Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian feature, Social, Stewart Sloan 7:31:00 AM
"The list of persons who have been disappeared goes on and on and there is no sign that it will ever come to an end. As long as the regime and the Rajapakses' consider themselves above the law they will use the law enforcement personnel for their own ends. And this will continue until they are overthrown." by Stewart Sloan
(October 26, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) A weekend paper published an interview with Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who is determined to prove that human rights NGOs have a hidden agenda to cause as much trouble for Sri Lanka as possible.
So, yes I confess, I did have a hidden agenda but I have now been encouraged to bring it out into the open. Do I want to overthrow the government of Mahinda Rajapakse? Well yes, I do, but it's a bit difficult when you live several thousand miles away and you do not even hold Sri Lankan citizenship. So what can I possibly hope to accomplish, after all, I am a private citizen, not an NGO with a hidden agenda, so, how can I complete the overthrow of the Rajapakse regime.
I might do it by garnering public opinion. For example, how many people outside of the regime actually have any respect for the king? If the truth were to be told, not very many! But then many Sri Lankans do not have the luxury of living outside of the country, and the reach of the king's bodyguards. They have the well-justified fear of ending up like Prageeth Eknaliagoda; simply disappearing. Or they might be thrown into jail for having had the temerity of running in opposition to the president in the elections.
One of the major problems facing the citizenry of the country is the almost total lack of credible investigations into human rights abuses at the hands of the police or military. The truly amazing thing about this is that the Rajapakses' know full well that everyone else knows full well that no credible investigations are carried out and they don't give a damn. They are truly above, not only the law of the land but also public opinion. Of course, on occasion they might make all the right noises about holding investigations, like for example in the case of the two WMCA workers that went missing after being 'arrested' by plain clothed police officers in broad daylight. President Rajapakse himself promised the parents that if no progress had been made after two weeks he would bring in Scotland Yard to carry out an independent investigation. No progress was made after two weeks and no one from Scotland Yard ever appeared. Perhaps the president did actually ask them to come but they were too busy.
Can President Rajapakse be so arrogant as to believe that the people of the country don't notice these things? Does he honestly think they are as stupid as that? Then of course there was the very sad case of Douglas Nimal, a police officer that threatened to expose the corruption in the police with regard to narcotics. Nimal and his wife were shot dead in broad daylight and once again, the investigation -- let us fool ourselves into thinking that there was actually an investigation -- failed to bring the killers to light. It does not take a Sherlock Holmes to realise that the only persons who might have found themselves in trouble from Nimal's disclosure were the police so any reasonable person would realise that they had a vested interest in ensuring that he did not talk to anyone.
The list of persons who have been disappeared goes on and on and there is no sign that it will ever come to an end. As long as the regime and the Rajapakses' consider themselves above the law they will use the law enforcement personnel for their own ends. And this will continue until they are overthrown. Hopefully this overthrow will be done by means of the vote long before it comes to the point where the people have had enough and resort to violence. Am I advocating the violent overthrow of the regime, no absolutely I am not. But the people of Sri Lanka must realise that it is time for them to stand up in public, point their fingers at the Rajapakses and say, "We have had enough!" It is time for them to demand credible investigations and the prosecution of those responsible. And if they were acting under orders what is the harm, article 35 of the Constitution gives immunity to the president. He is not the one who is going to get into trouble. But if this happens then the police officers who are hauled over the coals might think twice before following the politicised instructions of the regime. And their prosecutions will act as an example to their fellow officers who will then definitely think twice about following mindless instructions to harm their fellow citizens.
Now that I have disclosed my hidden agenda I will have to think of another. All this honesty is depressing me.
Stewart Sloan served as a civilian officer for seven years with the Special Branch of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. In December 2001 he was awarded a Commanding Officer's Commendation for "Attention to duty of a high order displayed in the pursuit of an operation of major security importance." Stewart currently words as an Editorial Assistant for a human rights NGO based in Hong Kong.