Backdoor submission sets dangerous precedent:
Darusman Report has no standing at HRC
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who led the team to the 18th sessions
of the UN Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva says the arrival of
the Darusman Panel Report at the office of the Council President from
the backdoor should be read as a political move that sets a dangerous
precedent against all the member states.
The Minister said 'if we allow all kinds of unsubstantiated and
unverified reports to come into the Council. It will be a never ending
scenario,it sets a dangerous precedent. It should be resisted."
The Sri Lankan delegation has informed the President of the Council
that this report should not be submitted to the Council even as an
information document . "Our position is being supported clearly by a
majority of the council members. Because they are all looking at this as
a matter of principle."
Q: The Darusman Panel Report has been forwarded to the UNHRC
by the UN Secretary General. How will this affect Sri Lanka at the on
A: It has just been forwarded to the Human Rights Council(HRC)
President (Uruguay holds the current presidency of the Council) but no
action has been proposed in the letter.
The letter outlines only what the UN did during the humanitarian
We have taken the position that this document cannot enter the
Council. Secretary General Ban ki Moon has not proposed that it should
be put before the council. What we have very clearly stated that this is
not a report commissioned by the Human Rights Council, neither was it
commissioned by the General Assembly or the UN Security Council.
It was a report compiled purely to advise the Secretary General. So
such a report does not have any standing at the Human Rights Council. It
cannot enter the Session due to these reasons.
It is also very clear that this is a matter of principle, because
today, it will be Sri Lanka, but tomorrow it could be any other country
in the Council. If we allow all kinds of unsubstantiated and unverified
reports to come into the Council, it will be an never ending scenario,
setting a dangerous precedent. It should be resisted.
We also spoke to the President of the Council that even as an
information document this should not be submitted to the council.
Our position is being supported clearly by a majority of the Council
members. Because they are all looking at this as a matter of principle.
Many delegations at the Council have openly commended Sri Lanka for
making substantial progress and also they have commended Sri Lanka for
the regular dialogue that we have had with the international community.
I had been coming to Geneva for the last five and a half years
regularly. Every time we come we meet with the regional groups and inter
regional groups as well as the President of the Council and the High
Commissioner for Human Rights.
We have held side events to counter adverse propaganda. Even this
time we had a side event where we screened the video 'Lies Agreed Upon'
- the defence ministry video on the Channel Four incident. We opened
ourselves to any questions, and clarifications.
Sri Lanka is now being regarded as a model for others to emulate.
This has been said openly by delegation after delegation. We have
been able to galvanize solid support to defeat these kinds of back door
entry to the Council. We are confident that we will be able to prevent
Q: What is their motive in forwarding the report to the
Council at this point given that a debate on Darusman Panel Report was
never in the original UNHRC sessions agenda?
A: Obviously... the purpose was to see whether this report can
be smuggled into the Human Rights council. What we feel is that this is
a political motivation than anything else.
If anyone wants to bring this kind of report then that would deviate
from the working matters procedure and all established norms governing
the workings of the council.
I think we are on a very strong wicket, on this.
We have a domestic process, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Commission, it is not fair to make comments and attempts like this even
before the working of this process is completed.
Q: If this report makes its way to the Council Sessions, what
course of action Sri Lanka proposes to do, are we prepared for any such
A: Not at all. We are confident that we have a the majority
support in the council. We will do what is necessary to defeat such a
We have been able to galvanize support against the Darusman Report on
a matter of principle. We cannot surrender the inter governmental body
to a process that has had origins in the Secretary General's office in
If any action has to be taken it has to be done as an
intergovernmental decision but not as a unilateral decision of the
Q: What is on the agenda for next week?
A: By next week we will know if there is going to be a
resolution on Sri Lanka. We have been a model of dialogue in the Human
We have been briefing all the delegations. Every time we do that, we
have been showing progress. This time I have been able to tell the
delegations that. Out of nearly 300,000 only 7,000 IDPs left.
Out of 11,800 ex-combatants only 2,100 left to complete
rehabilitation. The emergency regulations have been scrapped, the
National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has
been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Likewise every time we have
gone there we have shown progress.
No one can fault us for not having a dialogue. We have been a model.
The International Community must understand and appreciate this. We
must be given the room to move further forward. Our whole objective is
to move towards comprehensive reconciliation.
Uruguay holds the current Presidency of the Council. We have met the
president on September 9 and for about one hour briefed him on Sri
Lanka's concerns. I met him on a second occasion last Wednesday