Kohona Briefs UN on LLRC Report
By Easwaran Rutnam
The report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will be presented to Parliament, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona told the UN last week.
The Sri Lankan Mission to the UN in New York said that Dr. Palitha Kohona also informed the UN Security Council that the LLRC has made interim recommendations, many of which have already been implemented by an inter-ministerial mechanism.
He said that throughout the final phase of the armed conflict, from 2006 to 2009, Sri Lanka engaged with the UN and its agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and representatives of the international community and civil society – both in Sri Lanka and outside.
Kohona said that the challenges Sri Lanka faced in protecting its civilians was a challenge to the State itself and its institutions.
“Yet, the Government remained committed to its zero casualty policy. Our troops underwent training to distinguish between combatants and civilians. Assistance was obtained from the ICRC in the training of troops in human rights law. However, the inevitable casualties of a conflict imposed on the state and ruthlessly effected by the terrorists are now the basis of a massive propaganda campaign,” the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN in New York quoted Dr. Kohona as saying.
He further said that in keeping with the principle that it is first and foremost the responsibility of States themselves to investigate infractions of global humanitarian standards, the government established the LLRC to address a range of issues relating to the conflict, reconciliation and confidence building and accountability.
The LLRC was given a wide mandate that allowed it to recommend measures to ensure reconciliation, restitution for victims and address the root causes to discourage non-repetition of any internal armed conflict.
Dr. Kohona said that Sri Lanka will be submitting itself to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Commission in October 2012 and looks forward to interacting with the Commission.
LLRC has its doubts
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has made clear it has doubts even with the current administration by saying in a statement on Friday night that the success of its work will depend on the extent to which its recommendations are implemented, especially in the context of the “tardy track record” of successive governments in that regard.
The statement signed by the LLRC media consultant Lakshman Wickramasinghe, said that the final report of the Commission will be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 20.
“The Commission is confident that its recommendations would constitute a framework for action by all stakeholders, including the government, political parties and all communities,” the statement said.