Top UN official here to evaluate progress

Constitution making process

Feltman

The UN is in the process of evaluating the ongoing UNP-led constitution making process marred by political turmoil close on the heels of UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, QC’s controversial visit.

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Emmerson concluded his five-day visit last Friday.

 

Well informed sources told that Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman currently here on a three-day visit had sought to ascertain the current status of the constitution making process. Feltman, who had served successive US administrations arrived in Sri Lanka last Wednesday (July 19).

Feltman first visited Sri Lanka in the wake of the change of government in January 2015.

Sources said that Feltman’s focus was certainly on constitution making process now taking place in accordance with the Geneva resolution 30/1. Responding to a query by The Island, sources said that the UN had been deeply concerned about the status of Geneva Resolution’s implementation.

Emmerson at the conclusion of his visit, declared that the progress in achieving key objectives set out in the Geneva resolution had been not only slow, but seemed to have ground to a virtual halt.

Feltman and Una McCauley, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative yesterday met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake at Temple Trees.

Feltman on Wednesday met Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama and Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed.

A spokesman for the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said that the party leadership would meet the UN official today (July 20). Political sources said the party wanted the government to fully implement the Geneva Resolution by March 2019.

In addition to the constitution making, the UN also inquired about forthcoming Provincial Council polls as well as extremist activities, sources said. They said that the UN had acknowledged that the government was facing severe challenges with opposition political elements as well as some of those in the administration causing trouble.

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