Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa hit out at the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on Sunday (04) for dubbing the outcome of the 30th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as a victory for the country.
"Posters of the UPFA have appeared on the streets hailing the government for delivering the country from the 'imperialist death trap' in Geneva. Such statements sit oddly beside the operative paragraphs of the resolution mentioned above. The mismatch between the provisions of the resolution that was passed and the government's present mixed signals and rhetoric may be due to a belated realisation that nothing has been gained by Sri Lanka joining the USA as a co-sponsor of this resolution except to commit the government to a course of action which runs contrary to the interests of this country and is therefore politically unfeasible," Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa said issuing a statement on Sunday.
"Operative paragraph 6 of the resolution affirms the importance of the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators in the Sri Lankan judicial mechanism to be set up to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the war. Operative paragraph 8 encourages the Sri Lankan government to remove individuals in the armed forces suspected of human rights violations through an administrative vetting process even if there is insufficient evidence to charge them in a court of law. Operative paragraph 4 welcomes the government's willingness to allow the various judicial and other mechanisms it intends to establish to deal with the past, to obtain financial assistance from overseas, which means that these supposedly Sri Lankan mechanisms will be paid for and maintained by foreign powers," the Former President said in his statement.
"It was also said that I had antagonised the Western nations by being photographed with my arm around Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. It is actually Gaddafi who has his arm on my shoulder in that much publicised photograph. In the last months of the war in 2009 when Sri Lanka was fast losing foreign reserves due to the severe global economic recession that year and the IMF under pressure from the Western nations was delaying the standby facility that we were entitled to, Muammar Gaddafi agreed to lend 500 million USD to Sri Lanka in response to a single phone call from me. If not for that pledge, the economy would have collapsed before the war could be won.
"It was also said that when foreign dignitaries came to Sri Lanka to persuade us to stop the war, I had deliberately insulted them by taking them to Embilipitiya and giving them manioc to eat, and that that resentment was motivating the Western countries to pass resolutions against us. I have no recollection what was on the menu when the British and French foreign ministers met me in the final days of the war demanding that I halt hostilities. But it is certainly true that I refused point blank to halt the war. It is because I did not buckle under foreign pressure that this country is free of terrorism today. Governments are elected by the people of Sri Lanka to do what is best for the country and not to agree to everything said by foreign powers," he added.