Mar 13, Colombo: President's Human Rights Envoy and Plantations Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe says the government has done a lot in relation to concerns raised by the international community.
He has noted that the country has undertaken international human rights obligations voluntarily in the exercise of a sovereign national right as an independent nation.
"We opened ourselves to scrutiny by virtue of participation in the two principal instruments of the international bill of rights and five other core human rights treaties. Some countries that are pointing fingers at Sri Lanka have rendered the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) ineffective domestically and not even ratified the ICESCR (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). Yet they want us judged by yardsticks that they do not apply themselves," Samarasinghe has said.
"We acknowledge that human rights are universal. However, our main motivator is the creation of conditions of normality for all our people - North, South, East and West - who have suffered or been affected in some way over the past three decades," he has added.
He has explained that conflict has several characteristics – a slow distancing of people by non-resolution of divisive issues, a breakdown of trust over years, a boiling over of emotion, which takes the form of violent conflict and an eventual end of conflict. After this comes a period of consolidation, peace-building and reconciliation and that violence could resurface if the phase fails.
According to Samarasinghe, the country's success in reconciliation processes will only be achieved when the international community and the Diaspora can be convinced that the government is building a truly multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multilingual and pluralistic society.