Hillary to meet GL soon

The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability, and the international community stands ready to help, she said. Clinton further added that the U.S government is committed to working with the Sri Lankan Government to help realize this goal, and she looks forward to discussing future actions with Minister Peiris soon.“We will continue the productive working relationship we have with the Sri Lankan Government based on shared values, respect and constructive dialogue. Most important, we seek to strengthen our partnership with all the people of Sri Lanka,” she said. U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she will meet External Affairs Minister .L Peiris soon to discuss the outcome of today’s vote at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).A statement by Clinton’s office said that today’s action by the UN Human Rights Council encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path towards reconciliation following 27 years of civil war. ‘The next steps are clear. We look to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and take the necessary measures to address accountability,” the statement said. Meanwhile India believes that the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights lies with the States. Consequently resolutions of this nature should fully respect the sovereign rights of states and contribute to Sri Lanka’s own efforts in this regard.In a statement made by India to the UN Human Rights Council, a copy of which was sent to the media, India said it had welcomed the recommendations of Sri Lanka’s LLRC report and believes that there is indeed a window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards reconciliation through a political settlement respecting all the ethnic and religious groups inhabiting the nation.India urged the Sri Lankan Government to take forward the process of broader dialogue and show concrete movement towards a meaningful devolution of powers, including the implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond. “We would also urge that Sri Lanka takes forward the measures for accountability and to promote human rights that it has committed to. It is these steps, more than anything we declare in this Council, which would bring about genuine reconciliation between all the communities of Sri Lanka, including the minority Tamil community,” India said. read more

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UN welcomes inauguration of Afghanistans constitutional commission

“The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) wholeheartedly welcomes the inauguration yesterday of the Constitutional Review Commission,” spokesman David Singh said in a statement on behalf of UNAMA chief Lakhdar Brahimi.The Commission’s mandate is to conduct public consultations throughout the country and abroad in order to ascertain the aspirations of Afghans with regard to their future constitution – a task the spokesman described as “historic and challenging.” Based on the results of this effort, the 35-member body will review the work of the Drafting Commission and prepare the Draft Constitution to be submitted to the Constitutional Loya Jirga tribal council in October.”The Mission acknowledges the efforts of the Islamic Transitional Administration of Afghanistan to ensure that the Commission represents the regional, ethnic, professional and religious diversity of the Afghan nation and the full participation of women in the constitution-making process,” said Mr. Singh, highlighting the fact that the Commission has staff deployed in all Afghan provinces as well as in Iran and Pakistan to prepare the ground for the public consultation scheduled to start in late May.”The international community is honoured to provide assistance for this process,” said the spokesman. “We are aware of the difficulties the 35 commissioners will face over the next five months,” he added. “But this process can make a unique contribution not only to the building of a more representative state but also to the forging of stronger national unity.”Also today, UNAMA and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) issued a joint statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms” those who perpetrated human rights abuses – and their commanders – during violent clashes in the Bala Murghab District of Badghis province.”We urge the Governor of Badghis and the local police to exercise all possible influence to end these violations; to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice; as well as to take all other necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of similar events,” the statement said, stressing that those who were wounded and those whose relatives were killed or had houses and property looted or destroyed must receive adequate compensation.UNAMA and the AIHRC also urged the Central Government to “pay attention to the civilian population of the area and to its basic needs; as well as to take concrete measures to correct both short- and long-term oppressive socioeconomic practices.”The joint assessment, carried out from 16 to 20 April, drew information from village elders and local human rights activists which pointed to “extremely serious violations of human rights” before and during the recent armed conflict. According to those reports, in Akazi village, 38 civilians died while 761 homes and 21 shops were looted. Reports further state that a coalition of local factions pursuing Juma Khan and his troops executed 26 individuals whose bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs. According to interlocutors, there was an already established pattern of human rights violations in Bala Murghab prior to the recent fighting which may have even triggered the conflict. Those refusing to comply with extortionist demands were “labeled as Taliban.”The AIHRC and UNAMA observed “gross neglect” of the local population, including extremely high levels of illiteracy and a total absence of infrastructure as well as qualified teachers. “The population does not complain to the local authorities out of fear that this would only exacerbate their abusive behaviour,” said the AIHRC and UNAMA, pledging continued investigation of the human rights violations in Badghis. read more

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