Britain and US hails appointment of experts

Marie-Harf-533x300British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has welcomed the appointment of a team of experts to investigate alleged abuses in Sri Lanka.

Hague said the investigation is an important step in establishing the truth and facilitating reconciliation within Sri Lanka.

A statement by the UN Commissioner, made yesterday, announces the appointment of international experts to the team investigating alleged abuses by both parties to the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. It also urges the Sri Lankan government to cooperate with the investigation.

“I welcome Navi Pillay’s announcement on the appointment of experts to the Sri Lanka investigation established by the March Human Rights Council. The UK has always supported calls for this investigation and played a key role in securing it. This investigation is an important step in establishing the truth and facilitating reconciliation within Sri Lanka. The inclusion of Martti Artisaahri, Silvia Cartwright and Asma Jahangir completes a strong team with a clear mandate from the UN Human Rights Council,” he said.

The British Foreign secretary strongly urged the government of Sri Lanka to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner and the investigation and to ensure those engaging with the investigation can do so without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

“I also continue to urge the government of Sri Lanka to take meaningful, concrete steps to implement fully the actions called for in the March 2014 Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to address fully concerns related to political settlement, reconciliation, justice and accountability, both present day and from the period of the armed conflict,” he said.

The British Foreign Secretary said that as ever, the British Government stands ready to assist Sri Lanka in facilitating progress on these issues. (Colombo Gazette)

US tells Lanka to take concrete steps

The United States (US) has urged the Sri Lankan Government to take concrete steps to address outstanding concerns related to democratic governance, human rights, reconciliation, justice, and accountability.

Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson at the US State Department said that the US welcomed the announcement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the distinguished experts who will advise the panel conducting the international investigation into the alleged human rights violations and related crimes in Sri Lanka, as called for in the March 2014 Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka.

“We strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner and its investigation. We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its obligations to its own people and to take meaningful, concrete steps to address outstanding concerns related to democratic governance, human rights, reconciliation, justice, and accountability. The United States stands ready to assist Sri Lanka in facilitating progress on these issues,” she said.

Pillay announced yesterday that three distinguished experts have agreed to advise and support the team set up to conduct a comprehensive investigation of alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as mandated by the Human Rights Council in March.

The investigation will look into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the last years of the armed conflict.

The experts are Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who has also served as a UN diplomat and mediator and is renowned for his international peace work, Ms Silvia Cartwright, former Governor-General and High Court judge of New Zealand, and judge of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia, as well as former member of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and Ms Asma Jahangir, former President of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association and of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, previous holder of several Human Rights Council mandates and member of a recent fact-finding body into Israeli settlements. (Colombo Gazette)