President Maithripala Sirisena said the international would have insisted on hard strictures and conditions on Sri Lanka in the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, if not for the change of government in Presidential Election of January 8 this year. The indications were that the UN body would have named some people as perpetrators of human rights violations and barred them from travelling abroad and impose other sanctions; he said and added that the positive steps taken by the government helped to reverse that trend.
The international community is satisfied with the actions taken by the government towards restoration of rights, media freedom, good governance and other positive steps of the new government and it has positively reflected in the UNHRC Report, he said.
President Sirisena, addressing heads of media establishments and editors of newspapers and electronic media at the President’s House today (September 18) said if there was no change of government, the Report would have posed severe difficulties to the country. Fortunately for the country and the people, the international community came to our support, taking into consideration the positive directions taken by the new government and adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to take country back to the democratic path.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who attended the briefing said, Sri Lanka would inform the international community of its intention of setting up a domestic mechanism to look into the alleged violations taking into consideration some suggestions made in the UNHRC Report and the Paranagama Report on Disappearances and the Udulagama Report which is yet to be announced.
He urged the media to act with impartiality before expressing views. He said some newspapers had written editorials and carried advertisements stating that the Prime Minister would enter into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during his tour of India. He said that he did not even discuss such an agreement.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said that the UNHRC Report has not listed any names of persons as perpetrators of violations of human rights. Hence, the suggestion by some people to table an indemnity act in Parliament is foolish, he said.
Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Gayantha Karunathilake and Wijayadasa Rajapakshe also participated in the media briefing.