In a boost to Sri Lanka’s continued opposition to the appointment of a UN panel to probe human rights issues in the island, the US said it feels the Commission of Reconciliation appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa “holds promise”.
At a joint press briefing following talks with External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris, Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they talked about the continuing role of the United Nations, which intends to have an independent oversight role in Sri Lanka but she felt the local commission holds promise and expects that it will fulfill that promise.
“The United States strongly supports political and ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Such commissions of inquiry have played an important role in advancing accountability and redressing wrongs in other countries emerging from periods of internal strife. Sri Lanka’s commission should apply the best practices from these other commissions and should have the mandate to investigate any allegations of war crimes,” she said.
Clinton noted that Sri Lanka will remain a strong, united country by drawing on the strength of all of its citizens, valuing the diversity of its people, and ensuring equal rights for everyone.
Minister Peiris meanwhile said that the commission which has been set up in Sri Lanka consists of the people of stature and independence with a mandate that is broad enough to address the critical issues – the mandate specifically empowers the commission to give their minds to these issues.
“So our plea is that we be given the space to allow the commission to begin its work without impediment or without hindrance. And certainly, along the road, if we feel that there is a need for support, then we would certainly be happy to engage in a dialogue with the United Nations to get the benefit of the wisdom and the experience of the United Nations,” he said.
Clinton meanwhile further noted that the experience in other countries has shown that such a commission that has the credibility and legitimacy within the country has a valuable role in advancing accountability. (Daily Mirror online)