( In Jaffna )
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein yesterday said advocating for a common amnesty for political prisoners would lead to new complications.
The High Commissioner explained that it would not be possible to advocate for a general amnesty for political prisoners currently being held by authorities, as experience from other countries have shown that such a move gives rise to more issues.
Zeid made these remarks at a meeting with the Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran at his office in Jaffna, when the issue of political prisoners were brought up by the latter.
However, Wigneswaran highlighted that if such an amnesty was given to political prisoners during the JVP insurrection in 1971 and for 10,000 LTTE cadres in 2009 and 2010, the government should be able to do the same for the 273 prisoners who are currently held in custody, some politicians who participated in the meeting claimed.
The other politicians who participated in discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights included, Northern Province Education Minister T. Kurukularajah, Fisheries Minister Balasubramaniam Denis Waran and Agriculture Minister Ponnuthurai Ayngaranesan..
The High Commissioner addressing the media said the issue will be discussed with the higher officials in Colombo.
Apart from the problem of political prisoners’ discussions between the Chief Minister and the governing politicians in the Northern Provincial Council, talks also focused on the issues of continued military presence in the North and the missing persons as well.
The Chief Minister also presented the visiting High Commissioner with a document containing detailed information and statistics on a number of issues faced by the civilians living in North including military presence, political prisoners, the issues of missing persons and the release of land.
Zeid said that he is satisfied with the discussions he had in the North. He also met Northern Province Governor H.M.G.S.Palihakkara.
“The discussions very much focused on the challenges and problems faced and plans but also the plans and achievements in connection with this region and the people who aspire to see more information in terms of those detained and those missing as well as the issue of the release of land. These discussions will continue today and tomorrow in Colombo with the highest officials of the state.”