New legislation to set up truth-seeking mechanism if necessary: Ali Sabry

  • Drafters of mechanism studying models from South Africa and South America

BY Mirudhula Thambiah


The Government of Sri Lanka is currently studying the process of establishing a domestic truth-seeking mechanism in connection with incidents of the war between the Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In this regard, it is drawing inspiration from models of the same in countries such as South Africa, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, to pass a law in Parliament for the same purpose if necessary, The Morning learnt. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs M.U.M. Ali Sabry (PC) who has recently returned to the island after participating at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly sessions in New York, told The Morning yesterday (29) that the process of establishing a local truth-seeking mechanism is being studied. 

He further noted that inspiration is being drawn from various countries including South Africa, and South American countries such as Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

“We are working on that. We are basically trying to draw inspiration from other countries. We are studying the process followed by South Africa, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. And we are currently studying those models,” he added.

When queried as to whether a committee will be formed in this regard, Minister Ali Sabry noted that if necessary, the relevant law will be passed in Parliament. 

“We would pass a law in Parliament if it is necessary for that process,” he noted. 

While addressing the 51st UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 September, Sabry assured that the Government endeavours to establish a credible truth-seeking mechanism within the framework of the Constitution. The contours of a model that would suit the particular conditions of Sri Lanka are under discussion, he added. 

Meanwhile, the South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sandile Schalk called on Minister Ali Sabry yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The duo held wide-ranging discussions related to multi-faceted bilateral co-operation, and exchanged views on important issues, ranging from the economic crisis to human rights and reconciliation. 

Minister Ali Sabry specially briefed the envoy on the progress being made by the Government with regard to national efforts on reconciliation, and the promotion and protection of human rights. Schalk extended congratulations to Ali Sabry on his appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and assured South Africa’s firm support for Sri Lanka at multilateral fora.