Sept 09, Colombo: Sri Lanka today asked the United nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay to take an objective and unbiased approach to Sri Lanka in fulfilling her mandate and not to give credence to unsubstantiated allegations.
Delivering the country's statement at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva Monday (9) leader of the Sri Lanka delegation, Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha said the UN official had unfettered access to assess first-hand the on-going reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.
Responding to the High Commissioner's 'immediate concern' for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and communities she met in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Aryasinha said the freedom she had to travel and speak to anyone enabled her to be better placed not to give credence to unsubstantiated allegations of those with vested interests and agendas, largely driven by certain extreme elements in the Sri Lankan Diaspora.
He said the Sri Lankan is fully committed to protecting human rights defenders and requested the High Commissioner and her office to provide specific information of such incidents, if any.
Apprising the Human Rights Council of progress with regard to the reconciliation process since its last session in June 2013, Ambassador Aryasinha highlighted that in July the Government accepted an additional 53 recommendations of the LLRC to be implemented, while in August the inquiry into the case of the killing of 5 students in Trincomalee commenced.
The government appointed a three-member Commission to investigate Missing Persons related to the conflict, and the Police was placed within a newly created Ministry of Law and Order, he told the HRC.
He told the HRC that for the first time since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987 elections to the Northern Provincial Council will be held on 21 September and after a lapse of 23 years the train service to Kilinochchi will resume shortly connecting the capital to the northern Vanni heartland.
Further a visit by the Special Rapporteur on IDPs has been scheduled for December, the Special Rapporteur on Education has been invited to visit in January 2014, and Sri Lanka will continue to process requests for visits by other special procedures mandate holders, he added.
Out of the 12,220 ex-LTTE combatants surrendered to the government at the end of the conflict in May 2009, 11,758 have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society and only 234 are currently undergoing rehabilitation and while 91 hardcore cadres remain under legal proceedings, Ambassador Aryasinha told the HRC.
Reiterating that the government does not wish to add credence to unsubstantiated allegations that are made for political purposes by certain groups with vested interests, who have also done so previously to embarrass the government, the envoy said Sri Lanka looks forward to continuing its constructive engagement with the HRC, the High Commissioner, and the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) .
Ambassador Aryasinha's full statement to the HRC