(Text of a Press Release Issued by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem MP)
We are relieved that the Government after a prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental the right for burial of COVID 19 victims and COVID-19 suspected victims.
In this regard it is quite obvious that if not for the inclusion of this matter in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the subsequent inclusion of the matter in the resolution on Sri Lanka tabled by the core group, the deliberate intransigence that resulted in
outrageously traumatizing a section of Sri Lankan people would not have been resolved.
The concern raised by the Secretary General of the OIC during the High-Level Segment and the overwhelming demonstration by almost all the Western States during the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka yesterday (25 th February 2021) at the ongoing UNHRC sessions expedited the process.
The mandate of the UNHRC pertaining to observance of human rights in individual countries should never be underestimated. We as a nation must learn to constructively cooperate with the UNHRC to improve on the human rights agenda within our country and also strive to be a responsible member of the international community by positive engagement with the OHCHR
by acknowledging the reports submitted my many of the special mandate holders.
Heads of Mission of the core group members in our capital have to be thanked for their cooperation and support as well as those Heads Missions who are members of the current cycle of the UNHRC whom we have met in this regard for their understanding and assurances.
We acknowledge the support we received from all political parties both in opposition and government specifically the TNA, JVP, TPF, ACTC along with numerous civil society groups,local and international organizations for individually and jointly voicing their concern.
Unprecedented endorsements received by many Foreign Ministers and Members of Parliament as well as inter governmental bodies such as OIC during the last several months had invaluable impact in urging our Government to reverse this discriminatory policy.
The latest decision for the President to offer a meeting with next of kin of the disappeared who have been agitating for years on end is a welcome move, which is only a small step towards lasting redressal for their sufferings.
We fervently hope that the Government will take all other matters referred to in the UNHCHR report and revise its stance sufficiently to seek constructive engagement with the OHCHR rather than living in perpetual denial of the
domestic issues including accountability, justice and reconciliation.
Rauff Hakeem MP,
Leader – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress