He said this while addressing the high-level segment of the 34th session of the UNHRC in Geneva today.
The Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka has made progress on several fronts over the past two years.
The Minister also said that some elements are attempting to derail the ongoing reconciliation process.
He said that among the notable improvements was the implementation of the Right to Information Act, cabinet approval for a National Action Plan on Human Rights and approval for an Office on Missing Persons.
“Another important undertaking that was successfully concluded during this period, is public consultations carried out by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, the first of this nature carried out in the country. Over 7000 written submissions were received from persons from all walks of life, many of them victims of human rights violations who came forward to give their views. The Report of the Task Force is presently being studied in the context of designing the relevant Mechanisms for Truth-seeking, Reparations, Justice, and other reconciliation processes,” he added.
The Minister also said that while taking the allegations of continuing incidence of torture seriously, it is reiterated that the Government maintains a zero-tolerance policy towards torture as also demonstrated by the President’s participation against torture last year.
“Although the National Human Rights Commission has recently indicated to us that there is a downward spiral of incidents, even one incident of torture is one too many. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Police Commission, the Ministry of Law & Order and other relevant agencies are working together to prevent and combat torture. As in many other areas, this too is an area in which we require technical assistance, and I hope that countries with experience in this area will come to our assistance,” he said.
The Minister said Sri Lanka’s resolve to see the transitional justice process through, has not diminished and with the help of all Sri Lankans in all walks of life, friends and partners in the international community, and Sri Lankans overseas; with patience, understanding, and constant and consistent effort and perseverance; the Government strongly believes that Sri Lanka can make the reconciliation process a success, and establish a progressive and united society, working in harmony to take the Nation towards new heights of socio-economic development. (Colombo Gazette)
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