Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha rubbished Amnesty International’s criticism on reconciliation
Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha 'rubbished' the allegation made by Amnesty International of its suggestion that n Sri Lanka haven’t done anything on reconciliation in the past as complete nonsense.
He emphasized that “I think we need to publicize this better and hope that we will be able to show this chamber, and indeed the world, that our model, is our approach, to reconciliation.”
Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha MP,and Advisor to Sri Lanka President on ‘Reconciliation’ made a statement at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Conference in Geneva said, “On the issue of reconciliation I hope this chamber will take cognizance of National Policy on Reconciliation, that has been prepared in my office with consultation of civil society as well as all the parties, and which we hope to implement very soon.”
Under the “Right of Reply” Professor Rajiva Wijesingha in reference to the Amnesty International's statement against Sri Lank, said as follows:
Sri Lanka does not ordinarily reply to Nongovernmental organizations at the present juncture, given the plethora of allegations made against us, but I believe that we need to make a special exception for Amnesty international, not least because I was greeted on arriving into this distinguished chamber today, by the representative from Amnesty who gave me the statement, that a reply might help them as well.
I think it important, because yesterday Amnesty also released a report on various allegations, that again was part of what I might call a ‘band wagon’, that is now being built up, but the really sad thing about that report, which I went through carefully yesterday, to answer some journalist on my way to the airport, was that it dealt with a lot of very old cases and did not seem to justify the hype with which it was presented, suggesting that the situation in Sri Lanka is really appalling now.
I think we need to go back to that Report very carefully. It is reminiscent of a report by Human Rights Watch which said that the Sri Lanka army had engaged in indiscriminate attacks on civilians, but on reading the whole report there was one case only, which was cited and in that, the army had acknowledged that the attack which was unfortunate, was through mortar locating radar, the LTTE at the time having brought in very heavy weaponry into a refugee centre.
Looking through the statement that was issued, which I gather was different from that which was actually presented, I think the main point it suggests is that we are trying to do nothing and that, is completely wrong.
I’m happy to say that just yesterday in Sri Lanka, I was delighted, that the UN system and the Asia Pacific Centre for Human Rights Commissions is working to strengthen our Human Rights Commission, in accordance with the National Action Plan on human rights.
We regretted that for about 3 years, the Human Rights Commission was not assisted, because the Report suggesting such assistance, was suppressed in this very Office of the High Commission, and I found that people here had not even seen that very positive Report that was issued by someone contracted by the UN. I think we are moving quite well on the National Human Rights Action plan, but it will take some time.
On the issue of reconciliation I hope this chamber will take cognizance of National Policy on Reconciliation, that has been prepared in my office with consultation of civil society as well as all the parties, and which we hope to implement very soon.
I think the suggestion that we haven’t done anything in the past is complete nonsense, but I think we need to publicize this better and hope that we will be able to show this chamber, and indeed the world, that our model, is our approach, to reconciliation.
- Asian Tribune –