The US delegate John C. Mariz, addressing the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva yesterday, said the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report does not comprise any plan to execute its recommendations, nor does it sufficiently address the critical issue of accountability.
The US says accountability can play an important role in the reconciliation process as substantiated by the recent history from countries that have gone through similar experiences.
A US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka is expected to be tabled before the UNHRC to force Sri Lankan government to promptly implement the recommendations made by the LLRC and deal with the accountability issues for the war crimes allegedly committed during the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war.
A draft resolution has been circulated among the 47 member countries of UNHRC.
Several member states, especially China, Russia and Pakistan, have shown support to Sri Lanka to stave off the resolution arguing that the UN should not address country-specific situations. However, the US differed with the idea saying that the credibility of UN’s human rights machinery depends on its capacity to address urgent and persistent human rights situations to protect people suffering under oppressive governments.
Earlier, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay had welcomed the report’s publications and noted that it makes important recommendations. However, Pillay believed that the report fell “short of the comprehensive accountability process recommended by the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts” and she went on to urge the UNHRC to discuss the report.
Commenting on the report, deputy spokesperson of the United States, Dept of State, Victoria Nuland expressed concern that it “does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict.” She therefore urged the Sri Lankan government not only to fulfill all of the LLRC’s recommendations but also to address the accountability issues that the report did not cover.
The members of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka – Marzuki Darusman, Steven R. Ratner and Yasmin Sooka have concluded that the only way for the truth to be exposed is for the UNHRC to create an independent investigative body to determine the facts and identify those responsible for the crime.
Sri Lanka says the government is taking measures to implement the LLRC recommendations systematically and it needs time and space to work towards reconciliation without interference from the international community.