March 21, 2013
Allow me to make a few remarks on the resolution under discussion “Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka”.
India believes that the report of the LLRC and its findings and recommendation provides a window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards a lasting political settlement through genuine national reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all its citizens. We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this Council in 2009. Further, we call on Sri Lanka to move forward on its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through full implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it.
India has always been of the view that the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political settlement, acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamils. We call for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, disappearances and abductions, reduction of ‘high security zones’, return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of the security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province. We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community.
As Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour, India remains engaged in a substantial way in the relief, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process in that country. Our efforts have contributed to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and the rebuilding of infrastructure and development, especially in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
While noting the commitment of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council in September 2013, it is our expectation that the people of the province can exercise their democratic rights freely and without delay as guaranteed to them by the Sri Lankan Constitution.
We note the invitation extended by Sri Lanka to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and urge her to undertake the visit at an early date. We hope that the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and UN Special Procedures continue their engagement in accordance with their mandate.
We encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to expedite the process of a broad-based, inclusive and meaningful reconciliation and political settlement that ensures that all communities live in dignity with equal rights and equal protection of the laws. As a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter.