UN told that Sri Lanka will chart its own course on reconciliation

Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations/Un.org

Sri Lanka told a United Nations Security Council debate in New York on Thursday that it will chart its own course towards reconciliation to ensure sustainability.

Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne, Colombo’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said that timelines “evolved externally in achieving stated objectives would only seek to hinder the process of reconciliation since they would be bereft of ground realities.

Senewiratne was participating in one day debate at the UN Security Council titled “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Transitional Justice in conflict and post-conflict situations,” on Thursday.

The one day debate was held on the initiative of Belgium which is the current chair of the UNSC.

She added that when seeking mechanisms of transitional justice, related simple theories would need to also take cognizance of the various historical, cultural and religious sensitivities, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Relations said.

Ambassador Senewiratne stated that the basic tenet of a transitional justice process is the application of its theoretical principles on State obligations and it is the State that needs to pursue truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. She further explained that the post conflict milieu of each country is unique and those traversing the path of post-conflict transition and reconciliation have often made deliberate efforts to maintain a balance between the speed of the transitional justice process and desired standard which includes inclusiveness and the sustainability.

She pointed out that the newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa having pledged to work towards guaranteeing human rights and political and economic freedom for his people in a truly democratic Sri Lanka.

She observed that promoting a peaceful, just and reconciled society is not only an objective in itself, but also a pre-requisite for a sustainable and inclusive approach to development that leaves no one behind. The Permanent Representative upheld that as a sovereign State, Sri Lanka will continue to establish its own priorities towards this end, adding that the country’s experience has taught that certain lessons can be learnt from others, but that it is imperative to chart its own path to reconciliation in order for it to be sustainable.

Ambassador Senewiratne informed the Security Council that Sri Lanka’s engagement at the debate was in keeping with the Government’s vision for a country that embodies the universal values of human rights, justice, rule of law and good governance, while ensuring economic dividends to its people. She concluded, that Sri Lanka looks forward to continuing its cooperation with the international community through capacity building and technical assistance in mutually agreed areas, in keeping with domestic priorities and policies.

-Arjuna Ranawana