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tv   REV  Deutsche Welle  March 31, 2021 9:30pm-10:01pm CEST

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subscribe. to. the. last part of a on speed and see all these things well you don't know that you proud of living in a country where child killers all get presidential pardons means giving up our group anyone who is doing something wrong the government of sri lanka has been strongly criticized of the un human rights council which warns of of the syria raging situation in the country the erosion of judicial independence and the increased marginalize ations of minorities my guest this week is john the column by secretary to sri lanka's foreign ministry is there any chance i'm told that these
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government will take the criticism seriously and finally do something about them. jai and off kolob i gave welcome to conflict zone in the last few days the un human rights council passed a landmark resolution highlighting your government's failure to ensure accountability for human rights violations and mandating un investigators to collect and preserve data that can be used in future judicial proceedings they did that mr secretary because of your abject failure to do it for yourselves and because of the worsening human rights climate in your country and too ashamed of that. well team let me say the world war ended 78 years later earlier and we still see the residual effects on the environment on the
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physical things and the good friday agreement was in 1998 and there are 116 wars which is called peace while still we're not talking about his novel all and mr secretary i was talking about we're talking about sri lanka and your failure to ensure accountability for human rights violations which you've already illinois in which you have denied in other interviews. no we had the war for one more one generation and it takes time to heal a completely war and we pass a device spitting war it was a brutal war right and we finished the war in 2009 and between 2009 and 201592 percent of the land occupied by the military were wheelies 295000 people who were used as a human shield we integrated and resettle into the community well i
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understand i understand all that mr secretary but your your foreign minister has already denied the accusations of serious human rights violations you put up the inevitable barrier of denials and accusations of western bias to really think that the rest of the world is so stupid that they're going to immediately accept those denials in the face of overwhelming documented evidence of your current human rights abuses i'm not talking about those just in the past i'm talking about continuing human rights abuses in your country in there are these documents can we have a look at these documents that you are referring to the u.n. has said to the to you the u.n. has sent back to you numerous times you read them in the in the resolution of the human rights council so it's a little strange for you to pretend that you haven't seen them. we have seen this document prepared by the human rights commission now that's ok but you know there
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had been 5 i mean from 201220132 those and 14 and now to those who went to 21 so every time this government comes to power they said resolution from the united nations human rights council right is that farrah aidid we have to ask that the human race council then that is fair our child should be held to a country or actions isn't it mr secretary i don't know your father as one of your foreign minister called the accusations force and complained about the resolution was politically motivated but more than 40 countries co-sponsored this resolution 22 voted for it 14 abstained only 11 against your rapidly losing international support and credibility and the votes prove it in who are these party countries and if i countries are in your wrong right then outside the europe is canada and america england malawi and solomon marshall islands so $35.00 countries got together and make this an unsubstantiated accusations allegation so this is nothing
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to do with the human race in sri lanka also that so there are automatic so they're automatically wrong even your good friend india who you lobbied incessantly to vote against the resolution they abstained they were buying your denials either were they. but look at what the statement made by the indian permanent representative in the beginning they said this kind of country specific resolutions are wrong and then they said they abstain that is their policy that yes they are your kind are you how that will support you the real question from all this mr secretary is do you want to be taken seriously on the international stage or just dismissed as one more serial human rights abuse or protected by a small gang of other abusers we want to be taken very seriously in the international community and nor are the country or entity is more interested than sri lanka to find a lasting solution to the residue will issues that we have in sri lanka because we
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are a small country small population and the harmony and peace is of critically important for us more than anyone else but it has to evolve within us and no one can force a conciliation let's you say you want to hear wounds and you want reconciliation but let's take the un's charge of you marginalizing minorities one of the worst examples has been your instruction to cremate the bodies of covert victims something that you knew would be deeply hurtful to your museum community and other minorities you've now retracted this order but you claimed in a recent interview that you simply followed the science and the world health organization had originally instructed all covert bodies should be cremated that statement of yours was completely untrue wasn't it they never said anything of the kind. well if you look at the earth health organization there said cremation of
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all call in bodies it is they are of course they haven't they didn't mr secretary they did not get what was 8 what date was that when they could have that out but i will come back to you on this and then lead grounded change that to katie the burial is permitted and now that question is behind us steam we have buried 69 i so you want to just change the subject but you told them you made a statement that was blatantly false since march last year the w.h.o. made it clear that the burial of covert victims was perfectly acceptable its statement called it a common myth that persons who have died of communicable disease should be cremated but this is not true cremation is a matter of cultural choice and available resources to date and there is no evidence of persons having become infected from exposure to the bodies of covert 900 victims that was march 20th last year but you ignored all that and your government kept on ordering the cremation of covert victims despite knowing that
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this would cause untold pain and distress so your excuse for the world health organization said this falls apart it just simply doesn't conform to the facts mr secretary well it was never a political decision it was always a health and science decision only thing years we did fight against the decision to change that fact but he took some time and we do understand that past not the best thing to do we didn't hurt the sentiments of the population our community in sri lanka that is not the best thing we could do yes we do understand i'm not arguing against them but now we have corrected it and we have moved on 69 bodies have already been buried and now it's behind us we took time. talking of marginalizing minorities it turns out that your own president has indulged in some pretty inflammatory rhetoric over the last year hasn't it on november the 18th he talked about legitimate fears that the sinhala race religion national resources and the
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heritage would be threatened with destruction in the face of various local and foreign forces and ideologues that support separatism extremism and terrorism this was a clear dog whistle to his supporters to be on their guard against muslims and other minorities wasn't this wasn't a cove a national unity he was blatantly pressing the fear button knowing full well that it would stop the kind of discrimination and disharmony that you claim to be fighting. team you wait and see there is a lot of evidence surfacing regarding the easter bombing easter bombing was the single most devastating act of terrorism which took place in this country nearly 270 christiana's foreigners and 3 hotels and 3 churches were bombed by the extremists you wait and see the 19 that was 2019 and everybody everybody admits there's no argument that this was
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a terrible attack i'm talking about what your president said november the 18th last year stoking the fires of into communal hatred as i said this wasn't a well for the last no unity he was pressing the fear button telling people to be afraid of the minorities quite clear from what he said. thing in the same state mon i fail remember right he made it very clear that he is the president for all communities all people in this country although he was elected by the single of majority so you take one portion of that and argue but i can argue back it is not by the president meant president has been very focused on maintaining harmony but on the back of the elections what are the said mr secretary whether or not as many said it's what he said it's exactly what he said he said i am the president and i'm the president for all people of this country so there was not an occasion in that i
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was contradicted by what it was contradicted by what he said about national resources and heritage sent her heritage will be threatened with destruction but mr secretary it's been pregnant for the last 5 or 600 years from time to time yes it does mean yellow not even more and more fearful of minorities let's lower your quality let's look at your anti terrorism regulations which of so upset the un and human rights groups the international commission of jurists has consistently called for the repeal of this act which has been used it says to arbitrarily detained suspects for months and often years without charge or trial why do you keep such repressive laws in place. team from 2015 to 2019 there was a discussion of a counter-terrorism bill the unity government which was formed by coalition of the main 2 political parties with the support of e.u. with the support of u.s.
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and other countries drafted the counterterrorism proposal that is the new act but they could not just do it right so there are issues in our p.t.a. we do accept that we need to revisit our p.d. if we do our sense that this long term and i mean given your sending your time on on revisiting it you said that sri lanka has a very democratic regime no repression whatsoever these are your words but your anti terrorist laws make a nonsense of that what place does arbitrary detention without charge or trial have in a democratic country if that's what you are that's what you claim to be this is why i said we need to revisit the prevention of terrorism act and we need to draw lessons from the best practices internationally and we are going to do that glove internally while your passing your passing new repressive legislation march the
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12th this year your so called the radicalization regulations these allow for arbitrary administrative detention of people for up to 2 years without trial this is a whole mark of repression arbitrary detention without trial you say you're working on it you keep passing new regulations that are just as repressive as the old ones . well imagine the situation if we did not have the pedia after the 19001000 is the bombing we would not have been able to do anything in this country it would have been a chaos maybe somebody wanted our country to make our chaotic so i am seeing the p.d. here is in the in the topic of discussion and we are determined to revisit and we are determined to amend and also the long term detainees we need to find a solution to that we do agree that it is wrong if i would charge to keep someone for a very long period president already given that it is for the attorney general to
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find a solution to this when meanwhile these regulations are in blatant violation of your international legal obligations and they violate article 13 of the surrey lankan constitution do you know what that article says. well i don't have a copy right now but what it says if i can remind you is that it guarantees freedom from arbitrary arrest detention and punishment so your so raking in your own constitution with these new regulations that you can ban. doesn't come near him in the beginning i requested you this there for another few weeks and you will come out i mean we are in this to get 1st will come out with the real picture and then the whole world will agree what has gone underneath we have only seen the tip of the iceberg on the is the bombing the base a whole heap of things this has happened before that and it is happening even now
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so things will come out in due course and just. see but they are we believe legislation introduced to the country for the protection of human dignity or the shore cell how many feet of us that would that would that would make a change wouldn't because let's look at you know the way you've been handling trials and commissions the main reason the human rights council voted against you was that you've disrupted and impeded efforts to bring justice and accountability for all sides in the civil war that's the u.n. saying that they accuse you of him in trenching impunity for grave human rights violations and abuses by all sides this is not one of the hallmarks of your state isn't it. well it has nothing to do as you say because if you remember if you recall from 2009 to 2015 there were 3 commissions appointed to find out the way forward but unfortunately after 2015 none of these commissions could continue
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function and now the president has appointed a commission of inquiry. into supreme court judge maintaining a balance in gender gender balance in order to find answers to whether there are any issues to guiding accountability whether there are any issues regarding missing person so give us time the need we have given them a time behaving themselves you've had time to disrupt and impede the existing judicial processes this obstruction says the u.n. has taken the form of actually arresting some of the war crimes investigators and threatening others the un said one former chief of the criminal investigation division who led investigations into several key human rights cases was himself arrested and another nation for silver from the same division had to leave sri lanka because of threats immediately after the last presidential election and you tell me that's the way a democracy which you claim to have pursues justice doesn't look like it does. well
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everything is in the media everything is in front of the commission a police inspector can leave for another country without taking up less than 12 hours it doesn't have to be stressing this particular. we want you for our number one who says he was threatened you must not be part of a conspiracy all these things and they will probably give me lots of money to do these all these i know you don't know that mr secretary that's that's a sign i'm saying that inquiries are coming out all these things that is why i said it will come out with the talk in china in january last year your presidential commission investigating so-called political victimize ation of public officials began intervening to halt prosecutions including those of 2 former navy officers charged in relation to the disappearance of 11 people in 20082009
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this intervening in judicial proceedings doesn't inspire public confidence does it so also this commission has intervened in favor of military intelligence officers interfered in other trials including by withholding documentary evidence threatening prosecutors with legal action running parallel and contradictory examinations all these are accusations by the united nations in other words you've been destroying any chance of a proper trial and bring proper accountability you've allowed suspects to go free you're not interested. in i will not comment on a presidential commission and that matter before the court in the country they support the senate against me sense well i'm not in a position to comment on anything on that presidential commission on political station because it is a matter of people in the courts. well you may not want to comment on that the fact is that you have been freeing guilty people in march last year the president
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pardoned a soldier convicted of massacring 8 civilians including children human rights watch said it showed your government's disregard for justice for the worst abuses mr secretary you pardoned child killers the other no limits to which you won't sink. a child killer convicted child killer gets a presidential power pardon what kind of country living in well team do you know of that i'll send 500 econ beckons for pardon similarly without any trial did you know that the you know 459 child soldiers as young as 10 were not even considered as veterans but considered as victims of war and sent back to school to study with books and school bags and shoes right so we have done both so i can argue i can't comment on a decision made by the president to pardon
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a person and the b.b.'s regime also pardon hardcore terrorists so these are things happening so it is not only violence like route i'm i come back to this you proud of living in a country where child killers are get presidential pardons you can't sing my i don't know man you're not you're not holding your own forces accountable the message that that sends to your armed forces is basically you can get away with anything can't you if you can kill hills and if you don't kill children in cold blood you can get away with anything it is never like that we will never pardon anyone who is doing something wrong and the president is determined to make things right and make someone accountable if a person has done anything wrong against the law a president will never ever. the side of a criminal never ever not just give him a presidential pardon mr secretary your civil war. is presidential pardons are there in the world now we're not talking about the rest of the world we're talking
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about sri lanka and about my why why you only see like i why you need to talk about one person well because then you don't represent our eyes of the world and talk to the rest of the world about what they do i mean talking to you about censoring lanka does is hypocrisy i mean you are talking about one person in our history and saskin you read to account for the actions of your government it's as simple as that like just one person and be helped by with a 100. mr secretary your civil war may have ended more than 12 years ago but since your government isn't interested in accountability thousands of family members from all communities are still seeking justice and truth about the fate of their loved ones and your response to date has been to send state agents to harass and intimidate human rights defenders lawyers journalists social actors and victims of human rights abuses how does how hopeful is that to your declared aim of bringing reconciliation and the counter ability to your country how helpful that is
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of missing person established according to in the last one in 2015 and this of peace is empowered appointments made by that area locations given given action plan is requested and they have to produce the size as the harassment i'm asking you about the harassment your police. your police have continually harris the member of the adversary advocacy group mothers of the disappeared one of them whose son was disappeared in 2009 told human rights watch that officers of the criminal investigation department continually questioned her about who's going to meetings who's going to give testimony in geneva what are they going to say what business is that of your criminal investigation division. well if there is some issue with the person they can always complain to the police and they can see redress from the judiciary and our judiciary is very independent and in these top all areas is
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mostly it is they are all natives who are the judges so this is these are only accusations very conveniently made without any substance why don't they make a complaint to the police where they can make a complaint to the president they can make a complaint to the inspector general of police and they can make judicially proceeding without doing that you just complain and then you mentioned about human rights defenders we know most of the human great defenders are receiving money from the west and we know the bank accounts we know how much money has come and gone so these are not born of being the human brain defenders they are playing to the sound none of them you've just smeared the whole lot of them in one sentence is that really what you want to do you don't have a lot. and smear a whole raft of your society defending human rights. we are very much interested in human great nor one else is interested in human rights than sri lankans and sri lanka that is
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a fact no one is impressed and about human race and we constantly ascend than sri lankans in sri lanka where not only is your human rights record is criticize you deny everything mr secretary the u.n. insists that you address these criticisms some of which we've talked about during this interview and it also holds out the threat that member states might start applying targeted sanctions asset freezes and travel bans against your state officials and others credibly alleged to have been involved in human rights violations are you ready for that. well you know if individual countries have a separate agenda not necessarily human race but using human rights as a better plan there's very little we can do but let's wait and see i mean we also have support from a large number of countries it was evident in the human rights commission proceedings in the beginning when the report was submitted 21 countries spoke against the human rights commission erst report and in the proceeding discussions
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there were a lot of opposition to this of course the boarding they got 22 but even they got one word less than the last time and 14 and there were a large number of absentees that is 14 so this world is divided so you are coming from some very very very quickly as we are running out of time are you going to take note of these criticisms or are you going to stick to your blanket denials which no one believes where there we have gone away or not we are going to continue with the play just that we have made to the international community to find answers or in consultation missing persons we are going and accountability we are going to find answers through a domestic mckenney some as quickly as we can we do shed of it from the responsibility to the international community more than that to the ok well of this country we've run out of time john f. column by again thank you very much for being on conflict zone. thank you.
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all for. the new year yes yes we can hear you and i last 2 years german chancellor i want to bring you i'm going to a man called never. surprised yourself above just possibly this magical really what a new start and want to call somebody who talked to. people who followed her along
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the way admirers and critics alike how is the world's most powerful woman say people huddling could join us from eccles last stop something. every day comes for us and for our pleasure. the idea is on its way to bring you more conservation on. how do we make cities screamer how can we protect animals and their 100 times what to do with all our waste. we can make a difference by choosing reforestation over a g. force to show recycling over disposable smart new solutions so overstrained 7 hours on the road is truly unique and we know that uniqueness is what allows us to live and survive global ideas from the environmental assumes to global 3000 on d. w. and on the long. bit on what it
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is you know i mean in your monotonous he. goes oh no there's cynical media. us all up with all about our. vision of getting. it on what it. 'd this you know i mean you're my noticing by new. focus on the moment tonight is. what i'm focused on in the studio but i'm with what it took and i said i know what it's a time. this you know i mean in your mind not a single when you are getting in when you cry i don't want to. me number one and unanimous. the show could oh. yes it's a. question i. cannot i've only said it but i thought going on what they're doing fronted. by mackenzie it gets as if to say i said.
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this is g.w. news why but from berlin tonight for the 3rd time since the pandemic things going on france is going into lockdown president microland says the shutdown already in place in some regions will be extended to the entire country for at least one month schools will close domestic travel will be banned by call more in france is close to losing control of the pandemic also coming up tonight more mixed messages the use medicines regulator backs the astra zeneca coronavirus vaccine for all age groups it comes a day after germany's.


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