UNP: US resolution not inimical to Sri Lanka


by Franklin R. Satyapalan Dasun Edirisinghe and By Ravi Ladduwahetty

United National Party Kandy District MP and the Party’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Lakshman Kiriella yesterday said that the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the just concluded sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was not inimical to this country.

"This is certainly not inimical to Sri Lanka and this is for the benefit of all Sri Lankans," Kiriella told The Island last night.

He said that the resolution had referred to the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which stressed the need to investigate widespread allegations of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances, reevaluate detention policies demilitarization of the North of Sri Lanka, implement land resolution mechanisms, reach a political settlement of the devolution of power and a host of others which were good for the country.

" Don’t you think that it is good to stop extra judicial killings or do you think that these killings should go on?" he queried.

"This is what we have been telling the government in parliament and outside, which the government did not heed. If it had listened to us, it would not have been in this predicament and the implementation of the LLRC was exactly what we also wanted the government to do," he said

In 2009, the country emerged victorious at the UNHRC sessions, but this time around it had lost many friends internationally and had to lose the resolution,Kirielle said. "It is of no use talking of the past, now the time has come for us to see how we could get out of this situation."

The MP said if the government failed to implement what it had been asked to, the terms of the resolution would invite further trouble by way of an international probe followed by its economic consequences.

The Kandy District MP said that in keeping with the resolution the country had to first implement the LLRC recommendations and secondly inquire into serious human rights violations allegedly committed during the last stages of the war. "So, if we don’t implement the resolution there is a danger of an international inquiry by the United Nations," he warned, adding that if the government did not implement the UNHRC resolution it would be inviting an international inquiry and certainly as a country SriLanka had to honour the resolution whether it liked it or not.

MP Kirielle said the UNP would help the government implement the LLRC proposals and if any member of the UPFA government were to walk out in dissent. "We are willing to give stability and support to the government.

If the government were to lose its two-thirds majority in Parliament the UNP would help muster the required numbers, Kirielle said.

"If one had watched the proceedings on Thursday, starting with the European Union, UNHRC, Amnesty International and the Crisis group urged the assembly not to give Sri Lanka any time. But, anyhow I think with the intervention of India the council has given us 12 months time," he said.

The MP claimed that the government had failed to maintain good relations with India. "It is very important that we engage and maintain good relations with India. If one cannot maintain good relations with India, how could one have good relations internationally?"

Kiriella also made the following observations:

"So, we urge the government to discuss with the Opposition, Civil Society groups, Academics and religious leaders and implement the LLRC recommendations without delay.

"Had the government listened to us this situation would not have arisen. We have been telling the government, soon after the war, to start on a new journey but the government did not heed our advice and became more and more dictatorial.

"We told the government not to do away with the 17th amendment, to uphold human rights, stop the abductions, Inquire into disappearances and not to harass the media, but the government did not heed this at all. The government did not engage in a dialogue with the Opposition and they became more and more arrogant after the completion of the war.

"If we fail or delay to implement the UNHRC resolution within the next 12 months, we would be inviting an international inquiry by the UN like what happened to Sudan.

"Because of the government’s ineffectiveness and inefficiency they are driving the country and people to a very critical situation.

"The government is trying to save itself and in the process they are driving the country and people to misery and if the government does delay or fails to implement the LLRC recommendations within the next 12 months the country would have to face an international inquiry and economic consequences."

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