Partners of the National Government are to reach common ground on issues before the UN Human Rights Council sessions later this month. That will include the formal response to the report on the Investigations on Sri Lanka (OISL) and matters relating to the domestic inquiry mechanism the Government wants to adopt.
This will be one of the highlights of an extended Memorandum of Understanding which the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will agree upon, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema told the Sunday Times yesterday.
An advance copy of the OISL report is expected to be presented to President Maithripala Sirisena next week. Thereafter the report will be formally presented to the Council at its 29th sessions which begin on September 15. The mandate of the OISL required it to undertake investigations into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and crimes by troops and the Tiger guerrillas.
The resolution’s main sponsor, the United States, has already welcomed the Government’s move for a domestic mechanism to investigate alleged war crimes. For this purpose, the US will together with Sri Lanka move a fresh resolution. The first formal draft of the resolution is expected to be known in Geneva later this month.
Among the other highlights of the extended Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be reaching a common approach on other international and trade union issues. Mr. Samarawickrema said the extended MOU would be signed after the swearing in of a few more ministers and deputy ministers.
“The MOU will include an understanding on taking joint positions regarding important issues such as the ethnic issue and on international issues such as the call for an investigation on alleged war crimes,” he said.
Mr. Samarawickrema said the MOU would include provisions where the two sides could continue to protect the interest of the two parties and work together for the next two years.
Minister Duminda Dissanayake, who is also the SLFP’s Acting General Secretary, said the MOU would ensure that both parties would be given equal position. “This will prevent harassment in workplaces where workers are penalised as they belong to one party. Trade unions from both parties will be given equal recognition,” he added.
He said protecting the rights of the War Heroes who were responsible for liberating the country would also be included in the MOU. “Unity among the parties whenever there is an international issue and protecting the unitary status too will also be included in the MOU,” he said.