The Sunday Leader

Retribution Unacceptable

  • US Resolution Against Sri Lanka

Prof. G. L. Peiris

With a US backed resolution against Sri Lanka on alleged human rights (HR) violations during the closing stages of its war against terrorism up for a vote in Geneva on Friday (March 23) at the current HR sessions being conducted in this Swiss city, External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris told this reporter that the resolution smacks on interfering with the internal affairs of this island.
“They want outside forces to get involved in the process,” Peiris said, when this reporter told him that if the Government wants the LLRC report implemented, why worry about the US resolution, as that was exactly what the US wanted, ie the implementation of the LLRC report?
Peiris, earlier, speaking at a function in Colombo on Tuesday (March 13) said that the Government is committed to implement the recommendations made in the LLRC report. After his speech, this reporter then asked him what then was wrong with the US resolution as they too wanted the LLRC report implemented?
Peiris in reply said that they want to supervise in its implementation and to get outside forces involved in the process. He was making these comments to this reporter at the Kadirgamar Institute after delivering his speech which was on the LLRC and the UN backed resolution against Sri Lanka, currently being heard in Geneva.
Peiris, whose speech sidetracked the topic of the seminar which was “The Role of Education in Reconciliation,” said that Sri Lanka would not brook outside interference into the internal affairs of the island.
Sounding demagogic, he said that Sri Lankans will resist such interference. He said that the country was pursuing the path of restitution and not retribution with offers of  government jobs and schools’ scholarships being given pride of place to those affected by the conflict.
The retributive aspects of accountability were unacceptable, Peiris indicated.
In the same breath he said that the Attorney General is processing evidence against alleged war crimes, with the army itself opening up its own investigations. Peiris further said that when the war was over in May 2009 the international community was supportive of a home grown solution to Sri Lanka’s terrorist related problems.
If it doesn’t work, then the international community’s interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs is justifiable, he said. But the LLRC report was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa only in November of last year, tabled in Parliament in December, but then in January, that saw the US backed resolution against Sri Lanka being brought to Geneva, and tabled the following month, ie in February, he said.
Peiris said that countries such as the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia took 10 years to have their own reconciliation processes on board, but in Sri Lanka, it took only three years. He said that the LLRC report was different to that of South Africa’s Truth Commission, where the latter was allegedly administered under oath.
He hinted that to use pressure tactics, either economic or military to get member states to vote for the resolution was against the spirit of the UN Charter and went against the very purpose of the creation of the UN HR Council, because its predecessor, the Commission was found to be politicized, he said.
Peiris said that issues such as land, which have been gifted by the LTTE to its Mahaveer families, after ejecting its bona fide owners, could only be settled through an internal mechanism as spelt out by the LLRC, and not by external interference.

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