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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sri Lanka dealing with war allegations: president

The Sri Lankan president says his government is working to heal the divisions caused by the recent civil war.
Mahinda Rajapaksa says many former combatants have been released and reintegrated into the community.
But there is growing international pressure on Sri Lanka to thoroughly investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the country’s army.
Mr Rajapaksa insists the issue is being dealt with.

“We await the submission next month of the report of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission – a home grown institution which I appointed to help leave behind us the pain and anguish of the past and guide the nation towards the era of peace and prosperity,” he said.

Mr Rajapaksa says he is also looking forward to welcoming delegates to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will be hosted in Sri Lanka, despite calls for it to be boycotted.

Sri Lanka is due to host the meeting in 2013, but some countries are threatening not to turn up because of allegations of human rights abuses.

Mr Rajapaksa has used this year’s gathering in Perth to invite delegates to attend the next meeting.

“Come to Sri Lanka in 2013 when the next CHOGM will be held in Colombo,” he said.

“I firmly believe that it will be a memorable experience for you.”

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser called for the meeting to be deferred until the country deals with the claims.

Canada also foreshadowed it may boycott the next meeting if Sri Lanka does not respond appropriately to the allegations.

However, Julia Gillard ruled out that Australia would take similar action.

The Prime Minister met Mr Rajapaksa on Wednesday in Perth to discuss claims of human rights abuses.

Ms Gillard used the meeting to reinforce the view that his nation needs to deal with the allegations.


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