Samaraweera to raise Colombo's rights violations with U.S.
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 January 2009, 04:13 GMT]
Asserting that Mahinda Rajapakse regime is “the darkest, the most brutal and the most ruthless,” that has ruled Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, the convenor SLFP (M), in an interview published in this weekend Sunday Leader, said that he will “seek an appointment with the US State Department and the incoming Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton,” to offer evidence related to human rights violations committed by “Gotabaya [Rajapakse] and Basil Rajapakse as well as Sarath Fonseka…The US must deal with these people. They have an obligation to deal with them.”
Apologizing to the Sri Lankan people for “bringing this dark and evil regime into power,” Samaraweera said: “We see the big brother attitude, the doublespeak and the war mongering to the exclusion of civil liberties. We recently saw a top defence official in a frenzied interview on state television calling journalists all sorts of names and ordering the arrest of one journalist for the sin of giving an interview to CNN.
“The evolving situation is such that key journalists are fleeing the country. More than a dozen have already left and others are on the verge of leaving. The moment has come for all of us who cherish democratic values to ask ourselves whether we are going to yield to these threats or willing to shed differences and fight for justice.”
On the international response to the murder of and attack on journalists who criticize the Government, Samaraweera said, “[t]he international community has been exerting pressure on this deaf, blind and mute government to mend its ways. Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming one of those African rogue regimes that can simply disregard all legitimate international concerns as international conspiracies… I believe that the international community instead of considering actions against Sri Lanka should target the individuals behind this culture of impunity. The state should not be allowed to come up with excuses. If they cannot punish wrongdoers, then they should be made to take responsibility for these atrocities and for their failure to maintain law and order and to protect precious lives.”
Commenting on Colombo’s military offensives in the North, Samaraweera said: “My firm belief is that the day we truly defeat terrorism and end this war is the day we address the genuine concerns of the Tamil people.
“The SLAF has used more bombs than in Vietnam just in a few months. All these bombs are not going to take away this fact that unless and until we win the hearts and the minds of the Tamil people by a power sharing arrangement, the problem of terrorism would persist. Even if Pirapaharan is captured and killed as some people like to speculate, we will only be committing another generation to the war perhaps to fight a far more ruthless LTTE than today.
“The LTTE and the extremist Tamil politics have always thrived on Sinhala chauvinism. In fact the raison de etre of Pirapaharan is that. Every time Sinhala chauvinism raised its ugly head, the LTTE ideology grew stronger and gained the moral high ground as in the case of 1983 and even 1957.
“The seeds of separatism appeared when the Sinhala chauvinists forced Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike to tear his agreement with Chelvanayagam. Separatism will be further fanned with a government officially following a racist line with an Army Commander who has the audacity to say that the minorities don't have any right to make demands,” Samaraweera said, additing, “if we are to win this war, we have to come up with a solution acceptable to the Tamils and that may prove more powerful than all the bombs and weapons we have been using against the LTTE. Only then will we find durable peace.”
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