By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardene
Opposition MP Sarath Amunugama, who was a member of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC, told Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka did not agree to a time frame to implement what it promised through the resolution adopted in Geneva.
“We told the UNHRC that we are not prepared to work according to a timeframe,” he said. The MP said the SL delegation also informed the UNHRC that Sri Lanka was not prepared to allow foreign judges to participate in the hearings on war crime allegations.
“We told UNHRC that the Sri Lankan constitution does not permit foreign judges. We also said amending the constitution is an uphill task as it has to be approved by a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” he said. The MP said Sri Lanka’s action in Geneva was a success and President Maithripala Sirisena had played a role in it.
“The Government’s original plan was to refrain from sending a delegation to Geneva and get Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to represent the country.
However, it was the President who decided to send a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana to deal with the UNHRC. So the President should be thanked for this success and Minister Marapana must be given credit for handling the situation effectively,” he said. The MP said Sri Lanka should act with diligence on certain matters. He said the three main countries which signed the resolution on Sri Lanka -- Britain, Germany and Canada -- were more or less influenced by the diaspora.
“The diaspora accounts for a large number of votes. Therefore the leaders of these nations deal with Sri Lanka for their political survival though their personal views may be different,”
the MP said.