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* Sri Lanka asks UNHRC not to apply double standards, allow time and space
Wed, Feb 27, 2013, 09:16 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 27, Geneva: Sri Lanka today strongly objected to any unjust approach with regard to the protection and promotion of human rights in the country and asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) not to debate on any country-specific resolution .

Addressing the high-level segment at the 22nd UNHRC session in Geneva Wednesday, Sri Lanka's Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe expressed objection to any "unfair, biased, unprincipled and unjust approach" that may be adopted by the Council.

He said the Council should not embark upon or encourage either debate on or any country-specific resolution by virtue of a selective process which would run counter to the founding principles of the Council.

"Doing so will clearly reflect an application of double standards," the Sri Lankan Minister said.

He said the resolving domestic issues is the Sri Lankan government's primary responsibility and unwarranted internationalization of such issues would only undermine the ongoing local reconciliation process and impact adversely on the people in the conflict-affected areas.

Summing up the progress made in implementing the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Sri Lanka's domestic mechanism to address post-war reconciliation and accountability issues, the Minister asked the UNHRC to assess Sri Lanka's actions in their totality, objectively and impartially.

Stating Sri Lanka's objection to the resolution brought on last year, the Minister said effective reconciliation, based on home-grown solutions is the base of the government's policy.

Sri Lanka would not adopt a policy of 'destructive disengagement' but continue with its policy of constructive and open dialogue, he added.

He pointed out that Sri Lanka has made considerable progress since the end of the war in 2009 but some other intrusive initiatives only emphasize a few areas which need further action.

These subjective measures based on unsubstantiated assertions aimed at 'naming and shaming' are less than constructive, unhelpful and indicative of a different agenda unrelated to the objectives of the UNHRC, Minister Samarasinghe pointed out.

Minister Samarasinghe noted that the focus of reconciliation to some must be based principally on issues of retributive justice and accountability but the overall dimensions of the subject are extremely complex and therefore, consultations among all stakeholders are necessary to finding a lasting solution acceptable to all.

The envoy said Sri Lanka needs adequate time and space to resolve such deep-rooted and wide ranging issues and undue pressure exerted by external parties on this aspect is not helpful in the resolution of these issues.

"We need time and space to complete our work," the Minister told the Council.

Read full text of Minister Samarasinghe's speech



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