Tuesday, 10 July 2018 07:05

Responsibility to Take Up Challenge

Executive Director of the National Peace Council, Dr Jehan Perera, was invited to Europe to meet with EU and German parliamentarians, European Commission officials and NGOs.

The visit was organized by Misereor and Bread for the World Germany, who also invited other key members of groups they support in Sri Lanka to participate in the meetings. The visit gave the participants an opportunity to assess the international climate at the present time.

During the discussions it was noted that in March 2019 the period of international monitoring of the UNHRC resolution 30/1 of October 2015 would come to an end. Government members and opposition leaders have gone on record as saying that the US departure from the UNHRC will weaken that body and permit Sri Lanka to get out of the obligations of the co-sponsored resolution.

The possibility of continuation of international monitoring of UNHRC resolution 30/1 of October 2015 that seeks accountability and human rights for Sri Lanka, along with good governance, was discussed. It was also proposed to give a wider interpretation to accountability, as not being only war crimes, but also economic crimes such as corruption.

The visit took places at a time when Sri Lanka is no longer in focus at the European level. The EU has to face the migrants’ issue, the looming trade war with the US and China’s expansion. In addition, the EU will be losing the British presence when they exit due to Brexit. This will mean less money for the EU. The UK was most interested in taking a strong stand on Sri Lanka. In these circumstances it will be unlikely that the EU will fill the void left. Sri Lankans need to step forward to fill the breach.