Sri Lanka appeals for more time
Even as the United Nations Human Rights Commission session nears, Sri Lanka has appealed that it needs more time for the process of reconciliation to showcase the progress that it has made towards lasting peace.
At the end of a 30-year long bloody civil war, Sri Lankan forces trumped the Tamil Tigers, who have claimed Sri Lanka’s east and north as homelands. As Sri Lankan forces overran those of the Tigers, particularly between January and May 2009, it has been accused of colossal human rights violations.
A senior official, who was part of discussions with a host of international organisations told The Hindu that the country had taken many steps and these, for some strange reason, was being ignored by the international community. “We have set up a sub-committee, a Cabinet committee and the Sri Lankan Army has begun its own internal investigation [into the issues raised in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee Report]. These things take time,” said the official.
Confirming that the Army’s internal investigation into battle-field excesses had commenced in January, he said these were initiated just after the LLRC report was made available to the Army, and before there was any international pressure on the organisation to take up such a inquiry. Asked what the progress of the investigation was, given that more than a month and a half had passed by, he said that reconstruction of events was not an easy task. “They have initiated the process. They have to be given the time to complete the process,” he said.
United States and other countries coming up with a resolution in the UNHRC session, which commences end-February, was “unfair” and would be detrimental to the interests of peace of reconciliation, he said. At a time when all parties to the conflict were trying to sort out the issues, the UNHRC resolution focussing on Sri Lanka would not help the cause of rebuilding a united Sri Lanka, he added.
Sri Lanka has been seeking friends across the globe as the date nears for the UNHRC session. Its Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris has been on whirlwind tour of world capitals in a bid to narrate to them the Sri Lankan government’s side of the story and seek support. President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself has visited Pakistan, and is now in Singapore, in what appears to be, a similar mission.