UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakse told reporters today that the unlike policies and laws changing in Sri Lanka when a new Minister or Government takes office, internationally the same practice is not followed.
The Government had said yesterday it hopes the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, will take note of the concerns Sri Lanka had on the former High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, and carry out his duties in an unbiased manner.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein took over from Pillay yesterday and Government spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters in Kandy yesterday the Government will look at Prince Zeid taking office in a positive manner.
Rajapakse however noted that when an institution like the UN takes a decision it will not change that decision just because there is a change in the official in charge. (Colombo Gazette)
Request from UN Experts Group on Disappearances
BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody for ceylontoday.lk
The government yesterday said it would consider whether the specific request, from the United Nations (UN) working groups on disappearances, was reasonable and acceptable to grant entry, but noted it was a duplication of the exercise as the government too had appointed a commission to probe disappearances, Presidential Media Spokesman, Mohan Samaranayake said.
UN expert groups, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, requested governments the world over, ‘to support relatives of the disappeared by removing all obstacles hindering their search for loved ones, including through the opening of all archives, especially military files.’ “We already have appointed the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons. An investigation into cases of disappearances is proceeding. Therefore, we see no necessity for another special body to be here for the same purpose,” he opined.
Minister of Mass Media and Information, Keheliya Rambukwella, while endorsing Samaranayake’s view, added that the government had no issue, since there was a Commission appointed in that regard and as long as it worked genuinely, there were no impediments to the process of establishing the fate of disappeared persons.
However, the Minister did not comment as to whether the government would consider the establishment of national gene banks to hold deoxyribonucleic acid samples of all cases reported.
A statement, released from Geneva, says,
“The search for disappeared family members and, in many cases, the identification of discovered remains, is always the most pressing request of relatives who endure tremendous suffering in their long wait to know the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones. Many relatives face unjustified hurdles in their search, due to the lack of political will, or insufficient and inadequate investigations.
“States should ensure that relatives, their representatives and all persons with a legitimate interest in finding out what happened have full and prompt access to national, regional and international mechanisms aimed at establishing the truth on the disappearances. This does not just mean removing obstacles to accessing these mechanisms, but actively promoting and facilitating their use.
“The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance is clear: families and friends of a disappeared person are themselves victims and they have the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of the enforced disappearance, the progress and results of the investigation, and ultimately the fate of the disappeared persons.”