Truth mechanism quorum for finding missing persons to be decided by mid-October, says Sri Lankan diplomat at UN


    Sri Lanka’s proposed Truth Seeking Commission, a Reparations Office and a Judicial Mechanism will be decided by mid-October after the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation hands over its report, a top diplomat has said.

    Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinha informed the ongoing UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva that wide-ranging consultations are being carried out by the 11-member task force for this purpose.

    “In all these processes, the government and government institutions work closely and in consultation with the UN system and the OHCHR as well as other international experts,” the ambassador said on Thursday.

    “We are also working closely with ICRC, especially in the area of dealing with the missing, including the technicalities of the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons, the training and capacity building requirements as well as obtaining expertise and sharing experiences of other countries that have similar mechanisms,” Aryasinha said.

    Sri Lanka has to respond to the UN Human Rights council resolution adopted in 2014 which called for an independent investigation into alleged war crimes blamed on both the government troops and the LTTE during the country’s civil war.

    The UN has estimated that 40,000 people died, many of them civilians, during Sri Lanka’s civil war that lasted nearly three decades.

    At last October’s sessions in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council had adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka which called for an international investigation with foreign judges prosecutors and investigators.

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    Aryasinha said that his government has already taken steps to implement the recommendations of the UN group of disappearances which visited the island nation last year.

    “We believe that engagement with the UN system and the Human Rights Mechanisms is in the best interest of the people of our country, to obtain advice and views, and also expertise and technical assistance that will benefit us in terms of capacity building and ensuring the strengthening of our own local institutions,” the Lankan envoy added.

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