Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa had made a request from the President last Sunday (17) urging him to refrain from co-sponsoring the new Geneva resolution. Responding to the request, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the letter was based on false and exaggerated grounds.
Samaraweera had stated that so far no resolution against Sri Lanka has been presented at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, detailing the repercussions in not having implemented the pledges given to the international community during the Rajapaksa regime.
"International mediation into internal affairs''
The Finance Minister had thus responded to the appeal made by Mahinda Rajapaksa to the President stating that Britain and several other countries had presented a proposal 40/1 which clearly shows ‘international interference into domestic matters’.
Samaraweera notes that the factors stated by Rajapaksa on the OMP and the Enforced Disappearances Act are false.
Responding to the request by the Opposition Leader from the President to instruct the Sri Lankan representatives in Geneva to take measures to engage with other countries and obtain their support to enable Sri Lanka to get out of the co-sponsorship of the UNHRC resolution, he said Rajapaksa has no official power to make such a request.
While the SLFP and the Joint Opposition oppose the co-sponsorship the UNF led government is agreeable to co-sponsor the resolution again this time.
Media reports stated that it was earlier decided not to send a team representing the government to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva.
However, a group representing the President had also joined the team led by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana. The other two members were MP Sarath Amunugama and Northern Governor Suren Raghavan.
The war of words between Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Opposition Leader was on the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet who had stated that the “lack of progress” shows that the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka should remain firmly on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council.
She had further said that Sri Lanka has failed to seize the opportunity provided by the Human Rights Council to establish a trustworthy domestic mechanism to address impunity or to show that such a mechanism is not necessary.
It further read that the resolution includes several proposes such as monitoring of constitutional amendments of the country, restructuring the armed forces and police, establishing a mechanism for decentralizing power, removing or amending rules and regulations on security.
The letter goes on to say that the implementation of this resolution can severely affect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
“Under these circumstances, Sri Lankan military personnel and political leaders will face serious difficulties when travelling overseas with the Global Judicial powers being implemented,” the letter further noted.
High Commissioner’s recommendations:
# She recommended that the government prepare a comprehensive strategy on transitional justice, with a time-bound plan to implement the pending commitments made within the context of Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 and the recommendations made in the present and previous reports of the High Commissioner submitted to the Council.
# The High Commissioner recommended the Government to Invite OHCHR to establish a full-fledged country office to monitor the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, to advise on the implementation of the recommendations made by the High Commissioner, the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms, and to provide technical assistance.
#The United Nations has again requested Sri Lanka to establish a hybrid court consisting of international judges, lawyers and investigators to probe war crimes allegations and crimes against humanity.
# Inviting special representatives to obtain advice in this process to ensure truth, justice, compensation and assurances that these incident will not recur.
Several other recommendations including the ones listed above were made by the UN High Commissioner.