Sri Lanka resolution in UNHRC likely by Sept. 25

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the Sirisena government would work with the international community to ensure accountability and reconciliation in Colombo on Thursday. —PHoto: AFP  

A “consensus resolution” on Sri Lanka may come up during the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by September 24 or 25, Mangala Samaraweera, Foreign Affairs Minister, said on Thursday.

According to the schedule, the UN report on Sri Lanka’s war crimes, released in Geneva on Wednesday, will come up for discussion on September 30.

Time frame set

On the time frame for establishing the mechanisms he proposed during his speech at the UNHRC on Monday, Mr. Samaraweera told the media that the government hoped to commence consultations by the second week of October. The consultations are expected to go on till the end of January.

The government has informed the UNHRC that “we want to put all these [mechanisms] in place within a maximum of 18 months,” he said.

Asked whether a permanent political settlement on the Tamil question would also be arrived at during the period, Mr. Samaraweera replied that it would have “life of its own. It will be part and parcel of the Constituent Assembly [to be created]”.

Would the present Parliament be converted into the Constituent Assembly? He said that details were being worked out in this regard.

During his visit to New Delhi a few days ago as part of a delegation led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Foreign Minister said he informed India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj of his proposals.

‘Well drafted’

Describing the U.N. report on Sri Lanka’s war crimes as “well drafted and sober,” Mr. Samaraweera said the document gave a narrative of some of the human rights violations “that may have taken place” in the country. “It is up to us to investigate and ensure that justice is done and see to it that such things do not happen again.”

The report has urged the Sri Lankan government to establish a special court to try the “horrific” abuses committed by the authorities and the rebels in the closing phase of the civil war.

The report was “very, very balanced” in its reporting of the “excesses committed” by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It also acknowledged “great strides” accomplished by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime in the last six months, the Foreign Minister added.