The ‘implementation’ of the UN resolution on Sri Lanka “is the key” for reconciliation and lasting peace is the island nation, says Julian Braithwaite, the UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative for Geneva.
Noting that it was “extremely important that the issue is coming back here to the 32 nd session of the UN Human Rights Council this month,” he said that the resolution passed in September last year was hugely crucial for Sri Lanka as it set up “the path way for reconciliation and the process for peace building after so many years of conflict.
“But the implementation is the key. It’s all about implementation on the ground. We know how difficult that is and we know politically it remain difficult. But we delighted that this issue is coming back here,” Ambassador Julian Braithwaite told Ceylonews in an exclusive interview at the UNHRC complex in Geneva.
“The High Commission will be giving his update and the Human Rights Council will be able to again fully endorse the process and provide its support to progress in implementation of the resolution that we believe and we all fervently hope will lead to the reconciliation and the accountability that is so necessary for lasting peace, democracy and reconciliation between the communities in Sri Lanka”.
UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the opening day of the 32 nd session on Monday said that Sri Lanka requires “a comprehensive strategy on transitional justice” to fulfil its international commitment to implement the UN resolution.
Prince Zeid also said the process “will require the inclusive and meaningful engagement of all Sri Lankans”.
Asked whether the High Commissioner’s statement was an indication that Sri Lanka doesn’t have a comprehensive strategy in its current approach, Ambassador Braithwaite said that the Colombo government was “working on developing one”.
“This process will clearly take time and they are working through an enormous amount of change and building the political support in Parliament. I understand all those difficulties. We want to use this session of the council to give our support, our endorsement and our encouragement to go further with the implementation, to take those brave political decisions that are necessary to continue the momentum that we believe will lead to genuine reconciliation and peace,” the UK Ambassador said.
The UN Human Rights Chief has often slammed the Sri Lanka’s judiciary as one that raemains “highly politicised, unbalanced, unreliable” over the past several decades and the last year Human Rights Council resolution demanded international participation in the accountability mechanisms dealing with international crimes and gross human rights violations.
Sri Lanka’s new government leaders including President Mathripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, despite having co-sponsored the resolution and promised the full implementation, have rejected the international participation in the accountability mechanism.
When asked how the UK government, which was in the forefront in bringing a UN-led investigation, would ensure the foreign aspect in the accountability mechanism, Ambassador Braithwaite said: “Implementation of all the resolution aspects of the resolution is important”.
“We understand that this is matter of a domestic political process. In order to do so, we do fully support the implementation of all of those elements of the resolution. We will remain engaged and stay focused. We will ensure that the Human Rights Council remains engaged providing support that is necessary as we go through this important (and we understand it is difficult), hugely important process for Sri Lanka,” he said.
On 29 June, High Commissioner is expected to provide an oral update on human rights situations in Sri Lanka followed by a general debate.
Sources in Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission in Geneva told Ceylonews that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is also expected to make statement at the Council on that day.(Ceylon News)