Countering a press statement released on Monday by the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa entitled 'Constitutional and legal reforms to destroy the nation', Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera argued that his government had managed to end the country's scrutiny on an international stage and bring "shift all action to a domestic front".
See here for full statement.
Extracts reproduced below:
"Let me be very clear: the transitional justice mechanisms to be implemented will not benefit one group or community above others, and will certainly not single out and target the armed forces. The former President manipulates the respect that the Sri Lankan people have for the armed forces to hide his own responsibilities. This is opportunistic, and especially ironic, coming from the person who imprisoned the commander who led the armed forces to victory."
"Everyone paid a heavy price during the conflict, including our soldiers, with patriotic devotion. It is fitting that all of us Sri Lankans enjoy the benefits of reconciliation including the families of more than 5000 missing military personnel, and the families of missing policemen whose whereabouts will be sought by the Office on Missing Persons."
"The former President, driven by his arrogance and neglect of duties and responsibilities towards our citizens, dragged our country into the first ever external investigation of a situation, through the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, guided by wisdom, managed to regain trust and regain charge as an independent, sovereign and responsible nation, of the pursuit of reconciliation and accountability by national processes, shifting all action to the domestic front."
"The PTA is an anachronistic piece of legislation from a conflict plagued past, which was misused by some to commit abuses for narrow political advantages. To suggest that replacing it with a modern law is unpatriotic is baseless. The security of all Sri Lankans including those who criticise the Government is something that the Government takes seriously.
A new Act will ensure that Sri Lanka’s security forces and intelligence officials can protect the State and the Public while respecting the physical and mental integrity of each citizen. If the former President wishes to imply that stopping the practice of torture is treasonous, we respectfully disagree. Torture has no place in modern, democratic Sri Lanka.
The National Unity Government will not govern by fear and lies. The National Unity Government makes no apologies for choosing the path of transparency, truth, justice, and reconciliation, upholding the dignity of all citizens. The future of our great nation will not have walls of fear and doubt that separate communities. Rather, it will be a bright, open and inclusive path that invites all to walk together side-by-side as equal citizens."