BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody and Rathinda Kuruwita
MPs, Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila and Dinesh Gunawardena will carry out an all-out attack on the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Resolution in Parliament on 22 and 23 October, the Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR) noted.
Talks of reconciliation and transitional justice is pointless without the release of the Udalagama and Paranagama Presidential Commission of Inquiry reports to the public domain, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE ) and the CHR opined, adding that the said reports were the ‘bare minimum’ necessary to begin a new domestic investigation.
It is also clear that these two Commissions have interviewed a large number of persons (including family members) who have lost their loved ones and have recorded extensive statements from thousands of individuals, the CHR mentioned, highlighting that since we have seen them repeat the same story, each time having to relive their sorrow, leaving them paralyzed for days, we see no reason to subject the same individuals to go through the same process through another ‘credible and independent mechanism or institution’.
Executive Director of CaFFE Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said there were hardliners in Parliament who had reservations about the resolution would regroup and use the month leading up to debate on the Appropriation Bill for 2016 to mobilize public opinion in this regard.
They believe that the allegations on Human Rights violations are exaggerated, they resent any attempts to prosecute members of the armed forces and more than anything else they are suspicious of foreign involvement in domestic judicial affairs, he noted, adding that while this was not the majority, it was important to address their concerns.
“These MPs who have formed a new front called the ‘Movement for the Protection of the Motherland’ will conduct a series of campaigns against the Geneva Resolution. They will demand that the government completely discard the resolution and take the position that significant Human Rights violations have not taken place in Sri Lanka. These commissions were appointed by the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We are also aware that former Director Special Forces John Holmes contributed to the Paranagama Commission and former UN Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leone Queen’s Counsel Sir Desmond De Silva has played a major role in writing the report,” he observed.