The Ministry Of External Affairs has released a statement strongly opposing the UN Secretary General’s appointment of a Panel Of Experts. This panel has been set up to advise the Secretary General on the human rights violations that may have taken place at the end of the war with the LTTE. The Government insists that its own Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission is adequate and appropriate to answer all question related to the end of the war.
Government – Unwarranted And Unnecessary Interference
Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said “ For the UN to have a parallel probe is to pre-judge and undermine a process that Sri Lanka has begun as part of its national reconciliation and establishing lasting peace.”
The Ministry Of External Affairs has also expressed strong opposition to the UN panel. Their statement reads “Sri Lanka regards the appointment of the Sri Lanka – Panel of Experts as an unwarranted and unnecessary interference with a sovereign nation. This interference, moreover, has potential for exploitation by vested interests hostile to the process of reconciliation taking place in Sri Lanka.”
Furthermore, Rambukwella accused the UN of having a ‘hidden agenda’. He released a statement which read “The United Nations appointing of a Panel of Experts to advise the Secretary General on accountability of activities that took place towards the last end of war in Sri Lanka is uncalled for and unnecessary.”
UN – A Resource Sri Lankans Can Turn To
During his visit to Sri Lanka the UN’s Lynn Pascoe said that “Responsibility for carrying out a credible process that meets international standards rests first and foremost with the authorities of Sri Lanka… The Secretary-General intends soon to establish a Panel of Experts that will advise him on international standards and comparative experiences with accountability. It will also be available as a resource that the Sri Lankans can turn to if they wish.”
When asked whether the appointment of this panel was fair he responded “Let’s be very clear that Sri Lanka is a member of the UN in good standing. It is signatory to the international human rights conventions. It has the same human rights obligations that everyone else has in the world. I think that this is something that every citizen of Sri Lanka is proud of and wants.”
The Ministry Of External Affairs statement, however, points to that very good standing within the UN as a reason why this panel is unnecessary.
“Sri Lanka is a sovereign state with a robustly independent judiciary and a tried and tested system for the administration of justice. The Government of Sri Lanka has consistently promoted and protected human rights. Indeed, this has been explicitly acknowledged by legitimate organs of the United Nations system. The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has formally adopted, after the cessation of the conflict situation, a resolution commending, inter alia, the commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of human rights.”