‘Hope Lanka acts decisively on power devolution`

India asked Sri Lanka to set up an independent and credible mechanism to probe allegations of human rights violations.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2011, 20:05 PM IST

New Delhi: India on Sunday said it expected Sri
Lanka to "act decisively" to achieve meaningful devolution of
powers to its provinces in the backdrop of the military
operation against the LTTE.

In its first comments on the report of the Lessons Learnt
and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), India also asked Sri
Lanka to set up an "independent and credible" mechanism to
probe allegations of human rights violations.

"The LLRC report has underlined that the present situation
provides a great window of opportunity to forge a consensual
way forward towards reconciliation through a political
settlement based on devolution of power," External Affairs
Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

Pointing out that the LLRC report expects the Government
to provide leadership to a political process, he said India
hoped that Sri Lanka "recognising the critical importance of
this issue acts decisively and with vision in this regard."

Prakash also underlined the implementation of the
assurances given in the LLRC report to ensure speedy
resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDP) would mark
a major step forward in the process of reconciliation.

"Implementation of assurances to ensure speedy
resettlement and genuine reconciliation, including early
completion of the process of the return of IDPs and refugees
to their respective homes, restoration of normal civilian life
in affected areas would mark a major step forward in the
process of reconciliation," he said.

The report of the LLRC, set up against the backdrop of
allegations of military excesses in the operation against the
LTTE, was tabled in the Sri Lankan Parliament by the
government on December 16.

Welcoming the public release of the LLRC report, Prakash
said India "takes note of the assurance given by the
Government of Sri Lanka in Parliament about implementation of
many of its recommendations.

Prakash said India has noted Sri Lanka`s intention to set
up a mechanism to carry out further investigations relating to
instances of alleged human rights violations and incidents
involving loss of civilian life.

"It is important to ensure that an independent and
credible mechanism is put in place to investigate allegations
of human rights violations, as brought out the LLRC, in a
time-bound manner," he said.

He noted that the LLRC has recommended various
constructive measures for addressing issues related to healing
the wounds of the conflict and fostering a process of lasting
peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

"In particular, we have noted the proposed measures
pertaining to information on missing persons and detainees,
investigation of cases of disappearances and abductions,
promotion of a trilingual policy, deployment of Tamil-speaking
officers in all offices," he said.

He noted that the report also suggests measures for
curbing activities of illegal armed groups, reduction of high
security zones, return of private lands by the military and
demilitarisation, including phasing out of the involvement of
the security forces in civilian activities and restoration of
civilian administration in the Northern Province, he said.

"We have noted the assurance given by the Government of
Sri Lanka in Parliament that it will ensure the withdrawal of
security forces from all aspects of community life and confine
their role exclusively to security matters," Prakash said.

Prakash said the report recognised that a political
solution was imperative to address the root cause of the
conflict.

He said the report noted that the Government should
provide leadership to a political process which must be
pursued for the purpose of establishing a framework for
ensuring sustainable peace and security in the post-conflict
environment.

"In this context, we have been assured by the Government
of Sri Lanka on several occasions in the past, of its
commitment towards pursuit of a political process, through a
broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil
National Alliance, leading to the full implementation of the
13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and to go
beyond, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers and
genuine national reconciliation," Prakash said.

"We will remain engaged with them through this process and
offer our support in the spirit of partnership," he said.

PTI