An Echelon Media Company
Monday October 18th, 2021
International Relations

Sri Lanka not in a position to “fully accept” UNHRC remarks: Keheliya

ECONOMYNEXT – The government is not in a position to fully accept the remarks made about Sri Lanka at the 45th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week, co-cabinet spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Since the end of civil war in 2009 the UNHRC has been making false allegations about war crimes, he said, trying to paint Sri Lanka as a barbaric state.

Referring to a comment made by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet about the appointment of senior army officials to key positions in the government, Rambukwella said that some army officers retire before the age 55, so if they had performed exceptionally when considering their background then there should be some fairness in giving them some position in the government following standard procedure.

Earlier this week the UN human rights chief raised concerns over the purported appointment of senior military officials accused of war crimes to key civilian positions as well as alleged attempts at the police and judiciary levels to thwart investigations into said crimes, which she said sets a “very negative trend”.

Acting Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dayani Mendis in her speech at the UNHRC’s 45th session on Tuesday (15) rejected the references made to what she called false and unsubstantiated allegations levelled against said military officials.

“Sri Lanka has consistently refuted the credibility of these allegations and wishes to highlight that the domestic processes such as the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) and Paranagama Commissions that examined these allegations particularly with regard to the last stages of the conflict have not found substantive evidence against any of the senior military officials referred to in this regard.

“In the absence of any substantive proof, Sri Lanka considers that the continued arbitrary accusations on crimes or crimes against humanity made against these senior military officials are unacceptable and a violation of the principles of natural justice,” she said.

Rambukwella speaking to reporters today said the UNHRC’s latest observations are a continuation of past comments on the country.

“If we surrender as a country we would have to accept everything that is said by the UNHRC as true,” he added.

He also dismissed the previous government’s interest in the conduct of the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war by the previous government was part of what he called the NGO agenda pushed in 2015.

“So we have to decide whether we are going to surrender ourselves to that agenda. The 30/1 resolution was brought in without the approval of the cabinet and it is that document that is still haunting us,” he said. (Colombo/Sep17/2020)


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