TNA MP Sumanthiran warns UNHRC members of Govt. backsliding

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37th UNHRC Session on March 21 in Geneva

Ahead of the annual session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March, the TNA is engaged in a vigorous campaign with representatives of member countries, to pressure the Government into implementing the UN Resolution within a year, which it co-sponsored.

Speculating that the Government may derail implementation of its Geneva commitments, in the wake of the electoral setback it suffered at the recently concluded local government polls, Parliamentarian Sumanthiran said the international community should ensure the full implementation of the Resolution co-sponsored by the Government.

TNA has dispatched its Spokesman, Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthrian to Geneva this week, to engage with representatives of member countries and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to brief them on the state of implementation with regard to ground reconciliation mechanisms and transitional justice initiatives, as agreed in the recent past.

This development came in the wake of the briefing on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, set for Mar.21 in Geneva.

At this 37th Session of the Council next month, the High Commissioner will submit a written report on Sri Lanka’s implementation process of the UN Resolution which was co-sponsored by the US and the Government in 2015. The second Resolution in 2017 granted another two years to the Government to implement commitments given to the international community in the UN Resolution.

During a meeting held on Friday at the UK Mission office, Geneva, with representatives of 26 member countries, Parliamentarian Sumanthrian explained the lack in implementing the UN Resolution by the Government, during the last three years, and urged not to be misled by Government rhetoric of assurances, to gain support.

He said initiatives such as longstanding constitutional reforms, lack of meaningful initiatives for reconciliation efforts have come to a standstill, where there is no development with regard to accountability measures to investigate alleged HR abuses committed during the last phases of the war.

Indicating that the Government may come up with reasons for not implementing initiatives agreed upon earlier, due to the impact of the recently concluded local polls, Parliamentarian Sumanthiran requested that the member countries should pressure the Government to implement these initiatives within one year, to move forward with reconciliation mechanisms in the postwar scenario.

He noted that, even the much awaited Office of Missing Persons, a core clause of the UN Resolution on missing persons issue, has not materialised yet, even though the law was passed a year ago.

Addressing a press briefing on Friday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said a Government delegation will participate in the UNHRC sessions, and brief the international community on the progress of commitments undertaken by the Government during the postwar period.

Premier Wickremesinghe who was of the view that political instability within the country won’t impact on the outcome of Sri Lanka being taken up at the sittings, said that, the international community has to judge the Government based on our performance in mechanisms undertaken in the recent past.

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