West tells Sri Lanka to maintain momentum on reconciliation

Western countries have told Sri Lanka that much more remains to be done in the areas of reconciliation and accountability.

In their response to the comments made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the subsequent speech of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, the countries urged the island nation to see to it that the commitments made in a resolution adopted by the HRC unanimously last October were carried out.

They were appreciative of the work accomplished by Sri Lanka.

Comprehensive approach

The U.K., one of those which sponsored the resolution, underscored the importance of “a comprehensive approach” in dealing with the past, restoring confidence in state institutions, and developing a just political settlement for all people.

The United States, another sponsor of the motion, wanted Sri Lanka to make “continued tangible steps” towards setting up “credible justice, accountability, and reconciliation mechanisms.”

Acknowledging that Sri Lanka was “still at the beginning of a long process,” the European Union stressed the need for international participation in the accountability mechanism so that “the process is both credible and perceived as such by all sides in line with the October commitments.”

The government should “continue taking steps” to build the confidence of communities and normalise life in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Norway, which played a crucial role in bringing about the 2002 ceasefire agreement between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), noted that there was “political opposition to the government’s initiatives” to implement the resolution and that concessions needed to be made in order to achieve progress.

Expressing hope that the ongoing process of constitutional reforms would result in the crucial basis for “a nation that acknowledges its ethnic and cultural diversity and for achieving reconciliation,” the Scandinavian country also wanted the Sri Lankan government to work hard to “keep the tight time schedule” for the process.

The U.S. wants Colombo to set up “credible justice, accountability mechanisms”

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