Are Sri Lankan leaders & Diplomats aware UN Resolutions are Non-Binding & have no legal status
Posted on April 8th, 2018

If the General Assembly resolutions are legally non-binding of UN Member states except the resolutions of the UN Security Council, it should also mean that the UN Human Rights Council Resolutions are also legally non-binding except carrying political weight over & above their recommendation. If so, why have Sri Lanka’s government co-sponsored questionable & country-specific resolutions by the UNHRC which commits to change sovereign laws to align to the UNHRC resolution demands since the UN has no legal powers to do so? This faux pas should be immediately reversed with a change of government given that the present government has been installed by a regime change orchestrated by the very parties presenting the resolutions through the UNHRC!

The UN General Assembly comprises 193 member states. The UN Charter does not grant the General Assembly (or the International Court of Justice) authority to enact or amend international law.

Article 10 of the UN Charter states:

The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.”

affirmation” means merely a declarative statement of sentiment. It is not a directive. It is not law.

Thus, UNGA lacks legislative powers.

When the Philippines delegation proposed in 1945 to vest the UNGA with legislative authority to enact international laws which are binding of its member states after its approval by the UNSC, the proposal was rejected 26-1.

The General Assembly has no power to compel action by any government. However, the resolutions do pose political weight and soft diplomatic pressure. However, though there is no legal status to the UN Resolutions, they can reinforce rules of customary law. Resolution 217 on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights though not legally binding, does influence national constitutions, treaties and/or international laws.

Article 10 -17 outline the powers & functions of the UN General Assembly. General Assembly passes resolutions but all of them are merely recommendations and NOT LAWS thus they are NOT BINDING of any member state. None of the UNGA Resolutions have a legal obligation for UN Member states to implement them. No UN Member state is even bound to even consider these resolutions. Resolutions are simply a diplomatic bullying tactic. Isn’t this why Israel has ignored all of UN’s resolutions!

Inspite of the non-binding nature of the UN Resolutions when such resolutions are drafted and passed, the General Assembly becomes aware and are made conscious of issues. However, what is emphasized here is that unfair, impartial & biased resolutions are being passed as a result of money & lobbying that creates a wrong world opinion against member states. Member states must seriously address this in the light of increasing country-specific resolutions being drafted by powerful nations who are engineering conflicts to justify their R2P interference.

However, in accordance with Article 25 of the Charter, UN Security Council Resolutions are binding & legal. Any decision of the Security Council is legally binding upon all U.N. member states, whether or not the text of the resolution explicitly references Chapter VII.

The UN Security Council has 15 members, five of which are permanent (US, UK, Russia, China & France) The UN Security Council is tasked with ensuring peace & security. Resolutions of the Security Council unlike the General Assembly are binding of all states as per Chapter VII which confers it authority. The example of UNSC action against Yugoslavia UNSC Resolution 820 in 1993 can be cited.

International law is law that governs the legal relations between or among states or nations. International law is found in Treaties, Judicial Decisions, Customs or General Principles.

According to Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, a former member judge of the International Court of Justice:

… the General Assembly has no legal power to legislate or bind its members by way of recommendation.”

Professor Judge Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice, states that:

… the General Assembly of the United Nations can only, in principle, issue ‘recommendation’ which are not of a binding character, according to Article 10 of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Another former ICJ judge, Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice rejects what he labeled the illusion” that a General Assembly resolution can have legislative effect.”

Professor Julius Stone points out:

In his book The Normative Role of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Declaration of Principles of Friendly Relations, Professor Gaetano Arangio-Ruiz5 is led to conclude that the General Assembly lacks legal authority either to enact or to ‘declare’ or ‘determine’ or ‘interpret’ international law so as legally to bind states by such acts, whether these states be members of the United Nations or not, and whether these states voted for or against or abstained from the relevant vote or did not take part in it.”

If so, it questions why Sri Lanka’s leaders & diplomats have spent unnecessary money to lobby the UN without simply challenging the UN & its associate entities & their officials to produce evidence before drafting resolutions & embarrassing a member state. UNHRC is simply an inter-governmental organ within the UN system. If the UNGA does not have legal jurisdiction with resolutions that it passes, how can UNHRC have legally binding resolutions?

Why have Sri Lanka’s leaders & diplomats allowed Sri Lanka to be coerced by UN officials knowing the legal status while foolishly changing Sri Lanka’s internal laws in line with the UN Resolutions that put into legal action what the UNGA Resolutions are unable to do?

A complaint must be filed with the UNGA & UNSC bringing to light these legal arguments & questioning the manner that the UNHRC/OHCHR has abused & violated the spirit & Charter of the UN against Sri Lanka. The manner that other abused states & where bias & manipulations have led to collapse and chaos of nations like Libya, Syria etc warrant UNGA Members to demand that the UNHRC stop the witch hunt against Sri Lanka as these actions create precedents that will affect & apply UN interference to other countries as well.




Shenali D Waduge

13 Responses to “Are Sri Lankan leaders & Diplomats aware UN Resolutions are Non-Binding & have no legal status”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Exactly, particularly UNHRC resolutions!

    I’ve been telling this since 2012. There is no need to fear these or honour these. but we have feared the falling sky and ran into the fox’s den. Same goes for the UNSG’s report in 2011. Mahinda’s government was advised on these matters and the war crimes matter by fools. We should have stood our ground.

    The war crimes matter is also blown out of proportion. Gotabaya is a US citizen. If USA has an iota of evidence of war crimes, he should have been tried by now. There is no need to get Sri Lanka involved as he is bound by US law. It didn’t happen which clearly proves even USA doesn’t believe in war crimes.

    But it is politically profitable for Mahinda government, TNA, LTTE Rump and even the West and India. So they played along at the expense of Sri Lanka.

  2. dingiri bandara Says:

    It is believed that the countries that want Sri Lanka to prosecute our war heroes are same countries that employed war criminals like Klaus Barbie the butcher of Lyons and other Nazi war criminals to spy against the Soviet Union, after the end of the war.

  3. Naram Says:

    Do not forget war crimes in Manchuria where thousands were murdered with germ injections. Perpetrators were pardoned and that came partly influenced by the much touted speech in Sri Lanka by a former head of Sri Lanka – Yanky Dickie.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    Naram is referring to the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 where Sri Lanka shamelessly deprived territory and justice to war crimes affected Chinese. Politicians who never followed Buddhism misused it to justify that heinous crime.

    Karmic justice took 60 years to come. But China defended Sri Lanka! Even when the following year the harvest failed, China helped Sri Lanka out with the rubber-rice pact saving hundreds of thousands. Shouldn’t we be ashamed?

    The other Independent country that followed Sri Lanka in 1951 was Pakistan. Once again Karmic justice had its way. Now Pakistan is at the mercy of China and paying a very heavy price in wars.

    But when the same leaders pleaded for US help in 1987 in return, facing an Indian invasion, USA flatly refused. Ranil continues his uncle’s disastrous foreign policy bungling.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    The MR Govt was swept aside by some countries in the west about an year after the defeat of the LTTE, were they not ?
    GSP+ was removed by these countries, plus purchase of fish from Lanka, etc.
    The UNHRC merely followed this cue ?

    When will Lanka be free to first take care of their citizens & the country ?

    In Lanka, Democracy is virtually dead ?
    The Law of the country virtually ignored ?

  6. Dilrook Says:


    Those were insignificant distractions. GSP plus benefit is only $150 million a year. We borrowed many times over to meet our UNHRC commitments and our interest bill was many times that. Fish not exported went to local consumers.

    Some with no formal knowledge about international law fooled Mahinda regime driving an undue fear of sky is falling down.

  7. Charles Says:

    UN Resolutions are binding on member states. If a state leaves the UNO it is no more a member State and the UN cannot force any thing on that country thereafter. But the fact is these dirty pigs of Yahapalanaya are taking sides with the enemies of Sri Lanka and even our friends like China and Russia cannot come to our defence.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    When powerful countries impose ‘insignificant distractions’, particularly after a near 30 yr internal war and the aftermath, then these points are noted.
    International Law : like Lanka’s local Law are ignored to suit various agendas ?
    Small countries get easily subjugated !


    In Cold War times, small countries which are of geopolitical importance, are ‘fair game’ for big game hunters !
    After nearly 500 yrs of colonisation, two World Wars, Cold War style politics after WWII, proximity of INDIA/Tamil Nadu separatism, plus Lanka Tamil Separatism/CASTE Wars, have ruined Lanka,

    Best thing to do is to have Laws in place and teach Patriotism in schools to defend the country.
    Or else everyone suffers, isn’t it ?
    A sense of Security is essential for Peace & Prosperity.
    It is all sink, or all swim, isn’t it ?

    Suggestions welcome !

  9. Charles Says:

    I think MR is frightened of repercussions coming from the west after elimination of terrorism. Otherwise he could have asked Ban Ki Moon to go to hell and do things differently. He could not have left UNO then because without the Security Council cover Sri Lanka would have been a target of attack. by the West as it was. India could not have been trusted. MR was alone and internally he did not have the complete support of all the people of all political shades. Therrefore we cannot blame MR for not removing 13A at the time, leaving the UNHRCouncil in Geneva, and banning TNA etc.

    At rthe moment what is essential is to get rid of both Ranil and Sirisena otherswise we are doomed. If these Yahapalanaya goons will continue they will damage the country to such an extent another government with all the good intentions will not be abale to undo what these b………ds have done.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    We thank Charles for his candid comments.


    Yet another point to note :
    Last year, the US authorities stated clearly that they want peaceful Trade Routes.
    Lanka is an important part of the Trade Routes to SE Asia.

    Question to ask : What factors constantly disrupt peace in Lanka ?

  11. Dilrook Says:

    @Fran and Charles

    Sri Lanka self-inflicted it. There was no UN resolution against Sri Lanka. Only UNHRC resolutions. If Sri Lanka disregarded them, then the matter has to go to UN Security Council for tough action where it will be defeated. That would be the end of all UNHRC resolutions.

    Western countries and India can and will punish Sri Lanka anyway unilaterally UNHRC or not. Once again this has been far exaggerated as a local political tool.

  12. Fran Diaz Says:


    INDIAN punishment cannot be disregarded as ‘exaggerations’.
    The last time INDIA ‘punished’ Lanka was during the JRJ govt times, in Cold War times.
    INDIA trained the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, and let them out in Lanka to kill and destroy for nearly 30 yrs, doing untold damage to the people of Lanka and the country, yet unresolved.

    After nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation, the negative train of events from Tamil Separatism/CASTE wars, is the worst item that has happened to Lankan wellbeing.


    There is a sense of injustice & bitterness to all these things – Lanka punished for doing good deeds to Tamils, such as Language Rights, Free Education & Health Care etc ?

    Tamil People all over the world must realise that Lanka did NOT start the 3,000 yr old CASTE system.

    What is the point in destroying Lanka, the ‘goose that laid the golden eggs’ !

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sri Lanka is NOT the ‘sacrificial goat’ for the troubles of other countries !
    We cannot see any good coming to anyone from such absurd notions.

    Problems must be addressed at the Source, not in outside places like Lanka.
    Copying good & sucessful ideas from all over the world re Socio-Economics and other problematic areas, is a good thing to do.

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