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MahindaSamarasinghe leads SL delegation

Mahinda Samarasinghe leads SL delegation

Plantation Industries Minister MahindaSamarasinghe will head the delegation for United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this March. He is due to address the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 27 at 11.50 am (4.30 pm Sri Lankan time).

Presidential spokesman Mohan Samaranayaka yesterday said President MahindaRajapaksa nominated

Samarasinghe as the leader of the delegation to Geneva.

There was no decision as such to include a minister for this year's UNHRC sessions until yesterday, he said. Asked about the delay in nominating a minister for the delegation to attend the UNHRC sessions, Samaranayakasaid : "I do not know about that, but the decision to include a minister came late last night from the President."

Minister MahindaSamarasinghe is one of the most experienced and well versed envoys in diplomacy, he said. Samaranaya said the team headed by Minister Samarasinghe to the UNHRC comprise officials of External Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General's Department. Commenting on the delegation's makeup, he said the team appointed to represent Sri Lanka at the Geneva Human Rights sessions, is a high profile team.

"The team is well prepared and up to the task to face any challenges," he said. "They have the capacity, the knowledge and the experience to present Sri Lanka's case at the UNHRC sessions," he said.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry Secretary KarunathilakaAmunugama said they are preparing a detailed report on the progress Sri Lanka has made in achieving its post-war reconciliation goals to be presented to the Human Rights Council. "It will outline the implementation process of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee report.

We asked Mohan Samamaranayaka about chances that Sri Lanka might be put in a tight corner at the upcoming Geneva sessions in the light of various possibilities as such that US might move another resolution against Sri Lanka and that Channel Four might release what they describe as a follow-up film to their earlier version of alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Samaranayaka said none of these charges are new to Sri Lanka. We are no strangers to Channel Four war crimes disclosure threats or US-sponsored resolutions," he said. "The government has seen these threats and resolutions for sometime now. Similarly, there will be those NGOs with pro-LTTE diaspora support, whose role, as we all know, has been to discredit the government at every UNHRC session on any given year and some countries that have sympathized with the LTTE, and some countries that have been misled to develop antipathy towards Sri Lanka."

"The activities of these groups are at the peak, whenever there is a UN Human Rights Council session, and their activities are carried out with a focus to put the government in a tight corner to achieve their separatist political ends," he said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance reportedly submitted a letter to the UN criticizing the government. Samaranayaka said, "They did this last year as well. There is nothing new about these actions."

"The officials appointed to participate in the upcoming Geneva sessions are good enough to address such eventualities with their extensive experience in similar matters," he added.

"This team will inform all UN member countries in detail what the government has done and achieved through its national reconciliation effort as with the implementation of the recommendations in the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission report," Amunugama said.

Courtesy : Daily News

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