An urgent appeal to the UNHRC to reject draft resolution against Sri Lanka
Posted on March 21st, 2014

Sri Lankans around the world urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to reject the proposed draft Resolution (HRC-25) directed against Sri Lanka.

World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka issuing a press release said, “The draft resolution is in contravention of the basic principles of the UNHRC as enunciated in its ‘Charter,’ including the principles of “universality, impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity and constructive international dialogue,” along with the norms of fair play and justice.

The draft Resolution raises concerns with respect to two sets of issues: first, a purported increase in human rights violations in the country; and second, a lack of progress with regard to accountability, i.e. a lack of credible investigations into violations of humanitarian rights laws allegedly committed during the last stages of the war.

With regard to the issue of human rights violations, the UNHRC has an established mechanism to take up such matters – namely the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and therefore there is no justification for a country- specific resolution.

With respect to the issue of accountability, the High Commissioner’s report of 24 February 2014 (A/HRC/25/23) that is intended to be the basis of any Resolution adopted in the present sessions, cites two sources of allegations regarding the issue of alleged violations of humanitarian law: The Secretary General’s Panel of Experts (POE) Report of March 2011, and the Channel 4 videos.

The POE and Channel 4 videos have not at any stage been tabled officially before the Council and Sri Lanka has had no opportunity to respond to them before the Council. Thus, the credibility of these two sources has never been tested. This is a serious violation of procedural fairness.

Furthermore, with respect to the POE, there are allegations that sample letters generated by Tamil Diaspora elements and sent online to the Panel comprise a part of the evidence on which the Panel reached its conclusions with regard to alleged violations of humanitarian law; that satellite photos used by the Panel were manipulated; and that data on humanitarian aid sent to the conflict zone by the Government of Sri Lanka was deliberately under-reported.

With respect to the Channel 4 videos, the latest allegations against them involve claims that witnesses used in the videos are “fully paid-up members of the Tamil Tigers.” These allegations are of so serious a nature that they deserve to be investigated.

The draft Resolution (HRC-25) in its recommendations, requests the High Commissioner, inter alia, “to investigate alleged violations of abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka.” It should be noted that the UNHRC can avail itself of the UPR mechanism to address these concerns, because the UPR mechanism is specifically designed to ensure compliance with the principles of the UNHRC’s ‘Charter.’

The UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 that set up the Human Rights Council does not mandate, the Office of the High Commissioner to engage in any investigation, leave alone “lead” an investigation into HR violations.

Assigning such a mandate would be in violation of the UN Charter and would furthermore set a dangerous precedent. The Resolution should be rejected for these reasons.

We represent organizations and individuals in many countries. Standing in solidarity with the great majority of people in Sri Lanka and others who are of view that the UNHRC in pursuing country-specific resolutions against Sri Lanka is exceeding its mandate and thereby facilitating an erosion of international law, we urge the United Nations to advise the Human Rights Council to reject the draft Resolution (HRC-25), the press release stated.

5 Responses to “An urgent appeal to the UNHRC to reject draft resolution against Sri Lanka”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    This is not a UNHCR resolution against Sri Lanka. It is a UNHCR resolution against the Rajapaksa brothers Mahinda and Gotabaya. Surely the sponsors do not care about a bunch of dead terrorist, but angry because the Rajapaksa brothers are real patriots and look after the interest of Sri Lanka.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    It is now apparent that when it comes to fairness, impartiality and objectivity Sri Lanka does not have the power against the UNHRC and for that even against the UK who openly states it is taking advice from pro LTTE NGO’s. This also goes for India’s policy that Sri Lanka is singled out of all the nations in the sub continent to be treated in this disrespectful and Imperial manner. Sri Lanka above all other Sub Continent nations is still considered by India to be under her domain of influence. Both Nepal and Bhutan who are land locked nations and should fall under this same philosophy have also used their border with China to enhance their strategic importance and lessen New Delhi’s claim of dominion over them.

    Unfortunately both culturally and by her location the island of Sri Lanka stands alone. There are many advantages in not having a border with any nation, especially with India but there are some disadvantages as well as seen in Nepal and Bhutan who have taken advantage of their common border with China.

    The only way left for Sri Lanka is to negotiate with China to become a member state of the SCO in exchange for China to build a Chinese military base in Sri Lanka. This is even more applicable to Russia under Putin. I emphasis the role of Putin for Sri Lanka does not know the policies of Russia under a new leadership but she does know Russia’s policies under President Vladimir Putin. Russia is expanding across the world by a plan to build eight military bases across the world. Singapore and Seychelles have given their approval. Why not Sri Lanka?

    Right now the US under President Obama and Russia are in a heated post cold war logger head. Just days ago India blocked China’s entrance towards the Andaman islands. Sri Lanka should take this opportunity to be the base for both China and Russia in exchange of being accepted as a member state of the CSTO and the SCO.

    Finally following the history of the UNHRC it has seldom if ever put any force on NATO members or treated any nation in such an arbitrary manner that she is treating Sri Lanka. Unless Sri Lanka leverage her strategic importance to become a power that the UNHRC including Great Britain, India and the US have more to lose than gain in continuing this mockery of accusations Sri Lanka will be treated in a manner that is insulting, demeaning and unfair.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Second note:
    The cultural aspect of Hindu India has placed Sri Lanka in the unfortunate position of an “enemy nation”. The ancient Hindu epic, the Ramayana supposedly written by a man named Valmiki gave first referred to this island as “Sri Lanka” or “resplendent land” but the main aspect of that massive epic (which is eight times in length of ancient Greek’s Oddessy and the Iliad put together and written by Homer) continues to refer to Sri Lanka as the domain of the demon King Ravana who goes on to kidnap the Hindu Goddess Sita. Sita is then rescued by her husband, the Hindu God Rama and a legion of flying monkey warriors led by another Hindu God named Hanuman.

    As far as ancient epics go the Oddessy and the Iliad are treated by the secular West as mere epics from an ancient and dead civilization. This is not the case with the Ramayana. It is a living epic where hundreds of millions of Hindus in India to Sri Lanka take it as the sacred word and the holy truth. This also goes for tens of millions in South East Asia where the Ramayana is an active and alive epic to not only Hindus but Buddhists and Muslims as well. Example is the Javanese shadow theater that plays the Ramayana in a Muslim land thereby perpetuating the notion of an “evil race of Sinhalese people” who descended from the Demon King Ravana.

    I have noticed this pattern of thought each and every time there is an article on Sri Lanka in the Times of India where invariably insulting comments by the commentators often refer to the Ramayana and Ravana to justify their belief that the Sinhalese Buddhists are inherently evil by descent. In Christianity this would be called “original sin” inherited by the acts of Adam and eve which can only be cleansed by baptism. I firmly believe that the Ramayana does play a role in Indian politics in her overall approach to the nation that gave birth and hosted the demon king called Ravana and his descendents the Sinhalese people

    I also have not found any such similarity in any other nation in the world. This cultural burden Sri Lanka carries and brought upon by a living Hindu epic may explain some of the wanton invasions in Sri Lanka’s history by Indian Hindu Kings especially that of King Kalinga Magha whose only purpose was to invade and destroy. It was his actions that drove the majority of Sinhalese out of Anuradapura and sent them to the south of Sri Lanka. It was the brutal actions of King Kalinga Magha who also facilitated the only creation of a Tamil Kingdom in Jaffna which in the 20th century ended up with the demand for Eelam. Question to be asked in this context, did the Ramayana play a role as document of propaganda against the Sinhalese civilizations?

  4. RohanJay Says:

    @Bernard I may have missed something here but my understanding is that the Sinhalese people were originally Indian people who had their own kingdom in Ancient India at the time called Kalinga modern day Odisha. Also the historical sources all point to the Sinhalese people as descendents from King Vijaya and his followers where over thousands of years intermarried with the local aboriginal people. They also bought their high civilisation with them to Sri Lanka later adopted Buddhism. I don’t know how the Sinhalese people ended up as you say being descended from demon king ravana. I also don’t know how you came up with Indian commentaters refer to the Hindu epic Ravana to demonise Sinhala Buddhists. When the Epic probably predates the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka or the arrival of the Sinhalese people with King Vijaya and his followers. I am no expert on Sri Lanka or the history of the Sinhalese people but I would very much like to know your explanation.

    That said Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese Buddhists. In fact Sri Lanka along with Egypt could be one of the worlds oldest nation states. As the borders of Sri Lanka (Where the sea meets the land) all around the Island has always been occupied and controlled with significant Sinhalese populations in ALL Parts of Sri Lanka by Sinhalese Kings and Queens for 2500 years. This is despite the destabilizing effects of South Indian Kingdom invasions and European Colonization from the 1500s onwards.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    I call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to WITHDRAW Sri Lanka from membership in the United Nations immediately.

    The United Nations as currently constituted has become a TOOL of a few NeoColonialist Powers to perpetuate their Global Hegemony and Undermine, Destabilize and Dismember smaller developing countries throughout the world.

    The United Nations DOES NOT SERVE the best Interests of sovereign Sri Lanka.

    Let Sri Lanka WITHDRAW from the UN NOW, and work with other nations, under the leadership of China and Russia to CREATE a New Global Organization .. the UNION OF NATIONS … FREE OF SUCH ABUSES.

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