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by Susitha R. Fernando, Daily Mirror, Colombo
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva yesterday said peace could not be established by war but only by the proper enforcement of human rights.
Addressing an event to mark International Human Rights Day organized by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mr. Silva said there was no such human rights that could be established through weapons.
“Any person who says that we can win peace through war is talking about something which is impossible,” he said amidst applause from the audience which included foreign diplomats and representatives of UN organizations,
“Human nature is such that there is always the animal instinct to dominate others. And as long as that instinct remains there will be violation of human rights. We have to be vigilant that when there are such intuitions we have to ensure by whatever manner to safe guard human rights and suppress such intuitions. But sadly in our country that has not happened with the efficacy it should have happened and that is why we have this war that is going on,” he said.
He said that the government would succeed in its endeavor to establish peace not through war but through proper enforcement of human rights.
During his address Mr. Sarath Silva also said that our Constitution had recognized almost all the rights in the universal declaration of rights. While in the international context it is called human rights in Sri Lanka it is fundamental rights, he said.
Describing the notion of human rights, the CJ said, “to be entitled to human rights you don’t require any qualification. “You don’t have to be of a particular race. You don’t have to be a Sinhalese. You are not denied human rights because you are a Tamil or a Muslim. So it transcends all barriers but by virtue of the fact that you are a human being you are entitled to human rights”.
The Chief Justice said that any violation of fundamental rights can be referred to the highest court of the country, the Supreme Court.
During his address the CJ said that human rights linked up with development. It is only by the protection of human rights there can be human development.
Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe in his address said the idea of human rights was found in Eastern civilization centuries before it was founded by the Western culture.
Among the foreign diplomats who participated were French Ambassador Michelle Lumaux, High Commissioner of Canada Angela Bogdan and UNDP Representative Neil Buhne.