Tamil Diplomat

New Lanka govt looks to improve rights record

Following new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s assertion that his government would get the country’s human rights house in order, separate missions are to make crucial visits abroad to engage with global agencies.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera said, President Maithripala Sirisena’s international affairs advisor, Jayantha Dhanapala is to travel to Geneva.

“We are taking the international commitments very seriously. Mr Dhanapala will go to Geneva to meet with the UN Human Rights Council,” Perera said.

Dhanapala, a former top UN diplomat is to meet with Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN Human Rights Commissioner.

“We hope the next UNHRC report on Sri Lanka would be favourable. The new government is determined to make amends with the international agencies”, Perera said.

The new government has said they will continue with the same non-cooperation policy of the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government on international investigation to probe alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

Premier Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka would engage with the UN but criminal investigations would be done only as a domestic mechanism.

The Rajapaksa government claimed the UNHRC investigation impinged on the island’s sovereignty.

Separately, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera leaves for Brussels tomorrow to seek a postponement of EU’s fish exports ban on Sri Lanka.

“We will ask for a postponement of the ban,” deputy minister Perera said.

EU has said the ban has came into effect on January 14 but would work with Sri Lanka to help it regain a delisting.

Parliament was told this week that Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act will be amended as a priority to comply with conditions in the EU fishing ban.