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Credible domestic inquiry “important to clear name of our troops” – Foreign Minister

Sri Lanka has to hold a credible investigation in order to clear the name of the Sri Lankan military, which stands accused of committing mass atrocities against Tamils during the armed conflict, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in parliament today.

The minister said, despite years of aggression and alienation towards the international community, the government has managed to return Sri Lanka to the “centre stage” of international affairs, signified by the announcement of the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

But Mr Samaraweera warned that Sri Lanka must not lose sight of its “national obligations”:

“To refrain from opening up our nation to international ignominy and making ourselves once again vulnerable to intrusive external interventions, we must initiate a credible domestic investigation into allegations of violations of human rights,

“Such developments are important also to clear the name of our armed forces who have received international recognition as a professional and disciplined force,” he said.

Tamils across the North-East and the diaspora have long demanded an international investigation and justice mechanism to hold the perpetrators of mass atrocities to account.

The minister also said the diaspora, “whether Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim” had a vital role to ply in taking Sri Lanka forward as a nation.

Only last week, TNA MP Ariyanenthiran warned against members of the Tamil diaspora from returning, as it was unsafe, highlighting the arrests of several Tamils who travelled to Sri Lanka.

Mr Samaraweera also announced in his speech that the process to review the ban on individuals and organisations in the Tamil diaspora organisation is now under way, in line with a pledge he made in March.

Not safe for Tamil diaspora to return to Sri Lanka says TNA MP (28 April 2015)

Sri Lanka's foreign minister reiterates rejection of OISL, points to domestic investigation in July (24 April 2015)

Tamils protest across North-East rejecting domestic probe into atrocities, call for international action  (23 Mar 2015)

OISL report deferral ‘greatest success’ of Sirisena government – former minister  (20 Mar 2015)

Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report  (24 Feb 2015)

NPC passes resolution asking UN to investigate genocide of Tamils by Sri Lanka state  (10 Feb 2015)

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