President Maithripala Sirisena said the Government wants to take opinions of all parties into consideration for establishing a mechanism to investigate into the allegations of human rights violations and the proposed mechanism would be within the provisions of the Constitution.
Addressing an all-party discussion at the Presidential Secretariat on the current proposals of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), President Sirisena said the government is firm on taking whatever action it deems appropriate to meet the Geneva proposals within the framework of the Sri Lankan Constitution. The President had called this meeting with the country’s political party leaders to ascertain their opinion regarding how Sri Lanka should go about meeting the Geneva proposals.
The President said although it had been suggested through the media by some parties that the proposals in question had to be fully rejected, the Government must face them. He added that it could be arranged to hold a series of further all-party representatives meetings to gather the opinions of different political parties regarding the proposals and how Sri Lanka should go about them as a sovereign democratic nation that respect human rights, truth and justice.
“There current resolution is quite different in terms of its content in comparison to those resolutions that came intermittently on 22 March 2012, 21 March 2013 and 27 March 2014,” the President said. “It will be important to draw your attention to the proposals’ main points,” he said.
President Sirisena requested the political party representatives to submit their opinions regarding steps to be taken in view of the resolution concerned and to submit the results of their deliberations in writing to the Presidential Secretariat within a fortnight.
The President, emphasising that he would never betray the country, said that the chosen mechanism should be constitutional and should preserve human rights of the people. Drawing comparisons between prior and current proposals of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), President Sirisena said that the current US resolution had watered down the human rights allegations.
The two-hour long discussion provided an opportunity for all parties to express their views on the formation of an international war crimes investigation mechanism. Among those present were leaders and representatives of 21 political parties including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the United National Party (UNP), the Tamil National Alliance, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Democratic Party.
United National Party Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader R. Sampantham of the Tamil National Alliance, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna General Secretary Tilvin Siva, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Minister Rauf Hakeem, Democratic People’s Front Leader Mano Ganeshan, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader MP Udaya Gammanpila, Communist Party Leader D.E.W. Gunasekera, MP Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Nawa Sama Samaja Party leader MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, LSSP leader and former All Party Representatives Committee Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana and Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Nimal Siripala de Silva were among the participants.