|Role of the Victim|
Governance crisis and the third US resolution by Rukshana Nanayakkara
At the time of writing this column, the election results of the Western and Southern Provincial Council polls have just started flowing in. The final outcome of the elections is not a hard prediction. The government will certainly continue to enjoy its winning streak amidst a weak and a debunk Opposition, and the outcome will reenergize the war winning trump card with a new phase. So the latter speaks for the unfortunate reality of our governance crisis in this country.
Throughout the elections, love for the motherland and the need to stand against international conspiracies ruled over issues relating to the provinces. In the President’s words a victory in the Provincial Council elections for his Party would be a victory over international forces against Sri Lanka. So we fail to understand and realize one of the key elements of governance: accountability.
The money spent in conducting elections and the outcome of the elections both in theory and practice should speak for the issues relating to the provinces and the emphasis kept upon by the voters on such issues. The deliberate deviation as steered by the Highest Executive of the country is a disregard of the principle of good governance. On the other hand, mixing what the third UN resolution aimed at with a people’s mandate given in a Provincial Council election is an indication of lack of accountability and absence of maturity in realizing the gravity of the resolution itself. Both in the eyes of international community and the rational minds of Sri Lankans; either we are ignorant as a nation or living in denial of our duties. Judging by the political manoeuvring of the highest echelons of the Rajapaksa Government I am inclined to believe latter over the former.
The overemphasis on the resolution during elections is an indication of how much we are worried about the resolution itself. But the rejection of the outcome indicates the mentality of our trustees towards accountability and responsibility in governance of this country. Among others the content of the resolution carries three principal recommendations given the absence of commitment from the Sri Lankan Government for a credible national process with tangible results for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. These include:
“To monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and to continue to assess progress on relevant national processes;
”To undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures mandate holders.
”To present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its 27th session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the recent resolution at its 28th session.”
Discontent and opposition
Sri Lankan Government strongly opposed the resolution with its discontent and opposition. The responses aired by Minister G.L. Peiris itself indicates our attitude towards inter and intra accountable governance. Sri Lanka continues to deviate from the core issue of what has promoted the international community to pass a resolution on the country for the consecutive third time. Rather the minister’s responses included indirectly attempting at a regime change by the international community, lack of objectivity and conflict of interest on the assumption that the investigation to be funded by certain nations who prompted the resolution and the lack of mandate of the office of Human Right Commissioner’s to conduct such an investigation.
We continue to play the role of a victim as opposed to an accountable partner, to the content of the resolution. The minister’s statement lacks in focusing at what Sri Lanka’s credible commitment in bringing peace and reconciliation process for the country with tangible results and objectively countering the resolution if he wished to do so.
The resolution opens many avenues for multiple interpretations and explanations: the issue of sovereignty, who are the international friends and foes of Sri Lanka and their human rights records, the possible outcome of non-compliance with the resolution, narration of achievement of Sri Lanka since the end of the war and so on.
Above all these, it is time that we as a nation focussed on and reshaped our governance attitude towards the resolution.
The third resolution is neither a victory nor a defeat of anyone. The words of all three resolutions are what this country went through for many years and the need of non-repetition of the past. They speak for justice undelivered for every community who suffered from the inevitability of a war. Unless we adjust and restructure Sri Lanka towards an accountable governance structure the justice undelivered will prevent us from achieving and enjoying our full potential freedom. It will continue to haunt us to live with an era of paranoia and rejection.