South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By Dianne Silva

Sri Lanka told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday that the government was the best judge of the manner in which the emergency regulations should be curtailed while promising that the process would be concluded in an “appropriate and timely manner.”

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the 16th sessions of the HRC, “We believe that it is our authorities that will make this judgment. We assure the Council that the rollback process of the regulations will be concluded in an appropriate and timely manner.” He also said the LTTE’s international network was still active and cautioned against “being lulled into a sense of complacency.” The Minister detailed the number of instances when elements of the LTTE were apprehended or attempted to engage in terrorist activities around the globe.

He said there was now progressive dialogue between the Government and Tamil Parties. “The Tamil political mainstream is now fully engaged with the Government as part of a wider group – the Tamil Political Parties Forum – in an ongoing dialogue on economic development, and legal and Constitutional reforms. Having met twice already, they are scheduled to meet again early next month,” he said.

Samarasinghe also elucidated on elements of the National Action Plan for Human Rights which he pledged to implement at the HRC. “Consequent to stocktaking of the human rights situation in the country, eight thematic areas have been identified. The process involved an examination of Sri Lanka’s UPR, including civil society submissions and recommendations of UN human rights mechanisms over the past ten years,” the Minister said.

In the days prior to the HRC sessions Minister Samarasinghe had met more than 40 diplomats and briefed them on the conditions in the North and the East and addressed allegations on media freedom in the north.

On Friday during his meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navaneethan Pillai he had briefed her on the facilities being provided to IDP’s, the rehabilitation work with ex-combatants and the infrastructure development projects in the north.

Source: The Daily Mirror – 01.03.2011