New City, New York – 10/31/2018– The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)
The Ancient Order of Hibernians shares the world’s concern on recent developments in Sri Lanka. The recent sacking of Sri Lanka’s prime minister and his replacement with a man accused of human rights violations committed during that country’s civil war poses a threat to the search for justice for the victims of those heinous acts. However, the Hibernians cannot help but simultaneously note the outrageous hypocrisy in former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers’ calls for pressure to be brought to bear on Sri Lanka to honor its commitments to justice.
During parliamentary questions to Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministers, the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland asked: “In the light of recent worrying developments in Sri Lanka, will the [British] Foreign Secretary urge the Government there to make good on their promises to deliver justice for the Tamil people and accountability for war crimes committed against them?” We are amazed at Ms. Villiers’ gall. This is the same Theresa Villiers who as Northern Ireland Secretary time and again stonewalled and prevaricated on fulfilling Britain’s commitments to address the legacy of “the Troubles.”
It was then Northern Ireland Secretary Villiers who failed “to make good on Britain’s promises to deliver justice” when she rejected the call of the Ballymurphy families to establish a panel to review the massacre, claiming “it would not serve the public interest’.” Would that Ms. Villiers had worried as much for the cause of justice in Belfast as she now claims she does for Sri Lanka. The atrocity of Ballymurphy, in which ten people died, including a Catholic priest and a mother-of-eight, after being shot by British soldiers is as egregious as any committed in Sri Lanka. Rather than delivering justice, Ms. Villiers denigrated the murder of six innocent men in Loughinisland with her insensitive, dissembling comments designed to evade accountability for the actions of British government assets in the killing and subsequent cover-up. This is the same Ms. Villiers who repeatedly blocked the funding necessary to deal with the legacy of the past. As Northern Ireland Secretary, Ms. Villiers failed to fulfill British commitments to justice and accountability to the people of Northern Ireland; she is the last person who should be asking others “to make good on their promises to deliver justice”.
Justice is a universal human right; it should be pursued with equal fervor on the isle of Ireland as on the isle of Sri Lanka.
Justice is a universal human right; it should be pursued with equal fervor on the isle of Ireland as on the isle of Sri Lanka. Ms. Villiers has no credibility when virtue signaling on justice in Sri Lanka when Britain, abetted by her personal actions, has failed for over twenty years to deliver on the commitment to justice in a Northern Ireland where it claims suzerainty. Ms. Villiers comments are yet another example of British “do as I say, but not as I do in the North of Ireland.” It is time for Ms. Villiers and her colleagues to seek help for their chronic myopia and see as clearly Britain’s commitments to justice in Northern Ireland as they do in Sri Lanka.