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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2859

Hijacking 'Human rights' to trample others' rights

By Janaka Perera - Asian Tribune

Colombo, 30 November, ( The tragedy of human rights today is that there is an army of professionals in NGOs and academia labouring to manufacture arguments in defence of terrorism, elevating it to a level higher than that of its victims.

Veteran Journalist and Asian Tribune Editorial Adviser H.L.D. Mahindapala made this observation yesterday (Nov. 29) delivering the D.A. Rajapaksa Commemorative Oration at the BMICH, Colombo today (Nov. 29).

He said:

"Every exploding point on the globe has become the happy hunting ground of these hired professionals in NGOs and academia who are skilled in blurring the lines of human rights. Armed with theories of human rights these professionals trot the globe professing to be holier-than-the state. But their morality is wearing thin because they are seen increasingly as hired agents serving political goals of the power-brokers in the West "

Noting that their common arguments is to blame the state for not giving into terrorists' demands, he further observed that they often quote chapter and verse from human rights charters justifying the political ends pursued by terrorists without giving the same right to democratically elected states to pursue their political ends for the good of all.

"There is also a growing perception that the UN has become a tool of the global power-brokers who are now constantly in the habit of invoking human rights and dictating political terms to others, particularly the powerless. These power-brokers resort to human rights not because they are genuinely committed to the higher values in human rights but because it is currently the most convenient, fashionable and even respectable ideology available for those who manipulate the UN system to perpetuate their neo-colonial dominance after colonialism had passed its use-by-date. From their formidable heights of power they have dictated the laws of human rights to others outside their charmed circle not by adhering to the letter and the spirit of human rights but by trampling the rights - the way to where they are now. This is an unacceptable obscenity because the sacredness of human rights has to be protected without exception. No one should be allowed to hijack human rights for their personal, political or parochial agendas."

Mahindapala recalled the past roles of today's human rights champions in the West. In World War II when British and American interest had been threatened Britain fire-bombed Dresden to rubble and the U.S. reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders. In Hiroshima, 140,000 died instantly and 80,000 died later. The worst of was it was that the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes knew that these were no military targets and the people were non-combatant civilians.

And over five decades later these very same wielders of global power had manipulated the United Nations to impose a naval cordon round Iraq which led to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children, (UNICEF figures). Food, medicine and other essentials were used as tools of war to subdue the Iraqis.

"But," asked Mahindapala "who is there to take the culprits to the International Criminal Court or cut off aid? Certainly, not the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, which is exceedingly busy looking for small fry!"

And these were the very people, he said derisively, who had the gall to condemn the Sri Lankan state for the violent deaths of some 60,000 persons in an internal conflict that has continued for the past 25 years.

"The West seems to claim and act as if they are the sole guardians of human rights. This also implies that they own the monopoly to interpret and dictate terms to the rest primarily with the aim of pushing their political and economic agendas. Of course, they have the resources and the power to dominate and dictate which country should have their blessings to get away with violations of human rights and which should be pressured to obey their diktats. They even hire a global army of NGO policemen to monitor the conduct of others who do not confirm to the political standards stipulated by them. Some of the reports are cooked up to suit the agendas of the funding masters abroad as seen in the case of Iraq."

Mahindapala stressed the need for reviewing the reporting mechanism comprehensively to prevent the abuse of human rights in the hands of these questionable political activists.

"Reporting human rights violations should not be left in the hands of those handpicked from Western nations with a biased agenda or the local NGOs funded by these nations. Some of the UN rapporteurs fly in and out of war-torn countries picking up only the bits and pieces that are useful to their prejudices or their agendas."

He further observed:

"It took nearly six centuries for the Magna Carta to attain its potential in the American Constitution. But Sri Lankans, still groaning under the unbearable burdens of colonialism are expected to surpass the standards of the West in less than six decades. In fact, Sri Lanka would have been a grand success story of a thriving liberal welfare democracy if not for the consequences of the disproportionate privileges showered on a single minority community to further the British divide and role policy – reality noted by leading historians."

TULF Leader V. Anandasangaree who chaired the meeting, in his speech said expressed his readiness to even sacrifice his life to rebuild Sinhala-Tamil unity. He said that at first he wondered why he had been invited to chair the meeting. Then he realized that he was a native of Point Pedro in the far North and the late D.A. Rajapaksa had hailed from Giruwaya, Hambantota in the far South. Then it had dawned on him that the idea was to help building a bridge between the North and the South.

"But there is no need to build a bridge since it is already there – like Ram Sethu. What is required is to re-discover the bridge."

He recalled with fondness the bygone era when Sinhala public and private sector employees used visit the North during Christmas Holidays, go on pilgrimage to Nagadipa, visit Keeramalai and enjoy a cup of palmyrah toddy.

The Venerable Omalpe Sobhitha said that the late D.A.Rajapaksa was a true son of the soil and laid the foundation for a truly national approach to building the country's future. He recalled how once a group of politicians offered Rajapaksa money to cross over to their side. But D.A. had responded by saying that "I am not going to sell my people not matter what the price is."

Among the distinguished gathering were Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, (Head of the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Foundation) Rajitha Senaratne and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana and MP Basil Rajapaksa.

- Asian Tribune -

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