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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

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Government Gazette

Minister Samarasinghe at 19th session of UNHRC:

Urgency for resolution unjustified

* Measures in place towards comprehensive reconciliation

* Calls for objective assessment of govt’s commitment

Plantation Industries Minister and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said there was no justification or urgency to float a resolution calling for the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations and engagement with the UN High Commissioner for HR when this has already been effectively undertaken by the government.


Mahinda Samarasinghe

Addressing the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Minister Samarasinghe, leader of the Lankan delegation, said what they now need from the international community is objectivity in assessing Sri Lanka’s efforts.

“More than anything, we need to ensure that the process is allowed to advance unimpeded. We do not need unwarranted incursions that will compromise successful implementation.

Such interference by way of redundant resolutions before this Council, would only undermine the sentiments of this Council as expressed in the decisive adoption of the Special Session resolution on Sri Lanka in 2009.”

He said Sri Lanka has taken clear and definite steps towards implementation of the recommendations of the domestic process , barely two months after the report was made public. “We have evolved a mechanism to look into accountability issues raised in the LLRC report both in the form of civil and military structures.

This is coupled with a time bound plan in the form of the National Human Rights Action Plan catering to a number of other recommendations to move Sri Lanka towards comprehensive reconciliation,” he said.

“One thing is certain: the story of “tens of thousands” of civilian deaths that supposedly occurred during the final phase of the humanitarian operation, is very clearly proved to be a gross exaggeration and a deliberate misrepresentation of fact,” Minister Samarasinghe said.

He added: “You may have noted that the Commission offers detailed observations and recommendations on International Humanitarian Law issues relating to the final phases of the conflict.

The report endorses the position that the protection of civilian life was a key factor in the formulation of policy for carrying out military operations, and that the deliberate targeting of civilians formed no part of it.

This was and remains the position of the government.”

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