SLMC hails President’s offer to meet families of missing

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) today hailed reports that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had offered to meet with the next of kin of the disappeared who have been agitating for years.

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said the move is welcome and is only a small step towards lasting redressal for their sufferings.

He also said that the SLMC hopes the Government will take all other matters referred to in the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and revise its stance sufficiently to seek constructive engagement with the OHCHR rather than living in perpetual denial of the domestic issues including accountability, justice and reconciliation.

Hakeem also said that the SLMC is relieved that the Government, after a prolonged vacillation, has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental right for burial of COVID 19 victims and COVID-19 suspected victims.

“In this regard it is quite obvious that if not for the inclusion of this matter in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the subsequent inclusion of the matter in the resolution on Sri Lanka tabled by the core group, the deliberate intransigence that resulted in outrageously traumatizing a section of Sri Lankan people would not have been resolved,” he said.

Hakeem said the concern raised by the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during the High-Level Segment and the overwhelming demonstration by almost all the Western States during the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka yesterday (25th February 2021) at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions expedited the process.

The SLMC Leader asserted that the mandate of the UNHRC pertaining to observance of human rights in individual countries should never be underestimated. (Colombo Gazette)