TNA welcomes oral update

tna 2The TNA has, welcoming the oral update of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its 32nd Session on the implementation of the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, said that an “acceptable resolution to the national question through adequate constitutional arrangements is fundamental to the process of genuine and effective reconciliation and to the attainment of justice with equality and permanent peace by all people in Sri Lanka.”

“The oral update in our view, captures accurately the opportunities and challenges for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. We are grateful to the High Commissioner and his Office for their continued engagement in this matter,” the TNA said in a statement issued to media yesterday.

The statement said: “We are however concerned about the very slow pace of implementation with respect to a number of human rights issues in Sri Lanka. In particular, delays in releasing private lands illegally occupied by the military; the continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the government’s failure to repeal it; the breach of undertakings to release those held under the PTA; and the continuing surveillance and harassment of civilians in the North and East. Delay in the resettlement of displaced people in both the North and East, and in the restoration of normal life by providing then with housing, livelihood opportunities and other facilities continues to be a matter of concern and is a great impediment to the process of reconciliation and the return to normalcy.

“With respect to the reconciliation mechanisms proposed by the government, we welcome the tabling of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Bill in Parliament. The government consulted us on the Bill, and we are pleased that several of the extensive revisions we urged have been included in the gazetted text. We commend the government for its constructive engagement on the Bill. We look forward to further amendments being moved at the committee stage, and to the early passage of the law through Parliament.

A law on the lines contemplated by the Bill, if implemented sincerely, could bring relief to families of the forcibly disappeared who are in desperate need of answers. The OMP must represent a dramatic break from the experience of failed Commissions, including the current Paranagama Commission which lacks credibility. We reiterate that justice for crimes committed in the past by both sides is a necessary precondition to meaningful reconciliation.

In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the full implementation of operative paragraphs 6 and 7 so us to ensure trust and credibility. We are particularly encouraged by the number of countries that continue to urge Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments. Resolution 30/1 represents the solemn commitment of Sri Lanka to its own citizens, and to the Tamil people who we represent, and must be implemented.

“We also note the High Commissioner’s observations on the importance of crafting a new Constitution that serves all citizens of Sri Lanka and the support that this proposition has received from several countries. An acceptable resolution to the national question through adequate constitutional arrangements is fundamental to the process of genuine and effective reconciliation and to the attainment of justice with equality and permanent peace by all people in Sri Lanka. We will continue to remain engaged with all parties towards this end, with a view to addressing the longstanding national question that has plagued Sri Lanka.”

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