Sri Lanka said it looks forward to “cooperation with the international community” and was “deeply appreciative of the High Commissioner and his office” during an interim update made to the 32nd session of the UN Human Right Council on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s foreign minister reiterated the country’s commitment to the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on accountability and reconciliation, stating,
“President Sirisena in his Address to the Nation on the 68th Independence Day anniversary on 4th February this year, reiterated his commitment to fulfill the provisions of Resolution 30/1.”
Stressing that “reconciliation does not happen at once,” Mangala Samaraweera said,
“What we have achieved so far since January 2015 may seem like baby steps for some, but for us they are giant leaps.”
Highlighting Sri Lanka’s increased engagement with the United Nations, Mangala Samaraweera said,
“Sri Lanka is now open to the world and engages with the international community with courage and confidence.. We are hopeful that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit us this year.”
Mr Samaraweera went on to highlight steps taken by the Sri Lankan government in spirit of implementation of the UNHRC resolution , including the setup of a Secretariat for Coordinating the Reconciliation Mechanisms, noting that,
“Some have started raising alarm bells that sequencing mechanisms is a delay tactic or means to omit the component of justice.”
Noting ongoing reports of torture, Mr Samaraweera said, “training programmes for the Police and other measures aimed at combating and eliminating torture including addressing the need for prosecution and conviction,” were being initiated.
The foreign minister added that a new counter terrorism law was being drafted to replace the “much criticised and much abused Prevention of Terrorism Act.”
“I urge all of you to support tour journey with patience and perseverance,” concluded Mr Samaraweera after expressing thanks to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.