Posted on March 21st, 2013

Rasika Somarathna

* Hypocritical and smacking of double standards

* Today it is Sri Lanka, tomorrow it could be another country

* Pakistan says Sri Lanka needs to be helped, not chastised

In a strongly worded rejection of the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the resolution was clearly unacceptable due to its inherent flaws.

The minister pointed out that preambular part of the text is “ƒ”¹…”intrusive, bears misinterpretations and focuses disproportionately on the negative and eliminates or is dismissive of the positive.’

The resolution on Sri Lanka was adopted at the UNHRC yesterday, with 25 members voting for the motion, and 13 voting against it.

There were eight abstentions. The numbers are almost similar to that of last year when the US sponsored a similar resolution. As it happned last year, India voted in favour of the resolution.

Reffering to a report of the Human Rights Commissoner made on Wednesday pursuant to the resolution in 2012, the minister said “We have voiced our concerns and displeasure and have made clear our position that the High Commissioner’s report is flawed and we have adduced reasons in support of our categorical rejection of the Report”.,

He added: “These include the fact that the Report contains factual inaccuracies, that the mandate given by the Council has been exceeded and that the Report seeks to bring in extraneous elements and substantive recommendations which were never sought.

Moreover, the recommendations were never made in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka”.

Minister Samarasinghe while claiming that the government has confidence in its domestic processes and mechanisms noted “Despite our dissociation with that initiative, I must point out the salient features of that Resolution which called for Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of its domestic mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to formulate an action plan for implementation. Since its adoption, Sri Lanka has shown clear progress towards comprehensive reconciliation including by the preparation and implementation of the action plan called for by the Resolution”.

He stated that the draft resolution could establish a bad precedent in the annals of the UNHRC and called upon the member states to safeguard the paramount principles of the council. “Today it is Sri Lanka tomorrow it could be another country that does not adhere to the agendas of the countries whose agendas are not concerned with human rights issues” he added.

Meanwhile despite a concerted effort by some powerful nations to canvass support for the resolution on Sri Lanka, several countries at the sessions yesterday strongly voiced their displeasure about the move.

The envoy of Venezuela whilst rejecting the resolution on Sri Lanka, said it does not promote any genuine cooperation or dialogue. The envoy whilst slamming it as being “hypocritical” and smacking of “double standard’ noted that Sri Lanka was being unnecessarily targeted despite the meaningful steps the country has taken to foster reconciliation. The Pakistan envoy said that the resolution was overly intrusive and interfering, He commened Sri Lanka’s efforts at development and to foster reconciliation. He praised Sri Lanka’s continuing efforts to update the council on steps being taken in this regard. “A country like Sri Lanka needs to be helped and not chastised,” he added.

Thailand too voiced its concerned against the resolution and added that it was unnecessary at a time Sri Lanka was forging ahead in all sectors.

Meanwhile, India’s envoy Dilip Sinha said, the two countries enjoy strong ties. He said India would continue to engage with the country. He also urged the head of the UNHRC to accept an invitation by Sri Lanka to visit the country.

Meanwhile the Japanese envoy said his country will abstain from voting He also appreciated the assurances given by President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he visited Japan earlier this year, that Provincial Council elections would be held in the North.

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