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Patriotic private sector takes on UN report

Sep 1, 2011 5:47:07 PM - www.ft.lk
  • Issues its own critique dissecting the Panel of Experts document, backs LLRC but says that the aim is not to whitewash govt.

 By Uditha Jayasinghe
Four of the most powerful business chambers yesterday joined in faulting the UN panel report but insisted that they were rooting for the people and were not whitewashing the government.  

Titled “Sri Lanka Private Sector Assessment” the 28 page document done by a group of private sector experts and endorsed by four chambers argues points raised by the UN report and highlight aspects that the private sector feels has not received adequate attention by the international community.
The four organisations which have endorsed the private sector critique are the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) and Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF) who collectively represent a significant majority of the Sri Lankan businesses.
They insist that the document is a “deconstruction of the most obvious and blatant sins of omission and commission and rhetoric that put the (UN) advisory into contentious dispute.”
The document adds that this private sector critique is a compilation of views raised by the private sector who are concerned with the content of the UN panel report and its possible impact on inter-ethnic confidence building and national reconciliation. The critique stresses on the need for the UN as well as the international community to work with Sri Lanka to strengthen their accountability framework but is staunch in its belief that the situation can be dealt with internally.
The Critique will be sent to the relevant agencies of the UN and circulated among diplomatic missions.
 “The private sector denounces violations of human rights of any nature and lobbies with the authorities to ensure that any alleged violations are addressed in the proper manner,” the report says adding that the report only attempts to critically address the modes operandi followed by the Panel of Experts.
At the conclusion of the report the chambers call on the UN and the international community to support the endeavours of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as well as other frameworks that can be strengthened with the involvement of the civil society and media.
 “It is our view that if the UN or any other body has concerns over a certain lacunae in the response and preparedness for accountability with the government – the most appropriate mechanism for the crafting of this process is a public-private partnership with both civil society and media as part of the stakeholder participation. Further a capacity building of existing mechanisms such as the LLRC or a new body with appropriate oversight may be more effective, if we can focus on ensuring it can be resourced with capable, committed and independent leadership of moral and intellectual stature. A tall order but not an impossible one. The people of Sri Lanka can and will rise to this momentous chance at true and lasting peace and reconciliation,” the private sector critique said.

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