Our failings have emboldened our opponents As a Sri Lankan living in the UK, I can assure the Sri Lankan people that the vast majority of the British population have the highest regard for Sri Lanka and its citizens. The difficulties we incur at the UN are due to a relentless campaign by the Diaspora [...]

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Our failings have emboldened our opponents

As a Sri Lankan living in the UK, I can assure the Sri Lankan people that the vast majority of the British population have the highest regard for Sri Lanka and its citizens. The difficulties we incur at the UN are due to a relentless campaign by the Diaspora and human rights groups to harass the British government to pressurize Sri Lanka internationally. Their task has been made much easier by misjudgements of successive Sri Lankan governments over many years.

During the last stages of the war in early 2009, the Sri Lankan authorities grossly underestimated the number of hostages the LTTE were holding and hence the Sri Lankan Army never got the credit either for the number of hostages they rescued nor for the actions they took to avoid civilian casualties. For many years we insisted that the number of civilian casualties was zero and only backed the UN figure of 8000 relatively recently. This allowed those inimical to Sri Lanka’s interests to come up with the 40,000 figure which is widely believed abroad.

We have frequently failed to hold our own inquiries when complaints are made and, even when we do, we either fail to implement their recommendations, as in the case of LLRC, or only pay modest compensation to a few complainants, as in the case of the Office of Missing Persons.

These failings have emboldened our opponents and left Sri Lanka in a difficult position with no easy options.

Dr. R. P. Fernando? ?Via email


We should engage with the UN

We sincerely appreciate Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s recent statement that Sri Lanka would continue to engage constructively with the United Nations with cooperation and goodwill. He emphasized Sri Lanka has been doing so for 60 years despite the UNHRC’s recent resolution against it.

We request him to mend fences as early as possible and engage with the UN and with the countries who voted against Sri Lanka. It is high time for the Govt. to reassure the International Community of its commitment to peace, reconciliation and preserving human rights. The Government has to ensure freedom of speech, stop violations of human rights and eliminate hate speech by extremists.

Further, the Government has a great responsibility towards finding a lasting solution for the problems of the Tamil speaking people of the north and east on language, land, education and employment issues which are dragging on for 12 years since the end of the war.

We fervently hope the present Government would use this opportunity to solve all the issues.

Z.A.M.Shukoor? ?Aranayaka


Road accidents: It’s time to start testing for other substance use too

Road traffic accidents are becoming increasingly common. Around seven people die daily on the road in Sri Lanka.

There are many possible causes for road traffic accidents.? Physical and mental health of the driver, the condition of the vehicle, condition of the road, weather, concentration, and speed are some of factors associated with road traffic accidents. Alcohol and other substance use is another well-known factor associated with accidents.

An important forgotten fact is that use of other substances including heroin and cannabis (ganja, kansa, marijuana) appears to be increasingly common among drivers and younger people.? According to some passengers, drivers of public transport? take cannabis just before starting the journey.

Worldwide studies show that driving after taking cannabis increases the risk of accidents five fold. The risk is 40 times higher when it is consumed with alcohol. The risk is very high with heroin and other substances too. Cannabis and other substances interfere with a person’s ability to do the mechanical process of driving, the ability to respond to unexpected situations, focus attention, concentrate and to perceive time and distance.

Some countries have started to test for cannabis and other substances in drivers who have been involved in road traffic accidents and also before issuing driving licences. It is high time we start testing for cannabis and other substances in drivers after accidents and also do random checks for these as is done for alcohol.

Dr D.P.D Wijesinghe

Consultant Psychiatrist? ?Via email


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