The South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Geoff Doidge warned that Sri Lanka should not get too comfortable with the 'honeymoon period' granted by the international community and the human rights fraternity with regard to the UNHRC resolution passed last month.
"Everything will not be hunky-dory for long. In my opinion it is the calm before the storm,” he said.
The High Commissioner made these comments at a training workshop on a transitional justice mechanism organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) of Sri Lanka.
He added that Sri Lanka should not dismiss the report and the resolution and let the recommendations made in the investigative reports fade away -- as inaction would have consequences.
Criticising the previous regime for not implementing the recommendations, he said that nothing was done by it even though the time and the environment were right to take action in 2011 .
However, he said, Sri Lanka had no excuses now, especially taking into account the fact that Sri Lanka had co-sponsored the resolution. He also warned that there was no getting away with it and, therefore, it was best to face the issues and deal with them.
The High Commissioner pointed out that there were several issues that needed resolution; as Sri Lanka had to deal with a past consisting of decades of political oppression and war.
"There is a trust deficit in Sri Lanka, one hand does not trust the other,” he said.
He said that, going by the South African experience, the best way to deal with these issues would be to establish a tailor-made Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He also emphasised the need to release political prisoners.
He urged the government to learn from the successes of the South African experience and not repeat its mistakes.(Shihara Maduwage)