By Colombo Telegraph –
The South African Government in a statement called upon the Sri Lankan Government to speedily implement the measures as recommended. The statement also said; “The report, however, should have addressed in more detail the question of holding those people responsible for human rights violations to account. “
The full statement is reproduced below:
The South African Government has noted the release of the final report of the Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (the Commission of Enquiry) and the positive recommendations contained in the report relating to human rights, the return and resettlement of displaced communities, restitution and compensatory relief for the affected people, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation-building.
The report, however, should have addressed in more detail the question of holding those people responsible for human rights violations to account.
The South African Government calls on the Sri Lankan Government to speedily implement the measures as recommended.
The South African Government commends the Sri Lankan Government for the decision to set up an authoritative mechanism to further investigate allegations related to human rights abuses and encourages decisive actions upon the findings.
The solution to the challenges facing the people of Sri Lanka at this critical juncture lies in a genuine and inclusive dialogue among all the people and political parties in Sri Lanka. To this end, South Africa encourages the Government and people of Sri Lanka to create a conducive environment, inside and outside Sri Lanka, that will allow for a meaningful and sustainable political settlement that will lead to a constitution that will be acceptable to all Sri Lankans.
In a spirit of partnership and cooperation, South Africa stands ready to share its experience and work with the people of Sri Lanka as they embark on this journey of building a truly reconciled and united people and nation.
The Commission of Enquiry was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010, among other things, to look into the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on 21 February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th of May 2009 (when the LTTE was defeated in a bloody civil war); whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears the responsibility for alleged human rights abuses especially towards the end of the war; whether there are any lessons to be learned from those events in order to ensure that there will be no repeat of these events; the methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events can be effected; the institutional, administrative and legislative measures to be taken to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future; and to promote national unity and reconciliation among all communities.
Enquiries: Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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For further details Colombo Telegraph reproduced ANC statement issued on 6 May 2011 below when the UN Panel Report was released:
Author : Ebrahim Ebrahim
AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
SOUTH AFRICA’S NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT
ANC statement on the UN panel of experts` recommendations on Sri Lanka
6 May 2011
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, had appointed a Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability in the Sri Lankan conflict. Amongst those who served on the panel is Yasmin Sooka, a prominent South African jurist. The Panel of Experts concluded that there were serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The African National Congress has consistently condemned any act of violation of human rights in all conflict areas. We therefore urge all conflicting parties to resolve problems through peaceful dialogue and negotiation. We have noted, with regret, that breakdown of the ceasefire and the negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE led to a military solution of resolving the problems.
The ANC supports the recommendations of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts that called for the establishment of an independent body to investigate all violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws committed in the conflict.
We also call on the government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to address the core grievances of the Tamil population and engage in a genuine reconciliation process.
Head of International Relations
Dr Ebrahim Ebrahim
African National Congress
Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930