The government reiterated its stance that it will not reply to the “controversial Darusman report.” Instead, it said, it was preparing a set of reports on the post-war progress in Sri Lanka, which would be made available to the international community.
External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris told Daily Mirror that since the government did not recognise the panel that was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to advise him on matters relating to the conflict in Sri Lanka, it would be “inappropriate to reply to the report.”
This stance had been made clear to the UN by the fact that Sri Lanka did not respond to the report when it was first handed over to the government. “Prior to making the report public the secretary general asked the government to respond but we did not, making it clear that there would be no reply to specific allegations made in the report,” he said.
However, the government is preparing a number of comprehensive reports on the present situation in the country. “We have one report on food and medical supplies to the North, facilitated by the Presidential Task Force under the auspices of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. There is another report by the Ministry of Defence and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa which is a 120 page commentary on the situation in the North,” he said.
These reports are to be made available to the UN, international non-governmental organisations and foreign governments. “It is in the interest of Sri Lanka that this information is disseminated amongst the international community and we will do all that we can to ensure that this information reaches them,” he said
When asked why Sri Lanka did not oppose the reelection of the secretary general, the minister said there was no need for “personal animosity or hatred” when taking a decision on the matter. “We have expressed our support for him because this is a matter that must be dealt with rationally and not emotionally,” he said.
Meanhwile, Minister G.L. Peiris said that the United Nations had not taken any action against Sri Lanka or accepted the many allegations levelled against the government and the armed forces.
“The UN has not taken any action against Sri Lanka or accepted the allegations by Channel 4 or the controversial Darusman report,” Peiris told Daily Mirror.
He again stated that the allegations brought against Sri Lanka by the Channel 4 by airing a video were politically motivated and detailed the previous four instances when these allegations had surfaced.
“They first emerged on the eve of the GSP+ renewal in Brussels, thereafter prior to my meeting with the British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London. Thereafter when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in London to address the Oxford Union and most recently during the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council,” he said.
The minister said the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the Ministry of Defence would analyse the footage presented in the Channel 4 documentary but that there were a number of questions about its authenticity.
“There are substantial grounds for questioning the material. There is evidence that the quality of the video proves that it could not have been captured on a mobile phone. There are discrepancies between the audio and visual sequences. Furthermore if there are shots fired, there should be background noises, for instance the birds in the area would disperse—but there is no indication of this,” he said.
He said that experts suspected that the footage could have been superimposed on old footage that was presented earlier.
(By Dianne Silva)