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Navi Pillay's bitter pill

2014 Mar 01

United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, continues to be one of the tenacious personalities the present regime has had to deal with over the past three years. And incongruously enough,  the government’s tasteless approach to dealing with her has been to ratchet anti-Pillay sentiments and let loose the favoured government hounds to crank up the sentiments even further, all aimed at scoring brownie points in the home front.
 
Monday’s tabling of a damning report on Sri Lanka, highlighting its failure to conduct a ‘credible investigation’ into war crimes said to have been committed by both sides to the conflict, the security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is certain to see the sentiments cranked up a few Richter, and patriotic passions running high in the days and weeks ahead.
Pillay’s report is extremely critical of the regime, while recommending  an ‘independent, international inquiry mechanism.
 
With the United States of America going ahead with its own resolution, Sri Lanka is indeed facing the classic ‘double jeopardy.’ Unfortunately however, there is no indication, locally or otherwise, that the ruling hierarchy is doing any serious planning to counter this adverse action by two powerful players.
The government’s predictable response to the accusations made in Pillay’s report with words such as ‘arbitrary, intrusive and of a political nature’ are in fact arbitrary and of a political nature. The government’s failure to file credible and sustainable answers to these so-called ‘wild’ allegations would only aggravate an already volatile situation.
 
 Loss of credibility in the international fora coupled with unanswered violations of human rights could produce some grave repercussions leading up to even economic sanctions and other embarrassments against the country. Although, the real culprits remain to be the government and only the government, the generalization of such a sanction would only lead to further hardships for the general public, and reflect on the character and makeup of the people. In such a scenario, it is unpardonable of the government to be engaging in verbal acrobatics rather than responding to the real issue in question.
 
While the local government politicians and their paid propagandists continue to delude themselves and the public about the whole Geneva-related developments, either wilfully ignoring or blissfully ignorant of the extremely adverse publicity the country is receiving at the hands of the international media, these very global media players are polishing their phrases and fine-tuning their arguments to attack again and again. The government must realize that as much as their campaign of repeating half-truths and falsehoods with a view to engendering acceptability by the majority is having some success, the same rule applies to the other side too.
 
When amateurs run a show, even minor shortcomings get enlarged beyond proportion. Inconsistency in the composition of the delegation, a glaring lack of leadership of the ‘team,’ infighting among officials at the External Affairs Ministry and politicians, attempts to score political points over others in their own team, indulgence in one-upmanship and above all else, the absence of a cohesive, clear and comprehensive central ‘message’ from the government, have all contributed to this ‘diplomatic mess.’

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