Resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at UNHRC | Daily News

Resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at UNHRC

22 countries for, 11 against, 14 abstain:
Lanka slams “unfair and divisive” Resolution:
China, Pakistan take lead against Resolution:

The Resolution titled “Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka” (A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1) was adopted by the 47-Member United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with 22 votes in favour and 11 votes against yesterday. Fourteen Member States including India abstained from voting.

South Asian Member States either voted against or abstained during the crucial vote on Sri Lanka at the 46th Session of the UNHRC. After criticizing the Council’s unfair treatment towards Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China called for a division on the Resolution, and voted against it along with Russia, the Philippines, Eritrea, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Cuba.

In addition to India, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Senegal, Sudan and Togo abstained from voting.

The Member States which voted in favour of the Resolution were Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the UK and Uruguay.

The Envoy of the United Kingdom (UK) presented the Resolution on behalf of the Core Group consisting of the UK, Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and it was co-sponsored by over 40 countries including the United States and Australia.

The vote was taken through a newly introduced e-vote system. In fact, the Sri Lanka Resolution was the first to be voted on using the new system. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva C.A. Chandraprema addressing the Council prior to the vote reiterated that the Sri Lankan Government categorically rejects the unfounded allegations of human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations against the country. He called it “unhelpful and divisive” as Sri Lanka seeks to emerge from the decades of conflict. In an earlier statement, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the Resolution has been brought “concealing the truth”, noting that Sri Lanka has always worked with UN bodies and mechanisms. Domestic mechanisms were in place to address human rights and accountability concerns, he said.

The Indian Envoy to the UN in Geneva speaking ahead of the vote reiterated the importance of holding the Provincial Council Elections and implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. In a pre-vote statement, the Indian delegation said India’s approach to the question of human rights in Sri Lanka is guided by the “two fundamental considerations” of support to the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, dignity and peace, and ensuring the unity, stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. “We have always believed that these two goals are mutually supportive and Sri Lanka’s progress is best assured by simultaneously addressing both objectives,” India said, reiterating its earlier position.

The newly adopted Resolution includes, among other things, setting up a mechanism to preserve evidence for prosecutions in the future. It requires a budget of US$ 2.8 million.

The Resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka. It requests the OHCHR to present an oral update to the UNHRC at its forty-eighth session, and a written update at its forty-ninth session and a comprehensive report that includes further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-first session, both to be discussed in the context of an interactive dialogue.

The latest Resolution is the eighth to be adopted at the UNHRC since the war against the LTTE ended in 2009, when the first Resolution was presented. Earlier, the new Sri Lankan Government withdrew from the Co-sponsorship of the Resolution 30/1, a step that had been taken by the previous Yahapalana Government.