2011 ஆம் ஆண்டு காமன்வெல்த் மாநாடு முடிந்தபின் செய்தியாளர்களை சந்தித்த காமன்வெல்த் அமைப்பின் செயலாளர் திரு கமலேஷ் சர்மாவும் ஆஸ்திரேலியப் பிரதமர் திருமதி ஜூலியா கில்லார்ட் அவர்களும் காமன்வெல்த் மாநாட்டின் தீர்மானங்களை எடுத்துக்கூறிய பின் செய்தியாளர்களின் கேள்விகளுக்குப் பதிலளித்தனர். அப்போது அவர்களிடம் ஆறு கேள்விகள் கேட்கப்பட்டன. அவற்றுள் இரண்டு கேள்விகள் இலங்கையைப் பற்றியதாக இருந்தன.
காமன்வெல்த் மாநாட்டில் மலேசியாவின் முன்னாள் பிரதமர் அப்துல்லா அஹமது பாதவி அவர்கள் தலைமையில் பத்து பேரை உறுப்பினராகக் கொண்ட சான்றோர் குழு 206 பக்கங்கள் கொண்ட A Commonwealth of the People – Time for Urgent Reform என்ற அறிக்கையை சமர்ப்பித்தது. அதில் 106 பரிந்துரைகள் இடம்பெற்றிருந்தன. காமன்வெல்த் நாடுகளுக்கென ஒரு மனித உரிமைகள் ஆணையர் நியமிக்கப்படவேண்டும் என்ற முக்கியமானதொரு பரிந்துரையை அந்த அறிக்கை முன்வைத்திருந்தது. ஆனால் அந்த மாநாட்டில் அந்தப் பரிந்துரையை பரிசீலனைக்கு எடுத்துக்கொள்ளவில்லை. அதுபற்றி கேள்வி எழுப்பிய பத்திரிகையாளர்கள் இலங்கையைக் காப்பாற்றும் நோக்கில்தான் அந்தப் பரிந்துரையைப் பரிசீலிக்கவில்லையா என்று கேட்டனர். அதற்கு ஆஸ்திரேலியப் பிரதமர் மழுப்பலான பதிலைத்தான் முன்வைத்தார். காமன்வெல்த் செயலாலர் கமலேஷ் சர்மாவோ அதைப்பற்றி வாயே திறக்கவில்லை.
அந்த கேள்விகளும் பதில்களும் இவைதான்:
Reporter: Miss Prime Minister, correct me if I'm wrong, but Sri Lanka faced a lot of static as the next host about the Sri Lanka's human rights record, etc. On the subject of the Human Rights Commission, correct me if I'm wrong, but was this [all] because of the majority of the membership which backs Sri Lanka felt that this was an unfair witch hunt coming at this time, coinciding with this moment in time where Sri Lanka has got so much static, that this Human Rights Commission is being mooted now? It has been rejected in a sense, because it wasn't approved at this CHOGM. Is this because a majority of the membership felt that this was unfair to Sri Lanka?
Julia Gillard: I think you are drawing a connection between two questions when, in the deliberations of leaders, that connection was not there. To go back in time, the Eminent Persons Group was created by the last Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to provide a report and recommendations on strengthening the Commonwealth. That is what is because leaders and we are dealing with it, and we've dealt with the charter today and we've dealt with the proposition about a commissioner too, so those things have been dealt with.
In terms of leaders' motivations for making decisions in this area, I think you would be wrong to suggest you can guess what leaders' motivations were. I think you're trying to draw a link there in your mind, which I don't think you can assume was there in the minds of leaders. Leaders have been talking about the appropriate way of strengthening the Commonwealth and that is what has driven the conclusions that we've announced here this evening.
Reporter: Just in terms of the suggestion of appointing a human rights commissioner to improve the Commonwealth's record on addressing human rights abuses within the Commonwealth, are you concerned that key amongst the very few countries which actively opposed and therefore blocked the creation of a human rights commissioner was Sri Lanka? This is a country which itself would very much expect to be one of the first topics to be discussed by such a human rights commissioner, because of course the government there is itself accused of severe human rights abuses, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the fact that the country which perhaps focuses the need for a human rights commissioner is the country which was itself able to block that?
Julia Gillard: Well, can I say the following. First, in accordance with the conventions of the Commonwealth, there is not reporting out from the leaders' retreat session about the position of individual leaders, so I'm not going to breach that convention by reporting out of the discussions held by leaders today.
What I can say is the report we received from foreign ministers when were in executive session yesterday did indicate to us that there had been a broad range of concerns raised about the commissioner position and that range of concerns was reported to us by foreign ministers after they had had their discussions. Consequently, when leaders met today, they were aware that concerns had been raised from across a broad range of countries and had to work their way through as to what to do in those circumstances. And what I've announced to you is what leaders have determined.
On the question of Sri Lanka, I've been asked this question over the last few days and let me state Australia's position again here. We are concerned about reports of human rights abuses during the end stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. We are aware that Sri Lanka has underway its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission process. We've been very clear that that process has to address the material that was comprehended in the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Panel report, so there is an expectation there about what should be done through the lessons learnt and reconciliation process.
I think I said yesterday and I'm very happy to say again, it seems to me to stem from the very title that if you are going to learn lessons, if you are going to achieve reconciliation, then that starts with truth telling.
Thank you very much.