President to attend the UNHRC sessions ?

unhrcSri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has informed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that he wishes to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in September when a crucial report on Sri Lanka is expected to be submitted.

During a telephone conversation between Ban and Sirisena on Thursday, the Sri Lankan president said that he wishes to travel to Geneva to attend the September sessions after the establishment of a new government in the island nation.

President Sirisena had recently said that a new government will be in place by September and parliamentary elections are expected anytime soon.

“The president said that he wished to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council session scheduled to begin in September in Geneva after the establishment of the new government in Sri Lanka, ” a statement by the President’s office said here on Friday.

During the conversation, Ban Ki-moon also assured UN support for the work done by the Sri Lankan government and appreciated the new government’s forward march under the leadership of President Sirisena, which builds peace and reconciliation in the country while protecting democratic rights of the people, the statement added.

Sirisena defeated former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a presidential election in January and soon after, his government won a six-month delay in the publication of a UN report on alleged war crimes which are said to have taken place mostly in the final months of the country’s civil conflict between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The UN Human Rights Council voted last year to investigate war crimes in the island nation, saying former President Rajapaksa had failed to do so properly and a report was expected to be submitted to the Council in March by U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

Al-Hussein however said he had recommended deferral of the team ‘s report until September, and the president of the Human Rights Council had agreed, given “the changing context in Sri Lanka, and the possibility that important new information may emerge which will strengthen the report.”

 Full text of the statement follows;

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appreciated the new Government’s forward march under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, which builds peace and reconciliation in the country while protecting democratic rights of the People.

He made these observations in a telephone conversation with the President today (4). He also commended the firm commitment by President Sirisena to implement the 19 Amendment to the Constitution.

The UN Secretary General further said that he is expecting a speedy implementation of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The UN Secretary General was told that a new electoral system will be implemented under the 20th Amendment.

The President said that he wish to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September after the establishment of the new Government in Sri Lanka.

In the telephone conversation with the President today the Secretary General gave the assurances of UN support for the work done by the Government. (President.lk)

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