| by N.S.Venkataraman
( November 16, 2013, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian ) While visiting Sri Lanka for the commonwealth meet, British prime Minister David Cameron took the opportunity to visit Jaffna and interacted with the local people. Cameron has not recognised the fact that Sri Lankan government organised his visit to Jaffna, knowing well that he would use the visit to express his views that would not be complimentary to the Sri Lankan government and might whip up anti-government feelings.
David Cameron has made such scathing remarks about the human rights issue in Sri Lanka while on a visit to Sri Lanka and for a moment ,he appeared to have forgotten that he was on a visit to another country and not a province of United Kingdom. Britain might have ruled Sri Lanka long back but Sri Lanka is a sovereign country now. The old arrogant and imperialistic attitude of the British appears to be still hanging in the mind of Cameron. He should well realise that Britain is not the boss of Sri Lanka anymore and Sri Lanka would be entitled to do what it thinks best with regard to Sri Lanka and its citizens.
Is it possible that Cameron took the liberty to make such remarks on Sri Lankan affairs on Sri Lankan soil because Sri Lanka is a small country. Will he dare to make such remarks about such issues in India or Russia or Saudi Arabia or Singapore or China during the visits to these countries, where also local dissensions are there and rebels operate sitting in other countries . Such rebels constantly complain about human rights violations in these countries too.
After his visit to Jaffna, Cameron could have said whatever he wanted during discussions across the table with the President of Sri Lanka and also listened to his views. On the other hand, he was giving an impression of playing to the gallery and involving himself in local politics ,even as he remains as the British Prime Minister. If he were to comment about the unfortunate incidents in Sri Lanka at the fag end of the civil war, he ought to have recognised that there was a militant group which wanted to split Sri Lanka and indulged in armed conflict. No country worth its salt can allow such situation to exist , which would be suicidal for the country. Will Britain allow such a terrorist group to operate in Britain that would affect the integrity of the country ? Cameron has not commented about the compulsions of Sri Lanka to defeat the militants , who were ruthless and indulged in human rights violations themselves.
Britain is not above board with regard to human rights issues. Britain joined USA in waging a bloody war in Iraq and now in Afghanistan. It supported USA in its war in Vietnam and Korea. American and British troops indulged in ruthless war in Iraq and now in Afghanistan and have killed thousands of innocent local people . What has Cameron to say about these unsavoury acts? People living in glass houses should not throw stones at others
Further, it is very well known that even while the bitter civil war was taking place in Sri Lanka , several rebels were allowed to stay in Britain and carry on their activities against the Sri Lankan government. Will Britain like, if any rebel group in Britain were to be given place by Sri Lankan government to stay in Sri Lanka and carry out campaign against British government ?
Ultimately, the utterances of Cameron in Jaffna in effect , would contribute to unrest in the region and whip up hatred amongst the local people against the Sri Lankan government. This amounts to playing a counter productive role, that will not do good to the reputation of Britain. If his objective were to promote peace in the region, he ought to have behaved like a statesman and not like a leader of a local faction.
With a proactive role, Cameron had the opportunity to promote amity in the region by persuading Sri Lankan government to do what he thinks should be done and extending his support for the rehabilitation measures. On the other hand, he has played exactly the opposite role.