Human rights organistations and activists operating in Sri Lanka have taken the fight for rights to political territories, while some have actually become LTTE mouthpieces, a new human rights organization said.
`Most HR organisations have forgotten that their basic role was to fight against human rights violations. Some work according to political party agendas, while others work for the LTTE`s cause. They cause a terrible damage to the image of the country,` Secretary, Civil and Political Rights of the Intellectuals for Human Rights, Prof Aruna Karunatilleke told The Island yesterday.
`There are human rights violations in the country. But statements issued by most HR organisations have exaggerated. Some have been partial towards the LTTE. Their lopsided judgments produce ill consequences. When there is a violation of human rights, it should be reported and fought against, whether it has been committed either by security forces or the LTTE. What we have as human rights organisations close their eyes to LTTE.`
Human rights violations in Sri Lanka are being used by foreigners and foreign funded local human rights activists to justify the LTTE`s cause and pressurize the Government, he said. `We have nothing against criticizing a government which fails to safeguard human rights of its citizens. But using human rights issues to achieve political targets should come to an end. For example, in a statement recently issued by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, the issue of human rights violations had been taken up. According to the first few paragraphs of the statement, there are human rights violations. There are killings, abductions and disappearances which remain unresolved. But Arbour`s warning that `Violations by any party could entail individual criminal responsibility under international criminal law, including by those in positions of command,` was inappropriate and unacceptable, Prof. Karunatilleke said.
The IHR, supported by university dons and civil society intellectuals, plan to conduct a series of programmes both in local and international fields to mitigate the damage caused to the country by the LTTE partial HR organisations. `We should not let our silence be used against us by activists with vested political interests. We should explain to the world what really takes place in this country,` he said.