The Government says it is open to deal with allegations raised against the armed forces over various incidents related to the conflict, ranging from allegations about secret detention centres, to torture, disappearances, rape and executions.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera says as a democratic nation, Sri Lanka should be open to deal with such allegations as democracies do and the way to deal with such issues is by facing them and not by disengaging with those who raise such allegations.
“This involves proving through independent and open judicial and investigation procedures,” he said.
He however noted that never for a moment does the Government discount the sacrifices made by security forces personnel throughout the long years of conflict.
“Our position is that our security forces do not deserve to be hounded by allegations of this nature for the rest of their days. That is not what you deserve as a reward for the many sacrifices you have made to enable us today to build the future of our nation on the foundation of peace that you have created for us,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said that it is the duty of the Government to take steps to ensure that the cloud that hangs over the heads of the security forces is lifted once and for all.
“We owe it to you as a Government to provide you an opportunity to clear your name. The way this can be done is not by standing in a street corner and shouting defensive slogans, or by sitting in protest in front of the Office of the UN or Embassies of Foreign Countries and antagonizing our partners, but by adopting sensible, meaningful, constructive approaches to these problems so that we lay these allegations to rest,” the Foreign Minister said at a ceremony held at the Defence Services Command and Staff College.
He also noted that there are attempts by some to make an issue over the recent visit of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to the Navy Base in Trincomalee.
“This again is a classic example of some interested parties trying to take political advantage of a situation. In fact the visit of the Working Group to the Navy Base proved to those both within the country and outside the country who allege that there are still secret detention centres in this site, that there are no such detention centres in existence anymore in the Navy Base in Trincomalee,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said that this kind of cooperation is what will re-create trust in the eyes of the public and in the eyes of the families of victims as well as the international community that the Sri Lanka security forces are responsible and professional. (Colombo Gazette)