Comments /2334 Views / Thursday, 25 February 2016 00:01
“Human Rights Watch Asia Head is violating my human rights,” charged Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who is back in political limelight after taking oaths as a UNP National List Parliamentarian last week.
According to the former Army Commander, Human Rights Watch Asia Division Executive Director Brad Adams has no right to “point a finger” or brand Fonseka as a criminal without credible inquiry or investigation.
“If he has something against the military, that’s his personal
problem. But if there are no
allegations proved and if he is pointing the finger at me, he is violating my human rights,” asserted Fonseka, in an interview with the Daily FT.
He further pointed out: “He (Adam) must make sure that he ensures the human rights of everybody. If he does not know how to respect the human rights of the Army Commander who is a Field Marshal and also a Parliamentarian as decided by the President and the Prime Minister of the country, who is he to point the finger like that and brand me as a criminal? First he has to respect my human rights so that is my simple answer to Brad Adams.”
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka
Q: What are your views about the present situation in the country?
A: My personal view is that the situation is alright; not very bad or very good. The most important thing is that the situation is much better that what it was before 8 January 2015. However, just because things are better than what they used to be, we cannot just wait. People expect the Government to keep the promises it pledged prior to the election. People are waiting; it is up to the Government to deliver what it has promised.
Q: Do you feel that the Government genuinely wants to fulfil the pledges it has made to the people?
A: In certain areas, yes, the Government is trying to do some work. But people feel things are not moving fast enough. However in general I think the Government is trying its best and hopefully it will make some progress.
Q: What are the issues you see?
A: Taking those responsible for corruption to task was something everybody expected. People expected this to take place immediately after the 8 January victory. Unfortunately people are disappointed with the outcome. People are unhappy and they are complaining.
For example, if we take the former Attorney General, he deliberately blocked forward movement in the law and order field and made sure there would be no progress in the cases. Likewise there are certain corrupt people positioned by the Rajapaksa regime. These people are still responsible for certain areas. They are not cooperating. Their job is to sabotage the work and make the present administration unpopular.
There are many similar practical issues. But identifying individuals who are planted by the Rajapaksas needs to be done carefully because they are not only sabotaging the good work carried out by the Government, they are on a silent mission of creating a bad image about the Government’s good governance work.
Q: What are your views about war crimes allegations?
A: The allegations have been there from the time we finished the war. But as I always said, the Army did not commit war crimes during the war or in the process of winning the war. But if they have credible evidence, then of course they have to conduct the inquiries. There may be individual cases but not by people who were doing their official job. If there is credible evidence, obviously the people responsible have to be punished. There is no question about it, whether they are in uniform or not. Nobody can go beyond the law in the country, nobody can overwrite the law. Law and order has to take place against those who have committed offenses if there is any credible evidence.
I saw in media certain remarks made by Brad Adams, Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch Asia Division. He cannot just point fingers at people. He can’t blame people without reasonable and credible evidence. If he has something against the military in general, that’s his personal problem. But if there are no allegations proved and if he is pointing the finger at me, he is violating my human rights. He must make sure that he ensures the human rights of everybody. If he does not know how to respect the human rights of the Army Commander who is a Field Marshal and also a Parliamentarian as decided by the President and Prime Minister of the country, who is he to point the finger like that without any credible inquiry or investigation and brand me as a criminal? First he has to respect my human rights so that is my simple answer to Brad Adams.
Q: Now that you are a Parliamentarian and have joined the UNF, tell us about your future plans?
A: We have entered into an alliance with the United National Front. Since we are partners in future we will have to work together. That is all I can say at the moment.
Q: Will you join the UNP?
A: We have not decided on or considered anything like that at the moment.
Q: How will you contest the local government elections?
A:We will most probably contest from the alliance.
Q: What is the latest on you getting a ministerial post?
A: We have had some discussions. It’s yet to be finalised. I will most probably be getting a post related to development. It will not have anything to do with the military because there is nothing to do in the country where the military is concerned. Now that the war, is over the Army Commander and other commanders can run the forces. I would like to do something where the country will benefit. Development is the area that everybody is concerned about these days, so I would prefer a post related to development.
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