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SriLanka: Internal Mechanism Only in September

The government had commenced devising an indigenous mechanism to investigate alleged human rights violations and war crimes said to have taken place during the last phase of the conflict with the LTTE, parliament was told yesterday [11th June].

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government had begun holding talks with various parties to work out a mechanism that would suit the local conditions and situations.

He said the government hoped to present that mechanism to Parliament by September this year.

Responding to a series of questions raised with regard to his recent meeting with the representatives of the Global Tamil Forum in London, Foreign Minister Samaraweera said that there were many international mechanisms with regard to investigating war-crimes.

“But, we will adopt our own local mechanism. Section 93 of the manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena clearly stated that we will not permit any international investigation but will devise an indigenous mechanism for that purpose and we will do so. Preliminary talks are in progress.”

Samaraweera said, “Issues touched on in our talks were within the frame of undivided and united Sri Lanka.”

His ministry was planning to hold an annual event in Sri Lanka with the participation of the members of the Tamil Diaspora starting from this December. “This Diaspora festival would boost our efforts towards reconciliation. The citizens living in the country would be immensely benefited by the knowledge, skills, experiences and talents of their counterparts living abroad through such a festival. India, Ireland and several other countries have been benefited by similar festivals,” the minister said.

Samaraweera said that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the previous government, too, had recommended that the government reach out to the Diaspora groups and obtain their contribution and direct participation to make the process of reconciliation a meaningful one. The LLRC also recommended that the government take action to follow a lenient policy with regard to the members of the Diaspora who would come forward to invest in Sri Lanka such as promoting dual citizenship. “We have already commenced it and granted dual citizenships to many Lankans living abroad,” he said.

The minister said that Lankan Diaspora comprised around 1.5 million members who had left the country at various stages. They were Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher. “According to the statistics of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) one third of Sri Lankan Diaspora are professionals. They have excelled in medicine, sciences, sports, arts and literature and various other fields. We must obtain their contribution in rebuilding our nation.”

(Original Caption: Govt. begins devising homegrown mechanism to probe alleged HR abuse)
By Saman Indrajith


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