In its handling of the country’s foreign policy, the new Government has decided to look afresh at the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), a deputy minister said yesterday. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ajith P. Perera told Daily Mirror that he and Minister Mangala Samaraweera discussed this matter soon after assuming duties on Tuesday.
“We have to prioritize our engagement with this investigation process. We had a discussion in this regard,” Minister Perera said adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would focus on the appointment of career diplomats and professionals to the Foreign Service while reducing the number of political appointments.
The investigative mechanism, for the probe on Sri Lanka, was set up in conformity with the resolutions adopted in March last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The resolution mandated the High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability with the assistance of relevant experts and special procedures by mandate holders.
The High Commissioner appointed three experts, Martti Ahtisaari — former President of Finland; Silvia Cartwright — former High Court Judge of New Zealand and Asma Jahangir — former President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, to play a supportive and advisory role, as well as an independent verification throughout the investigation.
The OHCHR had set up October 30, 2014 as the initial deadline for submissions. The High Commissioner is expected to submit this report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during its session in March, this year. (Kelum Bandara)
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