By Siva Sivapragasam
Serious violation of human rights during the Vanni war in Sri Lanka has prompted UNHRC Chief Prince Zeid bin Ra to issue a strong statement that the findings of the UNHRC Report “are of the most serious nature”. He has insisted that an accountability process that provides results must be ensured.
The Report is to be released on Wednesday at the UNHRC sessions now in progress in Geneva.
However, Prince Zeid has also welcomed the commitments made by the new Government of President Maitripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka.
Addressing the inaugural session of the 30th Session of the UNHRC, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera asked the Council not to judge Sri Lanka based on past broken promises. He asked from all those who have doubts about a process of accountability to have no fear about such failures.
He pointed out that the recent general election brought moderates to power, rejecting the extremists. There is a government in place in Sri Lanka that recognizes the suffering of victims across communities, he said.
Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka will set up two Commissions for truth seeking. One of them will be a Commission of Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-recurrence evolved in consultation with authorities in South Africa, he said. The other will be an Office on Missing Persons, based on the families’ right to know, he added. Samaraweera also stated that the Sri Lankan government proposes a political settlement through the adoption of a new constitution, amending the penal code to prevent hate speech and will introduce judicial reforms.
Meanwhile, a TNA team led by MP and lawyer Sumanthiran is in Geneva to take part in the deliberations of the UNCHR report. It is learnt that Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is already in New Delhi for bi-lateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will press on India for support for the internal investigation that the new Government in Sri Lanka has promised regarding the last stages of the war in Vanni.