Sri Lanka is ready to answer any question that will be raised at the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council by any local or foreign non-governmental organisation, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amumugama said.
Asked about the secret submissions to the UPR against the government by the UK headquartered Tamil Global Forum (TGF) and several Tamil NGOs and international Human Rights organisations, Amunugama said: “These organisations including some INGOs have their individual agendas. “There are some NGOs that have no loyalty towards the country. They criticise the government as a practice or as a rule to secure their institutional frame in the UN system.”
He said Sri Lanka’ s Universal Periodic Review report, now an official UN document, has provided answers to most of their questions.
“We have outlined how the government addressed some of these issues now that Sri Lanka has successfully completed its work on resettlement and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons as a part of the government’s post – war reconciliation process,” he said.
“We are ready to answer any question by these NGOs and other organisations at the UPR in November. We will answer them with integrity,” he said.
“Should there be new issues, we will explain to them how the Sri Lankan government will address them,” Amumugama said. “On the contrary, Sri Lanka’s participation in November’s UPR will take place in a background where the country has fulfilled most its voluntary commitments to the Council at the last UPR in 2008,” Amunugama said.
“One of them is the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. The adoption and the implementation of the National Action Plan has been completed,” he said.
“The implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Process has supported this process,” the Secretary said.
“Sri Lanka has been able to resettle about 300,000 IDPs. They had to be resettled after clearing landmines laid by the LTTE. Demining was carried out mainly by the Army,” Amunugama said.
“We have fulfilled the pledge to take judicial and other measures to put an end to the recruitment of child soldiers. The process is ongoing. Steps are being taken to investigate and prosecute all offenders of alleged extra judicial, summary or arbitrary killings to bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with international standards,” he said.
“Sri Lanka has addressed most of these issues. Should there be other issues relating to the country’s Human Rights record, they are likely to be isolated incidents or incidents which are under investigation, the Secretary said. ”Should there be new issues or concerns regarding Sri Lanka, we can outline them on how the government will address them in the interest of Sri Lanka’s well-being,” Amumgama said.
A team of professionals headed by President’s Special Envoy for Human Rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, will lead the Sri Lankan delegation to UPR in Geneva in November.
The delegation will comprise officials from the Attorney General’s Department, the External Affairs Ministry and Resettlement Ministry. The delegation will be be finalised this week, Amunugama said. They will be happy to answer the questions raised by the INGOs that have lobbied against the country, he said.