by Lal Wijenayake
”But it is disheartening to see that the government has decided to hold PC elections for the NCP, EP, and Sabaragamuwa Province in the near future without setting up the independent election commission as recommended by the LLRC.”
The UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka of March 2012 which is popularly known as the Geneva Resolution of 2012 which in fact is a resolution on Sri Lanka was unfortunately termed a resolution against Sri Lanka by our External Affairs Ministry and in fact categorized the member states of the UNGRC as states with Sri Lanka, against Sri Lanka and neutral states which is an absurd classification which shows the unprofessional approach of our External Affairs Ministry and those in charge of shaping our foreign policy.
It emerges from the study of the statements made by member states at the UNHRC and statements made after the resolution was passed by states that there was nothing to justify the categorization of countries as pro or anti Sri Lanka, and the decisions were taken on the basis of state policy and on sound principles. There were certain countries which are not even nominally democratic states which in principle will not support any resolution which even remotely is a check on democratic governance or on protection on human rights.
Many governments including Russia (as seen from the statement released after the resolution was passed) were of the view that the resolution contains matters on which the Sri Lankan government is capable of seeking solution within the country.
Though bold statements are made by the Sri Lankan Government and the state media it has to be accepted that we have to face the challenge in March 2013 and time is running out for us. We cannot just expect the countries that voted against the resolution to do so in 2013 as not only the countries that voted for the resolution but a majority of the countries that either voted against the resolution or was neutral expects the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and to evolve a political solution to the national problem.
The decision on implementing the LLRC recommendations in the first place has to be made by the political leadership and that is not a matter that can be decided by officers or committee of officials however eminent they may be. The starting point should be the implementation of the recommendations that are non controversial politically such as the protection of the right of freedom of expression for all, enact the rule of law reforms, establish independent commission to ensure free elections, administration of justice, a free public service and a police service and depoliticization of these institutions by creating structures for the selection, promotion disciplinary control of these institutions. This would entail the revocation of the 18th amendment to the constitution and the re introduction of the 17th amendment with the necessary changes. These reforms may well be supported by all sections of the political spectrum.
But it is disheartening to see that the government has decided to hold PC elections for the NCP, EP, and Sabaragamuwa Province in the near future without setting up the independent election commission as recommended by the LLRC.
This move by the government will definitely send to the international community the signal that we are arrogant and is not ready to sincerely implement even the non controversial recommendations in the LLRC report to establish good governance. The prejudice that will be created internationally will be to the disadvantage of the country especially if there are serious reports of lack of a fair and independent election. It will be difficult for the government to face the international community and it is bound to affect the image of the government.
Therefore the government should give serious consideration to establishing the independent commissions as recommended by the LLRC before holding the PC elections.
If that is done it will be the starting point on the road map to reach the challenges in March 2013