External intervention at this time is singularly unhelpful and will indeed inflict grave damage on a sensitive internal process which is moving forward, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris said in Kampala, Uganda, on Tuesday (February 28).
He made these remarks at a series of meetings with leaders of the Ugandan Government. Prof. Peiris had meetings with Mr. Edward Sekandi, Vice-President of Uganda, Mr. Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister of Uganda, and Mr. Oryem Okello, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda.
Minister Peiris explained in detail at his discussions in Kampala the substantial progress which had been made since the presentation of the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to Parliament on 17th December last year . He said that the government had identified the steps that are required to implement the major recommendations contained in the Report, together with priorities, while also assigning responsibility to different Ministries, Departments and statutory corporations for giving effect in a systematic way to different categories of recommendations.
The Minister laid particular stress on the work currently being done by the Attorney-General, a member of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva, in respect of accountability issues. A significant development, Professor Peiris commented, is the completion of a census by the Government of Sri Lanka, which enables numbers of families and persons in the Northern Province affected by the war to be determined on a verifiable basis, without surmise or speculation.
In light of the results already achieved on the ground in respect of a wide range of issues including resettlement of internally displaced persons, the rehabilitation of ex-combatants, and the revival of the economy of those parts of the country specially affected by the conflict, these represent a degree of progress which far exceeds what has been accomplished in comparable post-conflict situations in other regions of the world, the Minister pointed out.
He commented on the brevity of the period – less than six weeks -- which had elapsed between the publication of the Commission Report and the decision by the United States to bring a Resolution in respect of Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council during its current session. Sri Lanka is entitled to far ampler space and time to continue its domestic process along lines which have been already indicated, untrammeled by the kind of external intervention which is virtually certain to put in jeopardy the task of implementation, the Minister said.