Australia's response to Sri Lanka's LLRC Report

Media release

Canberra

13 February 2012

The Australian Government has studied closely Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, and welcomes its recommendations for addressing the post-conflict situation. It has also expressed concern however that the report fails to fully address alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa formed the LLRC in May 2010 to investigate events during the conflict between February 2002 and May 2009 and to make recommendations to advance restitution and reconciliation. The LLRC included five Sinhalese, two Tamil and one Muslim representatives.

The LLRC report contains 285 principal observations and recommendations divided into six sections: ceasefire agreement; international humanitarian law issues; human rights; land issues; restitution and compensation; and reconciliation.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the LLRC report contains constructive proposals for advancing reconciliation and reconstruction, including through reducing the presence of security forces in the North, care of internally displaced persons and media freedoms.

"Nonetheless, while the LLRC's conclusion that further investigations need to be undertaken in specific cases is certainly welcome, wider issues relating to accountability need to be dealt with more thoroughly.

"The Australian Government has consistently urged Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of crimes committed by both sides to the conflict, including those raised in the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts report.

"In light of the report's failure to comprehensively address such allegations, we continue to call on Sri Lanka for all such allegations to be investigated in a transparent and independent manner.

"It is now also critical that the Sri Lankan Government endorse the LLRC report's constructive elements and set clear, firm timeframes for their implementation," Mr Rudd said.

Australia provides practical support for Sri Lanka's efforts towards reconciliation and reconstruction in conflict-affected areas.

Since 2009, Australia has supported the clearance of land mines and unexploded ordnance from 74 square kilometres of land and the reconstruction of around 4,600 homes and an estimated 20 schools in northern Sri Lanka.

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