Statement on the appointment of the Sri Lanka – Panel of Experts by the Secretary General of the United Nations
By Ministry of External Affairs, Colombo
The Government of Sri Lanka strongly opposes the appointment, by the Secretary General of the United Nations, of the Sri Lanka – Panel of Experts announced by his Spokesperson in New York on Tuesday, 22nd June 2010.
Sri Lanka was ravaged by the scourge of terrorism for over 30 years. The people of Sri Lanka have, during this period, suffered violence and terror of unimaginable proportions, unleashed on them by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world. After a long and difficult struggle the Government of Sri Lanka has successfully rid the country of terror, and is in the process of rebuilding the lives of her people. As an important part of this process His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka has appointed a Commission on “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation” under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, a statutory regime available under Sri Lankan law. The Government is confident that the Commission would make a most significant contribution to the further strengthening of national amity, through a process of restorative justice.
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.
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.
The Government of Sri Lanka notes that the joint statement of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary – General issued at the conclusion of the Secretary – General’s visit to the country on 23rd May 2009 makes no reference to “allegations of violations of international humanitarian law committed during military operations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)”.
Ministry of External Affairs
23rd June 2010