21 November, 2019

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Sri Lanka Asks Detractors At HRC Not To Discredit The NPC Election Process Or Prejudge Its Outcome And Impact

Exercising a ‘right of reply’ with regard to references made to Sri Lanka by Germany, the US and Ireland under Agenda Item 4 – General Debate at the ongoing 24th Session of the Human Rights Council, the Sri Lanka delegation on Thursday (19 September 2013) said; it seemed ironic that at a time when for the first time since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987 elections to the Northern Provincial Council are to be held later this week, that Germany should choose to discredit the process and prejudge its outcome and impact. It was noted that the commitment of the Government to ensure the transparent and free and fair conduct of the election not only to the Northern Provincial Council, but also to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils which go to the polls this Saturday is clearly demonstrated by the presence of  24 election observers from the South Asian region as well as from Commonwealth countries, on the invitation of the Elections Commissioner.

We publish below the statement in full;

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to exercise its right of reply with regard to references made to Sri Lanka by Germany, the US and Ireland under Agenda Item 4 – General Debate,

Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva.

It seems ironic  when for the first time since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987, elections to the Northern Provincial Council are to be held later this week on 21 September 2013, that Germany should choose to discredit the process and prejudge its outcome and impact. The commitment of the Government to ensure the transparent and free and fair conduct of the election not only to the Northern Provincial Council, but also to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils which go to polls this Saturday is clearly demonstrated by the presence of  24 election observers from the South Asian region as well as from Commonwealth countries, on the invitation of the Elections Commissioner. It may be noted that there has been no practice inSri Lanka for provincial council elections to be observed by external entities. However the Election Commissioner took this initiative vis a vis the Northern Provincial Council as elections had not been held over a very long period of time, and as a confidence building measure. Representatives from local NGOs are observing the polls of the elections to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils, which are also being conducted on the same day.

My delegation is equally dismayed by the lack of objectivity displayed by Germany with reference to Sri Lanka in their statement which has chosen to ignore the concrete steps taken by the Government to achieve comprehensive reconciliation within the context of the LLRC, including to investigate atrocities alleged to have been committed at the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009. This progress on reconciliation was detailed by my delegation under the General Debate – Agenda Item 2, as well as in the ID with the SR on Transitional Justice.

We are surprised that the US should declare that ‘Sri Lanka should set visit dates and provide access for relevant special rapporteurs’ when my delegation has updated the Council twice in the current session with regard to its proactive engagement with special procedures mandate holders and the invitations it has extended in this regard.  Scheduling of similar visits will continue in accordance with the requirement of the country and appropriate timing, for which the GoSL is best placed to decide.

Similarly, the issue of alleged reprisals against human rights defenders was comprehensively  addressed in our statement under Agenda Item 2 – General Debate on the first day of the Council.  As we already informed, the Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to the protection of human rights defenders and we have requested the High Commissioner and her Office to provide us specific information with regard to the allegations they have made.  We are still awaiting the receipt of such information so that we could verify the credibility of such allegations. As we indicated, the wide range of interactions that the High Commissioner had with civil society during her recent visit, as well as the active engagement of civil society fromSri Lankain successive Council sessions is testimony to the vibrant nature ofSri Lanka’s civil society and the freedoms they enjoy.

The Government of Sri Lanka also rejects the suggestion of excessive use of force by the military against peaceful protestors. As was evidenced in the recent incident in Weliweriya, it has been established that the protest was not peaceful as claimed. However, at present a Magisterial inquiry is ongoing and an internal inquiry by the Sri Lanka Army has been held and 4 persons from the Army have been suspended from duty pending possible disciplinary action.

As for the concerns expressed regards violence against religious minorities, it may be noted that all people living inSri Lankaenjoy freedom of religion which is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The GoSL has consistently sought to ensure the freedom to enjoy any religion chosen by an individual. Regrettably incidents involving citizens of two religions, have been inappropriately used by interested parties to portray as a religious minority issue..

As for Ireland, while denying the allegation of human rights violations against prisoners detained in connection with terrorist activity, it may be noted that the treatment of those incarcerated in connection with the conflict is subject to judicial scrutiny. Also, their legal representatives and family members, as well as the National Human Rights Commission and the ICRC have free access to all those in custody. Infact Consular access has been consistently provided to the Irish Embassy accredited toSri Lanka with regard to an Irish national who was in detention for links with the LTTE as confessed, and is now under rehabilitation following a judicial process. Further while instances of reported cases of torture have diminished considerably throughout the last five years, as the Government already informed in this session,  a Commission has recently been appointed to investigate allegations of disappearances, which will complement ongoing action.

My delegation finds it disconcerting to keep noting the said allegations, particularly when the Council has been continuously sensitized to the action taken on the very same issues. We can only keep hoping for an objective and constructive approach from the HRC.

 

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Jehan Perera ”has chosen to ignore the concrete steps taken by the Government to achieve comprehensive reconciliation within the context of the LLRC”:

    ‘’The problem is that taking up some of these issues could be politically costly. They require a public awareness campaign that the government and opposition are loath to do’’ – Side Stepping The Issues That Navi Pillay Raised, 16 September 2013, Jehan Perera, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/side-stepping-the-issues-that-navi-pillay-raised/

    • 0
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      Sorry – I put the wrong quote. Here is the right one:

      Jehan Perera ”has chosen to ignore the concrete steps taken by the Government to achieve comprehensive reconciliation within the context of the LLRC”:
      ”In the aftermath of Ms Pillay’s visit the way forward for the government would be to focus on the better implementation of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)” – https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/respond-positively-to-issues-raised-during-pillays-visit/

      • 0
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        I like D.Panabokke’s sarcastic comment.

  • 0
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    Where the hell is this woman coming from? Or is that a purely rhetorical question given the fact that the Rajapassas only employ dimwits with hides as thick as elephants to spout their idiocies?
    The last place this El stupido should be shooting her mouth off is at a forum which the Rajapassa Achtung Brigade do not control and where Gota’s white vans can’t be in attendance.
    But I suppose this is to reinforce the local pandankarayas because NO ONE OUTSIDE SRI LANKA will take ANYTHING these stooges have to say seriously!

  • 0
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    The srilankan delegation has told a damn lie to the inernational comunity

    • 0
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      That is the national language. All statements has to be made in that language.

  • 0
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    Her delegation is:

    1. Surprised
    2. Disconcerted
    3. Dismayed

    at the allegations made and:

    1. Finds ironic
    2. Rejects
    3. Denies

    all the allegations.

    This mantra is repeated at every UN forum that challenges the Rajapaksa regime’s actions.

    The regime does not appear to comprehend why these allegations are being made again and again. Or, is it that the Regime thinks that by denying the allegations it can fool the UN and the international community?

  • 0
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    The elections have been postponed as long as possible before CHOGM2013 starts. If there were no CHOGM in Sri Lanka the North wouldn’t have got the elections now – they might have come to say ”no elections please” as demographical change would have become very obvious to them.
    In the last 4 years a large number of Sinhalese from the South have been settled all over the North to gain significant number of votes for the government. It is doubtful if the Tamils are aware of the extent of demographical change that has already happened. They are probably in for a shock next week.

  • 0
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    Sri Lanka does not explain why the elections to the Nothern Provincial Council took 25 years to happen – while elections to all the other provincial councils were held on due dates.

    • 0
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      Main reason was LTTE’s landmines all over the North and the infra structure destroyed by the conflict between LTTE and the armed forces. The government began to rebuild gradually and the life of the people of North are becoming normal and they are enjoying it.

  • 0
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    The problem my dear Manisha is that all your actions are so blatantly designed only to counter international accusations. The government comes up with these inane little plans to defray the accusations but they are transparently disingenuous. None of these amount to genuine changes to our political culture, to the rights of people.

  • 0
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    Madam

    Germany is right:

    1.Ananthi Elilan Attack: Perpetrators Involved Should Be Brought To Justice Swiftly – US
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/ananthi-elilan-attack-perpetrators-involved-should-be-brought-to-justice-swiftly-us/

    SL military attacks Ananthi’s residence in Jaffna, 8 wounded
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=36673

  • 0
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    I fear for the outcome of these elections. Many more people will be trashed around by the GoSL thugs. The international community will only express concerns but because not strong economic interests in SL, they will keep their tone subtle and turn their heads when things become more obvious. My solidarity with those people in the North who still dare to talk and act, regardless the fact that they know that their lives are endangered.

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