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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 862

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s speech in the Lok Sabah was meant only for ‘Domestic Consumption’

By K.T.Rajasingham
Geneva, 20 March, (Asiantribune.com):

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s reference regarding Sri Lanka and the US sponsored resolution at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Councils conference was just meant for domestic consumption and nothing else, told an Indian diplomat to Asian Tribune.

The diplomat requested Asian Tribune to go through relevant portion of the speech about Sri Lanka very carefully. He said that there is nothing in the speech that is against Sri Lanka:

Dr. Manmohan Singh in his reply on 19 March 2012 in the Lok Sabha to the debate on the President's address responded to many issues, including that of Sri Lanka.

He addressed the Speaker of the Lok Sabah and said, “Madam, another issue which was raised during the debate relates to the state of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Some Members have raised concern regarding the situation in Sri Lanka.

He went on to say: “The Central Government fully shares the concerns and sentiments raised by hon. Members regarding the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Since the end of conflict in Sri Lanka, our focus has been on the welfare and well being of the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka. Their resettlement and rehabilitation has been of the highest and most immediate priority for our Government. The steps taken by the Central Government in this regard has been outlined in the suo motu statement made by the External Affairs Minister on 14th March, 2012.

As a result of our constructive engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and our considerable assistance programme, the modicum of normalcy is beginning to return to the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka.

There has also been progress, given the withdrawal of emergency regulations by the Government of Sri Lanka and the conduct of elections to local bodies in the Northern provinces of Sri Lanka.

Members have also raised the issue of human rights violations during the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka and on the US initiated draft resolution on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka at the on-going 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Government of India has emphasized to the Government of Sri Lanka the importance of a genuine process of reconciliation to address the grievances of the Tamil community.

In this connection, we have called for implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission appointed by Sri Lankan Government that has been tabled before the Sri Lankan Parliament. These include various constructive measures of healing the wounds of the conflict and fostering the process of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

We have asked the Government of Sri Lanka to stand by its commitment towards pursuit of a political process through a broader dialogue with all parties including the Tamil National Alliance leading to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution so as to achieve meaningful devolution of power and genuine national reconciliation.

We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the critical importance of this issue, act decisively and with vision in this regard. We will remain engaged with them through this process and encourage them to take forward the dialogue with the elected representatives of Sri Lankan Tamils.

As regards the issue of a draft resolution initiated by the United States at the on-going 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, we do not yet have the final text of the Resolution.

However, I may assure the House that we are inclined to vote in favor of a Resolution. That, we hope, will advance our objective, namely, the achievement of the future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

- Asian Tribune -

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