External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris who is visiting several African countries to garner crucial support for Sri Lanka at the Geneva sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has met Uganda’s Vice-President and Prime Minister on Tuesday.
At a series of meetings in Kampala with Ugandan Vice President Edward Ssekandi, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Foreign Minister Okello Oryem he said external intervention at this time was unhelpful and would inflict grave damage on a sensitive internal process which was moving forward.
Sri Lanka and Uganda are in the 47-member UNHRC where a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka is scheduled to be presented.
“The strength of feeling in the country was reflected in the manifestation of opinion throughout the nation on Monday by all communities in unison,” the minister said adding that all religious leaders including Buddhist prelates and Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had expressed this view with great emphasis.
At his meeting in Kampala, the minister explained the substantial progress, which had been made since the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report was tabled in Parliament on December 17 last year.
He said the government had identified the steps required to implement the major recommendations contained in the Report, together with priorities, while also assigning responsibility to different ministries, departments and statutory corporations for giving effect in a systematic way to different categories.
The minister laid particular stress on the work now being done by Sri Lanka’s Attorney General in respect of accountability issues.
He said a significant development was the completion of a census by the Sri Lankan Government, which enables war-affected families and people in the Northern Province to be determined on a verifiable basis, without surmise or speculation.
“In light of the results already achieved in respect of a wide range of issues including resettlement of internally displaced people, the rehabilitation of ex-combatants, and the revival of the economy of those parts of the country specially affected by the conflict, these represent a degree of progress which far exceeds what has been accomplished in comparable post-conflict situations in other regions of the world,” the minister said.
He said it was less than six weeks between the publication of the Commission Report and the decision by the United States to bring a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions.
“Sri Lanka is entitled to more space and time to continue its domestic process untrammeled by the kind of external intervention which is virtually certain to put in jeopardy the task of implementation,” the minister said. (Kelum Bandara)