Ready to Take International Assistance in Probe: Lanka
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Monday revealed to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva the various domestic mechanisms it intends to put in place to address charges of war crimes and human rights violations, bring about ethnic reconciliation, and prevent recurrence of the ugly events of the past.
In a marked change from the earlier Lankan stand, these domestic mechanisms will avail of international and United Nations assistance, both financial and technical.Addressing the opening day of the September session of the council, Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera announced mechanisms to seek the truth; secure justice and reparations; ensure non-recurrence of the tragic events; and arrive at a political settlement of the basic ethnic question.
The minister said that a Constituent Assembly will be established soon, to draft a new constitution which will “address the grievances of the Tamil people.”
Earlier in the day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the report of his office on the rights violations in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, has “findings of the most serious nature.”
The UN body’s report would be made public on Wednesday.
“This council owes it to Sri Lankans – and to its own credibility – to ensure an accountability process that produces results, decisively moves beyond the failures of the past, and brings the deep institutional changes needed to guarantee non-recurrence,” Prince Zeid said.
Call For Patience
Calling for trust and patience, Samaraweera said, “This journey may not be as fast as some may want it to be. And for some, we may have already gone too far. But the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has the political will to ensure that we take the country forward, breaking the barriers of ignorance, fear, prejudice and hate.
“My plea is to trust us and join us to work together ….and take progressive formative steps to create a new Sri Lanka,” he added.