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Sri Lankan president defiant over human rights

Posted on Mar 09 2014 | IANS

Colombo, March 9 : Sri Lanka won't be bothered by criticism on the human rights front, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said, as he dubbed the Sri Lankans critical of his regime as "tale carriers".

Recounting the challenges Sri Lanka faced during the three-decade war against the Tamil Tigers that ended in 2009, Rajapaksa said the numerous largescale infrastructure projects in the erstwhile war zone were aimed at "winning the hearts and the minds of the people", Xinhua reported.

He was referring to the third US-backed resolution before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for greater reconciliation in post-war Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa insisted Saturday that his development strategy was indeed aimed at bringing people of different communities together.

The US-led resolution accuses Sri Lanka of failing to implement adequate reconciliation measures and investigate allegations of war crimes.

A vote on the resolution will take place March 28 in Geneva.

Rajapaksa criticised the "tale carriers" of the government in Sri Lanka who he said were preparing to support the resolution.

"Even the international community against Sri Lanka admits there is great infrastructure improvement," he said. "No matter what resolution is passed on Sri Lanka, we will never stop our march towards development."

Rajapaksa spoke after opening a Japanese-funded highway here.

The Outer Circular Highway, which includes several national and provincial roads and cost USD 184 million, was primarily funded by the Japanese government.

Rajapaksa drove a bus on the new highway to declare it open before heading off to make a speech at an election rally.

The opening comes two weeks ahead of a western and southern provincial council election.

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