Sri Lanka + Human Rights Watch = Disinformation

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (no longer operational), also the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights had strong words for Human Rights Watch (HRW) in an article on the Ceylon Daily News.

In a press release dated July 28, 2009, HRW asked the Sri Lankan government to "Free Civilians From Detention Camps immediately."

"The Sri Lankan government should immediately release the more than 280,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians held in detention camps in northern Sri Lanka," Human Rights Watch said in it's statement. While acknowledging that some civilians have been resettled, It also went on to say that the detention was "in violation of international law."

Rajiva Wijesinha
I use the word ‘loonies’ of HRW advisedly, for it was they who had complained about our swift resettlement program in the East, that it was forced. This was in spite of clear acknowledgment by the UN that the returns had been according to international standards. In short, you cannot win with HRW, once they have decided that you are the enemy, and that you should be destroyed at all costs.
When the Sri Lankan armed forces defeated the Tigers in the eastern province, the government's resettlement was considered too soon, and HRW accused Sri Lanka of forcibly resettling the displaced then. As Prof. Wijesinha points out, they now want the government to resettle these displaced persons "immediately."

Rajiva Wijesinha also mentions a conversation with a BBC journalist on the above mentioned article.

Rajiva Wijesinha
I also pointed out to the BBC that calling our centres Detention Camps was unfair, though this was typical of HRW. They had tried last year to justify the Tigers holding people hostage by suggesting that they were as well off with the Tigers as they would have been if they came into Government controlled territory. Internment, the word they used, was more appropriate to what the British and Americans had done during the Second World War, in taking Germans and Japanese from their homes and putting them in camps.

The BBC man patriotically got on the defensive straight away, and said that the people interned then were foreigners. I do not know if he thought it justifiable to violate the rights of foreigners indiscriminately, but I pointed out that certainly now human rights norms demand that anyone, and certainly foreign residents, be treated according to the same standards as others.

Indeed the Guardian, for instance, was demanding better treatment for the British national who had masqueraded as a doctor and sent what were treated as factual reports from the front during the last days of the LTTE, that she had so amazingly come out to support in 2008.

It is bizarre that now the West, having used brutal methods in the past (though I assured the BBC that I was glad they had won the Second World War), gets on its high horse with others, while also suggesting that they can treat foreigners wickedly, but everyone else has to be roundly condemned whatever they do. It is also bizarre that they believe that they and they alone are the saviours of the human race.

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