Before the start of the Gota go home movement, then-foreign minister G.L. Peiris began discussing the Tamil people’s problems with TNA MP Sumanthiran, with the intervention of the American ambassador. Those discussions took place on President Gotabaya’s advice. The struggle began as the negotiations progressed successfully. Prime Minister Mahinda had to resign. Ranil became Prime Minister. When Ranil was offered the post of Prime Minister, one of the main promises he made to Gotabhaya and the Rajapaksa family was that he would be able to restrain or prevent the resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session in September.
He assured Gota and the Rajapakse family that, even if the resolution was presented, he would be able to create a favourable situation for Sri Lanka with the help of his international allies. Gota and the Rajapaksa family made Ranil as Prime Minister, believing that he has international support to address both the economic and humanitarian crises. Following that, the talks between G.L. and Sumanthiran broke down. Gota was no longer president when the resolution was presented in September. Ranil was the president at the time.
Ranil removed GL and replaced him with Ali Sabry as Foreign Minister. The international media had previously reported that a strong resolution would be passed against Sri Lanka. They questioned Ali Sabry, who is travelling to Geneva, about his response to the resolution against Sri Lanka. Ranil’s stance was to disregard the resolution. Even the international media reported that Ali sabri’s strategy at Genieva had failed. Canada was also one of the major countries that presented the proposal.
Following the resolution, it was reported in Geneva individual sanctions will be imposed on people responsible for violating human rights in Sri Lanka. Ali Sabry ignored this on Ranil’s advice. In other words, he did not take it seriously. The government said that the countries that abstained from voting on the resolution after it was passed can be added to the number of countries that voted in opposition to the resolution.
December 16, 2022 America imposed sanctions against Major Prabhat Bulatwatta. When Ali Sabry was asked about this, he said that the Sri Lankan government should remain silent in this regard. He made this statement to the English media. Now Canada has imposed sanctions on Sri Lanka’s former presidents Mahinda and Gotabhaya along with two other military officers. Canada and other Western countries have previously warned of sanctions targeting such individuals. Neither Ranil nor Ali Sabri did anything about it.
One of the reasons why the Rajapaksa family gave Ranil the post of prime minister and president was because they thought that Ranil would protect them from war crimes charges. The Rajapaksas did not understand that the international community does not look at the individual but at the policy in human rights issues.
By Upul Joseph Fernando