Reconciliation mechanisms will continue - FM tells UN Rights Chief | Sunday Observer
Despite withdrawal from HR Resolution co-sponsorship

Reconciliation mechanisms will continue - FM tells UN Rights Chief

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena informed the UN Human Rights Chief the existing reconciliation mechanisms set up by Acts of Parliament will continue to function despite the government’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of Human Rights Resolution 40/1.

Hence, the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations will go on with appropriate adaptation in line with the Government policy framework, he noted when he met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday afternoon (28).

At the meeting Minister Gunawardena reiterated the Government’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of resolution and the basis for doing so, a media release from the Ministry stated.

He had recalled that, one year ago, his predecessor the former Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana had also pointed out a number of areas in the resolution that were undeliverable.

Notwithstanding the withdrawal from co-sponsorship, he emphasised the Government’s commitment to achieving accountability and human rights within the framework of the Constitution.

He had conveyed that the government hoped to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation, through the appointment of a domestic Commission of Inquiry.

High Commissioner Bachelet had thanked Minister Gunawardena for his participation in the High-Level Segment of the HRC. Regretting Sri Lanka’s withdrawal as a co-sponsor of the HRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner appreciated the Government’s assurance to the HRC of its continued cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner and UN bodies, and the observations on the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations.

The Sri Lanka delegation had also shared its perspective on a number of areas, including the need for closure, adequate funding to reconciliation measures and shortcomings in the former Counter Terrorism Bill.

The Minister also informed the High Commissioner that the Government intended to undertake a review of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with a view to proposing amendments to its provisions.

State Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Additional Secretary to the President Admiral (Retd) Jayanath Colombage, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, and Acting Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Dayani Mendis took part in the discussions.

Director General of the UN and Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Foreign Relations M.R.K. Lenagala, Senior State Counsel Kanishka Balapatabendi, Brigadier E.S. Jayasinghe from the Ministry of Defence and Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Relations Subash Sri Wijethunga were also part of the Sri Lanka delegation to the 43rd session of the HRC.