Mahinda Rajapaksa: ‘This is all propaganda’
Sri Lanka’s president discusses a recent UN report accusing him of pushing the country into an authoritarian direction.
Four years after the brutal civil war between Tamil Tigers and government forces in Sri Lanka hopes for a better future with mutual respect and consideration are looking increasing dashed, according to a human rights report released by the United Nations.
The people elected me. If they dont like me they can run me out of office.
The report paints a grim picture of the country: The military is dominating Sri Lanka’s life in many areas; critics of the government are abused, silenced or killed; and Buddhists as well as minorities such as Christians and Muslims are attacked, the report stated.
All under the watch of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was elected in 2005 and re-elected by his people three years ago – a man who is pushing the country, the UN says, in an authoritarian direction.
These accusations have been vehemently dismissed by the government and its supporters in a war of words suggesting the report is coloured by the personal background of its responsible official, Navi Pillay, the chief UN officer for human rights whose own ancestors were Tamil Indians.
According to reports, some Sri Lankan officials were even resorting to name calling labelling her the “Tamil Tigress of the UN” – remarks Pillay calls offensive.
“People of Sri Lanka think that she [Pillay] has written the report before she came here … when she met me she didn’t complain about anything …. This is a democratic country, they [the people] can say anything …. We allowed her to go anywhere, allowed her to meet anybody she wants …. This is propaganda against Sri Lanka, so please compare with other countries, don’t isolate a small country like Sri Lanka and try to bully Sri Lanka.”
On Talk to Al Jazeera we discuss the state of Sri Lanka four years after the civil war, the latest UN report, and the impact of President Rajapaksa’s policies on the country’s citizens.