This was statement prepared for side event held at Geneva on 28 /2/2011 but due to lack of time, I was able say only few points. –Noel Nadesan
The longest running war in Asia was in Sri Lanka. It ran for 33 years and ended only three year ago – in 2009. By any known human standards it unrealistic to assume the problems of a 33-year-old war can be resolved in three years.
However, I am happy to report that the progress made so far in the key areas is impressive and promising. As a Sri Lankan Tamil now living in Australia, I have travelled 9 times in last three years and was involved with many people-to-people projects at the grass root level. Most of all I was happy to see normalcy return to the northern area where the fighting was at its most intense level. The fears, suspicions and tensions that existed in war zones have evaporated and the people are willing to forget the bitter past and look forward to a new future.
There is a strong commitment among the people never to go back to the violent past and focus primarily on the day-to-day problems rather than the complex political issues that are taken up in this assembly by the international community. At the grass root level people of all communities are moving rapidly to revive their lost connections disrupted by the war. The war victims will be completely puzzled by the big fuss made by the big powers in the 19th session of UNHRC which has no relevance to the more pressing problems they face daily in their homes, streets and villages.
Ultimately, the healing process of Sri Lanka will be worked out by the people interacting with each other and picking up the threads they left behind before the war began and not by any resolutions passed by the 19th session. There are, no doubt, many political, cultural, and structural problems that need to be addressed.
But I am impressed by the rapid progress made so far. The resettlement of 300,000 internally displaced people within a span of three years is a remarkable achievement. The rehabilitation and the release of 13, 000 ex-combatants within a short period speak out loud for not only the welfare of the ex-combatants but also the will and the courage of the authorities to give the LTTE cadres a fair go. It was a complex and politically risky gamble but it has worked so far giving hope to all concerned. Another remarkable achievement is the de-mining of 90% of the war zones within three years.
The rapid growth of agricultural and fishing markets is another indicator of the people’s readiness to go forward focusing on economic growth rather than on negative politics. All these indicate that there are green shoots sprouting in the north and east for a new future. As I said earlier life is returning to normalcy and the role of the international community should be to encourage this process. But the possible resolution placed before the 19th session is not aimed at helping the people to progress rapidly but to complicate the issues by diverting attention to irrelevant and abstract issues that can only drag the people back into their past.
The role of the international community is not to interfere in the domestic politics of Sri Lanka .It is best that the international community should focus on laying foundations for the economic growth which can ease the tensions and restore confidence in building the future. The current need is to build bridges between communities and there is no better way to reach out to all the people than giving all communities economic security.
The international community must withdraw from domestic politics because the LLRC report has been received by all segments of the political spectrum as the best formula for building the future. It is a home-grown solution and the international community must give time and space for it to take root and grow as the best solution for the nation.