Special envoy of the Sri Lankan President, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, has immediately rejected the resolution. Sri Lanka has rejected the resolution for being "intrusive, replete with misinterpretation and being unable to capture the progressive steps implemented by the government."
In the essence of the State sovereignty, the argument of the Sri Lankan Government could be well justified. Yet, are we truly taking care of our own governance by ourselves? Being part of a Sinhala Buddhist privileged clan of the country, I am not best placed to answer to this question. Given the significance of the content of this resolution on minorities in the country, it is they who should be speaking about the content of this resolution and the so- called delivered commitments by the government.
Has the Sri Lankan Government created an enabling environment for Tamil and Muslim communities in the country to speak freely? The military is still heavily involved in administration of many aspects of our lives, particularly in Tamil- speaking areas of the country. The public response to the armed forces is coated with gratitude for winning the war, even now. The so- called success is viewed as a qualification to carry out development projects, to run pre-schools to bringing peace and reconciliation for the country. However, the voices of minorities have little or no place in this process.
The championing militarization of the country has given an encouraging message to other Sinhala extremists group. The war winning State has placed Sinhala Buddhism at the foremost place in its modus operandi. Now it is taking its toll on the ethnic Muslim minority. My Facebook account carries nearly 750 friends. Many of them are my former students from Colombo University and colleagues I came across through my work. Recently, some of them have started posting blatant anti-Muslim statements. These statements carry nothing other than hatred towards our own Sri Lankan Muslim community. The Sinhala Buddhist Government of Sri Lanka has done nothing to prevent the campaign promoted by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). The people who post statements as part of this hate campaign bear no sense of shame for their conduct. Amidst the silence of the majority, the campaign continues.
In the context of militarization and the promotion of a Sinhala Buddhist nation, Sri Lanka has failed in its duty in reassuring autonomy and safety of our own Tamil and Muslim brothers and sisters, within our country. Thus, the voice of the international community and the resolution is well justified and is contextually just.
Support of the resolution
Twenty five countries have voted in support of the resolution. Some of these countries are promoted by their own internal political pressures to vote in support of the resolution. However, at large, it reflects the opinion of the international community on Sri Lanka. The government has failed in its duty in creating a positive image about the country. The so-called positive messages that Minister Samarasinghe was talking about certainly did not figure, perhaps for the true benefit of the minorities in this country who do deserve to have their grievances addressed by the international community.
Once as I was walking into a bar in Berlin, a young man who approached me asked where I was from. As I declared my origins he replied, "I am from Sri Lanka too. My parents migrated to Germany when I was eight." I immediately replied to him, "Oh! Then we are fellow Sri Lankans," seemed to have created no enthusiasm in him. After a pause a he responded, "But we are Tamils."
I was taken aback by his answer. I hold no testimony to the background of his answer. But he clearly delivered a strong message. We the Sinhalese have failed to win the confidence of a section of our Sri Lankan community who live abroad. There was no enabling ground for these young diasporic professionals to return to their own heritage that their parents are deeply proud of. Thus, I support the peace and reconciliation process recognised in the resolution. Only such a process could win the hearts of many neutral Sri Lankan ethnic minority members who live abroad.
Just before the passing of the resolution, Minister Keheliya Rabukwella has said, that Sri Lanka has implemented over 50% of the recommendations in the report. The balance cannot be implemented overnight, and many of the suggestions found in the report need parliamentary approval before they can be implemented.
The history which led to the impeachment of the Chief Justice, the defeat of the right to information Bill proposed by the opposition, and the inaction of the government with regard to controlling the rise of extremism in the country are only a few examples to indicate the government's lack of commitment.
So-called patriotism has promoted many Sinhalese to blame the US, the UN and Navi Pillay etc; for passing a resolution relating to Sri Lanka. But how many of them are ready to analyse the backdrop in which it was moved and the content of it only could demonstrate whether we are serious about our human rights, reconciliation and democracy itself.