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Yahapalana Goverment Never Discussed Geneva Resolutions – Minister

One-time presidential human rights envoy and the incumbent Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe  acknowledged that Sri Lanka’s decision to co-sponsor the Geneva Resolution 30/1 in Oct 2015 by pro-LTTE then Foreign Minister hadn’t been discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers of the so called Yahapalana Goverment.

Vice President of the SLFP and party spokesman Samarasinghe said that the Foreign Ministry,  had handled the post-war process that led to the agreement on the Geneva Resolution. Samarasinghe asserted that there was no requirement to take it up at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe said so when media asked him whether the Cabinet of Ministers had discussed the issue in the run up to the controversial decision to co-sponsor Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015 and acted on revelations that came from wartime British High Commission dispatches from Colombo that cleared Sri Lanka of killing 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front in the final phase of the war.

Samarasinghe acknowledged that Lord Naseby’s revelations made to the British House of Lords, too, hadn’t been discussed at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe explained that the previous Rajapaksa government adopted a similar strategy in respect of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution passed in May 2009 celebrating the battlefield defeat of the LTTE Tamil terrorists.

Samarasinghe said that neither the 2009 nor 2015 Resolutions had been discussed at the cabinet but following the second declaration President Maithripala Sirisena on several occasions categorically rejected foreign judges in a domestic judicial process.

President Rajapaksa headed the 2009 cabinet while President Sirisena has chaired cabinet of the National Unity Government since January 2015.

Samarasinghe pointed out that the UNSG Panel of Experts (PoE) comprising former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, US attorney-at-law Stevan Ratner and South African human rights activist Yasmin Zooka in March 2011 accused Sri Lanka of massacring 40,000 civilians.

Samarasinghe recalled his role during the previous administration in defending Sri Lanka against unsubstantiated war crimes allegations directed at the military.

In an obvious reference to leaked US diplomatic cable from Geneva a few months after the end of the war, Samarasinghe said that the LTTE could have been defeated much earlier if the then government and the military hadn’t taken the civilian factor into consideration.

Samarasinghe discussed the possibility of some those categorized here as dead and missing living overseas. The minister expressed serious concern over the refusal on the part of Western governments to cooperate with Sri Lanka to identify genuine cases of missing persons. Samarasinghe said that further difficulties had been caused by those Sri Lankan receiving citizenship in Western countries taking new identities.

 

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