SLMC To Discuss Probe & We Are Ready To Deal With The Consequences – Government

dummiesBy Waruni Karunarathne

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is to take a stand tomorrow on the motion submitted to Parliament against the proposed investigation led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The motion that was submitted to Parliament recently will be taken up for debate this week but the SLMC said it will decide its position tomorrow.

“The SLMC will meet tomorrow to discuss several matters including the motion against the OHCHR investigation in Sri Lanka. At the meeting tomorrow, we will decide whether to support the motion or not,” SLMC General Secretary Hasan Ali said.

Meanwhile the main opposition United National Party (UNP) had on Friday urged the Government to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the proposed investigation over the war in Sri Lanka.

A statement by the UNP said that the Government should at least present to the investigators the crimes committed by the LTTE. “By blanket refusal to engage with the team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Sri Lanka is admitting guilt and depriving itself of an opportunity to make its case,” the UNP said.

The UNP said that it has repeatedly asked the government to address the international challenges head on, rather than hiding behind a nationalist, jingoist propaganda veil because the government should realize that there is a serious issue of human rights violations in the country.

We Are Ready To Deal With The Consequences – Government

The Government last week informed the UN Human Rights Council it will not cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the investigation on the war in Sri Lanka.  

The main point the Government raised was that it had already rejected the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council under which the investigation was approved. Government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told The Sunday Leader the Government is ready to face the repercussions, if any, which may result from the Government refusing to accept an investigation approved by a UN body.

Here are excerpts of the interview:

By Megara Tegal

Q: Does the Government feel blocking a probe approved by a UN body will not have any serious repercussions?
A: Right at the beginning when Ms. Navi Pillay made the statement and gave the report, G.L Peiris stated the report was biased, unilateral, and cannot be accepted. We made it very clear the resolution itself is false, unfair, lacks facts and not acceptable. Even when the resolution was passed 14 countries were against it and 13 abstained.

They were vociferously against the resolution and said it lacked clarity. Our position still stands, and we are ready to deal with the consequences. We have made our observations very clear.

Q: Will the Government raise objections if people give evidence from within Sri Lanka to the OHCHR commission over the phone or some form of video link with the assistance of organisations in Sri Lanka?
A: It does not matter. Our observation stands, and whatever technology used is futile.

Q: If the Government has nothing to hide why prevent a UN approved investigation from taking place in Sri Lanka?
A: It is not a question of hiding. The resolution itself is false. The manner in which it has been compiled, brought in, and information collected has not been carried out correctly.

Q: Are there concerns the OHCHR investigation will not look at crimes committed by the LTTE?
A: First anything to do with the UN resolution and anything related to it is illegal. According to them the LTTE does not exist in military or ground level. As I have mentioned earlier the data collected is not correct. The LTTE Diaspora supporters have been involved in bringing in the resolution itself. In addition, we feel that the LTTE has in fact been involved partly in bringing in the resolution. And yet the LTTE has been proscribed by 28 countries including Australia and the US.

Q: Will the Government have some programmes in place to counter the effects of the outcome of the OHCHR probe? 
A: We are having discussions and we will continue to do so.