Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena is scheduled to address the United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday, February 24, where he will outline Sri Lanka’s case amid a move by the Core Group to bring in a fresh Resolution on Sri Lanka.
Foreign Secretary, Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, states that the Minister will make a pre-recorded video message to the Council on Wednesday but he will not speak at length on Sri Lanka’s case as it had already been conveyed to the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner last month. The time of his speech is yet to be confirmed.
At an event on the sidelines of the 46th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, the Minister said that solutions to the internal problems of Sri Lanka should be sought in ‘accordance with our Constitution’.
He said, “The previous Government had agreed to co-sponsor the Resolution 30/1 of the Geneva Human Rights Conference, in violation of the Constitution of our country, pointing out that there was no provision in the Constitution of Sri Lanka to implement the contents of that Resolution”.
Hence, the Government withdrew from Resolution 30/1 last year, in keeping with the massive people’s mandate received at the elections, he said.
However, the Minister said the Government has made it clear that if any human rights violations had occurred during the humanitarian operation that was carried out to suppress terrorist activities in the North, the victims would be provided with justice and the perpetrators punished.
“We have commenced working on it now,” he added and said that the appointment of a Presidential Commission headed by a Supreme Court Judge to investigate the allegations of human rights violations made at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has already been done, in accordance with this commitment.
Minister Gunawardena also said that the UN Human Rights Council should pay attention to the ‘dominances and forces’ behind the same repeated accusations against Sri Lanka and their underlying motives.
His speech was made in the backdrop of a statement by the UNHRC Core – Group announcing a fresh Resolution on Sri Lanka.
In a statement, the Core group – Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK – announced that they recognise and welcome the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, land return and resettling internally displaced persons.
However, it said, more needs to be done to address the harmful legacies of war and build sustainable peace in the country.