World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Sri Lanka: Contrasting The Political Climate In Burma And Sr


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-ART-132-2012
November 29, 2012
An Article from the Asian Human Rights Commission
Sri Lanka: Contrasting The Political Climate In Burma And Sri Lanka
Basil Fernando

From 1962 there are literally thousands of people who have served sentences in Burmese prisons as political prisoners. The people resisted the military throughout this long period of about 60 years despite the ruthlessness with which the military dealt with every form of resistance. However there was continuous resistance and from one generation to the other the people dared to face long years of imprisonments for resisting dictatorship.

Today even spending few days in a place like Yangon one could come across so many people who have spent good part of their lives in prisons as a punishment for engaging in political activities. Many upon return continue to be part of the opposition in one way or the other and continue their fight for freedom.

These days, when for the first time, there is a little free political climate they openly move about exercising their political rights and working towards finding ways to establish a democratic form of government again. Thus despite extreme repression over a long period of times the determination and the energy of the people of Burma to reach out towards a democratic form of government has not been suppressed.

Despite all the cruelties of the military junta and the untold suffering they have caused to the people of Burma, one contrast that there is between Burma and Sri Lanka is the absence of causing of large-scale forced disappearances in Burma while in Sri Lanka, the period beginning from 1971 is marked by causing of forced disappearance of thousands of persons in the south, north and east of Sri Lanka. In 1971 in retaliation to relatively a minor rebellion, the coalition government in Sri Lanka, fully supported by the UNP caused large-scale disappearances of persons most of whom were very young.

It was the chilling effect of the 1971 repression with such large-scale use of forced disappearances of persons after securing arrest that determined the nature of political violence in Sri Lanka. Apprehending that the state reaction to any form of serious political resistance was ruthless resort to killings that the rebels too adapted in employing equally cruel strategies. This created justification for state's retaliation where the attempt to annihilate resistance took the form of widespread use of forced disappearances.

What makes the contrast between the political climate of Burma and Sri Lanka is this aspect of the resort to large-scale disappearances in Sri Lanka. The use of such forms of violence has destroyed the scope for achieving political change by peaceful means. The state has never regretted this use of large-scale disappearances in the attempt to suppress political resistance.

The result is the growth of a shadow state within Sri Lanka that under the ministry of defence resorts to extreme forms of violence to control every form of political activism and is considered justifiable and legitimate. The political discourse by way of peaceful political activism against the government is allowed no room. The real controller of politics in Sri Lanka is the ministry of defence that has within it the power to mobilise intelligent services and the paramilitary forces. Instead of peaceful political competition leading to a democratic political discourse what exists within Sri Lanka is a strategy of annihilation of all political opposition.


# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news