Sri Lanka’s position on the “comprehensive investigation” was outlined by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Ravinatha Aryasinha on the opening day of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council that opened in Geneva on Tuesday (10 June 2014). This followed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay briefing the Council in the course of her opening address on the manner in which she was operationalizing the “comprehensive investigation” on Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Aryasinha said, the March 2014 resolution “adopted with the support of less than half the Council’s membership which mandated this action, challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state of the UN, violates principles of international law, is inherently contradictory, and is based on profoundly flawed premises inimical to the interests of the Sri Lankan people. The resolution’s lack of clarity sets a dangerous precedent and will destabilize the intricate balance in the homegrown process of national reconciliation. The prejudice and bias concerning Sri Lanka repeatedly displayed by the High Commissioner and the OHCHR remain of deep concern, while reports which question the credibility of the coordinator appointed for the investigation have already emerged “.
He said “it is ironic that the Resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to conduct parallel investigations. Its OP 2 and 10, are contradictory, with the latter violating a basic principle of international law, that national remedies need to be exhausted before resorting to international mechanisms. The Government of Sri Lanka upholds that the processes of national reconciliation already instituted amply satisfies the elements contained in OP 2, and therefore the implementation of OP 10 becomes unnecessary”.
The Sri Lanka national statement also provided an update to the Council on Sri Lanka’s constructive engagement with the mechanisms of the Council and progress made in the reconciliation process since the Council last met in March 2014. It also detailed how although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, its overseas network, including trained cadre and funding by sections of the expatriate Tamil community, continues to pose a security challenge to Sri Lanka and the region.
The Sri Lanka delegation to the 26th session of the Human Rights Council includes Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva, Mr. Chandana Weerasena, Director/UN of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms. Priyanga Wickramasinghe, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission in Geneva, Mr. Chatura Perera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva. The session which commenced on 10 June will continue until 27 June 2014.