TNA pledges fullest support for implementing UNHRC resolution

Welcoming the UNHRC resolution calling for a probe into the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Saturday pledged its fullest cooperation for implementation of the recommendations therein.

Full text of the TNA statement: The Tamil National Alliance welcomes the passage of today’s resolution on Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council. We welcome, in particular, Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the resolution indicating their willingness to implement it in full. The TNA has already welcomed the tabling of the draft last week after consensus was reached, and reiterate those sentiments. We hope that the spirit of cooperation that enabled consensus will animate the government’s work in implementing this historic resolution.

Thursday’s resolution reflects a difficult consensus, and involved the weakening of some paragraphs in the original draft resolution and the strengthening of others. We are deeply mindful that any perceived compromise causes hurt to those most traumatized by the horrific crimes that have been committed in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, the resolution – if implemented – provides a genuine opportunity for real progress on accountability and reconciliation. We are grateful to the co-sponsors of the resolution for engaging with the TNA throughout the process, and accommodating our concerns and views.

We welcome the Resolution’s encouragement of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner’s Report. In this regard, we urge the government to implement the resolution in a spirit of honesty and cooperation, in particular, the Council’s affirmation of the need for the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers in a court enabled to try international crimes, through a Special Counsel for prosecutions. We also note the critical importance of the government’s commitment to a political settlement through necessary constitutional measures. Other important guarantees include those concerning the review and repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act; the review of the Public Security Ordinance; the review of the Victims and Witness Protection Act and strengthened witness protection in the operationalization of the Act; a new office to trace missing persons; the acceleration of the return of lands to owners; the vetting of security sector employees through a fair administrative process; the ratification of the Disappearances Convention and criminalization of enforced disappearances; ending military involvement in civilian activities; restoring normality in civilian life; and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures.

It is now incumbent on the government to implement the resolution. The resolution, by itself, will not win back the confidence of victims. That would require meaningful implementation in a spirit of cooperation. We call on the government to exhibit the courage to create a conducive atmosphere for implementation.

As stakeholders in the process of accountability in Sri Lanka, we will fully support the implementation of the recommendations of the OISL Report and the resolution. To this end, we will continue to engage all domestic and international stakeholders, including the Government of Sri Lanka. We hope that today’s resolution will mark the beginning of a new chapter in Sri Lanka’s quest for reconciliation.