Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said that it is relieved that the Government after a prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental, the right for burial of COVID-19 victims and suspected victims.
Issuing a statement, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said, “In this regard it is quite obvious that if not for the inclusion of this matter in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the subsequent inclusion of the matter in the resolution on Sri Lanka tabled by the core group, the deliberate intransigence that resulted in outrageously traumatising a section of Sri Lankan people would not have been resolved. The concern raised by the Secretary General of the OIC during the High-Level Segment and the overwhelming demonstration by almost all the Western States during the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka yesterday (25th February 2021) at the ongoing UNHRC sessions expedited the process.
The mandate of the UNHRC pertaining to observance of human rights in individual countries should never be under-estimated. We as a nation must learn to constructively cooperate with the UNHRC to improve on the human rights agenda within our country and also strive to be a responsible member of the international community by positive engagement with the OHCHR by acknowledging the reports submitted by many of the special mandate holders.
Heads of Mission of the core group members in our capital have to be thanked for their cooperation and support as well as those Heads of Missions who are members of the current cycle of the UNHRC whom we have met in this regard for their understanding and assurances.
We acknowledge the support we received from all political parties both in Opposition and Government specifically the TNA, JVP, TPF, ACTC along with numerous civil society groups, local and international organisations for individually and jointly voicing their concern. Unprecedented endorsements received by many Foreign Ministers and Members of Parliament as well as inter-governmental bodies such as OIC during the last several months had an invaluable impact in urging our Government to reverse this discriminatory policy.
The latest decision for the President to offer a meeting with next of kin of the disappeared who have been agitating for years on end is a welcome move, which is only a small step towards lasting re-dressal for their sufferings.
We fervently hope that the Government will take all other matters referred to in the UNHCHR report and revise its stance sufficiently to seek constructive engagement with the OHCHR rather than living in perpetual denial of the domestic issues including accountability, justice and reconciliation which have now unnecessarily been internationalised as a result of our withdrawal from co-sponsorship of resolution 30/1.