Mar 21, Geneva: While noting that Sri Lanka has extended an invitation for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay to visit the country, India today urged the High Commissioner to undertake the visit at an early date.
Submitting an Intervention in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka, India which voted against Sri Lanka as it did last year, hoped the Office of the High Commissioner and UN Special Procedures continue their engagement in accordance with their mandate.
Sri Lanka during the adoption of the resolution at the UNHRC told the Council that the High Commissioner exceeded her mandate in preparing her report to the Council on Sri Lanka and made recommendations that were not with the consent of the Sri Lankan government or with concurrence as required by the Resolution 19/2.
In its Intervention India said findings and recommendations of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) LLRC provide a "window of opportunity" to forge a consensual way forward towards a lasting political settlement through genuine national reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all its citizens.
However, India was concerned with Sri Lanka's inadequate progress in fulfilling its commitment and called on the Sri Lankan government to move forward on its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through full implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it.
India said the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political settlement, acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils and called for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations in the LLRC report.
These include recommendations pertaining to missing persons, detainees, disappearances and abductions, reduction of 'high security zones', return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of the security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province.
India reiterated its call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives and urged Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability to the satisfaction of the international community.
While noting that as Sri Lanka's closest neighbor, India remains engaged in a substantial way in the relief, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process in that country, India said its efforts have contributed to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and the rebuilding of infrastructure and development, especially in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
Acknowledging the commitment of the government to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council in September 2013, India said it expects the people of the province can exercise their democratic rights freely and without delay as guaranteed to them by the Sri Lankan Constitution.
India said it encourages the Sri Lankan government to expedite the process of a broad-based, inclusive and meaningful reconciliation and political settlement that ensures that all communities live in dignity with equal rights and equal protection of the laws.
"As a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter," India asserted.