What went wrong with Sri Lanka in Geneva?

9 April 2012 08:21 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Ego clashes were reported to have occurred among the members of the high profile Government delegation to Geneva led by Plantation Industry and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, the Special Envoy of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Also we had Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, an unassuming savvy diplomat. When I met her she was suffering from laryngitis and had lost her normal voice and suffered a lot to communicate with others.
Also before the start of the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 27 there was External Affairs Minister G.L. Pieris. But he left as the Council session started and was back by March 20 and was in Geneva until the voting on March 22 of the US-sponsored resolution [A/HRC/19/L.2] on Sri Lanka at the 19 sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva.
It was very sad to be a witness to some high profile battle of egos in the midst of those who were in Geneva to safeguard the interest of the Country, the Government and that of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was very unfortunate and the clash of egos in a big way diminished our efforts.
Tamils of Sri Lanka have been denied opportunities to work with Government leaders. As a Tamil, I knew this would be the line the Tamil Diaspora groups would be taking. When I met the leader of the Sri Lankan Government delegation, I told him to take along one or two Tamils whenever he went to meet the leaders of the other countries.
Unfortunately, Tamils were not taken whenever the Sri Lankan leaders went for lobbying. I don’t know why they failed to take Tamils when they went for lobbying. May be those leaders were either megalomaniacs or arrogant and discarded the Tamils.If Tamils were taken into confidence and taken for lobbying, they would have said, “we are Tamils, we live in Sri Lanka and we live peacefully and live harmoniously in Sri Lanka with Sinhalese, Muslims, and Burghers and would have refuted the arguments put forward by the Tamil Diaspora groups.
They would have said that the so called Tamil Diaspora group representatives have never visited Sri Lanka and these are the very people who justified the killings by the LTTE and Prabhakaran, these are the very people who justified the forceful recruitments of underage children and these are the very people who glorified suicide killings. They would have also said that until Prabhakaran was alive, these are the very people who never uttered one word to protect the Tamils living in Sri Lanka from the ruthless grip of the LTTE.
In conclusion the Tamils were not given an opportunity to fight for the country. It was unfortunate. There cannot ever be Sinhalese solution to a Tamil problem. Since 2007, I was insisting that we should have a Sri Lankan Minister for Sri Lankans Overseas to look after the welfare of the Sri Lankan Diaspora in the West. But to date not a single person was appointed as Minister for Sri Lankans Overseas. I still insist that there has to be a Minister for Sri Lankans Overseas.
With the African countries, it has been a longstanding relationship in the context of Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) and G 77. Leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania and Abdul Nasser of Egypt were associated with Sri Lnka in the formation stage of NAM and also had close contacts with Srimavo Bandaranayake. We had earlier some relationship with African countries but never had Ambassador Level and friendly relationship with majority of the African countries.
It is time we should cultivate relationships with countries in Africa. This time Congo, Mauritania – two of the West African countries and Uganda voted against the American sponsored resolution in favour of Sri Lanka. At present Sri Lanka has embassies in Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and also in Libya and Sri Lanka intends to open up a new embassy in Nigeria before the end of this year.
Sri Lanka does not have any Ambassador level relationship with any West African countries and majority of those countries are Francophone countries. People in the West African Countries enjoy Music and Dance and it is high time Sri Lanka cultivate friendly relationship with these countries.
Similarly Sri Lanka has one Embassy in Brazil and another in Cuba, but Sri Lanka has to consider bilateral relations with countries like Chile, Argentine, Peru and Venezuela as these are some of the important Latin American countries.
It is time we cultivate relationship with African and Latin American countries as Tamil Diaspora in the West are not going to rest with the one resolution sponsored by America.
According to my information they are planning something serious by which they will be able to bring about the regime change.
This will not happen in Sri Lanka as far as Sri Lankan Tamils have a friendly relationship with the majority community.
Therefore the triumphalism attitude has to be given up and work hard to bring about reconciliation in the country.(Asia Tribune)
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