Govt. hunt civil activist
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“Under the current situation in Sri Lanka, we have raised our concerns and objections to the government regarding the misuse of emergency regulations. But to no avail. We have strongly emphasized on the repeated use of emergency measures. But the Sri Lankan government never paid proper attention to it. We strongly condemn such measures. Continuation of HR abuses against lawful exercise of the right of people to peaceful assembly and expression on the rise.
Tens of thousands of people have joined protests in Colombo and across the country. They express their opposition and dissatisfaction with the way the government is dealing with the serious economic crisis. These public protests have intensified against the deepening economic crisis, allegations of corruption and fraud, rising inflation, fuel shortages, shortages of essential commodities, prolonged power cuts, as well as the failure to properly manage illicit financial flows.
Shutting down avenue for dialogue
From March 2022, this situation became very serious. The government is maintaining a political atmosphere that further closes the avenues for dialogue. This can mount public very high. Emergency measures have given the security forces broad powers to suppress protests by using live ammunition, tear gas, baton attacks and water attacks. The Sri Lankan government should immediately stop the implementation of the emergency measures. Also the misuse of emergency regulations.
What is the story? These crys were heard from european nations. On August 8, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva sent a message to SL. The highlights of it is the Government of Sri Lanka. The current crisis situation in Sri Lanka. This latest official statement was prepared by a panel of human rights experts at the Human Rights Council.
The panel consists of 12 human rights experts (women and men) representing different fields of the world. The United Nations Human Rights Panel conducts its official work under the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet. These experts further stated in their statement:
On July 22, 2022, a joint operation of the police and the army raided a protestors’ camp at Galle face in the capital of Colombo. Combined forces demolished tents and injured more than 50 people. A large number of people including social activists, journalists and lawyers were also arrested. In the meantime, the latest incident appears to be the arrest of people involved in the recent protests and demonstrations. The police are carrying out this process and have even raided the houses and offices of the protestors and opposition political parties.
Violation of Human Rights
This is a serious violation of human rights. National security should not be used as a pretext to silence the expression of public dissent. Detaining someone simply for the peaceful exercise of rights is arbitrary. Protesters including civil society representatives, human rights defenders, journalists must be protected in the context of peaceful protests. We are strongly reminded that they should not face any criminal liability for their participation. We strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately stop the repeated use of emergency measures…’
The article written above for you is not an outdated old story. It is an official statement presented to the Government of Sri Lanka by the United Nations Human Rights Council a few days before ago, on August 8, 2022. That is, a letter submitted to the cabinet for the attention of the new president and prime minister of the current government.
Therefore, the entire new government should focus its responsibility and attention on it. And this is a document prepared based on the final decisions of 12 world experts on human rights.
‘Human rights, human rights’ is a great evil that has been breaking into Sri Lanka for about 15 years now. A great inferno. Before and after winning Sri Lanka’s ethnic war in 2009, these human rights were strongly brought against the country by the international community. However, most of these charges were filed as war crimes related to the ethnic war. During the human rights session held in Geneva in March 2022, 64 war crimes were filed against Sri Lanka. These charges were made under international humanitarian law.
In addition to war crimes, other charges include controlling civil society and civil institutions activities, illegal killings, illegal arrests, violation of freedom rights and enforced disappearances. Anyway, Foreign Minister G.L. who participated in this 49th human rights session, spoke about the measures taken by the government to protect human rights in the past. Releasing of several LTTE detainees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act the minister had announced .
But the human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has emphasized that although there has been some progress through such activities, the protection of human rights has not reached the proper standard. In the March 2022 session, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, also addressed the session. He has stated that the Sri Lankan government is harassing and intimidating people who are crying out for justice for the Easter attack. He told the Human Rights Council that the Easter attack was the work of a few Islamic extremists as well as part of a political conspiracy.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the Human Rights Council to adopt alternative strategies for Sri Lanka to advance accountability at the international level. We can hypothesize that individuals found guilty of war crimes or other human rights charges will be sentenced differently at a Human Rights Commission. But sentencing people in this way is a very long process.
In such an environment, the Human Rights Commission takes alternative measures against the concerned country through the member states of the Human Rights Council. That is, the country is dealt with through methods such as imposing various sanctions against the concerned country, suspending the provision of economic and financial assistance, and not providing various other assistance.
At some point, if good governance and accountability are properly implemented, alternative measures will be withdrawn. This is how a resolution was brought against Sri Lanka through the help of various countries. The winning or defeating of the proposals below will be relevant to that process. In this way, in the past many other countries including United States and England brought proposals against Sri Lanka. In most of these cases, Sri Lanka was defeated.
This human rights crisis was very acute during the previous Rajapaksa government. However, Sri Lanka has not been able to escape from this crisis so far.
Despite this deplorable environment, Sri Lanka also participated in the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held from June 13 to July 8, 2022. At the same time, we also participated in the 145th Human Rights Committee held in Geneva. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris and delegation participated.
Anyway, the strange news revealed here is that in this 50th session Minister G.L. Peiris was not given an official speech. That is to say that the foreign minister of Sri Lanka was not given and at the session on the stage.
But it is said that the minister made a speech for Sri Lanka from where he was sitting. Before this speech, G.L. also mentioned many points contained in the transcript of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s speech which will be released to the media. It is also said that Minister Peiris did not get the opportunity to make a statement. Some media had also reported that he was not given a proper opportunity for that. Several media had stated that such a situation for the foreign minister was in a way inappropriate.
Also certain circles reported said that Sri Lanka had participated in this session as an observer country, and also that the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister had become person of an activist of a certain diaspora. Anyway, Sri Lanka participated in the latest human rights session held on June 09, 2022, after some process of violence in Sri Lanka. That is, the session started on July 13.
War crimes or HR crimes ?
Under such a situation, Sri Lanka will not have to face the charges of war crimes, but the charges of human rights crimes of suppressing the civilian population. Begining of the article it was mentioned how intense the human rights allegations against Sri Lanka have become and the new scenario that continue for several months now. In addition to the old page, a new page can be seen flipped.
Now, under such conditions, another wonderful thing is going to happen the day after tomorrow. That is, Sri Lanka should participate in the 51st session of the Human Rights Council from September 12 to October 7, 2022. At the same time, the 136th Human Rights Committee should also participate.
Now I hope you have an understanding of the 49th, 50th and 51st sessions and committee meetings held and held in the year 2022. However, we do not know what will happen in the upcoming session. But the current crisis of human rights allegations in Sri Lanka may be seen to be transformed in a different way. The upcoming 51st session is less than a month away.
So far, there is no clear information about the new proposals presented for Sri Lanka this year. But those decisions are likely to be made based on the current human rights process in Sri Lanka. Then in the upcoming session, Sri Lanka will have to face many different kinds of human rights violations.
However, at present Sri Lanka has to face not war crimes but accusations of violation of civil people’s rights. Several international leaders recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Council have pointed out the violation of civil rights. They can be outlined as follows.
Respect and observe human rights as stipulated in international conventions and law.
Adherence to the rule of law.
Freedom of speech and expression.
Provision of freedom of association and assembly.
Protection and recognition of internationally recognized workers’ rights.
Providing protection to the people who advocated for civil rights.
In this way, this international process will be very complicated. But there is a way of doing things in Sri Lanka in a way that is compatible with any of these decisions. Some international media have mentioned that there are stricter regulations under the Ranil Wickramasinghe government than the regulations under the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government. Because of this, Sri Lanka may not receive any support from the international community in the future, the reports also state.
Just as it was said that ‘ many good things emerge by dawn’, just as I was writing this article, I came to know another peculiar news. That is, the visa cancellation of Fraser Kayes, a young British woman who made campaigns through social media related to the Galle face public protest. Accordingly, the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka has informed her to leave Sri Lanka before August 15. The letter issued by the Sri Lankan authorities was also published on her Facebook page.
How serious is this really? How to evaluate such events internationally? Somehow, within a short period of one month, more than a hundred civilians involved in the people’s struggle have been retaliated against and punished on various charges. Meanwhile, another special story came to be known. That is, a group of ambassadors from the countries belonging to the European Union met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and held a special emergency discussion.
On this occasion, the foreign ambassadors have strongly emphasized that the people’s civil human rights and freedom of expression should be protected. International Monetary Fund (IMF), G.S.P. Plus (GSP +), the World Bank and the Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Sri Lanka should pay due attention to the main processes implemented by the institutions, the ambassadors have emphasized to the President. However, they have stated that the European Union will work as a partner of Sri Lanka in the future.
Not only human rights. Sri Lankans today have become a nation that suffers greatly in many ways. Observe carefully. A few days ago, the electricity tariffs in this country was raised in such an unfair and ridiculous manner. We have never heard of a country that increased the electricity bill by almost 100%. How can people who cannot afford to buy half a loaf of bread face these crimes? Recently, the government began to complain that the price of gas was reduced.
In the past, the price of gas was increased drastically (Rs. 1,650 to Rs. 4,900). How can we appreciate the slight reduction in gas prices? Same is the case with all other fuels. Now the overall inflation in Sri Lanka has risen to an unimaginable 59.06%. Also, the food inflation in this country is unbelievable and it stands at 80.01%. This official data also falls among the top 5 countries in the world today. The current Minister of Electricity and Fuel says in the Parliament about the increase in the bills in a ridiculous manner. He wears a smile on his face. There is no pity on his face.
Today, people in this country are struggling because they have no way to live. Now the government is constantly ready to hunt down such people. Somehow, the government forgets that it is keeping an eagle eye on the situation. These eagles and hawks from Geneva will soon fly over our Sri Lanka.