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Sri Lankans sometimes tend to feel that foreign forces are trying to destabilize the country, and they may not be altogether wrong, given the concerted efforts of a few individuals, who exercise disproportionate influence in some countries, to upset things. But instead of only reacting angrily to perceived interference, we should also work more coherently to get rid of the reasons for such interference. Even if they are sometimes only pretexts, there is no reason for us to lay ourselves open to attack – especially since getting rid of the causes of complaint is not difficult.

Thus, given that the Action Plan on implementation of the LLRC Recommendations has been accepted by Cabinet, we could easily set up a formal mechanism to ensure action. Such a mechanism should also involve systematic reporting, so that what we are doing is apparent to all, including ourselves – for knowing what has been done is the best way of identifying for ourselves what more needs to be done.

We also need to give teeth to any mechanism that is established, since there is no point simply engaging in platitudes. The Action Plan on Human Rights for instance suffers because there is no clear mechanism to ensure progress. There is an Inter-Ministerial Committee which is supposed to coordinate work, and that Committee set up a Task Force which I convene to expedite action – but even though I have received excellent cooperation from most agencies involved, actually getting action is not easy. Given the range of responsibilities that a few ministries have, and the range of responsible ministries for some areas, coordination is not easy, and swift action impossible.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

November 2012
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