Colombo: President Mahinda Rajapaksa has debunked international criticism of undermining Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority on the strength of the success in crushing the LTTE through military means.
“The war was not against the Tamils. We only fought a brutal terrorist outfit that was the LTTE ,” the president told a political gathering in the southern district of Galle yesterday.
“If our war was against Tamils how could the Tamils live happily and peacefully among the Sinhalese in the south of the country,” Rajapaksa quipped.
Responding to accusations that his government had promoted a culture of impunity for those who attack the island’s religious minorities, more particularly Muslims, Rajapaksa said the religious harmony and reconciliation was visible throughout the country.
“I am aware that some non governmental organisations with foreign help are trying to show there is religious disharmony,” Rajapaksa stressed.
The remark was a reference to his predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga’s meeting with his main rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe this week.
Kumaratunga heads an NGO which promotes religious harmony.
All these are attempts to embarrass the government at a time the UN Human Rights Council meeting is happening, the president said.
Attacks against religious minorities is an issue of concern as the next UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka is to be put to vote in two weeks time in Geneva.
The UNHRC is certain to adopt another adverse resolution later this month in Geneva censuring Sri Lanka on its lack of progress on human rights accountability and reconciliation with its Tamil minority after the civil war ended with the defeat of the LTTE.
India had backed the previous two resolutions.
The US-moved resolution is expected to prompt an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses and crimes against humanity during the last phase of the military conflict which ended in 2009.