By Shamindra Ferdinando
Former Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera yesterday said that the UNP-SLFP coalition owed a speedy explanation to the country as regards the inclusion of constitutional reforms process in controversial Geneva Resolution 30/1 adopted in Oct 2015, unanimously by the Geneva based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The resolution dealt with promotion of reconciliation, accountability and human rights.
Former Digamadulla District UPFA MP Weerasekera alleged that the yahapalana government had deceived the public regarding the origins of the constitutional reforms process several years after the LTTE’s annihilation.
Weerasekera was addressing the media on behalf of the Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) after returning from Geneva where he led a team that made representations against the Geneva Resolution 30/1.
Alleging that the government hadn’t explained its commitments, including constitutional reforms given to the UN body, the naval veteran said that yahapalana partners should reveal their proposals without further delay.
Weerasekera strongly opposed post-war political settlement through constitutional means and the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to enable the full implementation of the provincial council system.
Weerasekera said that they had sought the intervention of the President of the UNHRC recently to prevent UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein continuing to pressure Sri Lanka over hybrid war crimes court as well as constitutional reforms. The naval veteran said that they had handed over a petition in this regard in addition to the comprehensive report titled ‘A factual appraisal of the OISL report: A rebuttal to the allegations against the armed forces’ submitted earlier.
Attorney-at-law Dharshan Weerasekera prepared both the document and the petition on behalf of the nationalist organization.
Weerasekera described Hussein’s reference to their complaint against him when he addressed the Law Society in London, 26 June 2017 was nothing but a victory. Weerasekera quoted Hussein as having said: “A few days ago, citing Prime Minister May, a former Sri Lankan Rear Admiral delivered a petition to the President of the Human Rights Council. He demanded action be taken against my Office for “forcing” Sri Lanka to undertake constitutional reforms, and for exerting pressure on them to create a hybrid court to try perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity – when in reality, he claimed, all they had engaged in was fighting terrorism.”
Weerasekera pointed out that Hussein referred to him in relation to recent British Prime Minister May’s call for human rights laws to be overturned if they undermined fight against terrorism.
Weerasekera said that Hussein’s statement proved that there had been agreement on constitutional reforms and hybrid court in accordance with the Geneva Resolution 30/1.
Underscoring that the Geneva Resolution was non-binding, the former MP pointed out that Sri Lanka got into trouble because the ruling coalition co-sponsored it.
Weerasekera said that they would soon respond to Hussein’s statement made in London.
The former MP said that the UNP and the SLFP hadn’t received a mandate to divide the country on ethnic lines at presidential and parliamentary polls in January and August 2015, respectively.
Until the conclusion of the parliamentary polls, the electorate hadn’t the slightest idea the party that secured the largest block of seats and the second highest were to form a government taking advantage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
Sunil Chandrakumara also of the GSLF flayed the government for allowing Geneva to decide Sri Lanka’s fate. Chandrakumara pointed out that parliament was being used to legalise Geneva dictates. The civil society activist urged the media to be wary of yahapalana constitutional project. The GSLF sought the media support to thwart the despicable yahapalana operation.
Chandrakumara also found fault with the Joint Opposition for not being alert to the growing threat posed by the Geneva project. Chandrakumara said that the JO should pay attention to the developing situation, while addressing other contentious issues.
Chandrakumara and Wasantha Keerthiratne also of the GSLF assured that they would step up their interventions in Geneva through civil society organizations registered there. Keerthiratne said that they had been able to secure the confidence of a section of the media based there. Chandrakumara said that they exposed some of the lies propagated by the Tamil Diaspora. They had alleged that 70 per cent of Jaffna University community was Sinhalese, Chandrakumara said, alleging the Sri Lankan mission in Geneva was turning a blind eye to what was happening there.
The GSLF questioned the requirement to maintain such missions at taxpayers’ expense when they didn’t represent Sri Lanka’s interests. Chandrakumara said that Geneva missions of other countries always defended their governments/countries whereas the Sri Lankan mission remained silent.