UK notes establishing truth key

British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire

The British Government says establishing the truth over the events which allegedly took place in Sri Lanka during the war is a key step towards reconciliation.

British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said that while the UN Human Rights Council has agreed to delay publishing the report based on the investigations on Sri Lanka, the British Government remains firmly behind publishing it in September.

Meanwhile the London based Amnesty International said that the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to delay, until September, the release of a key report into widespread human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka must not allow the perpetrators of horrific crimes during the country’s armed conflict to escape punishment.

“Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations deserve truth and justice. Survivors of torture, including sexual abuse, people whose family members were killed or forcibly disappeared have waited a long time for this report,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“A delay is only justifiable if more time will lead to a stronger document and to a concrete commitment by the new Sri Lankan authorities to actively pursue accountability. This includes by co-operating with the UN to investigate conflict-era abuses and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Amnesty International said the Human Rights Council must also be vigilant and ensure that all those coming forward to give testimony are protected from any potential threats from those who do not want justice to prevail.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said yesterday “I give my personal, absolute and unshakeable commitment that the report will be published by September” and that he had received a clear commitment from the new Sri Lankan authorities to cooperate on various issues related to the UN investigation. (Colombo Gazette)

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