Jan 05, Colombo: Anticipating a serious challenge from the international community at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva, the Sri Lankan government has initiated a program to enlighten the member states on the measures taken for reconciliation and to address other critical issues.
According to the External Affairs Ministry, a program has been implemented in collaboration with the Presidential secretariat to apprise the relevant countries on the government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
The Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama has told local media that envoys have been sent to those countries to enlighten them on Sri Lanka’s progress since the end of the three-decade long war in 2009.
Further, the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, who is the head of the Presidential Task Force assigned to implement the LLRC recommendations, will visit Geneva later this month to apprise the envoys of the UN member states on the latest developments regarding implementing the LLRC recommendations.
Weeratunga is also expected to visit the United States, which tabled two successive resolutions on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in March 2012 and 2013, and hold discussions with the State Department officials, according to government sources.
The External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris will also meet envoys accredited to Sri Lanka but based in New Delhi to aware them of the government’s progress, according to the Sunday Times.
Last month Minister Peiris and Secretary Weeratunga also met with the foreign diplomatic community in Sri Lanka and briefed them on post-conflict developments and the measures taken to implement the LLRC recommendations.
At the Cabinet media briefing on Friday, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella also said the government is ready to face the pressure at the 25th session of the UNHRC that is scheduled to begin on March 03.
He said although Sri Lanka expects heavy pressure at the session, the country is not isolated by any means and a number of countries have expressed support. The government has already launched a program to meet the challenge, he said.
However, Sri Lanka’s major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will also make representations to the UNHRC during the March sessions calling for international intervention.
TNA Spokesperson, parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran last month said that the government has failed to respect the resolutions adopted at the UNHRC in 2012 and 2013 on addressing post war issues and implementing the LLRC recommendations and the TNA will push for an international effort to pressure the government.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, in the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the Department of States Stephen J. Rapp will be arriving in Sri Lanka Monday on a six-day visit.
During his visit Ambassador Rapp, who visited the country in February 2012 just a month before the U.S. tabled the first resolution at the UNHRC, will meet with a broad cross section of government officials and political and civil society leaders on a range of issues focusing on Sri Lanka’s justice, accountability, and reconciliation processes, the State Department said.