Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today warned against “born traitors” in Sri Lanka who are waiting for the first opportunity to betray the country.
In a statement today, Rajapaksa said that the the United States of America has prohibited the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and members of his family from entering that country.
“Even though we are now in the 21st Century, even members of his family who have not been accused of any wrongdoing have been subjected to a collective punishment reminiscent of the practice in medieval Europe. The people should be the judge of how fair this is. Even though this collective punishment has been meted out on the grounds that the Army Commander had committed violations of human rights, no one knows what these allegations are,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that even though the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says that until a person accused of a crime is proved guilty according to law, he should be deemed innocent, this principle does not seem to apply to Sri Lanka’s Army Commander or even to members of his family.
“Our Government has already conveyed our displeasure in this regard to the government of the United States in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
The Prime Minister claimed that it is because of the historic betrayal committed by the “yahapalana Government” formed by the United National Party, the Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in co-sponsoring UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 in 2015 that other countries are able to name members of our armed forces as violators of human rights.
“The first operative paragraph of that Resolution had taken note ‘with appreciation’ the September 2015 Report of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights which accused the Sri Lankan armed forces of human rights violations. This report was based on the previous 2011 unofficial report prepared by a three member committee appointed by the then UN Secretary General outside the established procedure of that organisation. In this manner, the UNP-TNA-JVP combine ended up accepting all the unfounded allegations made against our armed forces by various interested parties,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that his Government has decided to withdraw from the process of co-sponsorship in relation to Resolution 30/1.
Rajapaksa said that from the discussion that has taken place with regard to the collective punishment imposed on the Army Commander and his family, it becomes clear that the political divide in this country is between the patriotic camp which puts the country first, on the one hand, and born traitors who are waiting for the first opportunity to betray the country, on the other hand.