Feb 08, 2017

‘Govt. ready for referendum on new constitution’ Featured

Foreign affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera says the proposed new constitution should be placed before the public at a referendum, and that the government is ready to do so.

He told a meeting with foreign correspondents based in Colombo that a new constitution should be formulated in accordance with the country’s laws.

Samaraweera also said that Sri Lanka would seek more time when the UNHRC meets in Geneva on February 27, as the time given was inadequate to complete all the plans.

Noting that policy-making is a must to implement the plans, he stressed that priority would be given to the formulation of a new constitution.

Foreign judges

The UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has not called for foreign judges in the panel that will investigate war crime charges, he said.

What he stressed during his Sri Lanka visit was that as an independent nation, Sri Lanka can take the decision whether or not to invite foreign judges, said Samaraweera.

There are various interpretations regarding foreign judges, but many of those have been made without understanding the background issues, he said.

The UNHRC wants to see an independent and impartial legal process takes place, because the trust in our judiciary had been lost due to several years of racist thinking and acts by Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to him.

That is why the world does not believe Sri Lanka is capable of implementing a just and trusted judicial process, he said.

That situation is taking a change for the better now, said the minister, adding that the judiciary was being restored with its dignity and trust that prevailed in the 1940s and 50s.

Sri Lanka has taken backward steps on many occasions, and the course of the journey could be different, but the end is the same, he added.