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Resolution a threat to reconciliation

2014 Mar 24

The Government has told Muslim Countries represented in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that the new draft text of the US resolution on Sri Lanka is a threat to National reconciliation.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, briefed the countries representing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the current situation in Sri Lanka at the Palais des Nations in Geneva yesterday, a Government statement said today.

The Minister informed the Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors of the steps taken to ensure progress in Sri Lanka towards reconciliation and peacebuilding in the aftermath of the armed conflict.

The Minister outlined the constitutional protection of the freedom of thought conscience and religion as well as the right to manifest a person’s religion in Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka has long been a multi-religious, multi-lingual and multicultural society in which diversity is celebrated and perceived as a source of strength in the forging of a true national identity.

The Minister said that the current version of the resolution on Sri Lanka that is before the Human Rights Council which unduly focuses on alleged instances of religious disharmony has, as its objective, the distancing of religious communities from one another.

“This is not merely political in its motivation but could also hamper and undermine the national reconciliation under way at present. The invidious motivations of the proponents of the resolution to achieve political ends through this Resolution are clear,” he said.

The Minister also recalled the past outrages committed by the LTTE against the Muslim community such as the infamous attack on the Kattankudy Mosque and the attempts at ethnic cleansing of Muslim and Sinhala people from certain areas in the North of Sri Lanka.

“The correction of these wrongs against entire communities was now being redressed through the reconciliation process.” he added.

Minister Samarasinghe, called on the OIC countries to show solidarity with Sri Lanka in defeating the politically motivated attempts to initiate an international inquiry mechanism under the guise of an investigation to be carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Sri Lanka’s past experience of the Office led to misgivings as to its impartiality and objectivity. The current resolution violates fundamental principles such as non-selectivity, objecvity, non-intervention which underlie international institutions such as the Human Rights Council,” he added.

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Nimal Siripala De Silva and Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN at Geneva were also associated with Minister Samarasinghe at the meeting which was presided over by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan who is the Chair/Coordinator of the OIC cross-regional group, which has a membership of 57 countries, at the UNHRC.

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