Geneva Resolution encapsulates pledge in 100-day programme-FM spokesperson

article_imageBy Shamindra Ferdinando

The Foreign Ministry says the Oct 1 Geneva Resolution encapsulates what was promised by the new administration during its 100-day programme and subsequently stated at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sept. 14 last year.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne was responding to a query by The Island whether UNHRC or some members of the Geneva-based body had sought clarification from the Foreign Ministry as regards recent contradictory statement pertaining to Geneva Resolution made by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Island also asked whether the Foreign Ministry had briefed or reassured UNHRC regarding Sri Lanka’s commitment to Oct 1, 2015 Geneva Resolution.

Spokesperson Colonne said: “No to both. What the government of Sri Lanka has committed to her people already in the 100 Day Work Programme and set out in the UNHRC on 14 September was what was encapsulated in the resolution.”

Colonne was referring to a Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s statement in Geneva.

President Maithripala Sirisena in recent interviews with the BBC and Al Jazeera had ruled out the possibility of having foreign judges in the proposed court to inquire into accountabity issues as envisaged in the Oct. 1 Resolution.

The issue is expected to be taken up during a four-day visit undertaken by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The Geneva delegation is scheduled to arrive on February 6.

High Commissioner’s spokesperson Rupert Colville said he couldn’t respond to several queries raised by The Island as he had been unable to contact their ‘main Sri Lanka expert’ as well as High Commissioner who was travelling. The Island: “Recently, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena issued a statement contrary to Oct 1, 2015 Geneva Resolution. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, subsequently, clarified Sri Lanka’s position. Premier assured Sri Lanka’s commitment to the Oct. 1 Resolution. My queries (1) Did UNHRC seek a clarification from the government regarding its stand?

(2) Will UNHRC Chief take up this issue during his visit to Colombo ?

(3) Did UNHRC receive representations from members of the UN body as well as other interested parties such as the GTF regarding the Sri Lankan President’s statement?”