The Sri Lankan government secured two significant victories during the recent United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday.He made this observation at a press conference at the Plantation Industries Ministry with the participation of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and former Attorney General Mohan Peiris PC.
Minister Samarasinghe explained that at one stage, the Sri Lankan delegation protested when an European Union representative said that the UN Human Rights Commissioner had decided to submit the Darusman Report to the Human Rights Council. This resulted in the Report not being submitted.
The minister said that the second instance was the successful counter attack by the Sri Lankan delegation at the interactive dialogue initiated by Canada on Sri Lanka’s LLRC Report, suggesting that the Report should be discussed at the next UNHRC session in March 2012. This convinced the forum that the contemplated move was procedurally flawed.
Minister Samarasinghe who was the Head of the delegation said that when the matter of the Darusman Report was raised, External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peris stated it sets an incorrect precedent and that the Report was not prepared in keeping with the UN procedural requirements.
He also expressed his regret that the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s move was revealed through a third party.
Minister Samarasinghe quoted the external affairs minister as saying that the Darusman Report was not prepared on a decision of the UN Security Council or on a decision reached at the UN General Assembly. “Such a Report should not be sneaked through the back door to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council,” Prof Peiris had said.
Minister Samarasinghe said that from that stage, the delegation formed an opinion that these were not just accidental occurrences and that any nation could face the same scenario some day in the future. Pakistan, Cuba, Algeria, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China and Russia in writing agreed that the Darusman Report should not be submitted even as an information report.
Minister Samarasinghe with reference to the matter of the LLRC Report said that the Sri Lankan delegation attended the meeting of the interactive dialogue and brought to their notice that the LLRC Report is not yet released and was due on November 15. “So how could one decide to discuss the matters in a report yet to the released. On the other hand, there is an accepted legal procedure in the country to act in connection with such a Report.” He added that thereafter most countries acknowledged the danger in allowing action on a domestic process which is yet to see the light of day.