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Top UN team here to look at LLRC report's implementation

Top UN team here to look at LLRC report's implementation

2012 Dec 08

Amidst political turmoil in Colombo in the wake of the government’s move to impeach Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, a high level UN delegation is here to examine the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations as well as other post-war developments.

The Japanese-led delegation included Permanent Representatives from Nigeria, Romania Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. The delegation was accompanied by senior Italian, Brazilian and South Africa’s top diplomat in New Delhi, Geoff Doidge, concurrently accredited to Colombo.

The delegation’s report is expected to be available for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) before its 20th sessions in Geneva next March.

Authoritative sources told The Sunday Island that having arrived in Colombo, the delegation had met Justice Minister and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem at his ministry before meeting Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and TNA leader R. Sampanthan.

They said that the inclusion of HC Doidge in the delegation was important in view of ongoing South African efforts to iron out differences between the GoSL and the TNA over post-war national reconciliation efforts. During discussions the delegation raised the contentious issue of devolution powers to the provinces in line with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, minority rights et al. Justice Secretary Kamalini de Silva, wife of former Attorney General C. R. de Silva who headed the LLRC was present during Minister Hakeem’s meeting with the visiting delegation. Sources said that Minister Hakeem had briefed the delegation as regards issues coming under his purview and measures taken by the GoSL to address their concerns.

Responding to a query, the minister said that the vast majority of those held in detention camps at the conclusion of the conflict had been now reintegrated into society.

The delegation also queried the action taken by the GoSL against those officers and men accused of committing atrocities. Minister pointed out that that didn’t come under his purview and those found guilty of such charges would be dealt under military law.

Minister Hakeem also revealed plans to introduce witness protection Bill and also set up four special high courts to try those held for terrorism charges.

The delegation met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris at Temple Trees to ascertain their views.

The TNA reiterated its serious concern over the government’s failure to address their grievance, though the conflict in May 2009.

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