UN yet to decide on accountability process

unStéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General answering a question on Sri Lanka at the Press Briefing on 31 July 2015 said the UN is yet to decide whether there will be a domestic or international accountability mechanism to deal with the findings of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation into Sri Lanka.

Question:  Sure.  I have some other questions, but yesterday I’d asked you about Sri Lanka and this memo that’s emerged where the UN appears to be working for a purely national mechanism.  And the foreign ministry spokesman there has spoken today about Mr. Feltman’s trip and has mentioned the Peacebuilding Fund.  So I wanted to ask you more specifically, is Mr. Taranco and the Peacebuilding Fund considering funding a purely national accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka contrary to what’s been said here and to the Human Rights Council report that’s due in September?

Spokesman:  I think what I can tell you is that the UN supports the Government and the people of Sri Lanka and their efforts to advance reconciliation and accountability as evidenced by commitments made by the Secretary General and during the Under-Secretary-General’s recent visit — Feltman’s recent visit to Sri Lanka.  In this regard, we’re exploring provision of a broad package of technical and financial assistance at the request of the Chief Minister, also including the support of the Northern Province to bolster citizen confidence in the peace process.  What is currently under discussion for support by the Peacebuilding Fund are initiatives to advance the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka by resettlement of internally displaced persons, national reconciliation, strengthening human rights mechanism, and ending impunity.  The UN support is always based on the basis of inclusive and participatory consultations with all key stakeholders.  And my understanding is that already $1 million have been already dispersed to support resettlement and integration initiatives for the remaining internally displaced people in the north and east on land that’s been… on seized land that have been returned by the Government.  For the rest, we continue to consult with the Government of Sri Lanka and the Northern Provincial Council and all key stakeholders to finalize the UN support.

Question:  Are you saying this Peacebuilding Fund… because I’m looking at the document, and… and… are you saying that the Peacebuilding Fund support is not for an accountability mechanism that would be entirely national, which is the one denounced by the Tamil group that you mentioned?

Spokesman:  You know, I think the… whether there should be domestic or international process, the… I think what we are looking at is obviously implementing projects both with the support of the Government and the Northern Provincial Council.  If I have more, I will share it with you.

Question:  What about an international mechanism?

Spokesman:  I think, you know, whether it’s domestic or international, that will need to be determined.  We are obviously awaiting the High Commissioner’s report and recommendations to make that decision.

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