Friday 18 January 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

18 January 2019

Dual Citizenship

The issue of Dual Citizenship of  the Defence Secretary during Sri Lanka’s ethnic war is ruffling feathers in some quarters. Daily Mirror reports as follows in this regard:
[Dual citizenship: Gota says US can’t block individual rights:
Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the matter of dual-citizenship was something personal to him and he did not think the US could block individual rights.
He said this in response to journalists at the Special High Court premises when they asked him about renouncing his dual citizenship and reports that he may not be allowed to do so.
Mr. Rajapaksa said he could either cancel or keep the dual-citizenship as it was something personal.]

Under normal circumstances, the above claim of freedom will hold true. But does it hold true when the citizen has been part of a group that is alleged to have committed  human rights violations in Sri Lanka, based on which the American Government sponsored UN Resolution to investigate into war-crimes allegations. The American Government is taken to have sponsored the resolution as per its belief. Until there is clearance of such allegations, it would be immoral of the American Government to treat the individuals concerned on ‘normal’ basis. The right thing would be for American Government to honour its own recommendation and not clear Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa as if he was free of possible wrongs when he was American citizen. American Government owes this to the global community and more importantly to Sri Lankans. Without such higher moral responsibility one would conclude that the American Government was using its power to show its strength to wider world for which Sri Lanka became the medium.
At UN level we need to operate close to the system of Natural Justice / Karma. Change of time and place does not clear one of wrong doing – especially in relation to love and war.
If Sri Lankans do accept Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then we would conclude that majority Sri Lankans are  indifferent to war-pain endured by minorities. If so – then why bother investing in Democracy and Equal Opportunity? Let minority communities elect dictators who would ruthlessly claim ownership through occupation. This would mean continuous war in Sri Lanka and if majority race wants it – who are we to work against it? We get the behaviour we reward.

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