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* Sri Lanka prepares team for upcoming UNHRC session
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 12:26 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 17, Colombo: The Sri Lankan delegation to the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva later this month will leave for Geneva next weekend.

A delegation headed by a yet to be named leader will represent Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session that is scheduled to be held from February 25 - March 22. Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be taken up for consideration on March 15.

The spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry Rodney Perera has told the state media the leader of the delegation and the number of representatives in the delegation will be notified during next week.

The spokesman has said that the delegation will present a report outlining the progress of the implementation of LLRC Recommendations, the Army Court of Inquiry report released Friday, and a report on the progress of development activities in the North at the session.

Sri Lanka has also submitted its reply to a draft report prepared by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Sri Lanka.

Pillay's report has strongly criticized the government for its slow progress on the areas of justice and, reconciliation and reiterated her call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.

The Sri Lankan government has said that the draft report is "biased and unfair" since it is one-sided and expressed its objections to the Sri Lanka's Permanent Mission in Geneva to be conveyed to the UNHRC.

The High Commissioner's report titled 'Advice and Technical Assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on Promoting Accountability and Reconciliation' is to be tabled for consideration on March 20.

At the forthcoming sessions the United States will sponsor a new resolution against Sri Lanka as a measure to force Sri Lanka to expedite the implementation of the pledges given on reconciliation.

A high ranking US official visited Sri Lanka last month said the US has decided to sponsor a procedural resolution with its international partners against Sri Lanka at the March 2013 sessions of the UNHRC.

The British government has expressed its support to the fresh resolution on Sri Lanka saying that although progress has been made, much remains to be done on reconciliation and accountability issues.

The Sri Lankan government meanwhile said it has achieved considerable progress in implementing the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and ready to defend its record in response to the new resolution to be brought by the United States.

The Sri Lankan delegation is prepared to present the impressive progress the country has made in many fronts since the end of the war against LTTE terrorism in 2009, the Extarnal Affairs Ministry spokesman said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it expects the UNHRC to take stern action against the Sri Lankan government for the delay in implementing the LLRC recommendations.

According to TNA, failure of the Sri Lankan government to adhere to the UN resolution adapted by the UNHRC at its 14th session in March 2012 in Geneva will come under focus at the 22nd session.



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