Saturday, May 15, 2010

US welcomes Sri Lanka commission

The United States has welcomed the announcement by the Sri Lankan government to establish a Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation to examine key aspects of the recently ended conflict in Sri Lanka.

The government last week said it is to appoint the Commission, especially to investigate "the allegations on the abuse of international norms of conduct in such situations".

The statement issued by the US ambassador to the United Nations Susan E Rice states that experience in other countries has shown that commissions of inquiry can play a valuable role in advancing accountability when they are appropriately constituted and enjoy broad public support.

"We hope the commission will also reflect the desires and requests of the citizens of Sri Lanka, who were the primary victims of the conflict. Being responsive to their needs will be an important measure of the commission's success" Susan E Rice adds in the statement.

Rights watchdogs

International human rights organisations have also cautiously welcomed efforts of the Sri Lankan government to hold these investigations.

Human Rights Watch, in a statement, said it is yet another attempt to deflect an independent international investigation.

"Every time the international community raises the issue of accountability, Sri Lanka establishes a commission that takes a long time to achieve nothing," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), meanwhile, said it raises the question whether the attempts to deal with the conflict and the wrongdoings with an intention of learning lessons and taking measures to prevent return of conflict are genuine.

The AHRC believes the best way to analyze the credibility of these efforts are to look into the past experiences of the governments attempts to address the internationally raised questions.

It added that the previous commissions were attempts at evasion and exercises in denial and that this may be repeated in the new commission.

© BBC Sinhala

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