Sri Lanka flays international ‘prophets of doom’
Sri Lanka had disproved the ‘prophets of doom’ that feared the Government would be unable to deliver on the daunting humanitarian challenges it faced post-war, the country’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council’s 26th Session on Thursday.
“Fears were expressed that malnutrition, disease and death would be rampant in the IDP villages, that the Government would not be interested in demining, that IDPs would be ‘incarcerated’ indefinitely, that the LTTE ex-combatants would not be released,” Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha told the Council.
“However, the verifiable ground realities on each these counts have proven that these fears were misplaced,” he said in the Government’s official response to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur for IDPs, Chaloka Beyani who referenced Sri Lanka in his speech before the Council on Thursday.
The Sri Lankan Government had not only delivered humanitarian assistance post-conflict, but also in the war years, sending food supplies and paying public servant salaries, even in LTTE controlled areas.
“It has been the hallmark of the Government’s approach to its citizens in the former conflict affected areas during the entirety of the conflict. It would be recalled that even during the conflict, the Government of Sri Lanka continued to supply food, medicines and other essential requirements to its citizens in the former LTTE dominated areas, fully cognizant that a large part of it was confiscated and stockpiled by the terrorists,” the Sri Lankan envoy told the Council.
These efforts had been hailed by Beyani’s predecessors, Aryasinha said.
“Of late, there appears to be a new tendency by these same sections of the international community to undervalue and downplay these tremendous humanitarian efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka, as though this has been an easy or negligible feat,” Aryasinha charged.
He said that those who seek to downplay the Government’s humanitarian achievements “keep shifting goal posts”.
“They show disrespect not only to Government of Sri Lanka and its domestic and international partners whose steadfast commitment to this task has made these achievements possible, but also to those who have at last emerged from the suffering caused by 30 years of terrorist conflict,” Ambassador Aryasinha added. (DB)
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