violations.
The United States in particular has a history of supporting dictatorships including Pinochet and Saddam Hussein for their political advantage. The US-sponsored Pinochet dictatorship was guilty of thousands of cold-blooded massacres in Chile.
In present times, the US as well as the UK is accused of keeping a convenient blind-eye on human rights exploitations in Saudi Arabia in order to further their own political and economic agendas. The victims of pro American militia in Afghanistan ranged from pre-teen rape victims to victims of brutal violence. Although there are certain constructive mechanisms and precautions that prevent human rights violations, the fact that Western 'sponsored forces' are engaging in gross human rights remains a reality.
United States is also confronted with serious human rights issues at the domestic level.
American Muslims face discrimination and harassment based on their Muslim identity in United States. American Muslims face gross discrimination at the hands of certain section of public as well as by state and federal law enforcement agencies. In this backlight American lecturers on human rights violations will fail to make a significant impact in the minds of cynical Sri Lankan nationalistic public.
Sri Lanka preach to the world about the magnitude of Buddhism and it’s most innate and celebrated characteristic of non-violence. In this sense, Sri Lankans have an unquestionable responsibility to safeguard human rights. This indeed is irrespective of any Western demands. However, the existing human rights situation in the country is highly questionable.
“Since January 2006, Sri Lanka has attained some amazing feats of home grown justice. The door to justice has been closed locally. When getting away with this kind of thing repeatedly, those in the system actually come to believe
themselves to be exemplars of virtue,” according to a credible report from University Teachers for Human Rights – Jaffna.
"Torture is a way of life at all police stations in Sri Lanka in response to all kinds of crimes," according to a statement from Asian Human Rights Commission.
The events of last several decades had destroyed the collective sensitivity of all Sri Lankans to humanity. Desensitization to the human rights violations is the sad-Lanka-realism.
In this backlight, the Sri Lankan administration has an unambiguous responsibility to re-establish human rights protection and law and order. These efforts should not just be aimed at appeasing any Western supremacy but aimed at performing collective Sri Lankan duty as human beings.
Constitutional commissions must be re-activated combined with the seventeenth amendment to the constitution.
Despite Western hypocrisy calling for the protection of human rights, Sri Lankan society has, not only political obligations, but also moral obligations as human beings to uphold human rights and democracy. The future of post-war Sri Lankan governance and diplomacy will depend on a substantial amount of effort towards this motive.
(The writer is an alumni of Oglethorpe College, Atlanta and author of publications "The Lost Cause" and "Terrorizing Terrorists". He had also served as a diplomatic editor of several websites.)
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