Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has called an all-party meeting to discuss the latest UNHRC resolution over the alleged rights abuses committed during the 26-year-old civil war with the Tamil Tigers.
Some 21 political parties are expected to take part in this evening’s meeting, also to be attended by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, presidential sources said.
The UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and drafted by the US has called for a domestic internal inquiry involving foreign expertise over the alleged human rights violations during the war that ended in 2009.
Nationalist groups have called the resolution a betrayal.
The Sirisena government sees the resolution as its triumph as having been able to prevent an international warcrimes investigation, which might have led to a trial of prominent figures including former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It was under Rajapaksa’s tenure that the Sri Lankan forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the separatist group that waged armed insurgency against the government.
The UN has estimated that 40,000 people died, many of them civilians, during the civil war.
The objective of the all-party-meet could be to seek the view of the parties on the resolution.
“If the President’s idea is to tell us that the resolution poses no threat to our sovereignty we will use this chance to bring to his attention the peril faced by the nation,” said Udaya Gammanpila, an opposition member of parliament from the ultra nationalist Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU).
The Opposition held a public rally earlier this week, faulting the government for “succumbing to dictates of the US” on the resolution.
Sri Lanka has opted for a local mechanism even after the UN rights chief prescribed a hybrid court to carry out prosecutions.