Modi, Ranil discuss U.N. rights report

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe address a joint press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

Sri Lanka plans to go ahead with the promise of devolution of power to Tamil-majority areas, a move guaranteed under its constitution but not implemented so far, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The reconciliation process with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka figured prominently in the talks between the two leaders, coming a day before the U.N. Human Rights Council presents what is expected to be a damning report on Sri Lanka’s actions during the war and after. “We are looking at how power-sharing takes place within the constitution,” Mr. Wickremesinghe told the media at a joint press appearance.

“I am confident that with the wisdom and will of the leadership in Sri Lanka and the support of the people, Sri Lanka will achieve genuine reconciliation and development, so that all Sri Lankans, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, can live a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister Modi said in his statement after the talks. At a function later in the day Prime Minister Wickremesinghe told The Hindu that he and Mr. Modi had discussed the UNHRC report and that both were “very relaxed” about its findings.

Indictment expected

The report, to be presented by the Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in Geneva on Wednesday, has already been shared with the Sri Lankan government. While it is expected to contain an indictment of the previous regime of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for “war crimes” during the final assault on the LTTE in 2009, it will be closely watched for its observations on the ongoing reconciliation process by the new government and what kind of enquiry it recommends. Mr. Sirisena, who was a senior member of Mr. Rajapakse's cabinet at the time of the war, may also face charges in the report. While many Tamil parties, including the ruling TNA, have demanded an international war crimes tribunal to investigate the alleged atrocities, the Sri Lankan government has offered alternatives of domestic inquiries and the setting up of a South Africa-model “Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-recurrence”.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 12:23:14 AM |

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