Sri Lanka asserts commitment to reconciliation process

Sri Lanka today asserted its commitment to the reconciliation process after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented a report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council.

Speaking on the debate on Sri Lanka during the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to the reconciliation process and commitments articulated in Resolution 30/1.

“As the Council is aware, Sri Lanka has been working with the United States and the other main co-sponsors of 30/1, UK, Macedonia, and Montenegro, on a Resolution for a two-year extension of the timeline for fulfilment of commitments made in Resolution 30/1. We are pleased to announce that Sri Lanka will be co-sponsoring this Resolution, and we thank the Council, the UN, and our bilateral partners for their support to strengthen reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and for this extension of the timeline,” he said.

Dr. Harsha de Silva said that Sri Lanka is especially appreciative that the Council, in recognition of the firm commitment of the National Unity Government to the process of reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, endorsed the proposals made by the Government in 2015, for credible ‘Government of Sri Lanka-led’ processes embodied in Resolution 30/1.

“We work closely with the High Commissioner and his Office and we are committed to continuing this constructive and meaningful engagement for the benefit of all our people. The views, observations and recommendations of the High Commissioner are useful, as we work to strengthen, promote, and protect human rights, good governance, and the rule of law in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said that the Council knows that no country’s human rights record is perfect.

“It is always work-in-progress. The people of Sri Lanka have been through extremely difficult and painful times, and although much has been done, there is much still left to do, including strengthening our institutions and achieving economic progress. There are multiple challenges that we face. But, as a responsible and committed Government, under the leadership of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, we are determined to stay the course. We will listen to all, we will study all reports carefully, we will exchange information, share our concerns and comments, engage constructively and meaningfully with our partners, and take the necessary steps required to ensure that Sri Lanka is a nation that is prosperous, united in its diversity, upholding human rights, justice, and the rule of law,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said that Sri Lanka remains firm in its resolve to enhance the fundamental rights of all citizens as equals in a free and democratic country, where fear and intimidation have no place.

“We are committed to the reconciliation agenda including truth, reparations, justice and non-recurrence with a victim-centred approach, recognising the impact of conflict on all our citizens, irrespective of their communities of origin, gender, social status, age and other identities,” he said.

The Deputy Minister added that the Government is considering the Report of the Consultation Task Force, and will continue to consult with all segments of society also also seek international expertise and assistance, as all countries do, when they undertake such responsibilities. (Colombo Gazette)

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