Sri Lanka’s domestic mechanism would be a Sri Lankan process with an international element, visiting British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire said today.
Speaking of Sri Lanka’s commitment made in Geneva in September, Swire stated the government was amidst making several proposals for the mechanism, which were most likely to be reviewed and discussed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein during his visit to Sri Lanka this year.
“There is a lot of work going on to come up with some kind of solution to get things going. It will be a Sri Lankan process with an international element, but what that means remains to be discussed and seen. It is not an international system that is being imposed on Sri Lanka,” Swire said during a press conference at the end of his three day visit.
The British Minister who visited the Northern Province said there was some concern about the pace of land held by the military being returned.
“Even though a considerable amount of land has been released to civilians, there are huge expectations from this government to move quicker. The pace of land being returned will accelerate in the future. I believe the land that is returned should be in good condition, which will allow normal community lives to start up again,” he said.
Swire also promised Britain’s assistance in addressing international issues on human and labour rights, several criteria’s which needed to be fulfilled, before the country applied for the European GSP scheme.
Britain was eager to re-engage in the Defence sector, where it would provide the Sri Lankan armed forces training on how to operate within a democratic system.
Discussions with the Prime Minister also revealed the Sri Lankan forces would take an initiative in international peacekeeping in the future.
Swire also welcomed the government’s intention to sign up to the Ottawa convention on demining.(Nabeela Hussain)