Sri Lanka to get an accurate figure on civilian casualties to proceed with accountability
Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 09:49 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Mar 15, Geneva: Sri Lanka today said it needs to gain an accurate figure on the civilian casualties first to address the accountability issue as the figures of civilian casualties have been repeated by several sources without verifying facts.
Sri Lankan President's Human Rights Envoy Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the United nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in Geneva Friday said the in the overall process of accountability the first issue that must be addressed is that of the arbitrary figures of civilian victims.
He said Sri Lanka's national census of 2012 and the enumeration in the North before that in 2011 were of important in ascertaining the figures and ground verification of facts is continuing to get an accurate picture of the civilian deaths.
Speaking on the UPR process on Sri Lanka, Minister Samarasinghe told the UNHRC that out of the 204 recommendations made during the UPR in November last year, Sri Lanka has accepted a total of 113 recommendations and rejected 91reommenfdaions. In addition Sri Lanka has made 19 voluntary commitments, he said.
While accepting 12 recommendations referred to the government's National Action Plan to implement Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations, the Minister expressed his regrets for not being able to accept more recommendations due to the rigid and inflexible refinements and modifications made in the text of those.
"The UPR is an inter-governmental process that is based on cooperation and constructive engagement," the Minister pointed out.
He said the government has made 2013 budgetary allocations required to implement the National Action Plan on implementing the LLRC recommendations and the government is ready to share the progress with anyone.
He informed the Council that the investigations on the two high-profile cases of humanitarian law violations are ongoing. The Attorney General has directed the police to commence Non-Summary Judicial Proceedings on the murders of 5 students from Trincomalee and the murder of 17 Action Contre La Faime (ACF) workers in Muttur.
Sri Lanka assured to continue its "transparent, proactive and constructive engagement" with the UNHRC and keep members states informed of further developments in the island in the field of promotion and protection of human rights.