A credible domestic process to address allegations and the OHCHR

A credible domestic process to address allegations and the OHCHR

Written by Bella Dalima

19 Feb, 2015 | 10:34 pm

John Rankin, the UK High Commissioner to Colombo says that they look to the government of Sri Lanka to establish a credible domestic process to address the allegations of past wrong doings.

News1st, is in possession of the letter sent by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The letter states that Sri Lanka will invite special procedure mandate holders to visit Sri Lanka on a need basis only before September.

It was just three days ago that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussen informed the council that the OHCHR investigative report on Sri Lanka will be postponed by a further six months.

He said that this is following a request made by the Sri Lankan government.

However, what prompted such a decision? News1st is in procession of a letter purportedly sent by the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera to the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The minister highlights that before the 30th session of the Human Rights Council convenes in September, the government will invite a working group on enforced and involuntary disappearances along with special procedure mandate holders on a need – basis only – which is a demand made in the 25/1 resolution sponsored by the United States.

Samaraweera also highlights several aspects of the 100-day programme including the national witness protection bill and the enactment of a right to information act. both of which are yet to be tabled though are fast approaching on the 100 day calendar.

In the letter – Minister Mangala Samaraweera highlights that the government is willing to work with the High Commissioner’s Office – reiterating his previous invitation issued on February 7, for the High Commissioner himself to visit Sri Lanka.

In addition, the Minister promises that the government will commence a dialogue with the special rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non recurrence.

After providing the assurances the Minister requests for the postponement of the OHCHR investigation into Sri Lanka to the 30th session and also for no formal discussions to occur at the 28th session in March .

Since the end of the war the UN has steadily raised the tone of its call for more indepth investigations into the final months of the civil conflict.

The turnaround to postpone the report can be attributed to the assurances given publicly and privately to the world body.

The United States is the mover of the current resolution 25/1 while the united kingdom co-sponsored the resolution.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile seems divided into broadly two camps – on one side there is the opinion that Sri Lanka will not benefit from being given more time to tackle the issue of reconciliation and on the other the resolute optimism that Sri Lanka now has an opportunity to fulfill its own destiny.

Meanwhile, Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – who is the Executive Director of the centre for policy alternatives explained why Sri Lanka got six months and what the UN hopes to see happen in Sri Lanka during this stipulated time frame.

In light of all these developments – a group of senior officials from South Africa are due to arrive in the country – South Africa during the commonwealth heads of government meeting 2013 in Colombo pledged their assistance in the reconciliation efforts in the country/

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