Basil Rajapaksa: The Foundation of Sri Lanka's Success
by Dr. Levins T C Rajaratnam
Mar 31, 2010
Basil Rajapaksa's official Facebook states "Basil Rohana Rajapaksa is a Sri Lankan politician currently the Senior Adviser to President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on all matters pertaining to the affairs of the State and Government. He is also a former National List member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
He hails from a well known political family from the South of Sri Lanka. His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a prominent politician, independence agitator, Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Land in Wijeyananda Dahanayake's Government. He is the younger brother of the current ruling President of Sri Lanka. He was the Campaign Manager of the current President since 1970 up to the last Presidential elections in 2005, and coordinated most recent regional elections, which saw a landslide victory for the ruling party in the Government who is currently enjoying the unprecedented distinction of being the most popular government party in the post-colonial political history of Sri Lanka. He took the lead in making the "Mahinda Chintana" a reality launching the "Jathika Saviya - Gama Neguma" programme.
Basil Rajapaksa was the hand-picked choice of H.E. the President to be in charge of handling South Asia's most challenging humanitarian task of rehabilitating thousands of innocent Sri Lankan Tamil citizens escaping the clutches of the LTTE, one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world, and resettling them.
Basil Rajapaksa is known and accepted by those who support the Government and the opposition as the brain behind the massive development drive of the UPFA government. But this image of him as the "Developer of the Century" has masked his unmatchable and pivotal contribution in the war against terrorism.
Heading the Presidential Task Force, he rendered an enormous service with dedication under the "Eastern Resurgence" and "Uthuru Wasanthaya" programs. He is also in charge of the "Eastern Reawakening" program, holding the distinction of rehabilitating former child soldier Tamil terrorists to drop the use of bullets and adopt the ballot and enter mainstream democratic process, a much admired achievement in conflict resolution. He has succeeded in forging multiethnic group partnerships to ensure equal economic empowerment and leadership opportunities for local constituents in these sensitive ethnically diverse areas. He is doing a significant service in the North and East, he has been discharging in the two Provinces, particularly for the benefit of the Tamil polity for their betterment. The people are already reaping dividends of these projects.
Having over 40 years experience in politics, Now Basil Rajapaksa, has been appointed as the leader of United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for Gampaha District comprising of 21 candidates contesting the forthcoming General Election.
Addressing to the public gathering after handing over Nomination papers of the UPFA team Gampaha District, He said "I humbly accepted this massive task. I pledge at this occasion in the presence of all the party activists in the district, that I will give of my very best to fulfil the aspirations of everyone here, the President, everyone in the Alliance and the people of Gampaha," and further stated that The election campaign lead by in the Gampaha District will be staged setting an example to the entire country.
Grundnorm of President's success
Dr.Jayatissa De Costa, a popular election Lawyer once commented that Basil Rajapaksa knew more than him and he was on expert on election related matters and had an intricate knowledge of the election results of even bygone eras with such minute accuracy.
Basil stood by his brother Mahinda through thick and thin. The Rajapaksas are a closely knit family.
Basil Rajapaksa was nominated as a Member of Parliament on the National List after the death of Anwer Ismail. It was Jeyaraj Fernandopulle's fervent desire that Basil Rajapaksa should enter Parliament.
The current trends in international affairs relating to Sri Lanka with the war against terrorism and how the world look at us owing to the accusations made against us by vested interests and whether we have overcome the difficulties and convinced the world that we were justified in doing what we had to do.To the greatest part Basil Rajapaksa cleared the accusations against Sri Lanka.
His concept was that we must take effective measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing nations and work towards a new international political and economic order that is fair and rational. First, it is imperative to promote democracy in international relations. To respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all countries and resolve internal conflicts. The affairs of each and every country should be left to its own people to decide. Global challenges should be tackled through international cooperation and co-ordination.
All countries should foster a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation and fully respect the diversity of world civilizations, and should seek consensus through dialogue, co-operation through consultation and development through exchanges.
It is imperative to work towards stability and development of the developing nations. World peace hinges on stability of the developing nations, and global prosperity rests, on growth of the developing nations. Complicated as they are, many of the issues today may have their roots found in development. Development should be the top priority of governments of all developing nations in their efforts to govern and build up their countries. It is imperative to ensure a full play of the UN's important role in international affairs. As the most important inter-governmental organization in the world today, which represents the fundamental interests of all member countries and the aspirations of all peoples in the world, the United Nations has a lot to do and accomplish under the new situation. Therefore, it is our common responsibility and is in everyone's vital interests to strengthen its role, safeguard its authority, increase its efficiency and promote its reform.
History tells us that solidarity means strength, progress and success. Peace, co-operation, development and progress are what the entire international community is hoping and striving for.
The developing nations must continue to work closely together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation and raise their voice and strengthen their position in international affairs if they are to secure their fundamental interests.
One of the magnificent achievements of the UN has been the transformation that has taken place in global opinion on the relationship that should obtain between the governing and the governed, between the government and the citizen. It was on the basis of the moral authority of the General Assembly's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the determined endeavors of the Commission on Human Rights, that this transformation was achieved. The dignity of the individual has now, largely as a result of United Nations leadership in the field of human rights, been placed, as it should be, amongst the primary priorities of national and international attention.
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights is not limited in scope to ensuring the observance of human rights by Governments alone.
The Declaration has a far wider purpose: the observance of human rights by all governmental and non-governmental alike.
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration, which requires that everyone has the right to life; and the provisions of article 30 of the Declaration prescribes that: "Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein".
An act of terrorism by a non-governmental entity against civilians is surely a violation of the human rights of its victims and, surely, a crime against humanity as well.
We know the horrific consequences of terrorism: the horror; the thousands of unsuspecting innocent lives lost or maimed, the thousands of families then left to grieve; the countless personal tragedies that terrorism leaves. The horrors of Terrorism has devastated the country and have cast a heavy burden on successive Governments and the Nation including all of us and on humanity as a whole.
Terrorism is, sadly, very familiar to Sri Lanka. We, in Sri Lanka know terrorism, unfortunately, only too well. We have shown that we could eradicate it but the process is not over.. Have we eradicated Terrorism or the LTTE? Were all these terrorist activities carried out by the LTTE alone or was there a conspiracy between the other Tamil militant groups who pay lip service to democracy? The US State Department Report on Human Rights 2009 suggests that great number of Tamil militants in Colombo and beyond have been responsible for abductions, extortion and murders.
Lakshman Kadirgamar is remembered to have said "A criminal organization - whether involved in rebellion against a State or not - must depend for its sustenance outside the law. For its massive operations and massive weaponry, massive collections of funds are continually required. As funds available for criminal activities within a State, especially a developing State, are Inevitably small, and the monitoring of their collection and disbursement relatively simple, fund collection for such activities is carried out abroad - through international criminal networks, of course - and also, as in all criminal enterprises, through knowing or unknowing front organizations or other entities that now proliferate in many forms, in many countries - often in the guise, sadly, of charitable groups or groups ostensibly concerned with human rights, ethnic cultural or social matters….. The many disparate forces for international terrorism do not come together in one monolithic whole. They are variously interconnected in numerous ways and their international networks are extensive. They are mutually supportive and communicate through the global underworld of crime when special missions are afoot. If international terrorism is to be ever removed from our midst, we must begin with the recognition that international terrorism is a form of global criminality. We must not let ourselves be deceived by the artfully crafted cloaks of false pretensions. It is the method of terrorism as in the murder of innocent civilians and the defiance of the sanctity of life - that defines terrorism."
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces took a patriotic and bold decision as he is morally and legally bound to protect the nation from all forms of terror. Military Intervention was a necessity in the interests of the Nation.
Basil Rajapaksa played the pivotal role to convince the International community. It was no easy task. His skills of advocacy were put to task together with the strength and determination of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was able to direct the Army to go ahead with their assertive, offensive and defensive action which led to the victory over the LTTE.
It is in this connection that President has liberated the Tamil people. The Exodus was like Moses giving freedom to the Jews from Egypt. But the difference is that the Tamil people were liberated by President Rajapaksa, whilst the some of our friends overseas have from time to time been misled by those marketing terrorism for their own corporate interests.
In Sri Lanka the popular belief is that, No country has any moral or legal right to interfere or intervene in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.
Over thirty years or more we have not been able to solve this problem. We require a balance between the need to achieve a military victory and the needs of humanity. In this sense, necessity has been viewed as a limitation to unbridled barbarity. The application of the doctrine of military necessity makes use of the principle of proportionality as a mechanism for determining the positioning of a fulcrum between these competing poles. Using proportionality thus gives effect to the recognition that the choice of methods and means of conducting war or armed conflict are not unlimited.
The means and methods of conducting war operate to achieve a particular military objective, which consequently assists in achieving a larger political objective.
While necessity might determine the legitimacy of the armed attack, proportionality determines the amount of force that might be used. In a sense, necessity operates at a macro level, while international humanitarian law operates at a micro level, though both might lie on the same continuum given the difficulties in the transition. This difficulty is most apparent when the principles of necessity and proportionality have been incorporated into conventional international law, particularly international humanitarian conventions. The development of these conventions and the application of these principles require some consideration if one is to arrive at an understanding of their application in a modern armed conflict. The distinction in the Sri Lanka situation is that it is within our territory.
Military necessity has been described as "a basic principle of the law of war, so basic, indeed, that without it there could be no law of war at all." the acceptance that, while the object of warfare is to achieve the submission of the enemy, which may require the disabling of as many enemy combatants as possible, this should only be achieved in a manner that does not cause any unnecessary suffering or damage. This limitation to the means of waging war is not, however, necessarily humanitarian in nature, and much of the early restraints were based on economic, political, and military considerations. However, the need for a balance between the considerations of humanity and the military actions necessary to win a war is regarded as defining the very nature of international humanitarian law, making military necessity a central principle in this balance.
Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally unavoidable in the armed contests of the war; it allows of the capturing of every armed enemy, and every enemy of importance or of peculiar danger to the captor; it allows of all destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and channels of traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance or means of life from the enemy;
The 'principle of distinction' is fundamental to humanitarian law, but its precise content varies according to the kind of conflict. In national liberation struggles - and international armed conflicts - the distinction is between 'civilians' and 'combatants.' Combatants have no right to life under humanitarian law. Every individual is classified as either a combatant or as a kind of protected person, such as a prisoner of war (a captured combatant) or a civilian. An individual's rights change when his classification changes. A civilian has the right not to be targeted for attack and the right to receive some protection from attack. If the civilian joins the armed militants, he exchanges the rights of a civilian for the rights of a combatant. A combatant has the right to take part in hostilities.
Basil Rajapaksa believes that we are a community of people, whose self interest and mutual interest at crucial points merge and that it is through a sense of justice that community is born and nurtured. This is the moment to bring the faiths closer together in understanding of our common values and heritage a source of unity and strength. By the strength of our common endeavor we achieve more together, than we can alone. We must reach beyond our fears and our divisions to a new time of great and common purpose. Let us trace the roots of affirmative action. Let us determine what it is and what it isn't. Let us see where it has worked and where it hasn't and ask ourselves what we need to do now.
Uthuru wasanthaya and Negenahira Navodaya
Basil Rajapaksa is a sine qua non to Sri Lanka's success.