An Ordeal of Errors

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 1 2021
Editorial An Ordeal of Errors

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 15 March 2006. The UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States and follows the procedures established by its parent body the UNGA.

Quoting from the UNGA website wherein it says “A UNGA Resolution usually requires a simple majority of 50 per cent of all votes plus one to pass”. Considering that no such definition of this procedure exists on the UNHRC website and it clearly states in the UNHRC guidelines A/61/53 that it follows the procedures of its parent body which is the UNGA this applies to the UNHRC as well.

Under the guidelines for resolutions in the UNGA or UNHRC website there was no available information or clear-cut statement as to the suitability and qualifications of Member States to submit a resolution against another Member State. 

The confounding thing about the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka was how possibly could the UNHRC have accepted it? It violates so many basic principles of morals and ethics the UNHRC claim so religiously to subscribe to. Let’s take a look at all the blunders committed by the UNHRC, shall we and question whether the UNGA should not at least now reject the resolution to avoid humiliation for themselves? The next obvious question would be how often has this happened before and to how many other Member States?

The resolution in question was chaired by the UK and co-sponsored by the US. Last Monday’s editorial very clearly stated how the UNHRC was well aware of British soldiers serving abroad committing serious international crimes, including unlawful killing and torture. All in all, of British soldiers committing gross human rights violations and the UNHRC had sent the UK Government a letter of admonition on 5 October of last year requesting them not to pass the Overseas Operation Bill. Not long after the UK had the gall to submit the resolution against Sri Lanka claiming therein that Sri Lanka had committed crimes which their very own Defence Attaché Colonel Gash had countered. Infuriatingly the UNHRC submissively accepted it. 

The serious international crimes, including unlawful killing and torture: crimes committed by US soldiers serving abroad can be read on Page 8 of today’s paper. These are not sporadic occurrences but a series of grim offences committed over the years and severely ingrained in to the US military system. In what respect did the UNHRC consider both the UK and the US above board and what made the UNHRC consider the UK and US were qualified Member States to submit the proposal? Why did the UNHRC possibly accept it? Was it because of reciprocal altruism? Whatever the case may be it doesn’t augur well for the UNHRC.

The other perplexing matter is how did the UNHRC consider the Sri Lanka resolution was passed? Was the usually required simple majority of 50 per cent of all votes plus one fulfilled? No it wasn’t, was it? All the UNHRC got was 22 votes but the total number of votes was 47 wasn’t it and they needed 24 to pass it didn’t they?

At this juncture where this whole business of the iffy Sri Lanka Resolution, that emanates such a bad odour it seems to be contaminating many a thought provoking sentiment against the righteousness of the UNHRC, it would be best if the UNGA abandoned it and saved face all round!

The UNHRC and their justice are like water and a sieve; they will find the largest gap and escape right through it.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 1 2021

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