South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By Yohan Perera and Rifthi Ali

Past President International Federation of Journalists Christopher Warren yesterday stressed the need for reasserting the Fundamental Rights of all people in the world and in Sri Lanka. He made this point by highlighting that the global march of democracy has begun with Egypt and Tunisia.

Delivering the Lasantha Wickramatunga memorial lecture organized by the Free Media Movement to mark the second anniversary of the journalist’s tragic murder in Colombo Mr. Warren said Egypt and Tunisia had embarked on a tumultuous journey to free democratic societies.

“This is significant beyond its own region as it had marked the renewal of the global march to democracy and human rights,” he said.

Mr. Warran explained that the this march had stumbled due to two influences namely the ill named global war on terror that had come to justify restrictions of Human Rights in the name of security, the encouraging of a democratic world to compromise with authoritarian regimes in the name of fighting terror and conflating the spread of democracy with the use of force in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also explained that the tendencies that think economic growth occurs best when coupled with strong-man rule despite the corruption that went with it was also false.

“All Authoritarian regimes sooner or later hit a wall of economic growth that only genuine democracies can break through,” he added.

Mr. Warran said Sri Lanka had gone backwards though most of the world democracies have marked time over the decade. He said killing of Wickramatunga and attacks on other journalists were “chilling moments” of deterioration.

He stressed the need for solidarity among the Sri Lankan journalists  stating that it had been tested over the past two or three years but pointed out that it was understandable that journalists had been under pressure and some have felt abandoned.

Source: The Daily Mirror  – 16.02.2011