Diplomatic Accountability and the Plight of Sri Lankan Mercenaries

The Russian Ambassador's rare act of transparency serves as a stark prompt of the abject failure of our own diplomatic corps, particularly evident in Moscow where the head of the Sri Lankan mission remains vacant.

2 mins read
Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Levan Dzhagaryan, as depicted in a screen grab from a video circulated on social media.

Editorial

The decisive action taken by Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Levan Dzhagaryan, today in addressing those protesting regarding Sri Lankans’ involvement in conflicts abroad, illuminates a deeply alarming issue: the glaring lack of accountability within our diplomatic machinery. It is imperative to highlight that this moment stands as a rare instance wherein a foreign mission head has directly engaged with the people, unlike many protests outside embassies where such communication is notably absent. This unprecedented step by the Russian envoy sharply accentuates the deafening silence and inertia emanating from our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs, laying bare a systemic failure that demands immediate attention. It is crucial to recognize that the responsibility for this situation does not lie with the Russian embassy in Colombo.

At the heart of the matter lies the distressing revelation of Sri Lankans, including retired military officers, allegedly coerced into mercenary activities in conflicts such as the one between Ukraine and Russia. These individuals, often lured into signing contracts under dubious circumstances, represent a grim reality of exploitation and human trafficking. The families of these victims, left grappling with uncertainty and fear, are pleading for governmental intervention to bring their loved ones back home safely.

The echoes of similar distress reverberate from Myanmar, where Sri Lankan embassies initially turned a blind eye to the desperate pleas for assistance. This neglect of duty is nothing short of appalling, underscoring a profound disconnect between the opulence enjoyed by some of our diplomats and the stark realities faced by ordinary citizens who fund their lifestyles through their hard-earned tax contributions.

The Russian Ambassador’s rare act of transparency serves as a stark prompt of the abject failure of our own diplomatic corps, particularly evident in Moscow where the head of the Sri Lankan mission remains vacant. This administrative vacuum, coupled with a culture of arrogance and incompetence within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has created a breeding ground for irresponsibility and impunity.

It is imperative that we, as a nation, demand accountability from those entrusted with safeguarding our interests abroad. The complacency and indifference displayed by some administrative officers within our diplomatic missions cannot be excused. Their decisions, or lack thereof, have exacerbated an already dire situation, leaving our citizens vulnerable and abandoned in foreign lands.

Our embassies must be reminded of their primary mandate: to serve and protect Sri Lankans abroad. The luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by some diplomats come at the direct expense of hard-working taxpayers who may never have the privilege of venturing beyond our shores. It is time for a comprehensive audit of our diplomatic missions, ensuring that they operate with the integrity and dedication demanded by their positions.

The plight of Sri Lankan mercenaries, coupled with the inadequate response from our diplomatic corps, is nothing short of a national disgrace. It serves as a clarion call for all citizens to hold our government accountable and demand a foreign service that truly represents and protects the interests of its people, both at home and abroad. Failure to do so would be a betrayal of the fundamental principles of justice, dignity, and accountability that should underpin our diplomatic efforts.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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