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Friday, December 27, 2013 - 5.52 GMT

SL is fully able to guarantee the rights of its citizens Prof. Peiris


Sri Lanka is fully able to undertake the tasks set out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to guarantee the rights of its citizens, Foreign Minister G. I. Peiris told Prensa Latina in an interview.

"We have the institutions, the resources and the will to take forward the rebuilding of our country, continue strengthening our economy, and ensuring a decent life for all, no matter their religion, ethnicity or political affiliation," Minister Peiris said.

"It has been a little more than four years since the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and signs of progress are visible everywhere you go in our nation," he added.

He said that amid the complex situation left by a conflict of almost 30 years, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has had to establish priorities among the almost 300 tasks fixed by the Reconciliation Commission.

Mine clearing in the north of the country is complete and more than 11,000 former LTTE members have been rehabilitated and reinserted in society, with equal rights, Peiris said.

By virtue of an intense investment program and the recovery of productive activities such as fishing and agriculture, the economy of the northern province (where the population is mostly Tamil) grew by 22 percent in recent years, compared to a national rate of 7 percent, he said.

The reconstruction of homes, highways, schools, hospitals and other social projects and the reinsertion of more than 400,000 people displaced by the war, along with the search for thousands of missing people are other tasks requiring more time but showing progress, he said.

In March 2012 and March 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved two resolutions that urged Sri Lanka to speed up the application of the Reconciliation Commission's recommendations.

In March 2014, the Human Rights Council will review the topic and many Western countries will probably propose that Sri Lanka submit to an independent international investigation to observe the rights of ethnic minorities.

"But the threatening and the international pressure are not the path for us to go forward. The international community should give us a vote of trust, because the Sri Lankan government has the greatest will to do things right and is dedicating great resources to reconciliation and reconstruction. We have the institutions to solve our problems," said Prof. Peiris.

"It is a mistake to apply selective and subjective standards to Sri Lanka. The UNHRC must consider the facts, by their own merits," he said.

He added that some governments are against the independent path taken by Sri Lanka, and together to former LTTE members who went abroad with a lot of financial resources, have started a campaign of discredit.





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Last modified: December 27, 2013.

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