Confidentiality is Essential in order to keep the Integrity of the investigation on Sri Lanka

Oct 3rd, 2014 | By | Category: samabima english, TOP NEWS

The oral update on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. (Part 01)

In his oral update on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. the the High Commissioner for Human Rights says that ”Notwithstanding the commendable progress the Sri Lankan Government has made in resettlement and reconstruction, the High Commissioner firmly believes that a more fundamental and far-reaching accountability process in Sri Lanka, addressing both past and ongoing violations, is absolutely necessary for Sri Lankans to come to terms with their past, end impunity, achieve reconciliation between communities and strengthen the rule of law. ”

    The full report:

Human Rights Council
Twenty-seventh session
Agenda item 2
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

    Oral update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka*

1. On behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, I am pleased to provide this oral update on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/25/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. It covers developments in 2014, and focusses in particular on the issues highlighted in resolution 25/1 and the recommendations contained in the previous High Commissioner’s report to the Council in March 2014 .

2. The resolution tasked OHCHR to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and to continue to assess progress on relevant national processes; to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures mandate holders; and to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-seventh session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the resolution at its twenty-eighth session.

3. OHCHR has now set up a dedicated OHCHR team to carry out the comprehensive investigation. Terms of reference have been published, as well as a call for submissions. The team is giving priority to gathering and corroborating first hand information in order to ensure an independent and impartial investigation. This will be a highly complex task given the time period and the gravity of the many cases and incidents to be investigated.

4. The Office has repeatedly been accused in Sri Lankan media of lack of transparency for not revealing details of its investigation team or its sources, but such confidentiality will be a necessary measure to protect anyone who provides information to the investigation, as well as to ensure the integrity of the investigation itself.

5. On 30 May, OHCHR staff met with the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva to brief him on the steps being taken in setting up of the investigation team and to invite cooperation. On 5 June, the former High Commissioner wrote to HE Mr G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, setting out the parameters of the investigation, providing further details about the team that would carry it out, and expressing hope that the Government would cooperate fully with the investigation. However, in a statement on 10 June, the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative informed the Human Rights Council of Sri Lanka’s rejection of the HRC resolution and non-cooperation with the OHCHR investigation.

6. On 18 June, the Sri Lankan Parliament passed a motion opposing the investigation, on the grounds, inter-alia, that it violated Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, although one opposition party voted against and others abstained or absented themselves from the vote. The Northern Provincial Council had previously adopted three resolutions on 28 April supporting the Human Rights Council resolution.

7. On 5 July, the Minister of External Affairs, responding to the former High Commissioner’s 5 June letter, informed her of the Government of Sri Lanka’s position on resolution 25/1. The Minister reiterated that the Government “categorically and unreservedly rejected the resolution 25/1 on Sri Lanka and would not engage in any related process”. He indicated nevertheless that “cooperation with your Office and the Council will continue.” The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka also declined an offer by OHCHR to introduce the coordinator of the OHCHR investigation team, as well as, subsequently, to meet with one of the three experts appointed by the High Commissioner to support the investigation team. President Rajapaksa has made several public comments, most recently on 19 August, that the OHCHR investigation team will not be given access to Sri Lanka.

8. Meanwhile, under the terms of resolution 25/1, the former High Commissioner invited H.E. Mr Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Ms Silvia Cartwright, former Governor-General, High Court judge of New Zealand and judge of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia, and Ms Asma Jahangir, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who has previously held several Human Rights Council mandates, to play a supportive and advisory role to the investigation team as relevant experts. Relevant Special Procedures mandate holders are also exploring ways of assisting the investigation, while preserving the independence and integrity of their own mandates.

To be Continued….



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