Statement by Hon. Prof. G.L.

Peiris
Minister of External Affairs & Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation

at the High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the Human ights !oun"il

#5 Mar"h 2#$%& 'eneva

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Mr. President, Madam High Commissioner, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lan a. Ma! I at the o"tset congrat"late !o" Mr. President, as #ell as Members of the $"rea" on !o"r election as office bearers of this Co"ncil. I pledge m! delegation%s s"pport to !o" at all times in the discharge of !o"r office. Sri Lan a also reiterates its contin"ed s"pport to the High Commissioner in the discharge of her mandate as contained in G& 'esol"tion ()*+(+, to the ,HCH', and to the #or of this Co"ncil. Mr. President, It is imperative that the H"man 'ights Co"ncil remains a credible and independent arbiter in dealing #ith global h"man rights sit"ations. &ll h"man rights are "niversal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and m"st be treated in a fair and e-"itable manner, #itho"t the privileging of one set of rights over another. It is for these reasons, that economic, social and c"lt"ral rights #hich are at the core of s"stainable development need to gain the same level of emphasis and legitimac! as civil and political rights. &s #e celebrate the .)th anniversar! of the adoption b! the /nited 0ations General &ssembl! of the 1eclaration on the 'ight to 1evelopment, there needs to be a more rob"st approach to promote effective international cooperation #ith regard to the right to development and the elimination of obstacles to its en2o!ment. Sri Lan a shares the concern of the High Commissioner as #ell as States on the challenges faced b! her ,ffice on acco"nt of reso"rce constraints. &t the same time, #e remain deepl! concerned that the lac of financial independence of the ,HCH' leads to the erosion of independence in its overall f"nctioning. 3or example, the disproportionate attention being paid to co"ntr!4specific action in the Co"ncil #hich selectivel! targets some co"ntries, #hile sit"ations, h"man rights violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the #orld that #arrant more "rgent and immediate attention and action remain convenientl! ignored, is a matter of serio"s concern. 5he star realit! is that the contin"ation and proliferation of the practice of the selective adoption of co"ntr!4specific resol"tions in the Co"ncil is a tool that exploits h"man rights for political p"rposes. 'egrettabl!, a similar pattern is evident in the case of contin"ed action on Sri Lan a in this Co"ncil. 6e reiterate that s"ch politici7ed action is contrar! to the high p"rposes and principles of the Co"ncil and m"st be arrested. 6e believe that additional b"dgetar! allocations from reg"lar f"nding #o"ld lessen the ,HCH'%s dependence on vol"ntar! contrib"tions and earmar ed f"nding and th"s #o"ld allo# it to f"nction in an independent manner.

Mr. President, not#ithstanding Sri Lan a8s non4recognition of the co"ntr!4specific action ta en
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against o"r co"ntr! at the behest of a fe# co"ntries in this Co"ncil, #itho"t basis, and #itho"t the consent of the co"ntr! concerned, Sri Lan a has contin"ed its proactive engagement #ith the /0, this Co"ncil and the ,HCH', in a spirit of transparenc!, cooperation and dialog"e. M! delegation has consistentl! shared #ith this bod! contin"ed progress in the reconciliation process, regrettabl! in a politicised environment d"e to vested interests of a fe#. 5here has been significant progress in the reconciliation process over the past +. months and approximatel! +9 months since the 0ational Plan of &ction :0Po&; to implement the domestic reconciliation mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and 'econciliation Commission :LL'C;, became operational. Mr. President, in <"l! .=+., the Government accepted 9+ recommendations of the LL'C for implementation #ithin the frame#or of the 0Po&. In <"l! .=+>, an additional ?> recommendations #ere accepted b! the Government, ma ing the total n"mber of LL'C recommendations "nder implementation +((, o"t of the .)? Paragraphs contained in Chapter 9 of the LL'C 'eport titled @S"mmar! of the Principal ,bservations and 'ecommendations%, the latter comprising the s"m total of observations and recommendations of the LL'C. 5he implementation of the LL'C recommendations cl"stered b! the Government "nder five themes A B:IHL iss"es :=C recommendations;, H"man 'ights :?( recommendations;, Land 'et"rn D 'esettlement :.( recommendations;, 'estit"tion*Compensator! relief :=9 recommendations;, 'econciliation :?= recommendations;E 44 is overseen b! an Inter4Ministerial 5as 3orce "nder the s"pervision of the Secretar! to the President. 5he implementation of the LL'C 0Po& is a d!namic process #hich contin"es to evolve over time to c"lminate in the accomplishment of the recommendations. 5his process is envisaged to incorporate additional meas"res and modifications of the activities as and #hen re-"ired to f"lfill the respective recommendations. 6hen these achievements are 2"xtaposed #ith the nearl! >= long !ears of terrorist conflict, an! ob2ective observer #o"ld agree Sri Lan a8s achievements #o"ld indeed match, if not s"rpass those of an! co"ntr! emerging from similar conditions. 5his is no mean feat for a developing co"ntr!. &llo# me to ta e this opport"nit! to el"cidate the Co"ncil on the post4conflict developments in the co"ntr!. 5he Commission on 1isappearances #as appointed on +. &"g"st .=+> for a term of six months to cond"ct in-"iries and investigations as necessar!, and to s"bmit a report containing its findings and recommendations. 5he Commission re-"ested an extension to its mandate and has been granted a f"rther six months "ntil +. &"g"st .=+( in order to "nderta e a comprehensive in-"ir! and complete its #or .

5he hearings of the Commission commenced in <an"ar! .=+(, follo#ing t#o extensions granted to the p"blic to ma e s"bmissions :i.e., deadline of >+ ,ctober .=+> #as extended to >= 0ovember..=+> and >+ 1ecember.=+>, respectivel!;. 5he extensions #ere granted, both to accommodate complaints received, and in response to :a; re-"ests made b! persons in the 0orth and East.

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Since the establishment of the Commission on 1isappearances on &"g"st +., .=+>, it has iss"ed P"blic 0otices on three occasions :i.e., ,ctober, 0ovember and 1ecember .=+>; in all three lang"ages and in all ma2or ne#spapers calling on relatives of missing persons to s"bmit their complaints to the Commission. 5he final P"blic 0otice for receiving complaints lapsed on 1ecember >+, .=+>. Ho#ever, the Commission contin"es to receive complaints, all of #hich are ac no#ledged, and #ill be investigated. &s per information obtained from the Commission, nearl! +F,=== complaints have been received th"s far. 5he Commission is sched"led to cond"ct p"blic sittings in the $atticaloa 1istrict in the Eastern Province later in March .=+(, covering ?F Grama Niladhari 1ivisions :Gillage level &dministrative /nits; in the district. Previo"sl!, the Commission cond"cted p"blic sittings and heard oral evidence in the Hilinochchi 1istrict in the 0orthern Province in <an"ar! .=+(, and in <affna 1istrict in 3ebr"ar! .=+(. &ll Commission hearings are open to p"blic and the! have al#a!s been facilitated f"ll access to the hearings. 5he Commission cond"cts p"blic sittings on a reg"lar basis in the 0orthern and Eastern provinces in order to hear evidence from relatives of missing persons. ,nce the Commission has s"fficient material, it #ill s"bmit a report to the Government. It m"st be pointed o"t that on behalf of the Commission, the Government so"ght the assistance of co"ntries host to Sri Lan an as!l"m see ers for their details in order to process the information on alleged disappearances. Ho#ever, #e have been informed b! these co"ntries that for reasons of privac! the! are "nable to accede to the re-"est. /ndo"btedl! this position hampers the progress of the #or b! the Commission in reaching finalit! in regard to its investigations. 6ith regard to the General &llegation letter dated +( th 3ebr"ar! .=+( b! the Chair4'apporte"r of the 6or ing Gro"p on Enforced or Invol"ntar! 1isappearances on the cond"ct and implementation of this Commission of In-"ir! to investigate alleged abd"ctions or disappearances, the Government has provided a detailed response on + st March .=+(, s"bstantivel! ref"ting all "ns"bstantiated allegations contained therein. 6e have re-"ested that o"r response be circ"lated as a /0 doc"ment of this Co"ncil session, given its relevance and importance. 5he IC'C #hich has been #or ing in Sri Lan a since the +99=s, contin"es to be engaged in the co"ntr!%s post4conflict phase on resid"al iss"es of relevance. 5he IC'C contin"es its engagement #ith Sri Lan a on matters relating to alleged disappearances and missing persons, incl"ding #or #ith regard to en"meration of disappearances, s"pport to people #ith disabilities and female4headed ho"seholds, and iss"es related to detention. 5he collaboration #ith the IC'C on the iss"e of disappearances incl"des st"d!ing practical methodologies adopted b! other co"ntries in dealing #ith cases of alleged disappearances. Iss"es pertaining to families of persons identified as ImissingJ or IdisappearedJ are being addressed thro"gh a mechanism to implement the findings of a I3amil! 0eeds &ssessmentJ cond"cted b! the IC'C in .=+>. Sri Lan a also benefits from technical assistance from the IC'C in the said areas. 5he IC'C has met on t#o occasions #ith the Commission of In-"ir! on 1isappearances #here, inter alia, their experience in comparable sit"ations in other co"ntries has been shared. 5he Government%s cooperation #ith the IC'C is also in f"lfillment of the LL'C%s recommendations 9.(), 9.?=
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"that the la# enforcement a"thorities, in cooperation #ith relevant agencies, especiall! the IC'C, to trace the #hereabo"ts of missing persons and ens"re re"nification #ith their familiesK. Processing of data of the Island4#ide Cens"s to gather information on deaths*in2"ries to persons and propert! damages that have occ"rred from +9). to date as a direct or indirect res"lt of the internal conflicts is in progress. 5he Preliminar! 'eport, based on the en"merator s"mmaries, is anticipated to be released in a fe# #ee s8 time. &n additional b"dgetar! allocation of 's +?= million #as granted in <an"ar! .=+( to the 1epartment of Cens"s and Statistics to complete the Cens"s. 0on4S"mmar! In-"ir! commenced #ith regard to the 3ive St"dents of 5rincomalee case on 9 September .=+>. &s at present, the evidence of +( #itnesses is concl"ded. 5he #itnesses incl"de members of the Police, &rm!, 0av! and a relative of one of the deceased. &ffidavits of =C official #itnesses have been tendered as evidence. S"mmons have been iss"ed on +( #itnesses to appear on the next date of in-"ir! on =F March .=+(. In addition, as =C persons listed as #itnesses for the prosec"tion are at present living overseas, steps have been ta en to locate their present #hereabo"ts to serve s"mmons. 6ith regard to the M"tt"r :&C3; case, follo#ing instr"ctions b! the &ttorne!4General, action has been ta en to identif! and record statements of arm! commandos and civil societ! members. & f"rther statement had been recorded from a Member of the Local Co"ncil and an emplo!ee of the co"ncil. 5he Criminal Investigation 1epartment :CI1; has obtained copies of photographs and a report prepared b! the &dditional 1irector of the Consorti"m of H"manitarian &gencies :CH&; to clarif! the iss"e of the n"mber of bodies fo"nd at the crime scene. In addition, +. emplo!ees of &C3 have been intervie#ed and their statements recorded. 3"rther investigations are being cond"cted "nder the g"idance of the &ttorne! General. 5he 3irst Part of the &rm! Co"rt of In-"ir! :C,I;, investigating allegations on civilian cas"alties concl"ded in 3ebr"ar! .=+>. 5he in-"ir! concl"ded that instances of shelling referred to in the LL'C 'eport #ere not ca"sed b! the Sri Lan a &rm! and that civilian cas"alties ma! have occ"rred d"e to "nla#f"l acts b! the L55E. 5hese acts incl"de targeting civilians fleeing to the safet! of &rm!4held areas and li el! ro"tes of escape, dropping of artiller! ro"nds fired b! ill4trained L55E g"nners on to civilian concentrations. 5he C,I has indicated that f"rther evidence, if presented, #ill be examined.

5he Co"rt of In-"ir! appointed b! the &rm! is no# addressing the second part of their mandate, comprising the Channel ( allegations, #hich commenced in March .=+>. 5he identification of potential #itnesses is c"rrentl! in progress and, once identified, the! #o"ld be formall! called as #itnesses. It ma! be noted that the LL'C, in its ,bservations*'ecommendations on the Channel ( video, inter alia expressed its regret at Kthe fact that the broadcaster did not respond positivel! to the re-"est made b! the Commission to provide more comprehensive informationK, and noted that Kgreater cooperation b! the organisation that provided to the television stations these video images and b! the prod"cers*broadcasters that aired this footage is essential to establish the facts of the caseK. Sri Lan a has initiated action to prepare legislation #ith regard to 6itness and Gictim Protection. Conse-"ent to extensive cons"ltation in this regard, incl"ding examination b! the
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Cabinet S"b4Committee on Legislation and action being ta en thereon b! the Legal 1raftsman, finali7ation of legislation is in progress. 5he need for legislation for the criminali7ation of disappearances is being examined b! a Committee appointed b! the Ministr! of <"stice, in cons"ltation #ith the &ttorne! General. & total area of +,9)= s- m, #hich is 9F L of the areas identified for demining have been cleared as at the end of 1ecember .=+>. C= L of the demining #as carried o"t b! the Sri Lan a &rm!. 5his paved the #a! for the expeditio"s resettlement of internall! displaced persons. .9C,=== Internall! 1isplaced Persons #ho #ere ho"sed at Meni 3arm 6elfare Gillage immediatel! after the conflict in .==9 have no# been f"ll! resettled and this facilit! #as closed in September .=+.. &ction is being ta en to expedite resettlement of the remaining C,=9( I1P families in the 0orth and the East. ,f this, ?,?)? are c"rrentl! sta!ing #ith host families. 5he Government is also #or ing to#ards finding d"rable sol"tions to resettle approximatel! C?,=== M"slim #ho #ere forcibl! evicted from the 0orthern Province b! the L55E in an ethnic cleansing exercise, over .= !ears ago. 3"rther, a st"d! is "nder#a! #ith the collaboration of the /0HC' to establish #hether there are an! hitherto "nreported displaced persons and the report is expected b! end March .=+(. &s recommended b! the LL'C, the Government has mobili7ed f"nding for restit"tion and the provision of compensator! relief for those affected b! the conflict. SL's. >9. million has been provided for the pa!ment of compensation from .=+= to .=+., and SL's. .=( million in .=+>. 5he .=+( b"dget has allocated SL's. (C? million to contin"e the implementation of this recommendation. 6hile the b"l of f"nding for these activities #as provided b! the Government, the s"pport of international partners also needs to be ac no#ledged. Compensation schemes have also been implemented b! the 'ehabilitation &"thorit! to provide relief for the next of in affected b! the death or in2"r! of those involved #ith the L55E. S"ch relief is also provided in cases of propert! damage d"e to the conflict, incl"ding religio"s places. In line #ith the LL'C recommendations, persons #ith disabilities in conflict affected areas receive benefits from Government schemes providing ho"sing and livelihood s"pport. /nder the IHo"sing &ssistance Programme for persons #ith disabilitiesJ, +?. families in the 0orth and ?=. families in the East have been provided 's .?=,=== each to constr"ct ho"ses #ith accessibilit! facilities. & s"m of 's CF million has been inc"rred b! the Government for this p"rpose. 6ith regard to livelihood s"pport, nearl! (,=== families in the 0orth and East having a disabled member receive a monthl! cash allo#ance "nder the IMonthl! Livelihood &ssistance ProgrammeJ. &lso, .=9 persons in the Eastern Province and ?>9 disabled persons in the 0orthern Province have been assisted to set "p self4emplo!ment vent"res "nder the ISelf Emplo!ment &ssistance Programme for persons #ith disabilitiesJ. 3ift! disabled !o"th from Hilinochchi have been selected for training in 2ob4oriented vocational disciplines b! the Social Services 1epartment. Land is one of the most complex and sensitive resid"al iss"es of the conflict and contin"es to be addressed. In line #ith the LL'C recommendation, the Government is implementing the Land Commissioner General8s Special Land Circ"lar #hich provides for the granting of legal o#nership of land to those I1Ps #ho have been resettled. In <an"ar! .=+( alone, >,F.> land
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re-"ests have been received in the 0orthern Province. ,f this, .,>.+ have been resolved, ma ing a total of .(,>)9 resol"tions of +(C,?=( land re-"ests to date. In the Eastern Province, (9= land re-"ests have been received in <an"ar! :total ++,FF. to date; and )> have been resolved :total +,.F= to date;. 5he former High Sec"rit! Mones :HSM; have ceased to exist. Palal! cantonment is no# the onl! area in #hich some sec"rit! restrictions remain altho"gh civilians have "nrestricted access to Palal! airport and HHS harbo"r. Similarl!, former HSM in the Eastern Province, located in the Sampoor area from .==C has been red"ced in extent b! F? per cent and declared a Licensed Mone "nder the $oard of investment. &s at <an"ar! .=+( the Government has released +9,>.. acres of private land and .,?+) acres of State o#ned land in the 0orthern Province #hich #ere hitherto "sed b! the militar!. In the East, the Government has released F)9 acres of private land and >,... acres of State land. 5herefore the total fig"re of lands released in the 0orth and the East amo"nts to .=,=++ acres of private land and ?,C(= acres of State land. 5he 5erms of 'eference for a 3o"rth Land Commission are "nder preparation. &mendment to the Prescription ,rdinance #ill be presented in Parliament b! &pril, .=+(. Steps are being ta en to Ga7ette the necessar! ,rders "nder the Special Mediation $oards &ct, to establish relevant $oards in certain areas #here the armed conflict prevailed, and address certain identified land disp"tes that have arisen in those areas. 5his ampl! demonstrates that allegations of @land grabbing% ta ing place in the former conflict4affected areas are entirel! "nfo"nded. Ho"sing programmes to reconstr"ct and renovate ho"ses have been implemented b! the Government in the 0orthern and Eastern Provinces. Some of these programme are being carried o"t #ith the assistance of bilateral partners.

5he 0orthern Province has recorded a Provincial G1P :P1GP; gro#th rate of .>.F per cent in .=+> contrib"ting (.> per cent to the 0ational Econom! "p from >.C per cent in .=++ #hile the Eastern Province registered the second gro#th of .F.F per cent in the PG1P #ith an increase in its G1P share to F.9 in .=+> from ?.) per cent in .=++. /nemplo!ment rates have declined significantl! in the 0orthern and Eastern provinces in the post4conflict phase. 5his is ill"strated b! the fact that the "nemplo!ment rate in the 0orthern Province has declined from F.+ per cent to ?.. per cent, and in the Eastern provinces from +?.? per cent to (.9 per cent in the period .==? 4 .=+.. 3ood ratio is one of the principle indicators "sed to meas"re living standards of a pop"lation. 3ood ratios for 0orthern and Eastern provinces have declined from ?9 per cent to ((.) per cent and ?C per cent to ?? per cent respectivel!. /nder the /rban 1evelopment Programme :Pura Neguma;, )( per cent of total investment in the 0orth and CC per cent of total investment in the East #ere channelled to create access to r"ral roads. 5he reconstr"cted rail#a! line from ,manthai to Hilinochchi #as commissioned and dedicated to the p"blic of Sri Lan a on +( September .=+>. 5he second segment, Hilinochchi A Pallai, of approximatel! >= ilometres, #as added to the rail net#or !esterda!.

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5he Ch"nna am Grid s"bstation #as opened connecting the <affna penins"la #ith the national grid after a lapse of t#o decades. ,ver F> M# of po#er is to be transmitted to the <affna penins"la thro"gh the s"bstation for #hich the Government has spent SL's. +,)== million. 5he ne# ,l"vil Port 1evelopment pro2ect in the East, constr"cted at a cost of 's. C,=== million, #as opened in September .=+>. & +=4!ear 0ational Plan for a 5riling"al Sri Lan a #as la"nched in <an"ar! .=+. for the implementation of the 5riling"al Polic!. In line #ith this Plan, the Government has initiated a program to ma e p"blic sector #or ers biling"al, #ith the abilit! to converse in both Sinhala and 5amil. Civil servants and Police officers have been recr"ited and trained to serve the p"blic in the 0orth and the East in the lang"age of their choice. Special foc"s is being placed on enabling police personnel serving in the 0orth to have a so"nd no#ledge of 5amil. 5he Police 1epartment has deplo!ed 9== 5amil police officers and +,?== Sinhala police officers fl"ent in the 5amil lang"age in police stations in the 0orthern and Eastern Provinces. Preparations are also "nder #a! to recr"it +?= 5amil spea ing 6omen Police ,fficers in .=+( to a"gment all /nits of the 6omen and Children $"rea" at all Police Stations in the 0orthern and Eastern Provinces. In addition, Government officers are reg"larl! enco"raged, and participate in lang"age competenc! training. 5he 0ational 1epartment for 'egistration of Persons has ta en meas"res to iss"e comp"teri7ed biling"al identit! cards in the t#o national lang"ages, Sinhala and 5amil. 6hile identit! cards of minorit! comm"nities are alread! being iss"ed in t#o lang"ages for their convenience, the ne# decision #ill be applicable to all identit! cards, as a corrective meas"re and to ens"re e-"it! for all citi7ens. 5here have been allegations on changing the demograph! of the 0orthern areas b! resettling people other than 5amils. In the earl! +9)=s, before the ethnic cleansing b! the L55E, over C?,=== M"slims and over >?,=== Sinhalese co4existed peacef"ll! in the 0orth of Sri Lan a. 6hen the conflict escalated, almost all these civilians either left or #ere forcibl! evicted b! the L55E. 5oda!, ?+ per cent of the pop"lation in Colombo cit! is non4Sinhalese #hich is testimon! to the fact that the people of Sri Lan a can freel! choose #here the! #ant to live, and there are no efforts to create mono4ethnic niches #ithin the co"ntr!. 5his is f"rther s"bstantiated b! the fact that onl! >. per cent of the 5amil pop"lation live in the 0orth #hile the remainder live among other comm"nities in the rest of the co"ntr!. ,f the +.,.)) former L55E combatants that have s"rrendered or came "nder co"rt order, 9F.9 per cent have been rehabilitated and integrated into societ! as of => March .=+(. ,nl! +?C are c"rrentl! "ndergoing rehabilitation and )? remain "nder legal proceedings. 3ollo#ing the termination of militar! operations against the L55E in .==9, the Government has "nderta en a grad"al process of red"ction of militar! presence in former conflict affected areas. It ma! be noted that the total strength of the militar! in the 0orthern Province has been red"ced b! approximatel! >= per cent from .==9 to ,ctober .=+>, a process #hich is contin"ing to ta e place. In addition, in the Eastern Province approximatel! .F per cent red"ction of troop presence has been "nderta en. 5here have been repeated attempts to dra# a non4existent correlation bet#een the presence of the militar! and v"lnerabilit! of #omen to sex"al harassment and violence in the 0orth. 5his
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position is not borne o"t b! available statistics. It m"st be categoricall! stated that Sri Lan a has a 7ero tolerance polic! on sex"al harassment and ab"se of #omen and children. 5he Government has ta en concrete action in all reported cases #here Sri Lan an sec"rit! forces personnel have been involved and #ill contin"e to do so. 5he militar! has no involvement in civilian administration. 5he civil administration s!stem in the 0orth and East is f"ll! f"nctional. 5he c"lmination of this process #as the s"ccessf"l concl"sion of Provincial Co"ncil elections in the 0orth in September .=+> and the establishment of the 0orthern Provincial Co"ncil. Ho#ever, it is regrettable that external entities thin it fit to press"ri7e the Government #ith regard to that Co"ncils staffing, and even on the appointment of the Governor, #hich is the prerogative of the Exec"tive. S"ch press"re on the cond"ct of governance are "nacceptable and not in eeping #ith the cond"ct of international relations. 5he Parliamentar! Select Committee :PSC; #as set "p to arrive at a final political sol"tion #ith participation b! .+ political parties #ho are represented in Parliament. 5he terms of reference for the PSC #ere form"lated 2ointl! #ith the 5amil 0ational &lliance :50&;. It is "nfort"nate that the 50& persistentl! ref"ses to participate in this process. It sho"ld be recogni7ed that this approach b! the 50& is a hindrance to an! settlement. Ho#ever, despite the non4participation of the 50&, the PSC contin"es #ith its deliberations.

&ll people living in Sri Lan a en2o! freedom of religion, #hich is a constit"tionall! g"aranteed right. 5he Government of Sri Lan a remains committed to ens"ring that this right is protected. 5his is demonstrated b! the action ta en to address reported incidents of dist"rbances in the recent past. 5he fo"r ma2or religions have co4existed side b! side in Sri Lan a for cent"ries. 'egrettabl!, there is an effort to pro2ect the sporadic incidents of attac s aimed at religio"s places, as a sign of religio"s hatred and intolerance. It sho"ld be noted that these incidents have targeted places of #orship of all fo"r religions. 5he Government does not condone an! of those activities. 6ith regard to reported attac s, +F relate to $"ddhist, (+ to Christian*Catholic and .= M"slim places of #orship d"ring the period from <"ne .==9 to 1ecember .=+>. <"dicial in-"iries are in progress #ith regard to F. per cent of the attac s, and .. cases have been concl"ded. In all s"ch instances #here police complaints have been lodged, police have ta en legal steps to prod"ce s"spects before Magistrates. 6henever credible information relating to incidents has been made available, the Government has ta en appropriate action. 5he recent incident in Hi ad"#a in so"thern Sri Lan a is a case in point. Police complaints #ere lodged regarding the incident #hich ca"sed damage to b"ildings of the &ssembl! of God and Hol! Calvar! Sectors d"ring a p"blic protest. Police forth#ith initiated legal proceedings and t#ent! one persons incl"ding $"ddhist mon s have s"rrendered responding to the Co"rt ,rder. 5he case is sched"led to be called on +C March .=+( for f"rther hearings. &dditionall!, in eeping #ith Sri Lan a%s societal, c"lt"ral and historical norms, reg"lar dialog"e contin"es to ta e place at vario"s levels to ens"re interfaith harmon! and "nderstanding amongst its diverse pop"lace.
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&dministration of 2"stice, incl"sive of independence of the 2"diciar! is constit"tionall! en2oined, and an! infringement of these entrenched rights is visited #ith sanctions. <"dges hold office d"ring good behavior, and proven misbehavior or incapacit! triggers constit"tionall! entrenched disciplinar! proceedings. &n! proced"re adopted in this regard has been in accordance #ith the Constit"tion and s"ch action in compliance #ith constit"tional provisions cannot be regarded as "ndermining the independence of the 2"diciar!. 5he Government of Sri Lan a is f"ll! committed to the protection of h"man rights defenders. 5he #ide range of interactions that the High Commissioner had #ith civil societ! d"ring her visit, as #ell as the active engagement of civil societ! from Sri Lan a in s"ccessive Co"ncil sessions is testimon! to the vibrant nat"re of Sri Lan a%s civil societ! and the freedoms the! en2o!. Mr. President, d"ring the period "nder revie# Sri Lan a has contin"ed its proactive engagement #ith the Co"ncil, the ,HCH' and the international comm"nit! in a spirit of transparenc!, cooperation and dialog"e. 5he past !ear has also #itnessed the visit of High Commissioner 0avi Pilla! to Sri Lan a on a #ee 4long, comprehensive visit #hich incl"ded travel to the former theatre of conflict in the 0orth and the East, as #ell as the visit of the Special 'apporte"r on the H"man 'ights of I1Ps 1r. Chalo a $e!ani #hose visit too incl"ded travel to the 0orth. Sri Lan a also hosted the Common#ealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo last 0ovember #here ?( of the states in this a"g"st gathering participated. 5hese comprehensive visits and expos"re enabled Sri Lan a to demonstrate first hand the ver! tangible progress on the gro"nd #ith regard to reconciliation. Sri Lan a has consistentl! interacted #ith the /nited 0ations s!stem and the #ider international comm"nit! in a spirit of good#ill and cooperation. It is in this context that Sri Lan a remains committed to a positive engagement #ith the Co"ncil and its mechanisms, incl"ding special proced"res. Sri Lan a%s &mbassador * Permanent 'epresentative in Geneva has engaged in reg"lar dialog"e #ith special proced"res mandate holders incl"ding, inter alia, the Special 'apporte"r on 5r"th, <"stice, 'eparation and G"arantees of 0on4rec"rrence and the Special 'apporte"r on Extra2"dicial, S"mmar!, or &rbitrar! Exec"tions. Sri Lan a has also cond"cted reg"lar meetings #ith the 6or ing Gro"p on Enforced or Invol"ntar! 1isappearances :6GEI1;, incl"ding #ith the participation of senior representation from the &ttorne! General%s 1epartment. Since <an"ar! .=+., the Government has transmitted responses on +,=(. cases to the 6GEI1. &dditionall!, an Inter4&genc! 5as 3orce established comprising the Ministries of External &ffairs, 1efence and the &ttorne! General%s 1epartment contin"es to respond to the 6or ing Gro"p and provide clarification on cases. It is pertinent to note that )= per cent of the caseload of the 6GEI1 "nder consideration dates bac over .= !ears to the pre4+99= period.

Similarl!, Sri Lan a has proactivel! engaged #ith the 6or ing Gro"p on &rbitrar! 1etention :6G&1;. 1"ring the period from <an"ar! .=+. to date, the Government has responded to 9 of
10

the ++ comm"nications transmitted b! the 6or ing Gro"p #ith regard to iss"es of alleged detention. &dditionall!, Sri Lan a also responded b! its comm"nication dated .) 3ebr"ar! .=+( to the N"estionnaire transmitted to delegations b! the 6or ing Gro"p on the 8'ight to an!one deprived of his or her libert! b! arrest or detention8 incl"sive of examples containing detailed information on cases applicable.

3rom <an"ar! .=+> to date, Sri Lan a has responded to .= comm"nications from special proced"res :both co"ntr! specific and general; excl"ding comm"nications b! the 6GEI1 and the 6G&1, the latter having been collated separatel! as indicated earlier. 3rom .=+. to date, Sri Lan a has responded to C+ per cent of the comm"nications received from special proced"res addressed to the Government on vario"s iss"es #ith specific and detailed information, excl"ding comm"nications from the 6GEI1 and the 6G&1. 5he Government contin"es to endeavo"r to respond to all comm"nications b! special proced"res in a spirit of cooperation, transparenc! and dialog"e. 5he re-"est for visit b! the 6or ing Gro"p on Enforced or Invol"ntar! 1isappearances is "nder consideration as #ith other similar re-"ests from special proced"res, #hich #ill be processed as m"t"all! convenient and ta ing into acco"nt national imperatives and initiatives. It is relevant to recall the contin"ation of the mandate of the Commission on 1isappearances. 5his domestic mechanism needs to be given ade-"ate time. &s #e have previo"sl! informed this a"g"st bod!, #e #ill contin"e to sched"le pending visits of special proced"res mandate holders follo#ing the visit of the High Commissioner. In line #ith this commitment, the Government has, as of no#, extended three invitations to special proced"res since &"g"st .=+> incl"ding to the Special 'apporte"r on the H"man 'ights of I1Ps, the Special 'apporte"r on Ed"cation, and the Special 'apporte"r on the H"man 'ights of Migrants. 5he Special 'apporte"r on Ed"cation has informed of his inabilit! to "nderta e this visit this !ear. In line #ith its treat! bod! commitments, Sri Lan a contin"es to engage and s"bmit its periodic reports to the respective treat! bodies. Sri Lan a%s >rd and (th 'eport to the Committee &gainst 5ort"re came "nder consideration in 0ovember .=++. Sri Lan a s"bmitted its ? th report "nder the International Covenant on Civil and Political 'ights :ICCP'; in ,ctober .=+., and in September .=+>, its response to the Concl"ding ,bservations of the Committee on the Elimination of 1iscrimination against 6omen :CE1&6;. C"rrentl!, the Government%s ?th report "nder the International Covenant on Economic, Social and C"lt"ral 'ights :ICESC'; is "nder preparation. 5he Government is also engaged in initial preparations to s"bmit its reports in .=+? "nder the Convention on the 'ights of the Child :C'C;, the Convention on the Elimination of 1iscrimination &gainst 6omen :CE1&6; and the Convention &gainst 5ort"re :C&5;. &s previo"sl! committed at its /P' second c!cle in 0ovember .=+., the Government agreed to implement recommendations of the LL'C in line #ith the LL'C 0ational Plan of &ction :0Po&;, and also to ma e available financial and other reso"rces to meet this ob2ective. &dditionall!, Sri Lan a made +9 vol"ntar! commitments in relation to the /P', of #hich +. have direct relevance to the reconciliation process and implementation of the recommendations of the LL'C.

11

Sri Lan a remains open to consideration of technical cooperation from the ,HCH' in some e! areas in reconciliation, in line #ith the needs of the co"ntr!, in the context of implementing the 0Po& of the LL'C, as #ell as the accepted recommendations of Sri Lan a8s /P' . nd c!cle. In eeping #ith H'C 'esol"tion ?*+, offers of technical assistance need to be made in cons"ltation #ith and #ith the conc"rrence of the receiving State. Sri Lan a has also "nderta en commitments on technical cooperation "nder the /0 1evelopment &ssistance 3rame#or .=+>4.=+C. 3"rther, to identif! the specific needs of those #ho have ret"rned or resettled b"t are still having specific needs lin ed to their displacement and to reconcile the discrepancies in relation to the n"mber of remaining I1Ps to be resettled in the co"ntr!, action has alread! been initiated to cond"ct a <oint 0eeds &ssessment :<0&; b! ,CH& in cons"ltation #ith the Presidential 5as 3orce for 'esettlement, 1evelopment and Sec"rit! in the 0orthern Province. 5his iss"e #as also referred to d"ring the visit of the Special 'apporte"r on the H"man 'ights of I1Ps to Sri Lan a in 1ecember .=+>. Conse-"ent to a series of meetings, formal approval for the <oint 0eeds &ssessment :<0&; has been comm"nicated to the /0,CH&. & letter of &greement is being prepared bet#een the Government and the /0 Co"ntr! 5eam to give effect to the <0&. /0,CH& has alread! appointed cons"ltants to plan o"t and monitor the #hole process. & e! /01P s"pported program, Strengthening Enforcement of La#, &ccess to <"stice and Social Integration :SEL&<SI; #hich is a 2oint initiative of the Ministries of 0ational Lang"ages and Social IntegrationO <"sticeO 'ehabilitation and Prison 'eformsO and Child 1evelopment and 6omen8s &ffairs #as la"nched b! the /0 &ssistant Secretar!4General, 'egional $"rea" for &sia and the Pacific of the /01P in 3ebr"ar! .=+(. 5he programme aims at ens"ring that gains in the 2"stice sector are instit"tionali7ed, s!stemised and scaled4"p. Ministr! of <"stice is implementing a programme in collboration #ith /0ICE3 and relevant government sta eholders and civil societies to strengthen and enhance child protection b! establishing special Child 3riendl! Children8s Co"rts. &dditionall!, several international organi7ations are engaged b! the Government to provide assistance to #ar4affected persons thro"gh focal line Ministries. Examples incl"de 6orld $an collaboration #ith the Ministr! of Social Services "nder IDiri Saviya Pro2ectJ to provide financial assistance to the disabledO /0ICE3 assistance to implement the concept of Social Care Centers in the 0orthern and the Eastern provincesO /0ICE3 assistance to the Ministr! of Ed"cation to implement the I$e SafeJ a#areness programme to protect children from ab"se in schools in the 0orthern ProvinceO /0ICE3 assistance for vocational training in Mannar and M"llaitiv" 5raining CentresO GIM assistance to the Ministr! of Ed"cation to create a#areness on ps!cho4social care for Ed"cation 1irectors, Principals and 5eachers in 0orthern and Eastern ProvincesO GIM assistance to set "p vocational training centres in 0orthern provinceO Canadian Government assistance to the 0ational Lang"ages Pro2ectO 6orld /niversit! Services of Canada s"pport to set "p => Gocational Centres and => 'ecognition of Prior Learning Centres for re4settled people in 0orthern provinceO IC'C assistance to rehabilitated L55E members "nder the IC'C livelihood assistance programmeO I0G, and 0G, collaboration #ith the Ministr! of Health to promote a#areness on mental health and n"trition among #omen and children in conflict affected areasO and Government, /0 agencies, I0G,s, 0G,s collaboration in constr"cting and renovating ho"ses for ret"rnees, etc.
12

0ot#ithstanding these achievements, 2"dging b! the persistent demands made on Sri Lan a, as #ell as the assertion that domestic mechanisms have failed, it is clear that there is no ac no#ledgement of this ver! tangible progress. 'egrettabl!, as m"ch as Sri Lan a has endeavo"red to cooperate #ith the ,HCH', there have been a series of actions, in partic"lar the introd"ction of co"ntr! specific action on Sri Lan a in this Co"ncil, that have sho#n lac of sensitivit! in dealing #ith delicate sit"ations and exposed the "nfair and biased manner in #hich iss"es pertaining to Sri Lan a have been addressed. 1etailing of t#o of the most recent examples s"ffice. 4 In September .=+>, in contravention of H'C resol"tion ?*+, specificall! '"le +( :(C; and Paragraph ++C #hich casts a d"t! on the ,HCH' that acts as the Secretariat of the Co"ncil to prepare and circ"late doc"ments for consideration b! the Co"ncil in a timel! manner, the text of the ,ral /pdate of the High Commissioner #as made available to Sri Lan a for response as the state concerned, #ith less than .= ho"rs remaining for its consideration in the Co"ncil. 4 In 3ebr"ar! .=+(, the non4adherance b! the ,HCH' to the re-"est b! Sri Lan a to p"blish the Comments b! the State on the 'eport of the High Commissioner :&*H'C*.?*.>; as an &ddend"m to the 'eport in the c"rrent session in spite of existence of clear precedent in this regard and no r"le to the contrar! governing &ddenda and s"bmission of comments b! the State on HC * SG Co"ntr! 'eports, is again in contravention of the Methods of 6or of the Co"ncil #hich clearl! state at Paragraph ++= of the I$ pac age that K5he methods of #or , p"rs"ant to General &ssembl! resol"tion F=*.?+ sho"ld be transparent, impartial, e-"itable, fair, pragmaticO lead to clarit!, predictabilit!, and incl"siveness. 5he! ma! also be "pdated and ad2"sted over time.K Mr. President, regrettabl!, these are examples of patent bias demonstrated b! the ,HCH' in addressing iss"es in relation to Sri Lan a. 5he ,HCH'%s most recent act of placing the Comments of the Government of Sri Lan a on the 'eport &*H'C*.?*.> "nder @Comm"nications from Governments%, has serio"sl! impeded the visibilit! and integrit! of bet#een the 'eport and the Comments b! the State. It not onl! reflects a lac of transparenc!, b"t also clearl! denies Sri Lan a a level pla!ing field to present its point of vie#. 5he "ne-"al treatment meted o"t to Sri Lan a b! the ,HCH' in the above instance defeats the ver! principles "pheld b! the Co"ncil. 5he proced"ral concerns that Sri Lan a has raised #ith the President of the Co"ncil #ith regard to the above anomalies have #ider relevance to member and observer states of the Co"ncil. 5he! also raise serio"s -"estions on politici7ation and coll"sion of interests against Sri Lan a. Mr. President, the Government of Sri Lan a categoricall! re2ects the High Commissioner8s 'eport :&*H'C*.?*.>; emanating from resol"tion ..*+. It ma! be recalled that from the adoption of resol"tion ..*+, #e "pheld its contravention of G& resol"tion F=*.?+ as #ell as the Co"ncil resol"tions ?*+ and ?*. #hich g"ide the #or and method of engagement of the Co"ncil.

13

Sri Lan a #ill share its observations on the s"bstantive content of the 'eport :&*H'C*.?*.>;, incl"ding the considerable fact"al inacc"racies and misperceptions contained therein, d"ring its consideration on .F March. Ho#ever, for p"rposes of record there are some aspects to #hich, I #ish to dra# !o"r attention to at this 2"nct"re. 5he High Commissioner8s 'eport has exceeded its mandate b! ma ing reference to and recommendations on n"mero"s iss"es extraneo"s to the resol"tion. &dditionall!, the recommendations contained in the 'eport are arbitrar!, intr"sive and of a political nat"re, and are not placed #ithin the ambit of the LL'C, as demonstrated b! the call to establish an international in-"ir! mechanism. 3"rther, this recommendation is in contravention of her mandate granted b! G& 'esol"tion ()*+(+, partic"larl! &rticles >:a; and (:g;. In the Government%s detailed KCommentsK on the 'eport, it has also regretted that the High Commissioner has raised concerns regarding a range of iss"es based on information of -"estionable veracit! and concl"sions arrived at in a selective and arbitrar! manner. Sri Lan a8s Comments have attempted to address some of the errors and misperceptions contained in the 'eport. 5he references made in the Co"ncil #elcoming the High Commissioner8s 'eport on Sri Lan a, even at the highest level of the /0 are regrettable partic"larl! considering that it is based on -"estionable and baseless material incl"ding #hat has been processed o"tside the /0 frame#or . 5he Co"ncil ma! recall in this regard that the Panel of Experts 'eport #hich #as the c"lmination of a private cons"ltation that the Secretar! General so"ght for his o#n advice, and is not the prod"ct of an! intergovernmental process, has been extensivel! resorted to b! the High Commissioner in her 'eport to the Co"ncil, in a bid to legitimise it #ithin the /0 frame#or despite the lac of mandate in this regard. It is "niversall! accepted that the High Commissioner and the ,HCH' m"st remain transparent, ob2ective and be g"ided solel! b! the mandate given b! the /0. Ho#ever, if the initiatives ta en on Sri Lan a at this 2"nct"re b! the ,HCH' is to be the basis on #hich the co"ntr! is to be 2"dged, it #ill clearl! be a travest! of 2"stice. It is in this context that #e greatl! val"e the sentiments expressed in the Co"ncil b! co"ntries #hich have similar experiences #ith regard to reconciliation, that Sri Lan a be provided #ith the re-"isite time and space to address their o#n process domesticall! in a comprehensive manner as opposed to those #ho contin"e to pa! disproportionate attention to Sri Lan a, based on agendas driven b! political motives. 5he Government of Sri Lan a therefore reiterates its re2ection of resol"tion ..*+, as #ell as the High Commissioner%s 'eport in its entiret! #hich are f"ndamentall! fla#ed. 5hese initiatives disregard the s"bstantial progress made b! the Government d"ring the five !ears #hich have elapsed since the end of the thirt! !ear #ar against terrorism. 5he! also pa! scant regard to the complexities and local n"ances of a sensitive reconciliation process, #hile eroding confidence of the people of Sri Lan a b! the constant changing of "n2"stifiable demands. Moreover, the! persist in an attit"de #hich is clearl! disproportionate to the circ"mstances and inconsistent #ith the treatment of comparable sit"ations. It is m"ch to be regretted that the High Commissioner%s 'eport and those #ho exalt its virt"es onl! see to inflict harm on the reconciliation process b! bringing abo"t a polarisation of the Sri Lan an societ!.
14

In concl"sion, Mr. President, Sri Lan a reiterates its contin"ed cooperation and engagement #ith the #or of the Co"ncil. 5han Po"

15

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