Cameron secures full backing of EU for resolution on Sri Lanka

Monday, 24 March 2014 01:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said that he has secured the full support of the European Union for the UN resolution on Sri Lanka that the UK co-sponsored with the United States. Addressing the press conference at the close of European Council on Friday (21 March) Cameron said that the Sri Lankan President’s failure to properly address the issues of accountability for the past and bring reconciliation in the country has necessitated the international investigation called on by the resolution.

 Split on vote a victory says Lanka

The Government says the split over the vote on the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a form of victory for Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special envoy on human rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who has just returned to Sri Lanka from Geneva, said that the split shows that Sri Lanka has been able to successfully convey to the international community what it has achieved following the end of the war. The Minister also said that most countries have succumbed to US pressure on the Sri Lankan issue and hence an unbiased approach cannot be expected during the vote in Geneva. He said that most countries have their own political goals to achieve and that will play a bigger part in deciding which way to vote on the Sri Lankan resolution. The resolution is to be debated and then taken for a vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week and it is expected to pass by a majority. The US-sponsored resolution is to call for an international investigation on Sri Lanka into alleged human rights abuses committed during and after the war. The Government has already said it will oppose the resolution even if it is passed by a majority vote and that it will continue with domestic mechanisms to address human rights concerns. (Colombo Gazette)
The UK leader said he raised the situation in Sri Lanka, an issue he deeply cares about, as he wants to see reconciliation in the country. “I also raised the situation in Sri Lanka. As you know, this is an issue I care deeply about. I want to see reconciliation in the country, and that means properly addressing issues of the past. President Rajapaksa has failed to do this, so now we need an international, independent investigation into alleged war crimes,” Cameron said. He said the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has called for an international, independent investigation this, and that is what the UK co-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council supports. “Countries will vote on that resolution next week, and today I secured the full backing of all of the European Union for that approach,” the PM said. During his visit to Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013, Cameron gave an ultimatum to the Sri Lankan Government to conduct a credible transparent and independent investigation into the war crime allegations by March 2014. The UK Prime Minister warned that if Sri Lanka fails to initiate an investigation by March he will use the UK’s position in the UNHRC to call for a full credible independent international investigation.

 Missing Persons Commission concludes public sittings in the East

The Presidential Commission to investigate cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990 – 2009 concluded its first public sitting in the East on Saturday, with 129 people from Chenkallady, Vakarai and Batticaloa making submissions. The Commission received 1,289 new complaints during the hearings that took place from 20 to 22 March 2014. These new complaints were registered by Tamil-speaking staff assigned by the Commission. The Commission’s Secretary H.W. Gunadasa said the complainants will be given a date to come before the Commission. Of the total number of approximately 16,000 complaints received by the Commission thus far from all parts of the country, 5,799 have been analysed and entered into a computerised database and will be scheduled for public hearings. The Commission will launch a website in the near future enabling the public to access information on the Commission’s work. According to the Commission, of the submissions received so far from hearings in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, several cases have been handed over to the Attorney General’s Department for legal action. If the need arises, the Commission will appoint its own independent investigation team to inquire into specific cases, the Secretary said. The three-member Commission, comprising Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Dimingu Badathuruge Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mano Ramanathan, has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President. President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended the mandate of the Commission by another six months until August 2014.
The Draft Resolution HRC25/1 “Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka” submitted by the US, UK and few other countries to the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva calls for an international investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by both the Government and the Tamil Tiger terrorist group, the LTTE, during the armed conflict that ended in May of 2009.