Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the international community not to use human rights issues to victimize countries afflicted by terrorism.
Addressing the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Rajapaksa appealed to the world to understand the dangers posed by terrorism and help the affected countries fight this global scourge instead of taking up human rights issues to gain petty political advantage over them.
"Sri Lanka believes, as one of the founder members of the Human Rights Council, that human rights are too important to be used as a tool to victimize States for political advantage. It is essential that international action to facilitate compliance with human rights standards is fair and even handed. Human Rights have to be protected and advanced for their own sake, not for political advantage," Rajapaksa told the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
The President drew the attention of the world body to the fact that state sovereignty, civil society and the Rule of Law were being increasingly threatened by terrorism and other illegal and illicit activities in many countries. But the capacity of the UN system to address these challenges effectively had been brought into question, he said.
Pointing out that many members of the UN had first hand knowledge of the havoc caused by brutish terrorism, Rajapaksa said: "Terrorist attacks whether in New York, Mumbai, Cairo, London or Colombo are acts which threaten the democratic way of life and must be condemned unreservedly."
The Sri Lankan President said that the ultimate aims of the fight against terrorism in his country were to bring about a peaceful political settlement of the conflict and economic development. He said that the All Party Representative Conference on devolution was "working very hard" and that elections in the Eastern districts, recently freed from terrorism, would be held in early 2008.