Written by Staff Writer
05 Mar, 2014 | 9:49 pm
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris says that initiatives of the Human Rights Council have disregarded the progress Sri Lanka has made in the five years since the end of the thirty-year war.
He made this statement while addressing the high level segment of the 25th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on Wednesday.
Professor G. L. Peiris expressed the following views:
“Judging by the persistent demand made on Sri Lanka as well as the assertion that domestic mechanisms have failed, it is clear that there is no acknowledgment of this very tangible progress. As much as Sri Lanka has endeavoured to cooperate with the OHCHR , there has been a series of actions, in particular, the introduction of country-specific action on Sri Lanka in this council that have shown the lack of sensitivity in dealing with a delicate situation and expose the unfair and biased manner in which issues pertaining to Sri Lanka had been addressed. “
“The Government of Sri Lanka categorically rejects the High Commissioner’s report emanating from resolution 22/1 which is in contravention of GA resolution 60/251 as well as council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 that guide the work and method of engagement of the council. Sri Lanka will share its observations on the substantive content of the report. Mr. Chairman, for the purposes of record we wish to state that the High Commissioner’s report had exceeded its mandate by making reference to and recommendations on numerous issues extraneous to the resolution. The recommendations containing in the report are arbitrary, intrusive and of a political nature and are not based within the ambit of the LLRC as demonstrated by the call to establish and international inquiry mechanism,” he added.
“Further this recommendation is in contravention of the mandate granted by GA resolution 48/141. The government’s detailed comments on the report………………………. it is also regretted that the High Commissioner has raised concerns regarding a range of issues based on information on questionable veracity and conclusions arrived at a selective and arbitrary manner. The references made in the council welcoming the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka even at the highest level at the UN are regrettable. Particularly considering that it is based on questionable and baseless material including what is being processed outside the UN frame work,” he said.
“The Government is Sri Lanka reiterates the rejection of resolution 22/1 as well as the High Commissioner’s Report in its entirety which are fundamentally flawed. These initiatives disregard the substantial progress made by the government during the five years which have elapsed since the end the 30 year war against terrorism…”
At the high level segment held on Tuesday, the US Secretary for Civillian Protection, Democracy and Human Rights, Sarah Seawall, commented on Sri Lanka. She made following observations:
“In 2012 and again this year, the Council urged the Government of Sri Lanka, to launch an independent investigation into the deaths of thousands of civilians, during that country’s terrible civil war. To date, the government has refused. Accordingly, the United States has introduced a resolution this year, calling upon the Office of the High Commissioner, to conduct an investigation into past abuses, and to examine more recent attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, and religious minorities.”
Here in Sri Lanka, speaking to the BBC World Service, Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella categorically rejected the draft resolution on Sri Lanka that has been circulated in Geneva.
Noting that only a few years have passed since the LLRC report was released, Minister Rambukwella had said that it is completely unfair, for the Human Rights Council to hold an investigation on Sri Lanka.
He added that the draft resolution violated the principles of the United Nations.
The United States draft resolution on Sri Lanka backed by the United Kingdom, Montenegro, Mauritius and Macedonia, was circulated at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday. The resolution will be discussed at an UN-official meeting scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, an eighteen-page report compiled by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is to be presented to the Human Rights Council on March 26.
The report, primarily calls for an international mechanism to look into alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the conflict.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the UN, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, representing human rights activists has called on the UN Human Rights Council to pass a resolution that will include a commitment to an independent international investigation in the form of a commission of inquiry in Sri lanka.
The letter has been signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph, TNA Parliamentarian R. Sampanthan, Northern province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and human rights activists and representatives of human rights organisations from 28 countries across the globe.
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