US holds back anti-SL resolution in Geneva
Posted on March 1st, 2012

By Shamindra Ferdinando in Geneva Courtesy The Island 

The US yesterday held back a statement scheduled to be made on Sri Lanka. 

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Maria Otero was earlier scheduled to speak at 10. 30 a.m.

Geneva-based diplomatic sources expressed surprise at the eleventh hour cancellation of the US statement at the high level segment on the fourth day of the sessions, which would continue till March 23. A spokesman for the Government of Sri Lanka told The Island: “In fact in the wake of UK demanding UN intervention in Sri Lanka, we expected the US to use a high level segment to pursue us on the human rights front. We are in the process of meeting member states of the UNHRC to defend our position and respond to whatever criticism and allegations directed at us.”      

“We expect the US to respond to these allegations when Under Secretary Otero re-schedules her speech probably after Sri Lanka “ƒ”¹…”side event’ in Geneva,” he said.

The Sri Lanka”ƒ”¹…”s “ƒ”¹…”side event’ is scheduled to begin at 1.00 p.m local time. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s human rights envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the government was ready to respond to those critical of the conduct of the military during the final phase of the offensive on the Vanni front.

The GoSL delegation said that the statements made by the Russian Federation and the South African government on the third day of the sessions couldn’t have come at a better time. Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Gennady M. Gatilov and South African Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation highlighted the partiality of those human rights champions, including international bodies.

Responding to a query, the Geneva-based SL mission said that the failure on the part of Western powers at least to mention gross allegations of human rights in several theatres of conflict since 9/11 had exposed their partiality. The mission emphasised that those accusing GoSL of human rights violations had conveniently forgotten the plethora of allegations against them. In fact both the UK and EU also failed to raise the accountability on the part of the LTTE and those who still stood for the group’s eelam cause.  

South Africa went to the extent of pointing out that some of those countries directing violence at their neighbours enjoyed the protection of Western powers.

The GOSL said that it really appreciated South Africa’s position that it was the responsibility of the UNHRC to treat all violations alike.

While appreciating the LLRC recommendations, Botswana emphasised that all those responsible for human rights violations in any part of the world should be accountable.

Botswana Defence Minister said: “I have no doubt in my mind that UNHRC will agree with me that impunity is unjustifiable. Therefore, it is within this realm that all those responsible for committing atrocities and serious violations of human rights, in any part of the world, must account and be accountable.”

“In this regard, we welcome the decision by the council at its last sessions in September last year to establish a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

“We urge all states emerging from internal conflicts to work with this Special Rapporteur. This would assist in ensuring that the policies and measures they put in place to address gross human rights and international humanitarian law violations, are able to prevent the recurrence of crises and future violations of human rights. It would also assist in ensuring social cohesion, nation building, ownership and inclusiveness at the national and local levels, as well as to promote a meaningful process of reconciliation,” he said

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