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DateLine Friday, 6 March 2009

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Human rights not affected by war

Rajiva Wijesinha (born May 16, 1954), is a Sri Lankan writer in English, distinguished for his political analysis as well as creative and critical work, former President/Leader of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka and a Vice-President of Liberal International. He has been appointed the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) with effect from June 2007.

The ongoing military operation in Sri Lanka has increased the need for humanitarian assistance but we (Sri Lanka) reject the assumption that it adversely affects human rights, said Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General Peace Secretariat and Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights at the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva on Wednesday.

Prof. Wijesinha who was responding to comments made by the British Representative said Sri Lanka is close to eliminating one of the most effective terrorist organisations in the world and as such it should be encouraged rather than stymied by those who believe in human rights and basic human decency.

Responding to comments made by the French Representative about civilians affected by the conflict being helpless before violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, Prof. Wijesinha said the moot point here was as to what extent terrorists could be subjected to such law.

Civilians in the conflict zone were helpless because the LTTE would not let them go. Therefore all those concerned about these fellow citizens should make it loud and clear that the LTTE should not hold people hostage.

Prof. Wijesinha said another misapprehension among those who seem to care about Sri Lanka was that Sri Lankan forces use child soldiers.

Except for a few drummer boys in Britain, recruitment of child soldiers is not the preserve of regular armies but of terrorists. All those who want children held by terrorists released should welcome Sri Lanka's victory over terrorism.

Prof. Wijesinha thanked the British representation for his condolences on those affected by the terrorist attack against the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore.

Sri Lanka also condoled with them and in particular the servicemen who died in protecting Sri Lankan sportsmen.



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