Secretary Weeratunga briefs Geneva diplomats on progress in national reconciliation
Posted on January 23rd, 2014

PERMANENT MISSION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE, GENEVA

Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga who briefed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday (21st January 2014) on ‘Progress in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka’, has said the Government of Sri Lanka has done all that was humanly possible to implement the recommendations of the National Plan of Action on the implementation of the LLRC, since its approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 2012.

 Mr. Weeratunga, who chairs the Committee Monitoring the National Plan of Action on the Implementation of the National Plan of Action of the LLRC who informed his audience of the state the country was left in following a near thirty year terrorist conflict which ended with the defeat of LTTE in May 2009, the effort that went into restoring normalcy to the lives of those affected due to the conflict and detailed the action taken by the Government over the past eighteen months to give effect to the recommendations of the LLRC in the areas of International Humanitarian Law Issues, Human Rights, Land Return & Resettlement, Restitution/Compensatory Relief and Reconciliation.

He elaborated on key progress, including the successfully concluded Northern Provincial Council elections, the Government’s cooperation with the Chief Minister in continuing the massive development effort that had been undertaken in the area, developments relating to the Commission of Inquiry into alleged disappearances which recently held its first public sittings in Killinochchi, and in this regard, the cooperation with the ICRC as well as the recent Census on deaths/injuries to civilians and property damages due to the conflict,  the results of which are expected shortly. Noting Sri Lanka’s continued cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr Weeratunga said since the visit of the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka in August 2013, at the Government’s invitation, the Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons had visited Sri Lanka in December 2013 and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants is scheduled to visit in May 2014. While the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education had also been invited, he had indicated his inability to visit Sri Lanka in the current year. The government is giving due consideration to visits by other Special Rapporteurs .

During the Q&A session, while most of the countries that attended the briefing commended the  government for its commitment to and efforts in implementing the LLRC recommendations, some questioned aspects of the  implementation and the speed at which it was taking place. Many expressed the view that the international community should provide assistance to Sri Lanka and continue a constructive dialogue with Sri Lanka in dealing with human rights issues. Commenting on its own tragic experiences and continuing hardships in fighting terrorism, one country said “it is only the wearer who knows where the shoe pinches.”

LLRC_BriefA

Mr. Weeratunga thanked the international community for their support towards the implementation of the LLRC National Plan of Action. Responding to some of the concerns raised, he  said the Government would take constructive suggestions on board. Mr. Weeratunga emphasized that the solutions to reconciliation cannot be found overnight and that trying to do so at the stroke of a pen could be detrimental to a sustained process. He explained some of the complexities involved such as language issues, lack of senior Tamil administrators in the public service due to the LTTE preventing their recruitment since the conflict started in the early 1980s, and the ground level issues in administration in the former theatre of conflict. These included the destruction of previous land records which had caused serious difficulties in establishing ownership of property, the destruction of valuable infrastructure, and the need to take the sensitivities of all communities on board. He said while Sri Lanka was fortunate to have a stable Government which continued to enjoy popular support, some of the recommendations also required evolving a consensus across the ethnic, religious, regional and political diversity in the country, in order ensure that solutions are sustainable. He emphasized the importance of the opposition including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) joining the government to make the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which had been constituted, fully functional. Mr. Weeratunga expressed regret that even responsible international figures were being misguided by parties with vested interests and gave instances of some such occurrences in recent times.

LLRC_BriefB

Responding to comments on Sri Lanka’s cooperation with the UN and international partners, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said very few countries would have cooperated as much with the UN, the OHCHR, the Human Rights Council (HRC), and international partners, as Sri Lanka had done in the past year.  In addition significant work is taking place under the UN Development Assistance Framework 2013-2017, which covers the areas of Equitable Economic Growth and Sustainable Livelihoods, Disparity Reduction, Equitable and Quality Social Services, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Equality, Social Inclusion and Protection and Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Responding to questions on what measures were being taken to  prevent terrorism recurring in the country, Ambassador Aryasinha explained that while terrorism had been eradicated in Sri Lanka, many former LTTE cadre and sympathizers continued to be active, particularly in the western countries. He said that for these elements it was important to keep  the pot boiling in Sri Lanka, as a means to stay relevant and to justify their continued existence in the more affluent host countries. He appealed to such countries to be very cautious of this fact, as it  ran the danger of derailing reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka.

Prior to the briefing to Member States, Mr Weeratunga also met with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navaneethem Pillay and updated her on developments that had taken place since her visit to Colombo in August 2013.

He also had discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres at the UNHCR and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer, on ongoing collaboration between Sri Lanka and their respective organizations.

Associated with Mr.Weeratunga during his meetings were Mr. S.B. Divaratne, Secretary to Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in Northern Province, Mr. Jayantha Jayasuriya, Additional Solicitor General, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission in Geneva, Ms. Chandima Wickramasinghe, Senior Asst. Secretary to the President, Mr. Chandana Weerasena, Director/UN of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms. Priyanga Wickramasinghe, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission in Geneva, Mr. Chatura Perera, Second Secretary the Permanent Mission in Geneva and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary in the  Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Geneva

22 January 2013

 

5 Responses to “Secretary Weeratunga briefs Geneva diplomats on progress in national reconciliation”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Good work by Lalith. These are the work that should be done by the MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (if we have a ministry for that). But glad Lalith HIMSELF did this. I said Lalith is in Geneva last week.

    His success is due to keeping politics OUT of this. That is the way forward for SL.

    But when the vote comes reason goes OUT of the window. Endia and USA want to punish SL and they will bring another resolution and their henchos will pass it.

  2. S de Silva Says:

    Ok, Lorenzo, if things turn out that way this time again as another Kangaroo Court headed by Navi Pillai, it is tme for the GoSL to pull out of the UNHRC No purpose will be served by presenting ourselves at a partisan highly prejudiced Court. If that happens SL should demand that Navi Pillai is taken off the case for ‘Conflict of Interests’ and a substitute appointed in her place if SL is to proceed with the UNHRC/ or we get out!! – S de Silva – London

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    That’s right S de Silva. There is OBVIOUS conflict of interest. UNHRC head is a TAMIL and she supports the TAMIL view on SL.

    Like Israel SL should LEAVE UNHRC and demand it be FAIR. ONLY AFTER it corrects its bias, SL can rejoin like Israel.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Thank you SL Navy for TOUGH action and TOUGH talk on Endian illegal fishing. It has paid off. Now the Endian govt. is talking serious FOR THE FIRST TIME on the issue.

    Balance of TOUGH action supported by SENSIBLE COOPERATION did the trick!!

    There is another side to this. USA helping SL northern fishermen with $15 million. Endian and US interests DELIBERATELY crashed by SLN activity. Way to go. But please ensure NO SL Tamil or TN fishermen win ultimately. They MUST be kept separated.

    “The central Indian government has informed the Madras High Court today that the Indian fishermen have no rights to Sri Lanka’s Katchatheevu islet in the Palk Straits.

    The center told the court the sovereignty of Sri Lanka over the uninhabited islet is a settled matter under the 1974 Indian Supreme Court directive, according to an Express News Service report.

    “The issue of maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka and consequently that of the sovereignty over the Katchatheevu Island is a settled issue,” the counter said when a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was heard by a two-judge bench.

    The PIL filed by Fishermen Care President L A Peter Rayan is seeking to retake the islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.

    A counter produced in court by the Secretaries of External Affairs and Defense Ministries of the Indian government said the Indian fishermen can have access to the island only to dry their nets or for pilgrimage.

    The claim in the PIL that the agreement guaranteed Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen their traditional rights of fishing in each other’s waters was “baseless and untenable”, it said.

    Under the treaty agreement of 1974, Indian fishermen have lost the rights to fishing around the island as it is within the territorial waters of Sri Lanka and the 1976 agreement has established the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), which the fishermen in the two countries are not allowed to cross into each other’s territory.

    These agreements were placed before the Parliament and they came into effect following due process of ratification and exchange of instruments of ratification between the two countries, the counter said.”

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    NEWS LEAKED FROM TAMIL CATHOLICS IN THE NORTH

    Catholic bishop Kasippu Joseph Goebbels plans to meet Anglican bishop DESMOND TUTU around Geneva UNHRC time to complain about Tamil genocide, war crimes and other racist nonsense. He has collected a LARGE PILE of anti-SL CDs, documents and files. He plans to hand these over to Desmond Tutu.

    Why Desmond Tutu?

    A google search tells me Desmond Tutu is or was a member of the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT and the GENOCIDE PREVENTION COMMITEE!!

    Their plan is clear.

    KJG must be stopped now before it is too late.

    Wrote to MOD and other jokers but no response. Some emails returned. As usual they cannot be reached. No other option. Please bring this to their attention.

    URGENT

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