New Lanka Govt Looks to Improve Rights Record

New Lanka Govt Looks to Improve Rights Record
File- AP Photo
New Lanka Govt Looks to Improve Rights Record
Sri Lanka's new government will send a special envoy to Geneva as part of its efforts to make amends with the international community to get a favourable report from the UN over its rights record.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera said President Maithripala Sirisena's international affairs advisor Jayantha Dhanapala is to travel to Geneva.
"We are taking the international commitments very seriously. Mr Dhanapala will go to Geneva to meet with the UN Human Rights Council," Perera said.
Dhanapala, a former top UN diplomat, is to meet with Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN Human Rights Commissioner.
"We hope the next UNHRC report on Sri Lanka would be favourable. The new government is determined to make amends with the international agencies," Perera said.
The move comes following new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's assertion that his government would get the country's human rights house in order.
The new government has said they will continue with the same non-cooperation policy of the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government on international investigation to probe alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
Premier Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka would engage with the UN but criminal investigations would be done only as a domestic mechanism.
The Rajapaksa government claimed the UNHRC investigation impinged on the island's sovereignty.
Sri Lanka has been subject to three UNHRC resolutions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 over alleged rights abuses by government troops during the last phase of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The last one prescribed an international probe into the alleged rights violations.
According to UN estimates, more than 40,000 civilians were killed in Lanka during the final phase of the conflict in 2009. The Sri Lankan government disputes the UN figure.

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