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CS Response to Speech Feb 2012 FINAL

CS Response to Speech Feb 2012 FINAL

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Published by director2005

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Published by: director2005 on Feb 29, 2012
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03/21/2012

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 1
Response by Civil Society
29
th
February 2012
This document is a response to the statement made by Minister Samarasinghe at the High LevelSegment of the 19
th
Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). At the outset it is noted that the responses by the Government including setting up the Lesson’s Learnt andReconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the pledges made in the speech referenced here are as aresult of increased international scrutiny and a counter to the growing call for a resolution todiscuss Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. As civil society who work on human rights and rule of law issuesin Sri Lanka, the pledges made are yet another indicator of the delaying tactics used by theGovernment to halt any genuine progress in Sri Lanka.While recognizing that some positive measures have been taken by the Government towardsstrengthening peace and human rights since the end of the war in May 2009, this document highlights areas of contention and counters some of the statements made by him. The tablebelow contains two columns- one with highlights from the statements made by the Minister andthe opposing column directly rebutting the specific claim and at times containing questions that should be posed by different actors to the Government of Sri Lanka. This document is drafted bycivil society based on its own reports and documentation, public interest litigation, news reportsand other documentation. It is also drafted at a time when civil society and others who arecritical of the Government have come under intense threats, resulting in no names beingmentioned of those who drafted this document. The shrinking space for any action in Sri Lankademonstrates the urgent and immediate need for action at the 19
th
Sessions of the UNHRC.
 
 2
Statement by Minister Samarasinghe Concerns/Facts & Figures
Implementing the recommendations of theLessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC)
I am happy to observe that advances have beenmade with regard to many of therecommendations in the [LLRC] Report….Someof the areas in which gains have been madeinclude…” 
 
 
Rehabilitation of ex-combatants
 
Implementation of language policy
 
Removal of the military fromfacilitation of civil administration inthe North
 
Making available land previously usedfor security purposes forresettlement/return
 
Carrying out a comprehensive censusin the Northern and Eastern Provinces
 
Rehabilitation of ex-combatants-security concerns for those who are‘rehabilitated’ and released back tocommunity is a serious concern asthere is continuous surveillance by themilitary and intelligence. In most areasin the Vanni, those who are‘rehabilitated’ have to report to themilitary/police on a weekly basis andface harassment. The failure todemobilize, disarm and reintegratemembers of non-LTTE armed groupsis a continuing concern.
 
There continues to be gaps in theavailability of official documents inboth Sinhala and Tamil andgovernment offices where citizens canaddress their problems in theirlanguage of choice. For example, thefull LLRC report itself is yet to be madepublic in Sinhala and Tamil, more than3 months after being presented to thePresident in November 2011.
 
The military continue to play a keyrole in civil administration in theNorth and East including approvingprojects and programmes at thedistrict and divisional levelsregistering civilians and approvingfunctions that are to take place in theareas (discussed in detail below).
 
The military and police continue tooccupy large areas of private land inthe North as High Security Zones(HSZs) and military camps without providing information to the extent of 
 
 3
 “We continued to brief the internationalcommunity in Geneva of the interimrecommendations made by the LLRC and themeasures taken by the Inter-Agency AdvisoryCommittee on their implementation.”land it currently occupies and a planfor the release or acquisition of theland. The existence of HSZs in Jaffna isa good example of land ownerscontinuing to live in displacement forseveral decades as their private land isoccupied by the military.
 
The ‘census’ that was carried out isproblematic as questions are raised onthe independence of those whoconducted the survey, the heavyinvolvement of the defenceestablishment in the exercise andtiming of exercise. In addition, theinvolvement of the military inregistering civilians has beenchallenged in the Supreme Court in2011 when the Government gave anundertaking to halt the practiceimmediately.The LLRC report itself points to thelack of implementation of its interimrecommendations.Land Issues:“In particular, the Commission’srecommendations about the formulation of aThe key post-war policy put forward by theGovernment was the Land Circular for theNorthern and Eastern Provinces in 2011(2011/4). It had several flaws and significant 

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