The aftermath of the visit of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has evoked mixed responses from within the Northern political front.
The Secretary General visited the country last week and had met with several political figures in the Northern Province, including Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan and Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran.
Such visits by a diplomat or a UN high ranking official get mixed views from the Sri Lankan populace. There are those who detest foreign visits of this nature while there are some who welcome these dignitaries with open arms.
The final phase of the war, and the sentiments shared by the UN on it had evoked mixed reactions from people and politicians alike. Some are against, some are for it, and some do not bother about it.
However, the impact of the UN on Sri Lanka and its politics is undeniable, especially since the end of the war.
This time was no different. Ban Ki-moon’s visit was highly anticipated since it was probably be his last visit as the UN Secretary General before he resigns in a few months.
This was his second visit to Sri Lanka after the war. He had reportedly mentioned of several changes that had taken place in the North during the past seven years, and had extended his support to the continuous efforts of the government to develop the war affected areas.
Progresses and drawbacks
The present government has taken several steps in terms of expediting the release of Tamil detainees, resettling displaced persons, handing over privately owned lands, and also passing the Office on Missing Persons Bill.
However, the TNA pointed out that the steps taken so far was inadequate. Wigneswaran during the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) meeting last week said that he had submitted the names of approximately 4000 persons who had reportedly gone missing.
In addition, the TNA leadership in a separate meeting had raised issues pertaining to land ownership and release of Tamil detainees and the shortfalls of the government in fulfilling the requirements of the UN.
Now that the UN Chief is gone, things are once again back to where it was.
The families of the disappeared recently complained that they were not properly represented in many of the mechanisms that were established to address the issues.
In the hands of the people
Seven years have passed since the war. The people continue to depend on the politicians for help. It is indeed difficult for the people who were directly affected by war to come out of their problems in dealing with their losses.
However, seven years is a period long enough for people to find their own way out of their issues. It is indeed important for the government and the relevant authorities to get to the bottom of issues such as enforced disappearances and bring the culprits to book.
To fight for the release of those unfairly detained, the people should release themselves from dependency.
But these processes are not in the hands of the people. It is therefore important for the people to focus on what needed to be done right now.
The politicians are there to represent the people in Parliament and Provincial Councils. But it is up to the people to get their act together if they really need to come out of their shells and move forward in life.
Today the world is an open place. Anyone can get access to anything and is able to follow his or her dreams.
The youth in the war affected areas need to understand the importance of focusing their lives on building a better future for them and for their families.
The recent increase in crime rates in the Northern Province and the social issues that come along with it are not highlighted adequately. Terrorism is gone, but these social evils will create a bigger threat in future if they are not eliminated immediately.
It is therefore important that these affected people do not wait for someone else to help them, but create their own path which would be an inspiration to others in shaping up their lives.