Aug 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs Prof G.L. Peiris Monday said that the relentless international pressure on Sri Lanka to probe alleged human rights violations is not only unhelpful, but is also absolutely harmful to the country.
Addressing the Defense Ministry organized Defense Seminar 2014 at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo as the Chief Guest, the Minister explained that the optics of engagement in a local process will take "the wind out of the sails" of the international process and that is the real reason there is reluctance or hesitation to engage in the local process.
"Because of the intensity of this pressure there is a disincentive to engage in earnest in a domestic process. Because of the conviction that far more is forthcoming by the application of pressure at an international level," he said.
"And that is why this international pressure is not only not helpful, but is absolutely harmful."
In his presentation to the forum on 'Defining the Nation's Success: a Critical Examination of the ascension of Sri Lanka,' the Minister questioned the wisdom of ill-treatment towards Sri Lanka by some foreign powers while exerting relentless pressure on the country's forward-march.
Minister Peiris explained the series of positive and pragmatic measures that have been taken by the government after putting in place local mechanisms with the implementation of social and economic equity projects, enhancing credibility and the trust, being reposed in a society that has been affected continuously for near 30 years was as a result of bloodshed and violence, caused by the LTTE.
"It is a matter of profound regret that we look at some foreign powers who are targeting Sri Lanka without learning or seeing what we are today and our involvement and the trajectory for the future, to couple with our social and economic growth. Our critics conveniently say that physical development, alone is not adequate. But they always fail to see reconciliatory moves, set in motion in war-affected areas in correct perspectives," Prof Peiris said.
Reminding that the present government and the President took the bold decision with political courage to have elections in the Northern Province after absence of 28 years giving the people the chance to use their franchise as they prefer, the Minister asked whether it is not a "home-spun and home grown process."
He said what is wanted is the constructing approach but what is forthcoming is the disincentive to engage in earnest in domestic process, by application of devolved power.
"All what they talk is 13th amendment. Other than Police powers, everything has already been devolved and such devolution has to go on," Prof Peiris commented, saying that it is the people who would identify their needs and not the powers that dedicate terms to us."
"People believe that the hard-won victory in the country should be maintained and should not be allowed to be torpedoed by organizations with vested interests," he added.
"Our good Samaritans or do-gooders do not live up to our expectations and they simply forget that ours is a tradition-rich society. You can now see how Sri Lankans feel the sense of belongingness as the national anthem rends the air. We will therefore be alert to elements who are intent on doing harm to us with foreign funds, some of which are spent for the sake of so called 'capacity-building', etc.," he said.