President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the 3-member Advisory Committee was appointed on the request of the Presidential Commission Investigating Into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons to advise the Commission.
Answering a question at the meeting with media editors at the Temple Trees today (August 5), the President clarified that the 3-member committee is an advisory body and it has no mandate for investigations.
He added that the government is considering the possibility of expanding the Advisory Committee by adding three more members.
Minister of External Affairs, Prof G L Peiris said that Sri Lanka outrightly rejected the Clause 10 of the UNHRC resolution which called for investigations into alleged war crimes. However we have agreed to the Clause 2 which called for an internal investigation, he pointed out. The Advisory Committee has been accordingly appointed to advise the Commission on Missing Persons.
Asked about the possibility of abolishing the Executive Presidency, President Rajapaksa said those who brought that change also could attend to any change. “Who established the Executive Presidency?’ he asked and pointed out that those who introduce it can revise it if necessary. Pointing out that the SLFP did not install a presidential form of government, he said it was wrong to say the Executive Presidency is the cause for all ills today.
When asked on restrictions on NGOs, President said there had been no change in the policy towards the NGOs. “Whenever NGOs register in Sri Lanka, an agreement is signed specifying their mandate. What the government did was to bring that to the notice of the NGOs”. The government plans to revise the NGO regulations and it will be done after a thorough study.
On elections, he said the elections could be held at any time the Opposition Leader wants it to be held. Asked if the Vatican requested that the elections not be held in January 2015 as Pope Francis is to visit Sri Lanka, President said there was no such request.
At the end of the media meeting, President Rajapaksa said that a group of senior doctors came in a delegation and urged him to appeal to the media not to sensationalize news of child suicides, especially suicides of school children, as that could result in a suicidal wave due to easily impressionable child mentality. President requested the media to give thought about this genuine concern.