“No Private Schools”

Cheap danazol mechanism

“Selective perception” has failed HRW in presentation of facts

The annual report of the Human Rights Watch 2008 contains a Chapter on Sri Lanka which has failed to distinguish between a democratically elected Government which has reaffirmed its commitment to promote and protect human rights while combating an unprecedented challenge of terrorism, and the LTTE, a fascist terrorist group recently branded as one of the worst of such groups in the world by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA.

Despite the Government of Sri Lanka maintaining an open dialogue with the international community and INGOs, including the Human Rights Watch (HRW) regularly, it fails to acknowledge any positive steps taken by Sri Lanka to enhance protection in a situation of emergency. Senior Ministers and high officials from Sri Lanka have had discussions with the Human Rights Watch in New York and Washington in September 2007 where they have amply explained the measures the Government has taken to uphold human rights in an extremely difficult situation of fighting a ruthless terrorist group to rid innocent civilians from the clutches of subjugation of this outfit.

The Human Rights Watch has placed selective focus on some civil and political rights, avoiding entirely any mention of GOSL’s considerable achievements in providing economic, social and cultural rights, including to all citizens in the North and the East.

The Human Rights Watch appears to ignore the fact that since independence the Government has provided a free and comprehensive national education system, including schools, non-formal education institutions, and technical colleges. The salaries of teachers, administrative, clerical and elementary staff are met from state funds.

There are no private schools in operation in Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya, Ampara and Trincomalee. Schoolchildren in these areas are entirely dependent on Government run schools for their primary and secondary education, which the Government continues to provide. Every single teacher is funded by the Government.

There are an estimated 1848 functioning state funded schools with over 700,000 students in the North and the East. These schools include 411 in Jaffna, 94 Buy biaxin xl in Kilinochchi, 93 in Mannar, 187 in Vavuniya, 102 in Mullativu, 314 in Batticaloa, 388 in Ampara and 259 in Trincomalee. Thus 18.9% of the schools administered by the Ministry of Education are located in the North and the East. The scope of the education service provided by the Government of Sri Lanka is apparent, for instance in the latest report of the UNHCR on Welfare Centres in Jaffna, which indicates that 1251 of 1252 Primary Level children are in school in these centres, and 1434 out of 1716 among secondary school children.

State hospitals and State run health care centres provide a totally free service – both preventative and curative and are funded by the Government. The State meets the recurrent costs of doctors, nurses and minor employees, including salaries, drugs, equipment and the maintenance of hospitals. In the North and the East, there are over 53 Hospital institutions with more than 4427 hospital beds providing free curative healthcare.

The Human Rights Watch does not take into account any of the achievements of the Government in providing numerous welfare and protection programmes for migrant workers, especially women migrant workers including their families. The Human Rights Watch appears to proceed from some abstract “standards which has little relevance to the conditions on the ground in a developing country”. It is unfortunate that the Human Rights Watch continues to use developed country standards, which are used only selectively in the case of developed countries, in criticising developing countries.

Vague accusations proliferate in the report such as “indiscriminate firing” “unnecessarily preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid” etc., which are not borne out by the facts. The rationalisation undertaken by the Government in consultation with INGOs and NGOs seem to have escaped HRW completely.

Sri Lanka’s Security Forces are fully trained to take every precaution against harming civilians. The ICRC has imparted international humanitarian law (IHL) training to Security Forces since over 20 years, such that over 90% of forces are now fully trained in IHL. Since 2006, most deaths have been among combatants (especially Government forces) while most civilian deaths have been caused by LTTE bomb blasts such as on buses at Kebbetigollawa, Nittambuwa, Seenigama and Chettikulam and even in Shopping Complexes at Nugegoda. The LTTE gunned down civilians fleeing the bus bomb in Buttala.

Sufficient information is available on Sri Lanka websites (SCOPP/Commissioner General for Essential Services) regarding provision of essential supplies to North and East. HRW fails to acknowledge that throughout the years of conflict, humanitarian and developmental needs of the civilian population of the North and the East, including in conflict areas, were continuously met by the Government of Sri Lanka together with some assistance from the donor community. The administrative machinery including the free national health, education and infrastructure facilities in conflict areas are continuing to be maintained by the Government despite the fact that the LTTE siphons of such funding for its own illegal purposes.

The Government of Sri Lanka is presently taking all steps to provide the essential services that people need in the uncleared areas. In fact, even today the Government Agents in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, LTTE dominated districts, are actively delivering all essential services. The salaries and pensions and other expenses of these services are fully met by the Government, and the Government also monitors these activities to ensure that the services reach the people as expeditiously as possible. However, given the hazardous ground conditions that prevail in these areas it is necessary for the LTTE to cooperate to ensure that these efforts are made more effective. Already, massive programmes for housing, roads, bridges, electrification, livelihood development, hospitals, and schools have been planned. The completed projects and other projects in progress and in the pipeline are valued at approximately 1,250 Million U.S. Dollars. This is a massive sum, and the investment of such an amount would need stable ground and safe conditions that are essential for the effective realization of the benefits of this vast investment.

HRW analysis of the situation of internally displaced persons (IDP) is therefore, flawed with exaggerated figures quoted and failure to acknowledge the success of GOSL in speedily resettling IDPs in their own homes after evicting the LTTE from the Eastern Province, whilst providing assistance in food and livelihood support etc. Sri Lanka has expended considerable resources over the last many years in caring for IDPs affected by both conflict and tsunami.

Despite repeated Government requests for specific information, HRW has not supplied any ‘credible evidence’ on any complicity by GOSL Security Forces with the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulugal (TMVP), a breakaway group of the LTTE. Accusations are vague and unsubstantiated and tend to reflect the propaganda line of detractors of the Government. Today, the TMVP is making the difficult transition to a political party, having registered with the Commissioner of Elections for the local government elections in the Eastern Province.

Courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

0 Responses to ““No Private Schools””

  • No Comments

Leave a Reply