The pile-on over Sri Lanka by UNHRC is a blatant use of human rights as a political weapon in the geopolitics of today’s world. Many have argued in these columns that Sri Lanka cannot capitulate merely on the grounds of allegations, which are serious in nature, levelled without regard to due procedures of fact and evidence. In the world community of states, the rule of law must apply alongside the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. But our pleas are to no avail when the cause of justice is conflated with a hidden quest for political acquiescence to a particular road map.
It is geopolitics that is driving the UNHRC agenda and demonstrates the unfortunate result when power, politics and principles collide. What the Commissioner of Human Rights is attempting to do, is to find Sri Lanka guilty, based on a fabricated report which is a monstrous perversion of justice, the likes we see in Orwell’s Animal farm or Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. We have to agree with Dr Laksiri Fernando’s claim that the failure of the UN to promote human rights and duties, guided by conscience, reason and morality, appear to be a major reason for the increasing conflicts, violence, chaos, and wars, not only in developing countries, but also increasingly in the developed societies.
If the hidden agenda is to do with geopolitics, there are sufficient grounds to believe that we are sandwiched in the tussle between the Western bloc and China. If so, no inquiries will resolve the issue, nor the facts. The core group that is behind the campaign is demanding a weaker test than the rule of law; such that Sri Lanka will be tainted, keeping the allegations alive. Such demands are filled with sophistry and hypocrisy. This is the new principle, and, if it succeeds, the efforts can be redeployed in the future. The editorial (11/3) gives us a good dissection of the issue. It says ‘many are those who flay the western bloc for duplicity and its handling of human rights issues. The West, in fact, deserves such criticism in that the powerful nations in the Global North are unashamedly using democracy as a weapon to further their geo-strategic interests; they manipulate the UN, especially the UNHRC…., to tame the nations that refuse to follow their diktats’.
It is official that there is a dire need on the part of the Core Group state parties to move to the Indo-Pacific region. The UK is pledging to shift its focus towards countries such as India, Japan and Australia, after a year-long review of its foreign policy. The UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said today that his government ‘would boost alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, describing it as, increasingly, the geopolitical centre of the world’.
The Biden Presidency in the USA has pledged to confront what it called Beijing’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance.
Last week, Biden convened the first leader-level summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an informal alliance among the US, Japan, India and Australia that aims to counter China’s rise. The US officials told reporters that the QUAD summit, as well as Secretary Blinken’s visit to Japan and South Korea, was part of the Biden administration’s effort to formulate a new China policy. The US made clear its deep concerns about a range of issues, Xinjiang, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and most importantly Chinese economic coercion of our allies and partners. Could we be one of the whipping boys of choice at the UNHRC! It will be an intellectual failure of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry not to come to terms with this scenario of geopolitics.
The editorial (11/3) made it exceptionally clear how another UN agency was overtaken by geo-politics in the same manner, when WHO recommendations were overridden by political fiat. The EU campaign against the Oxford AZ vaccine is more likely driven by Brexit-EU politics, which put paid to the global efforts to control the pandemic, disregarding the cost in human terms in their own backyard.
Dr Wijayawardhana pointed out (The Island 11/3) that the cases of blood clots detected among those given the Oxford AZ vaccine is slightly lower than the Pfizer jab in the general population, as stated by the WHO, British Authorities and the head of the European Medicines Agency. Yet political interventions seem to have dictated the EU anti-AZ stance. Is it bitterness over Brexit that is driving this agenda? Or, whether Germany had a different agenda: to make money for the German business BioNtech behind the Pfizer vaccine. If such are the machinations of geopolitics in the face of a deadly virus, what vaccination will match the geopolitical virus that has infected the UNHRC.