Zeid holds talks with North CM, IDPs and families of missing

BY ANANTH PALAKIDNAR

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has categorically told the Northern Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran that there would be no advocacy from the UN for the general amnesty of political prisoners.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights met the Northern Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran at his office in Jaffna at 10:00 a.m. yesterday.
The UN High Commissioner and the Northern Chief Minister discussed the post-war humanitarian issues extensively at the meeting.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran sought the UN High Commissioner’s assistance in releasing the Tamil political prisoners.
Wigneswaran also mentioned that the Tamil political prisoners have been detained for a lengthy period without any trial. “On humanitarian grounds the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must assist in releasing the Tamil political prisoners”, Wigneswaran said.
Responding to the Chief Minister citing certain bitter experiences the UN has faced in the Middle East, Zeid Ra’ad Hussein said that there would be no more advocacies from UN for the release of the political prisoners as a result.
Wigneswaran replying to the UN High Commissioner said that hundreds of JVP militants in 1971 and Tamil militants in 1987 and thereafter the war ended in 2009 were given general amnesty by the Government.
Therefore the Tamil political prisoners presently detained without any trail should be released.
Wigneswaran also said that if the UN High Commission was not in a position for the advocacy of political prisoners, the UN should emphasize to the Lankan Government the necessity of expediting the legal process with regard to the early release of Tamil political prisoners.
The UN Commissioner responded positively for the request made by the Chief Minister to urge the Government to expedite the legal process for the early release of Tamil political prisoners.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran also submitted a detailed report on the military presence in the Northern Province and told UN official that the military presence in the North should be reduced drastically.
During the discussion Zeid Ra’ad Hussein explained the Chief Minister that the main purpose of his visit to the Island was to observe the developments reached in the implementation of the Human Rights in the Island and the progress made with regard to the Geneva resolutions.
Wigneswaran pointed out the need of an international mechanism for the investigations into the alleged war crimes in the country. The Chief Minister emphasized that the UN should not deviate from its position on making the Government conduct a credible investigation on the atrocities committed during the war.
The UN High Commissioner said that his office would not let down the people affected by war and stand by them in their effort to seek justice.
The UN High Commissioner also visited the IDP camps in Jaffna and assured the inmates that he would do everything for the early return to their original places of residence.
When the discussion between the Chief Minister and the UN official was in progress, the families of the disappeared persons and the Tamil political prisoners stood outside the Chief Minister’s office to highlight their grievances to the UN High Commissioner.
Zeid Ra’ad also met the Northern Governor yesterday.