Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera says UN Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 was drafted with the participation of former President Maithripala Sirisena.
In a statement issued today, Samaraweera said that the final text of the resolution was largely negotiated over the telephone, with then President Sirisena and him at the same hotel in New York, and then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo accompanied by the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time and the Ambassador of the US and High Commissioner of the UK.
“Once consensus was reached, the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time who was in Colombo had coordinated with Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and conveyed the decision of the Government of Sri Lanka to the Human Rights Council,” he said.
He said that once the resolution was adopted by the Council, it was tabled in Parliament on 23 October 2015.
“There was broad consensus in the House. Members from the major political parties represented in Parliament – including the UNP, SLFP, TNA, and JHU – spoke in favor of the resolution. We all agreed that Sri Lanka had to come to terms with its past and reflect and introspect in order to move forward and achieve reconciliation, peace, stability, and prosperity that had eluded our nation since Independence,” he said.
Samaraweera also said that President Sirisena convened two sessions of an All Party Conference at which the views of all political parties were consulted and sought for implementation of the provisions of the resolution, including the design of mechanisms.
“However, if I recall correctly, the parties representing what was then called the Joint Opposition in Parliament did not submit any views at the time,” he said.
The current Government withdrew from the resolution last week saying the resolution did not have the backing of then President Sirisena or Parliament.
Meanwhile, Samaraweera also cautioned Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa over his alliance with “dark forces” saying such an alliance could affect him and the country.
Samaraweera said that the peace and prosperity of the country depends on the choices Sri Lanka makes and not on the stars or on other countries.
“We must decide the future we want: to move forward together to peace and prosperity or backward alone into the darkness, fear, and violence of the past. Similarly, on a personal note, Mahinda Rajapaksa was once a dear friend. Mahinda, you know that in your heart of hearts, you are not one of them. And demons, once unleashed, are not exorcised,” he said.
Samaraweera fears Rajapaksa’s alliance with dark forces will lead him and Sri Lanka to face the same fate as former Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike after he made a pact with extremists. (Colombo Gazette)