COLOMBO: India has told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, that Sri Lanka will be able to address the vexed war-time accountability issue if it devolves power to the Tamil-speaking provinces building upon the 13th Amendment of the Lankan constitution, and moves fast to find a political solution of the Tamil question.
“Our considered view is that early progress on devolution and a political settlement in SL will prepare the ground for a more sustainable redressal of accountability issues, to the mutual satisfaction of the parties concerned,” the Indian Ambassador at the UN in Geneva said on September 25.
“India has remained engaged with the government and political parties in Sri Lanka. India has stressed the need for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. India has also urged all stakeholders in SL to engage constructively, in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation, towards finding a political solution that builds upon the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.”
“We reiterate our call for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations contained in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, reduction of ‘high security zones’, return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province,” the Ambassador said.
Advice to UN
However, he pointed out that that India noted with “concern that the High Commissioner has not indicated how he intends to proceed with his investigation in the absence of cooperation from the country concerned. The composition of the investigating team, its work methodology and sources of funding, have also not been shared with this Council.”
The envoy was making his submission on the oral update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on implementation of the resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, adopted by the UNHRC in March this year.
Twenty-two developing countries of the Like Minded Group (LMG) in Geneva, in a joint statement made through its Chair - Egypt, said on September 25, that the Group “believes that the intrusive mandate given to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to carry out investigations on Sri Lanka is unwarranted, especially in the context where the country is implementing its own domestic processes”.
The statement further said that successive resolutions on Lanka have not enjoyed the consensus of the Council members and that the international community should be mindful not to jeopardize the delicate process of reconciliation that is already underway in Lanka.