Lanka blames strategic ties, domestic issues for UN resolution

Last Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 00:29

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday blamed strategic
alliances and domestic political issues, an apparent reference
to politics in Tamil Nadu, for the UNHRC resolution which was
backed by India to censure Colombo for its alleged war crimes
during the ethnic conflict with LTTE.

Responding to the adoption of the US-sponsored resolution
by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Foreign
Minister GL Peiris said Sri Lanka had performed remarkably.

"It is a matter of great satisfaction to us that 15
countries voted with Sri Lanka, despite the intensity of
pressure, in a variety of forms, exerted on them all," said
Peiris, who was present when the vote was taken in Geneva.

"With 15 countries voting with Sri Lanka, and 8 countries
abstaining, the final result was that 23 countries, out of a
total of 47 members of the Human Rights Council, did not
support the Resolution, while 24 supported it. The margin was
as narrow as this," he said in a statement.

Peiris said the most distressing feature of this
experience is the reality that voting at the Council is now
determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by
strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other
countries which have nothing to do with the subject matter of
a Resolution or the best interests of the country to which the
Resolution relates.

Analysts said Peiris` mention of domestic political
issues was an inference on India who voted in favour of the US
resolution due to pressures from DMK.

"This is a cynical negation of the purposes for which the
Human Rights Council was established. Many countries which
voted with Sri Lanka were acutely conscious of the danger of
setting a precedent which enables ad hoc intervention by
powerful countries in the internal affairs of other nations".

India had initially shown reluctance to vote on a
nation-specific resolution but had to change its stand under
severe pressure from political parties in Tamil Nadu,
particularly DMK which had threatened to pull out its
ministers from the UPA government at the Centre if India
either abstained or supported Sri Lanka during the vote on the
resolution.

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted
the resolution which noted with concern that an internal
inquiry report in Sri Lanka does not adequately address
"serious allegations" of violations of international law.

It also asked Colombo to present as expeditiously as
possible a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps to
implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to address alleged violations
of international law.

It also binds the government to seek technical
assistance from the UN High Commisssioner for addressing Human
Rights concerns.

Sources said India decided to vote after persuading
the resolution-sponsor to make two changes in the draft so
that it became "non-intrusive" and contribute to political
reconciliation process in the island.

India did not participate in the debate but voted with
countries like Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy,
Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay and the US.

Many of India`s neighbours, including China, Bangladesh
and Maldives, and Russia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia
were among the countries that voted against the resolution
which asked the Sri Lankan government to implement the
constructive recommendations of the LLRC.

The resolution was the culmination of international
pressure on Sri Lanka over its rights record which resulted in
the appointment of a special panel by the UN Secretary
General.

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said
that government should lose no time now in going ahead with
the implementation of the LLRC recommendations.

"It would be futile to get provoked by the result to
shout against international community. The government must put
into action what they have pledged in December. It would be no
shame to implement what was presented in Parliament. If the
government had not dragged its feet there would not have been
a need for this resolution," party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 00:28

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