The latest UN resolutions on Sri Lanka were adopted on September 24. The significance was Sri Lanka playing the role of co-sponsor of the resolution. US Secretary of State, John Kerry in a statement said, “The resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that represents a landmark shared recognition of the critical importance of truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence in promoting reconciliation and ensuring an enduring peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.”

He also appreciated the Sri Lankan Government’s decision to join as a co-sponsor, saying that it paves the way for all the parties to work together to deliver the commitments reflected in the resolution. According to the US Secretary of State, the resolutions will only strengthen the country’s democracy and restore civil liberty for citizens. At the same time he has also mentioned that the resolutions will help families of the missing to find answers about their loved ones.

President Maithripala Sirisena who addressed the UN General Assembly was welcomed on his arrival to the island like a hero. He also said he saved the country from being punished and sanctions being imposed by the world. However, the Geneva Resolution on Sri Lanka became the topic for whole the country.

Info Dept briefs media

Government Information Department organized a seminar and invited media personnel who were briefed about the latest Geneva resolution. They were told that there was nothing to worry and it was a normal occurrence. The audience was addressed by senior lawyer JC Weliamuna and SLRC Chairman Attorney Ravi Jayawardana. The seminar which was named as ‘After Geneva Proposals’ mainly highlighted past events and not didn’t reveal how the government will work on its two reports due to be presented in 2016 and 2017.

Attorney Weliamuna specifically said that he was airing his personal views. However, he also said that the recently moved Geneva resolution on Sri Lanka was in line with international law and there was no space for protests. The Attorney expressed that those who complained regarding accountability issues in Sri Lanka to UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) on the condition of anonymity are likely to give evidence before the proposed domestic mechanism with foreign participation. He also said that his opinion is that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be scrapped soon. He further stressed the need to establishing a court acceptable to all which will ensure the confidentiality of witnesses.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Harsha de Silva who also addressed the gathering said new the government made decisive policy decisions to change the previous system and strengthen relations with the western countries and the same matter saved the country from punitive international sanctions.

JVP lecture
Meanwhile, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna also had a public lecture named ‘Geneva Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,’ in Colombo. Party General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the resolutions would call for a special consultancy office in Colombo that’ll comprise foreign officials. He said it will have UN judges, lawyers and observers and help guide the scountry’s judicial system.

The JVP politburo stressed that there was no difference between having such an office in Sri Lanka and establishing a hybrid court. However, their allegation was thrown at both the present and past governments. According to the JVP, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government had neglected to establish a proper investigation mechanism into human rights violations, and the current Government has kneeled before the UN shamefully. He also said that the definition of the government as well as its supporters’ of the resolutions is completely wrong as the ‘Western imperials always make plans for the far away future and only for their own interest.”

Meanwhile, another dialogue took place at the Abhayarama Temple at Narahenpita. This was organized by a team lead by Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara and Dr. Wasantha Bandara. They had arranged two main lectures by two senior journalists Shamindra Ferdinando and Mohan Samaranayake. Ferdinando began his speech highlighting the fact that foreigners at different levels will be included regardless of the mechanism, explained to the media by Attorney Weliamuna at the government sponsored seminar at the Government Information Department. He also highlighted how untruths have done the rounds and are spread in keeping with the whims and fancies of the western forces.

“Darusman report says they received 4,000 complaints from 2,300 persons. But, the reports from the western always speak about 40,000 deaths of civilians during the war,” Ferdinando said. He also quoted a report by Amnesty International done within two years after the civil war which says “there are around 10,000 deaths.” Ferdinando stressed that as a nation, Sri Lanka has yet failed to address these issues.

Senior journalist Samaranayake said that the Geneva issue was nothing, but a total US project to change the political, economic and social landscape of Sri Lanka. He said, “America always goes against any country that doesn’t heed its word or becomes friendly with its enemy contraries.” Samaranayake was frank with his ideas and added, “The resolutions moved against Sri Lanka would not have taken place if Mahinda Rajapaksa didn’t develop close ties with China.” He also warned that wherever America put its hands into ends up with in disaster and Sri Lanka must not fall for that trap.

Meanwhile, a team of Opposition Parliamentarians identified as ‘Wipakshaye Wirodhaya’ also had a press briefing last Wednesday. Parliamentarians Dulles Alahapperuma, Dinesh Gunawardene, Vasudewa Nanayakkara addressed the media and charged the government for not tabling the UN Resolutions in Parliament yet. They also claimed that the present government’s involvement in the issue will bring only bad consequences to the country and nothing positive.

When the Media Minister and Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Gayantha Karunathilake responding to criticism by the ‘opposition said, “There is nothing to be taken serious of over the remarks uttered by those who lost power.”  However, he added that the Government has not concealed the Geneva Resolutions and the Government has already agreed a full parliamentary debate on these Resolutions for two days, and it will take place on October 20 and 21.