Addressing the UNHRC on Wednesday after a written update was made on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana said that Sri Lanka is deeply committed to uphold the rule of law and to ensure the equal protection of the law to all individuals without discrimination as guaranteed under the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
“We do not consider the reconciliation process in our country as a box-ticking exercise. We are deeply committed to uphold the rule of law and to ensure the equal protection of the law to all individuals without discrimination as guaranteed under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. We also recognize that we owe our citizens equitable socio-economic development, which can only become possible through the establishment of durable peace and reconciliation. We are making every effort, therefore, Mr. President, despite the socio-political and economic constraints and challenges that we face, to realize our vision of a reconciled, peaceful, stable and prosperous Sri Lanka for all our citizens. Much progress has been made throughout the course of last year as well as previously, demonstrating Sri Lanka’s firm commitment, willingness and ability to advancing truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence of conflict,” the Foreign Minister said.
Minister of Special Assignments (Dr) Sarath Amunugam and Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Mano Tittawella, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), A.L.A. Azeez, Addl. Secretary/EU, Commonwealth and Multilateral Treaties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nerin Pulle, Deputy Solicitor General, Attorney General’s Department, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Mahishini Colonne, Director General/UN, US and Canada of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prashanthi Mahindaratne, Advisor to the Prime Minister and the diplomatic officers of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva were associated with the Foreign Minister when he made the address.
“We are mindful, Mr. President, that the reconciliation, judicial and reparation processes are for all affected communities irrespective of race, religion, and gender, including the families of missing security forces personnel,” the Foreign Minister said.
He said that the action by the Sri Lankan security forces during the conflict was against a group designated as a terrorist group by many countries, and not against any community in Sri Lanka. The Minister said that the operations of the terrorist group, which for the first time in recent history have deliberately targeted innocent civilians have now been adopted by terrorist groups all over the world.
“All communities in Sri Lanka were united against terrorism in my country, and now that terrorism has been defeated, all communities today work in unison towards reconciliation and economic progress of the country,” he said.
The Foreign Minister also said that as a nation Sri Lanka is pained by the recent incidents in a few areas of Sri Lanka targeting members of the Muslim community who represent an integral part of the pluralistic society of Sri Lanka.
“Such acts which go against our shared vision of a Sri Lanka where equal rights and rule of law are guaranteed for all, have no place in a democratic, pluralistic society. The Government has taken swift action against perpetrators of these incidents and is investigating any lapses that may have taken place. Stringent measures will be initiated to ensure nonrecurrence. A victim compensation programme has already commenced. We have reason to believe that certain interested parties were behind this, to tarnish our image at a time when this Council is in session,” the Minister said.
Marapana said that Sri Lanka is committed to fulfilling the agenda on reconciliation and has undertaken to implement a vast agenda in a very short time, measures that have taken most other countries, several decades to implement. (Colombo Gazette)