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

 


SRI LANKA : Patriotism without justice is pure bluff

SRI LANKA : Patriotism without justice is pure bluff

Basil Fernando

Human beings, however poor or however oppressed, seek justice in the same way. Even a tuberculosis patient looks for fresh air. All wisdom traditions have associated justice as having the same character as fresh air. To deny justice is to deny a fundamental condition of being human.

If a person cannot get fresh air in the normal way, they have to be provided with air through artificial means of giving oxygen. To treat a patient’s illness, the patient must first be kept alive. If they cannot be kept alive by natural means, they should be kept alive through the use of artificial means. Failing to do that is to resign oneself to sure death.

In the recent decades, the Sri Lankan state represented by various regimes, lost sight of this essential truth, that people cannot be kept alive if they are denied justice. The way this most basic trend running through all political philosophy - whether it be Western philosophy rooted in Greek thought or Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism - was forgotten and ignored by these governments is hard to comprehend. Even colonial powers cruelly oppressing local populations understood that, for their own good, some avenues for justice (or at least semblances of justice) should be kept alive. This most basic tenet was what the Sri Lankan leaders in recent times forgot and the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa pays no attention to at all. Perhaps it is a premise that has never entered into his mind. The ruthless and exploitative tradition of the Rajapaksa family in the Hambanthota district over a long period of time may be the reason why he does not know the place of justice in politics.

Since 1971, the processes of justice – however limited they might have been - have been continuously and ruthlessly wiped out from Sri Lanka. In 1971, State agencies began the practice of securing people’s arrest and then killing them, and that practice was continued. One of the most basic tenets of justice, which is to protect persons who have been taken into State custody, was most carelessly abandoned. At no time did the Parliament exercise its power to reexamine and review the factors that led to the adoption of this most pernicious practice. Nor did the Sri Lankan judiciary take the risk of defending the rights of the individual at the cost of offending the executive.

The principle so beautifully entrenched in the Bracegirdle case of 1937 was not a sacred enough principle for the Sri Lankan judiciary to put their all their effort in to secure. The result is simply that even the most basic legal remedy, habeas corpus, became a remedy that is impossible to obtain in Sri Lanka. Literally hundreds of cases demonstrate the carelessness with which this most basic remedy was trampled upon and discarded.

The rest of the history of Sri Lanka’s descent into a justice-less nation needs no enumeration here, as it is a tale so often retold by so many persons. The last episode of this frightening drama was the manner in which the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was dragged down and trampled upon by the executive. Volumes of literature exist on this particular aspect.

At the moment, Sri Lankan Presidents and governments attack the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the 27th of March, during its 25th session, with loud cries of great patriotism. When rulers deny justice, what right have they to talk about patriotism? We are witnessing a moment of enormous hypocrisy exhibited through the largest possible use of public media. However, that is no answer to a people denied justice. They want to breathe. No ruler can stop the people’s wish to breathe.

Seeking the assistance of the international community may be a resort to a ventilator. Between death and the ventilator, it is only natural that anyone would choose the latter. Crying foul against an international body, which was established for no other reason than to provide some avenues for justice when the internal processes failed, is itself an enormous bluff.

It is time, though it is now far too late, to wake up and grasp the fundamental political tenet that no ruler can rule while denying a modicum of justice to their people. We are witnessing a dramatic moment in which this basic truth is once again being reasserted.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news