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Sri Lanka facing war crimes probe calls for Convention on Int’l terrorism


Sri Lanka has called for a comprehensive Convention on international terrorism as quickly as possible.

Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe made the appeal on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena at the XVII Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement in Venezuela.

Taking part in interactive debate on "Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development," Minister Samarasinghe said: "Terrorism remains

one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and all its forms and manifestations must be condemned. Sri Lanka underscores the need to strengthen cooperation to fight this scourge and reaffirms the importance to conclude a comprehensive convention on International Terrorism at the earliest."

Sri Lanka is facing war crimes probe in the wake of her triumph over LTTE terrorism. Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council on Oct 1, 2015 adopted a Resolution to pave the way for a hybrid court though the government repeatedly assured that foreign judges wouldn’t be accommodated on the proposed court.

Minister Samarasinghe said that the world was confronted with a number of challenges: ranging from terrorism, and religious extremism, social upheaval, conflicts, the plight of refugees, mass migration, social inequity, erosion of human rights, scarcity of resources, vulnerabilities in the global economy and environmental challenges from climate change that pose risk to our socio economic development.

"In an increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent global landscape, these challenges increasingly cut across national borders that necessitate cooperation and partnership. Never has there been more a pressing need to find collective solutions."

Minister Samarasinghe tackled several issues including development, South-South Cooperation, climate change, biological diversity, disaster management, information and communication technology, advancement of women as well as education.

Commenting on the ‘Rule of Law and Good Governance,’ Minister Samarasinghe said: "The National Unity Alliance Government of Sri Lanka under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, came into office on a mandate given by the people of the country, at two successive elections in January and August last year, committed to good governance, the rule of law and protection of human rights.

The government is firmly convinced that durable peace, meaningful reconciliation and non-recurrence can only be guaranteed if the rights of all its citizens are protected and upheld and respect for our pluralistic society. The government is now in the process of drafting our national human rights action plan for the period 2017-2021. We have already undertaken constitutional reforms to strengthen democracy and have now embarked on a comprehensive constitutional reform process that will lay the foundations for a new society based on these norms."

Minister Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka supported the call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and it was at the 5th NAM Summit in Colombo, where calls were made for the First UN Special Session Devoted to Disarmament.

"We need to redouble efforts towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and stress the need for the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, and to this end Sri Lanka supports the call for early commencement of the negotiation of a comprehensive legally binding international instrument, to prohibit the use, possession, as well as production and transfer of nuclear weapons- in order to achieve the common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

We are therefore concerned about the recent nuclear tests conducted in violation of international obligations that adversely impacts peace and stability in North East Asia."

Sri Lanka also stressed the importance of the maintenance of peace and stability, in the international arena while calling for the settlement of all disputes and differences by peaceful means through negotiation, consultation, arbitration or judicial settlements in conformity with the UN Charter and principles of international law.

Minister Samarasinghe pointed out that one key global issue that continued to demand the attention of our movement was the Palestine issue. The minister said: "After almost seven decades, it is deeply regretted that the settlement of the Palestinian issue remains unsolved. Sri Lanka reaffirms its steadfast support to the Palestinian cause.

Sri Lanka supports the implementation of UN General Assembly Resolutions regarding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, so that they can live in peace in dignity and the attainment of a two State solution."

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