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Notes from the informal meeting on the proposed draft decision by Canada re LLRC report

          We are proposing this draft decision asking OHCHR to organize an interactive dialogue on the LLRC process and other reconciliation steps taken in Sri Lanka, to be held at the next HRC session
          We are doing this because of our own interest and what we see as a shared interest among the international community in having a conversation at the HRC within context of a regulalr HRC session

Notes from the Informal Meeting on the Proposed Draft Decision by Canada under item 10 – Interactive Dialogue on the LLRC
21 September 2011 / Palais des Nations, Room 16
          We are proposing this draft decision asking OHCHR to organize an interactive dialogue on the LLRC process and other reconciliation steps taken in Sri Lanka, to be held at the next HRC session
          We are doing this because of our own interest and what we see as a shared interest among the international community in having a conversation at the HRC within context of a regulalr HRC session
           We prepared this text in a constructive and transparent spirit, invites active participation of SL government and hope it will happen, it is framed as a decision under item 10
          We pursue this initiative in responding and respecting what we have heard from the SL delegation in terms of providing time and space for the LLRC to complete its work, we understand it will complete in mid November and as such the March session is an appropriate occasion to have this conversation about the work of the LLRC
          Since introducing this 2 days ago, we have done our best to reach out to as many as possible and make sure our aims are clearly understood and spirit we are taking this is understood, welcome any comments
Sri Lanka (Mohan Peiris)
          Wish to raise some fundamentals before discussing this initiative. We ask member States where do we find in the Institution Building (IB) package accommodation to float such a decision? Where is the source of power to float such an initiative? I challenge you to show me one reference which permits you to even talk of an initiative of this nature. Lets work within procedures established by law
          Prior to the creation of the HRC there was the Commission on HR, which became defunct because of these kinds of initiatives sought there.
          In resolution 60/251 is states that the basis of any review is the Charter of the UN, the UDHR and the human rights instruments to which a state is party as well as the voluntary pledges and commitments, a review shall take into account applicable humanitarian law – the right mechanism is the UPR, so let’s wait for that, the modalities are already set out in there.
          Extra judicial and extra territorial mechanism like this initiative is trying to sneak in issues.
          There is a domestic mechanism, which in your own words has not come to an end, it will be concluding in Nov 15 and then there will be a roadmap ahead for implementation of the recommendations. Interim recommendations have been made and been given life to
          What is the jurisdiction of this HRC over this other than the UPR? Aren’t we acting contrary to the procedures of this very HRC?
          We are willing to hold a side event and we will invite you and we can have an interactive dialogue, we are happy to do that. We have engaged with you time and again over the course of the past few years
          LLRC is a statutory commission, are you seriously wanting to impinge upon our sovereignty by asking a sovereign state to submit to a review by a council that has no jurisdiction over our State? We ask you to desist from this kind of procedure as you are only opening the floodgates to an abuse of this process which has been succinctly laid down in the rules o the GA
          We certainly do appreciate what we have seen so far by the SL delegation, we are not looking with this initiative to have a review, we are ooking to have a conversation and dialogue
          We turn the question back, given the level of engagement we have seen so far by the SL delegation and the responsibility for this HRC with respect to issues relating to post conflict reconciliation, why would such an interactive dialogue not be possible given the level of engagement we have already seen?
          The HRC is mandated to promote and protect HR and routinely takes decisions to take dialogue on issues of shared concern
          In terms of procedures, we are well within the founding docs of the HRC
SL (Mohan Peiris)
          We are all for a dialogue, no problem with that, but there is a way and place and time in which we dialogue. We can’t dialogue in the way you are seeking to do
          We can have a side event and there is already a review mechanism known as UPR
          Issue here is to not to waste time to modify the language of the draft decision but to know if delegations support this or not
          We cannot support convening of this kind of interactive dialogue (ID)
          Our HRC took a decision in 2009 during the Special Session (SS), and at that time it was not possible to establish anything concrete in terms of follow up to the SS
          Since then, SL have set up domestic processes, they need time to conclude the process and then after that we can explore the possibilities for an ID
          This kind of initiative would provoke a vote during this session
          Engagement of the concerned country is important and it is evident that SL does not support at this time
          Like Cuba, we do not thank you for presenting this draft decision, this is improper
          We have advocated for dialogue and cooperation, we are opposing confrontation and imposing pressure in the name of HR
          This draft decision asks for a discussion in the HRC on a domestic process of SL, it is a dangerous attempt to intervene in their internal affairs and attempt to politicize issues as it may be harmful to the reconciliation process of the country
          China will oppose
          As previous speakers, we are against this initiative
          You said you would like to hear the opinions from SL on dialogue – recently there was a good opportunity when high level officials from SL organized a special briefing here, why not use that opportunity?
          If we are speaking of the future, the UPR of SL will present a good opportunity to pose questions and make recommendations, etc
          The situation in SL is not urgent, not critical, we are speaking of past issues and history, no need to selectively approach this subject
          SL itself are doing a lot to deal with this issue like LLRC which shows that the government is very seriously taking up this issue. No need to speed it up
          This initiative is under item 10, which is devoted to technical cooperation. This should be requested by the country concerned. If SL is not requesting this cooperation then we should not impose it to the sovereign state
          In terms of reconciliation and peace, but it is not the business of the HRC as it is not directly linked to international HR obligations, reconciliation is about internal operations and policies
          We all know that SL has shown unprecedented openness to dialogue, it is not fair to misuse this goodwill
          Attaches great importance on accountability which constitutes an essential part of reconciliation
          Interested to hear what accountability process has taken place in the country
          Given SL’s presence in the HRC sessions recently, the proposal of an ID with active dialogue should be acceptable to everyone
          Would have preferred to see a fuller initiative however we support this initiative, hope that SL will engage constructively as main sponsors
          Share position of Russia, China, Cuba
          Cannot support this initiative as it is not necessary, nothing new has happened, situation on the ground not changed drastically
          SL has cooperated, engaged, sending high level delegations, answering questions, providing info and materials
          Don’t see space to discuss on the domestic process of a member State
          This is a helpful initiative, reiterate the EU position
          It is beneficial to have a discussion focused on national efforts in SL and reconciliation as well as other issues in light of LLRC report
          We would respectfully disagree that the IB package doesn’t allow for this sort of discussion, it is entirely foreseen and and gives flexibility to include such initiatives
          In substantive terms, it is a discussion worth having
          Call on all members to look favorably on this initiative and hope it will attract broad support
          USA long held the position that engagement with SL is valuable and LLRC is at the centre of its national reconciliation efforts so it is logical to support an ID on the outcomes of the LLRC process
          We have a long  standing position on this issue of asking for a thorough investigation and for all sides to accept accountability in SL, that is also the reason why when our head of mission was invited by SL permanent mission that we expressed our wish that SL supports this initiative for an ID
          We repeat our hope that SL engage more closely with the HRC and will be OK with having such an ID in March next year
          fully supporting EU statement
          appreciate efforts made to engage with SL, number of briefings on SL proves it is of great interest to the HRC and so we should have dialogue in a more interactive way
          in our view, it falls clearly within mandate of the HRC as enshrined in res 60/251
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada
          Welcome the efforts of the Canadian government
          HRC has an international mandate and responsibility under the UN mechanisms is to discuss all matters of HR in all parts of the world while respecting rights of sovereign States to have internal processes.
          Since the end of the conflict, there has been an extraordinary set of advances wherein the UPR is an insufficient forum to have fruitful discussion, advances which have led to significant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law
          The LLRC has been established but as espoused in a number of statements, the government have no intention of making this an accountability mechanism, it is just to block the possibility of an international independent mechanism
          It is timely to have this discussion, the ID will be held 5 months from the time that the LLRC report is to be released
          Encourage members to support this
          So far we have not heard any objection to the promotion or protection of HR which is what we have in common
          During the past few days the delegation of SL has been giving briefings on the achievements and endeavors at the domestic level, which has been appreciated – our dialogue has in fact just begun
          We see the proposal put forward as a corollary, we are already discussing, we would not like to impinge upon such a delicate process
          Bbut on the other hand maybe we can learn from their experiences and share those achievements in the framework of that dialogue. The council can be of some help and assistance
          In a nutshell, that is the perspective with which we are approaching this dialogue
New Zealand
          An ID is a logical and open way of moving forward, hope that SL will engage next March to share lessons learned in constructive spirit intended
          From our reading, our interpretation is that the form of the dialogue is still debateable, but at the same time have to recognize SL’s effort and engagement by giving updates of the progress of the domestic process taking place
          Another consideration to take into account is that we wish to see constructive engagement of all sides, particularly the country concerned
          We haven’t heard from you about the offer of a side event by the SL delegation, from our point of view it would serve the same purpose. The side event would be attended by the same ppl who will be at the HRC anyway
          Don’t wish to pre judge on the domestic process in SL, waiting for the release of the LLRC report
          My country experienced 17 years of dictatorship and assistance of international community fundamental to the end of that dictatorship
          After democracy was established, we established a commission of national reconciliation, the comments and recommendations of international community was fundamental in achieving the requirements of any reconciliation commission
          Reconciliation is absolutely a HR issue, need to fulfill some principles like truth, reparation, justice, guarantees of non repetition which hare HR issues
Amnesty International (Peter)
          As an organisation that has followed SL for 30 years, we come with lots of information and knowledge and don’t always agree with the SL delegation
          I attended the side event on 12 September and asked a few questions, many which weren’t answered, but on a question on LLRC I was verbally assaulted
          That is not what a discussion is about, there must be a neutral president that presides over the discussion and rules of procedures. A side event in a room by a particular government official leads to selection of speakers and it is a poor substitute for a discussion that takes place in the HRC
          We do appreciate the government coming and giving their perspectives, but it would be useful to have a true dialogue rather than stage managed presentation
          We see ourselves in the remarks of several delegations who have covered a wide range of issues here from IB package to sovereignty
          For us, when the HRC was first established, the understanding was that panels would be used for thematic issues, we understand this has been undermined by recent precedence
          This text seeks to impose on a delegation, or ask a delegation, to do what it has been doing since 2009 which has also appeared in the formal meetings of the Council and shared experiences and measures
          The initiative seems to undermine principles of constructive dialogue as set out in IB package
          We are going to be very cautious that the message by HRC is not one that seeks to punish delegations for sharing with us what they are doing at the national level
          We have a number of challenges with prejudging an internal process
          Do we mean by such an initiative that from now on the HRC would just intervene without giving time for internal processes that are sometimes sensitive and difficult and need time?
          We follow the different initiatives during the session and ask you how do you reconcile this initiative with for instance sharing best practices and national initiatives on this specific issue of transitional justice. Prejudging even the work of the initiative put forward by colleagues
          SL Is not willing to have this ID, so do you envisage to have this without the government of SL? It raises a more global issue, it is about an approach that we don’t want to be introduced to the HRC
          Align with EU
          We don’t see procedural problems, and this topic is within the purview of the HRC, notwithstanding that we are setting up a mandate on transitional justice
          Would like to see inclusion of this in the agenda of HRC-19
          We followed the various side events held by SL and appreciate their engagement, when addressing accountability the starting point should be LLRC and this is what the sponsors have done and so we think it is a balanced approach
HRW (Julie)
          Responding to procedural concerns raised by delegations that oppose this discussion, it is our understanding this is already addressed explicitly by the HRC which during the SS endorsed the joint communiqué which spoke about accountability and accountability processes in SL, it is a matter already under discussion
          No way can a side event replace a formal discussion and have the rules of procedure that an official ID has which is part of the official record. This happened on ID of Somalia and it was constructive in portraying the situation and state affairs in the country
          Support the statement by Amnesty International, concerns over attitude by the SL delegation, so many activists have been vilified and targeted by disinformation campaigns just as a consequence of simply sitting in the room
          If ID is done in the HRC then it would contribute to an environment that is respectful and everyone can participate in good faith
          We are not at cross purpose, we are here for HR but there is a way we have been asked to do that
          Having listened to Gary, I agree with one thing, we must talk of HR of all parts of the world. But do we? Do we talk of Afghanistan, Iraq? But this HRC does not because there is decency and a civilized way to talk of this
          Have we all we purged our sins? Has there been a catharsis of the souls? Do we have an ID on what some of these nations did not say in the UPR?
          It is helpful to have dialogue, no one will object to dialogue, but there are certain things the HRC has laid down for own their own convenient workings of the modalities of that dialogue
          SL is a vibrant democracy, we don’t face the problem as most other countries. There is a change of government every 6 years, that is the vibrancy we practice. We have local and provincial elections, only not had in the north and will be held very shortly
          Let the LLRC publish its findings, let the roadmap for implementation unfold itself
          We take it a step further, we will have another side event where we will invite every member of the HRC. What is  so wrong with that? Let’s not have double standards, we will be planting a nail in the coffin of HR
          fter all we have engaged, we have interacted since 2009, NHRAP has been passed by Cabinet, the number of detainees reduced to 871
          The world has come a long way from those days of tyranny, it is important to respect each other in spirit of cooperation, SL has every right to lean on this HRC for its help. Please reject this initiative not simply because it has been brought up but because it has no basis in fact or law
          I think the SL delegation is totally right, this initiative has a clear political motivation and double standards
          If you want to engage in this kind of ID why don’t you prepare a decision for a dialogue on detention centre in Guantanamo or bombing of NATO in Iraq, Afghanistan?
          Few responses to this debate as a woman HR activist from SL, I live there and work there
          If sovereignty is to be utilized in order to divert attention to this resolution then you might as well fold up the whole of UN. Is the disappearance taking place in any country to be ignored because it is an internal affair?
          The HRC mandate has to respond to the ppl whose rights have been violated, whose sovereignty has been destroyed by the use of legal and illegall methods
          That is the conversation that we want in relation to any country, it could be SL, Cuba, USA
          This discussion is important is because for 2-3 years we have waited patiently listening to lies agreed upon by governments who take no notice of HR principles and values and employ “sovereignty”. We are talking of sovereignty of the ppl
          Elections were held in north and east, both municipal and local government – what did those ppl say by casting the vote? They asked for their dignity.
          Reconciliation doesn’t mean the reconciliation of the government of SL with the international community but of the ppl of SL, for whom history is important. Without talking of history, we cannot walk to future
          UN is there as a forum for dialogue and conversation
          If you will use technical procedures to discredit this initiative, ppl will lose faith in UN
          You are showing suffering masses all over the world including SL that you do not care about HR
          This conversation is important for the ppl of SL.
          Who is asking for time? The mothers of the disappeared? The fathers of the extra judicially killed? The thousands of internally displaced?
          I agree with much of what has been said about principles at the HRC
          Agree that this falls within mandate of the HRC and think it is an appropriate time and subject for the HRC and appreciate active engagement of SL to engage and convene side events
          It is important that this takes place within the context of the HRC, necessary to ensure that the programme of work for the next session secures time for the HRC to discuss this important project of reconciliation
          The LLRC, as said by SL delegation, will complete in mid November, thus being respectful of time and space we are convening this ID a full 4 months after the LLRC is to complete its mandate
          Ask SL to consider in spirit of constructive engagement and collaboration with the ID within the context of the HRC
          It will be an item 10 discussion but if there are other options perhaps item 1, we will be flexible in discussing that
          On other initiatives and mechanisms of the HRC, whether it is UPR or the resolution on transitional justice, this initiative is complimentary to those other efforts
          We go back to what this initiative is aiming at which is conversation and dialogue – this is not a review at all, just a dialogue is envisioned, not even a panel but an ID
          If the government of SL is not able to participate in this then the decision asks the OHCHR to organize this session and that leaves time and space to consider that should best be done. We don’t see our role as prescriptive in any way in that regard
          This is an important issue to us, important enough to lead on this issue and have this dialogue at the next session of the HRC, hoping for a collaborative approach
          We would like to think that this could be consensus, will continue our outreach and continue conversations with you over the remainder of the session
SL (Mohan Peiris)
          If you care to read principles and objective of the UPR, one is to compliment and not duplicate other HR mechanisms thus adding value
          You give us every reason to go ahead with this initiative of yours, but interestingly have not considered what Cuba and Russia had to say when you were referred to 5a of 60/251, why do you disagree with this?
          We are all for dialogue but let’s not abuse this procedure
          Unless you are being pressurized by the diaspora, let us put all the cards on the table and lets be frank with each other but don’t use these back door methods
          It would be a shame if you are pursuing this action because it is what the diaspora is telling you to do
          This initiative has value added and does not duplicate anything else, I don’t see where you see the duplication, the UPR is set up for a very different purpose
          We completely abide by the IB package and we feel that there have been stand alone ID in the past and we want to build on this relationship with SL
          There have been many dialogue in the past conducted by the SL delegation and we thought SL would be looking forward to briefing the HRC prior to the UPR
 Notes taken by PP and these are not a offcial record


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