By Saman Indrajith
Leader of the House Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella, yesterday, tabled in Parliament the full text of resolution submitted to the UNHRC on Sri Lanka on Monday by Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Participating in the committee stage of the budget debate under the expenditure headings of the Office of the President, Prime Minister and Ministry of Defence, Kiriella said that the six nations had welcomed the recent developments towards reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Kirielle said that Sri Lanka should not amend that resolution which was favourable to it. “This is a good resolution. I want to know why some are trying to amend this. I ask Mahinda Samarasinghe why you want to change this. We must understand our responsibilities. The executive has its own responsibilities, we have our responsibilities as the legislature and the courts have their own responsibilities. In the same way we should know our limits. The President should understand his limits. If we try to step on the toes of each other then there will be chaos. He showed that he does not know his limits. We made him the President. He made the one who had been defeated the Prime Minister. That was against the mandate.”
Tabling the document the Minister said that separate resolutions should not be sent to the UNHRC.
Full text of the resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka:
The Human Rights Council, reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments, reaffirming Human Rights Council resolutions 30/1 of 1 October 2015 and 34/1 of 23 March 2017 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,
Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 19/2 of 22 March 2012, 22/1 of 21 March 2013 and 25/1 of 27 March 2014, reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population, reaffirming also its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, recognizing the strong role played by Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions in the peaceful resolution of the political situation that arose in Sri Lanka from October to December 2018, welcoming the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons in September 2017 and the appointment of its Commissioners in February 2018 and the assumption of its work to fully implement its mandate, welcoming also the visits made by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter terrorism from 10 to 14 July 2017, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence from 10 to 23 October 2017, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention from 4 to 15 December 2017 and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of human rights from 3 to 11 September 2018, noting with appreciation the return of some private land previously occupied by the military to civilian ownership while recalling repeated public commitments by the Government of Sri Lanka to release all private land occupied by the military, to enable local populations to resume livelihoods, noting other steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to implement Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, including progress towards establishing an Office on Reparations and the submission to cabinet of a concept paper on a Bill to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the proposed repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1978 and the preparation of a draft Counter Terrorism Act, while reiterating in this context the need for further significant progress and encouraging in this regard the adoption of a time-bound implementation strategy,
1. Takes note with appreciation of the comprehensive report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its fortieth session, as requested by the Council in its resolution 34/1, and requests the Government of Sri Lanka to implement fully the measures identified by the Council in its resolution 30/1 that are outstanding;
2. Welcomes the positive engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner since October 2015, and with relevant special procedure mandate holders, and encourages the continuation of that engagement in the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka;
3. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, to continue to strengthen their advice and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka;
4. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-third session, and a comprehensive report, followed by a discussion on the implementation of Council resolution 30/1, at its forty-sixth session.