Belarus says High Commissioner’s Report one-sided

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 26 2021

The report on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, prepared by the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner (OHCHR), was taken up for discussion, during the 46th session of the UNHRC, once again yesterday.

Of the 38 countries that spoke during yesterday’s session, a majority of countries spoke in favour of supporting Sri Lanka’s national processes to achieve reconciliation and accountability, while rejecting country...

... specific actions without the support of the country in question.

However, the Western bloc, backed by countries such as the United Kingdom, EU and the US voiced support for the contents and recommendations presented in the OHCHR’s report on Sri Lanka. 

Russia, speaking at the 46th session, welcomed Sri Lanka’s efforts to improve reconciliation in the country and applauded the readiness of Sri Lanka to continue working with UN mechanisms.

The representative of Russia noted that Sri Lanka without external pressure should determine the priorities for action and the areas which require international assistance. Russia believes that this is the only way measures taken can be truly effective and facilitate a strengthening of the promotion of protection of HR in the country.

The Chinese representative, meanwhile, noted that they oppose the politicisation and double standards of the UNHRC while also opposing the use of human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

China noted that they were concerned by the prominent lack of impartiality in the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka. It also noted that proposed targeted sanctions are a clear intervention in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs which overstep the mandate of the OHCHR.

The representative of the Belarus, speaking at the session, noted that they do not support the adoption of country specific resolutions without the agreement of the Government concerned. Belarus called out the report of the UN High Commissioner for being one-sided and partial noting that the OHCHR did not take into account the information provided by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Belarus also revealed that a large number of co-sponsors of resolution 30/1 and 40/1 have not had visits from special rapporteurs over the past five to 20 years while Sri Lanka had visits from 10 mandate holders over the past four years, which Belarus believes is a record. Belarus called on the UNHRC to continue mutually-respectful dialogue with member nations without pushing for politically motivated solutions.

The over arching theme expressed by most nations was that the international community should support the local mechanisms of 

Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom, echoed the concerns raised by the UN High Commissioner’s report such as lack of accountability, harassment of civil society and militarisation of civilian government functions. He also noted that UK is concerned by the Government’s policy on forced cremations.

Lord Ahmad also expressed regret about Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from resolution 30/1 adding that previous domestic initiatives had all failed to deliver meaningful accountability.

The representative from the U.S. noted that they share the concerns raised by the OHCHR and called on the Government of Sri Lanka to share a timetable for the implementation of the recommendations mentioned in the report. It should be noted that the Government of Sri Lanka has rejected the contents and recommendations of the most recent report by the UN High Commissioner.

Other countries such as the European Union, Norway, Canada and Germany also expressed similar views. North Macedonia, which is part of the core group of countries that moved resolution 30/1, called on the members of the Council to adopt the proposed resolution on  Sri Lanka by consensus.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 26 2021

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