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Jaffna Library



Keynote address at the celebration of Human Rights Day in Jaffna, on December 11th 2009.   

Let me begin by thanking all of you for being present here today, and in particular the Government Agent for arranging this gathering. I am sorry too that this event takes place one day late, but I had to be in Vavuniya yesterday to celebrate the day there. That seemed particularly important, given that many discussions of Human Rights this year had centred on the situation in Vavuniya. However I am aware that in Jaffna too this issue is of particular importance, which is why I thought it desirable to get here, checking on my way on the situation of those who have now been resettled in parts of the Wanni that had suffered so much in recent years.   

Both because of what I saw, and because of the opportunity for new beginnings that has now been offered us, I thought I should address the issue of rights conceptually here, and begin by suggesting that discourse on human rights has suffered in Sri Lanka in recent years by being both too selective and too confrontational. I will explain what I mean by selective later, but first let me urge a more collaborative approach in the future to human rights, so that we can better fulfil our common aim of ensuring all rights for everyone as best possible in the future.   

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2010
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