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* Australia will work constructively with Sri Lanka to promote reconciliation
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 09:25 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 28, Canberra: The Australian government says it does not believe the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) on Thursday calling for an international investigation into alleged human right violations is the best way forward to achieve reconciliation.

Issuing a statement Friday, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the Australian Government considers engagement with Sri Lanka to be the most effective way to encourage progress on human rights issues.

Australia, which is not a member of the 47-member UNHRC, has declined to co-sponsor the United States-led resolution against Sri Lanka.

Some 40 countries, mainly European and other western countries co-sponsored the resolution that called the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to initiate a comprehensive independent international investigation into alleged human rights violations committed by the both sides of Sri Lanka's conflict during the period from 2002 to 2009.

The Australian Minister said the genuine advances in accountability and reconciliation will only be possible with the cooperation of the Sri Lankan Government.

"I note the Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Sri Lanka today. I note that Australia is not a member of the Human Rights Council and does not vote. Nevertheless I am not convinced that the resolution’s call for a separate, internationally-led investigation, without the cooperation of the Sri Lankan Government, is the best way forward at this time," Bishop said.

Bishop said she does not think that the resolution adequately recognized the significant progress taken by the Sri Lankan government to promote economic growth and its investment in infrastructure in areas formerly dominated by the LTTE in the north and north-east of the country.

"We should recognize the brutality of the LTTE, a proscribed terrorist organization, during the 30-year civil war from which the country is struggling to emerge."

The Minister said Australia will increase its efforts to work constructively with the Sri Lankan Government, the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance and other stakeholders to identify ways to promote economic, social and cultural reconciliation.

She urged the Sri Lankan Government to implement the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to engage with domestic and international stakeholders to advance an effective and transparent reconciliation agenda.

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