COLOMBO, March 13, Reuter: President Junius Jayewardene called on India and Argentina today to settle their own human rights problems before trying to tell Sri Lanka what to do. The Sri Lankan leader was commenting on an Argentina sponsored resolution that was passed at a U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva yesterday. Colombo’s state-run daily news said that there had been lobbying for the resolution, which called for a political settlement to end ethnic violence in Sri Lanka. Jayawerdene said his message to India and Argentina was, “Physician, heal thyself”.

Both countries should concentrate on their own human rights problems, said the President, who was addressing a group of government workers.

The resolution, the first the Commission has adopted on Sri Lanka’s secessionist rebellion, was passed only after delegates deleted references to the alleged torture and disappearance of civilians.

Jayawerdene told government workers that money set aside for development projects would instead have to be spent in the battle against Tamil guerrillas fighting to set up an independent homeland on the Sinhalese dominated island, Jayewardene said Parliament would soon be asked to approve a further two billion rupees (75 million dollars), in addition to the 10 billion rupees (375 million dollars) set apart already, to fight the guerrilla war.

More than 5,000 people have died in the conflict over the past four years.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 20, 1987