Sri Lankan Parliament will debate on April 3 and 4 the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution which called on the country to implement recommendations of a panel that examined comprehensively the war with the Tamil Tigers.
The mood in Parliament reflected the prevailing patriotic fervour in the Sinhala dominated parts of Sri Lanka. Catering to this, the External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris informed Parliament on Friday that the government was clear on the resolution from the beginning. “We declined proposals from the U.S. and several other countries to support the resolution after amending and changing words,” he was quoted in The Daily News. “Sri Lanka maintained the position that we have whatsoever no connection with the resolution. If we were to have been involved in this process, it could have posed long-term negative effects upon our country,” he added.
While many in positions of authority were cautious of criticising India, the media, quoting ‘highly placed official sources' have been vocal in its criticism. So have been the columnists, who have ripped the Indian stand to shreds. One delegate to the UNHRC session in Geneva said it was not the Indian vote that hurt; it was the manner in which India did it. India changing its decision at the last minute was the issue, and this was something that most Sri Lankans will not forget in a long time to come, he added.
Sri Lankans, cutting across class divides, are aghast at the Indian decision to support the U.S.-sponsored resolution. Parliament is in session, and the signals emerging from it are clear: Sri Lanka will tolerate no interference as it embarks on its own brand of “home-grown” solution to keep the nation united.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been guarded in his criticism of countries that supported the resolution, his Ministers have made it a point to drive home the point that nothing would be achieved as a result of the resolution.
“Our government is committed to walk that extra mile to establish permanent peace through reconciliation. That is our commitment to our people and no one has to tell us what to do,” said Mr. Rajapaksa inaugurating the “Sri Lanka Expo 2012”, attend by a many from the diplomatic corps.
On Friday Mr. Rajapaksa appealed to the Tamil media in the country not to encourage separatist tendencies. “Tamil Oodagam inavadam kilappa koodathu,” [Tamil media should not foster separatism], he said inaugurating the buildings of a government-run Centre for Media Development. He wanted the Tamil media to support development and progress.