May 29, Colombo: The Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister for Plantation Industries and Special Envoy for Human Rights of Sri Lanka is in Geneva to participate in the 17th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, from May 30 – June 17.
Minister Samarasinghe is scheduled to address the opening session on Monday at 2:00 p.m. local time following the presentations of the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General.
The Minister is expected to appraise the HRC on the progress of Sri Lanka’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the National Action Plan on the promotion and protection of the human rights.
The state-run weekend newspaper The Observer citing an official said the delegation, ahead of the session, met heads of all regional groups to brief them on the peace dividends, especially the rehabilitation, resettlement, and development initiatives in the country.
“Our objective is to brief the international community on the developments taking place within Sri Lanka so as to counter the disinformation campaign of the LTTE remnants,” the official was quoted.
According to the official Sri Lanka was prepared to have a genuine dialogue with the international community and has reportedly scheduled an event on the sidelines of the council sessions to address the concerns of Member States on Wednesday.
The Expert Panel appointed by the UN Secretary-General to probe the accountability during the last phase of the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tiger terrorists concluded that there are credible evidence that major violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed on all sides in the conflict.
The Sri Lankan government has rejected the report saying that it is fundamentally flawed and based on biased material that is presented without any verification.
However, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, accusing the Sri Lankan government of conducting a war under the guise of fighting terrorism and killing thousands of civilians, has called for further international investigation on the alleged war crimes.
The High Commissioner has encouraged the Human Rights Council members to reflect on the new information and findings contained in the report on Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan delegation to the Geneva session also includes Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and Attorney General Mohan Peiris and Head of Sri Lanka mission in the United Nations in Geneva, Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne.