UNHRC Resolution Adopted: ‘It’s Uncalled For’ – Govt
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) country specific resolution 'Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka' (A/HRC/46/L1./Rev.1)was adopted yesterday with 22 countries voting in favour,11 voting against, while 14 abstained. The Government rejected the resolution saying the whole exercise by the UNHRC was uncalled for.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday said, the resolution that was adopted was ‘only an advisory resolution which they drafted by themselves’ against Sri Lanka which was unreasonable as well as based on unsubstantiated facts.
Minister Gunawardene said, if we listen to the voices of the countries that spoke on behalf of Sri Lanka, they wanted to defeat the coronavirus pandemic first and give vaccination to over 100 countries that are waiting for it. It is not a time to bring a country-specific resolution, he said.
To the question, “Isn’t it serious to dismiss the UNHRC’s mandate now to collect and preserve information and evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka's war against terrorism,” the Minister said all that is adopted cannot be followed as it is, as there are several matters involved which would be informed to the Media later on.
“We have rejected the resolution. And, the countries also expressed their views citing that Sri Lanka has seen tremendous progress. We have set up a Presidential Commission of Inquiry and have the judicial body to look into all allegations against anyone in relation to conflict areas. Other countries can work with Sri Lanka to follow the domestic procedure within the Constitutional framework,” he said.
“Despite the resolution being adopted by 22 votes, it’s clear that the resolution has had no majority of the Council which is the reality,” added the Minister. Without the consent and acceptance of the country concerned, any resolutions cannot be implemented and that is the basic principle, he stressed.
Foreign Minister Gunawardena said the UK-led Core Group, which brought the resolution on Sri Lanka, has failed to get the majority at the Council. Out of the 47 Council Members, they could only harness 22 countries to vote in favour and 25 votes were not on their side of the resolution. “This was not the forecast the European nations expected. I must say their figures have gone wrong.”
The Minister was in the view that the 14 countries that abstained, such as, India, Nepal, Japan, Libya, Indonesia, Bahrain, Cameroon and Burkina Faso did not say ‘yes’ to the resolution. They were under pressure by the European countries but the countries stood up not only in defending Sri Lanka but in defence of all the other countries. He summarised that the Global South has stood up and clearly expressed their views which the President of Sri Lanka and his Government clearly stated to the Council.
“Sri Lanka categorically rejects the unprecedented proposal. These are dangerous precedents and will have wide-ranging implications for all countries. I cannot emphasise enough the dangers posed to all nations; particularly those of the Global South,” said Sri Lanka’s representative at the UN C.A. Chandraprema.
“As promised to the people we withdrew from the co-sponsorship of the resolution in 2020 February. It was constitutionally not possible.
“In the next 12 months there would be a report on Sri Lanka by theUNHRC and the Government said it would face it as they have faced it in the past,” he said.