UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has underlined the critical importance of addressing accountability in Sri Lanka through a genuine and comprehensive national process achieving national reconciliation.The Inner City Press website quoted the UN Chief as saying that he had recognized through a recent meeting he had with a delegation which had visited Sri Lanka, the important steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict. During his meeting with the delegation Ban said he had strongly underlined the need to address the remaining challenges particularly on issues relating to reconciliation and accountability.“I highlighted the importance for the Government of Sri Lanka to work constructively with the international community towards that end,” he said. Recently Ban Ki-moon met the Japanese ambassador to the UN who led an accountability assessment mission to Sri Lanka, and received a report on Sri Lanka. The report was handed over to the UN Chief by Japan and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona as well as Permanent Representatives from Bangladesh, Romania and Nigeria.
The report by the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council during its 30th session in Geneva next month. Biswal said that during her visit to Sri Lanka she had discussed the matter with the TNA and impressed on the need to work with the new government to address the issues.Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, said that the international community will continue to keep the spotlight on Sri Lanka, no matter what happens in Geneva.He said the US recognizes the efforts being taken by the Sri Lankan Government to address the human rights issue and will not set a deadline to see results. However, he said that at the same time there are some immediate issues which the Government can address including returning land and releasing political prisoners. Biswal who just concluded a visit to Sri Lanka said that the resolution will be consensual and will be drafted following discussions with the Sri Lankan government once the contents of the report is known. The United States today said that it will be submitting a resolution in support of Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva even as the Council looks to discuss a highly critical report on alleged war crimes committed in the country.US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Nisha Biswal told reporters today that the matter had already been discussed with the international community as there is a need to give the new Sri Lankan government time to address the human rights concerns. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been calling for an international independent investigation on alleged war crimes said to have been committed during the final stages of the war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military.The US had supported such calls earlier but Biswal said that the new Government has shown promise of addressing the concerns through a domestic mechanism. He also said that in the past, the failure to meet commitments on the human rights issue had undermined confidence in a domestic process.While the new Government is expected to face a challenge to secure confidence in the domestic process, Malinowski said the US will not judge based on promises but on results. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Easwaran Rutnam