What is the Agenda of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs for CHOGM?
– by Shenali Waduge –
There are some vital questions that need to be posed to the Ministry of External Affairs in particular the Minister for answer vis – a – vis the important upcoming event of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013.
No one will deny that the External Affairs Ministry has come in for flak by virtue of its actions or inactions depicted by the manner in which Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister was omitted from representing Sri Lanka at the last Geneva sessions.
Nevertheless, the fact that CHOGM will be staged amidst a hail of accusations and allegations by foreign visitors to Sri Lanka warrants preparation of a strategy that would counter these unjustified attacks. No country must be allowed to point fingers at others particularly when their own hands are soiled with the blood of innocents in not just one nation by almost 90% of the entire world.
Sri Lanka and fellow nations of Africa, Asia, North and South America and Australia were all one time colonies of the British Empire. Each nation has their own woeful tale of atrocities that cover pilfering, murder and divisions that continue to haunt the masses still. Many of these once colonized nations in Africa and Asia are now coming out to seek reparations and compensation from former colonial western countries.
Sri Lanka is a civilized and considerate nation but we cannot forget the crimes that our forbears and ancestors had to endure and it is our duty to seek an apology and compensation for these crimes from all three western colonial countries i.e. Portugal, Netherlands, and Britain.
What is the current policy of the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue of colonial compensation for crimes committed?
Should we not as a self – respecting independent sovereign country be ready with appropriate placards, slogans and argument in the event one former colonial master attempts to give a discourse on Accountability and Human Rights at the CHOGM in Hambantota? We invariably become victims of their harassment of our own choosing when we take all what is thrown at us lying down without protest or resistance.
Does the NGO-mindset thinking External Affairs Minister and Ministry prefer to keep mum and say ‘Mum’s the word’ and otherwise maintain total silence when others start pointing the accusing finger at us and by doing so continue the servile attitude that the Ministry under the stewardship of the current Minister is well known for?
If Israel can be paid compensation for the holocaust why can’t other nations who have suffered more? The summary of the compensations made to Israel is given in detail in the link.
The Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany on September 10, 1952 says that Israel has to be paid for the slave labor and persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, and to compensate for Jewish property that was stolen by the Nazis. In 2009, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that he will demand a further €450 million to €1 billion in reparations from Germany on behalf of some 30,000 Israeli forced labor survivors. Germany has paid $89billion already to Israel as compensation but Israel claims a further 50,000 have not received compensation.
If Israel’s claims are being addressed why has Africa’s, Asia’s and Latin America’s cases being ignored?
An International Claims Conference for Colonial Crimes upon Third World nations must be immediately set up to put out into the open all the crimes that have been committed by the Western world upon nations of the Third World and the colonial powers must come out with a plan to compensate these nations for the pilfering, the plunder, genocide, the crimes against humanity and violations of human rights committed by them.
The Western media is quick to brand President Rajapakse as a Sinhala Buddhist leader, given that he did come to power primarily on the Buddhist vote as do all leaders since the majority are 70% Sinhalese Buddhists, it was the Mahinda Chinthanaya that promised to rid the nation of LTTE terrorism that won him the people’s vote. The people of this country did not vote for any other Chinthanaya including a Pieris Chintanaya for devolution, separation of power, modification of the national anthem, discarding of Article 9 of the Constitution and a subtle incremental usurping of the rights of the Sinhala Buddhists legislatively.
As such, while the Minister of External Affairs welcomes with great warmth delegations representing the minority faiths including foreign representatives at Ambassadorial level to discuss matters concerning the interests of minority faiths, our next query is what is stopping the External Affairs Minister from initiating a similar exercise i.e. an international forum of Buddhist delegates and starting a think tank to address the grievances of Buddhists in Sri Lanka as well in other parts of the Buddhist world given that Article 9 empowers the State to take steps to ‘ protect and foster Buddhism’. We do not expect the Minister to dodge answering these direct questions with his incomprehensible lectures. A straight forward answer is all that we expect.
We would also like to know if there is a specific reason why the External Affairs Minister refrains from issuing a statement showing allegiance with the Buddhist world in particular the Buddhists of Burma/Myanmar which is a fellow Theravada Buddhist nation? We have not forgotten that the Ministry of External Affairs remained silent when historic Buddhist Temples and priceless Buddhist artifacts were destroyed overnight by mobs in Bangladesh a few months ago.
We would first like to have asked what is the strategy of the Minister to use the influence and leverage of Sri Lanka as a leading Buddhist nation to join hands with other Buddhist nations to give voice to the plight of Buddhists in various parts of the world and protect Buddhists and Buddhism? As a paid public servant it is the constitution that the Minister and all others need to uphold and not their personal whims and fancies and certainly not to please a block of nations that they have personal affinity to. If this is hard to do the simple solution is to resign from one’s portfolio.
There are many more questions that the Minister of External Affairs Minister and Ministry need to be answerable for but given that we are to be the host of the Commonwealth Nations whose heads are to meet in Sri Lanka, our bewilderment rests on what strategy is to be prepared because as citizens we do not wish to face another diplomatic embarrassment to add to the hosts of other embarrassments we have had to weather in the past because of Ministerial bungling and incompetence
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The following is a pertinent statement:
“We would first like to have asked what is the strategy of the Minister to use the influence and leverage of Sri Lanka as a leading Buddhist nation to join hands with other Buddhist nations to give voice to the plight of Buddhists in various parts of the world and protect Buddhists and Buddhism?”
I strongly suggest the EAM Hon Peiris engages the Ven Galgoda Athhe Gnanasara Thera, the Mahatma Gandhi combined Dalai Lama, who is leading the moral regeneration of our Theravada Sinhala Buddhist nation, to play a leading role in the CHOGM.
Rev Gnanasara, who has the stature and capability of defending the suppressed Buddhist nations, should be given a 30 minute spot to address the World’s luminaries on the predicament of the Buddhists all over in practising the precepts of Lord Buddha’s teachings.
In Sri Lanka, the survival of Buddhism was threatened by the tamil terrorists for over 3 decades.
It is time a theocracy be established in Sri Lanka; practse of all other religions should be banned by law. It is only by ensuring purity amongst the population that we can ensure sustenance of Buddhist values.
Sustenance of Buddhist Values cannot be obtained by banning other religions. It is a stupid and extremist view contrary to Buddhist principles. Buddhism must be protected within the Buddhist framework of values rather than using values of some other extremist religions.
I wonder whether Manjula can read… where in the article does it say to ban other religions?
If you are commenting – comment on the contents and not introduce your own view and confuse the commentary by others.
Manjula is referring to Blog 1 where I have advocated banning of all religions to ensure sustenance of Theravada Buddhism in our motherland.
I stand by that and I am a proud Theravada Buddhist Sri Lankan Citizen.
Great Britain is policising the forthcoming CHOGM by giving in to tamil diaspora demands. Given below is an extract from Westminster proceeding yesterday:
“Britain said on Wednesday there would be “consequences” for Sri Lanka if its leaders did not address international concerns over human rights abuses, ahead of a Commonwealth summit scheduled to be held in Colombo in November.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told parliament “despicable human rights violations” had taken place in Sri Lanka, but that Britain still planned to attend the Commonwealth meeting there, a stance that has drawn heavy criticism from rights groups.
Sri Lanka has repeatedly rejected calls for an independent, international investigation into accusations of war crimes committed during the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that ended in May 2009.
Tens of thousands of civilians, mostly Tamils, were killed in the final months of the war, a U.N. panel has said.
“All of us accept the controversy around this, accept the unease around this, but what we’ll be doing by attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka is using the opportunity to cast a spotlight on the unacceptable abuses in Sri Lanka,” Clegg said.
“Of course there will be consequences if there is not a change in conduct of the Sri Lankan authorities,” added Clegg, standing in for Prime Minister David Cameron during parliament’s weekly question and answer session.
Britain’s Foreign Office was not immediately available to outline what consequences Clegg was referring to.”
BASED ON THIS WE SHOULD CONSIDER WITHDRAWING THE INVITATION TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT FOR THE CHOGM MEETING. SHARMA SHOULD BE APPROACHED TO HELP US IN THIS MATTER.
Thanks Chumpa for your accurate clarification. Nandana, sorry if I confused you.
I think it is good to give the Brits the invitation and call them here and when they open their stinky mouth we should give them earful about their own human rights abuses right around the world, so that same publicity would be given to our answers.
I remember very well when British and French foreign ministers heard earful from Gotabaya in 2009, when they thought Sri lanka is their colony. Same should apply here too.
British prime minister, you are welcome to Sri Lanka to be given something earful to remember for the rest of your whole life. Please come along to CHOGM. When you take actions (ie, consequences) as you promised, then the whole world would know why.
You will also realize that you were given the human right to speak against the host country like an enemy while you are inside the host country.
Excellent suggestion Manjula, when these idiots turn up at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, they should be welcomed by the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Chandrapushpa Vidanapathirana who is on bail after allegedly murdering a British tourism Quram Sheikh and raping his Russian girl friend.
Thereafter he should be their caretaker. The CHOGM meeting is to be held in his jurisdiction in accordance with the Indian inposed 13th amendment creating Provincial Councils which we don’t like.
Are you suggesting the Tangalle Chairman should give the same tratment to Charles and Camilla as what he meted out to Quaram Sheik and his Russian Girl Friend? Camilla is old and haggered though.