C'wealth to help Lanka's reconciliation efforts

London: The Commonwealth has offered its good offices to help the Sri Lankan government in the reconciliation process in the country following the end of a three-decade ethnic conflict in May 2009.

"Commonwealth has offered its assistance to Sri Lanka to bring about a reconciliation between the Tamils and the Government, " Amitav Banerji, Director, Political at the Commonwealth has said.

He said the Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is expected to submit its report next month and it might be presented to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth.

Asked whether the issue of Sri Lanka hosting the 2013 CHOGM would be reviewed, Banerji said "the decision that Sri Lanka would host 2013 CHOGM was taken at the 2009 CHOGM" and that issue was not on the agenda at the Perth meeting next month. It might come up at the RETREAT.

Steve Cutts, the Commonwealth Assistant Secretary- General, said several issues including reform of the Commonwealth, democracy and human rights and the impact of the current global economic crisis on development would be on the agenda.

Banerji said the official level meeting would be held on October 24 and 25 and the Ministerial level meeting on October 26 and 27 before the CHOGM on October 28 and 29.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently submitted a special report on Sri Lanka to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and also to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, alleging human rights violation in the country.

The report accused both Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE of committing war crimes during the ethnic conflict that ended in May 2009 and called for an independent probe.

The government has set up the LLRC to probe the ethnic war, but refused to entertain outside interference on the issue.