The Foreign Minister at the 43rd UNHRC session rightfully said Sri Lanka will oppose and reject UNHRC resolution. The way forward is to ask for a vote
Posted on March 8th, 2021

By Senior Lawyer  [e mail srilankastudycircle@yahoo.com]

The purpose of this article is to present the   expert views and advice so far published on how to preserve our sovereignty, when nations which describe themselves as a ‘core  group’, comprising Canada, UK, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Germany, have proposed a resolution at the 43rd session of the UNHRC that threatens the very sovereignty of Sri Lanka.   This group proposes to violate Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, by changing the global rules, masquerading under the cover of ‘Human Rights’.  Their   proposed resolution, as reported, is based on the outrageous Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet  who has no clue of what happened in Sri Lanka and is relying on questionable ‘hearsay’ evidence.  

The Government has the responsibility to  tell the people in detail what they will do at the UNHRC. They must tell the people that Bachelet with the CORE GROUP are cutting the path to recolonise Sri Lanka, as acceptance of  her report means, the international community will  take appropriate collective action,taking away our  independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.     

The Government must   request a friendly Non Aligned Movement [NAM] country, member of the Human Rights Council, to call for a vote. If we do not, the draft resolution  will be adopted by  consensus without a vote .

This is the reality because this is the procedure practiced at the UNHRC. It is similar to seconding a motion. If the draft resolution is  adopted    the  Sri Lanka Government will be implicitly accepting that it is  unable and unwilling to protect its population from war crimes ,  genocide,  crimes against humanity and /ethnic cleansing.   By doing so we will be admitting we are a failed state and therefore exposing the forces to be tried outside the country    

Have Bachelet and the 5 ‘Core Group’ forgotten what  President Bush said after the 9/11, terrorist attack? He said  “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”     

 People of great character in Sri Lanka have stood-up to bullies before, and we shall do the same, this time too. Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam spoke at a Sinhalese Conference in 1919 for the purpose of organizing ‘People ‘s Associations’ throughout the island. This was during the British colonial period when he said, The people are deprived of all power and interest in the administration of their affairs; we are almost like cattle, driven at the pleasure of their official masters. People have been reduced to a state of helpless dependency.”  [ ‘Speeches and Writings of Sir  Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam’ , my friend, a granddaughter of that great gentleman, gifted the  invaluable book. The time is right to get together to form a   similar  ‘People’s  Associations’. 

This article is based on the path shown by   great, present day patriots like Tamara Kunanayakam who was Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on the Right to Development leading intergovernmental negotiations, and a senior official at OHCHR,   Shenali Waduge that indomitable vanguard and heart of  Sri Lanka patriotism with her prolific writings and research  and the many committed members of the Sri  Lanka Study Circle and  other groups including Nidahas net work, Professionals’ National Front (PNF),  who, fed by the people, have kept alive the spark of a great Nation.    

They all point out that colonisation in the 21st Century is mainly not with weapons,  but by hegemony where the minds of the people are bombarded with fake reports, false allegations and with the use of Human rights as a weapon.

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Has  the  government looked into the  legality of Bachelet   Report

Has  the  government looked into the  legality of Bachelet Report  with regard to its compatibility with  the UN Charter and  the 1970 General Assembly Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Corporation among States, which is the authentic interpretation of the Charter? The patriots point out that Bachelet  has  shown utter contempt  for the  mandate given to her by the General Assembly within the framework of the Charter .   To understand the legality of the Bachelet Report , attention must be drawn to the doctrine  known as the Responsibility to protect          [ R2P].  The Bachelet report   attempts to use the Responsibility  to Protect’ [R2P] to advance a vision of a  unilateral world order  to replace the multilateral order based on the UN Charter

The birth of the doctrine ‘Responsibility  to Protect’ people of other nations [the  R2P ]

The Responsibility to Protect (R2 P) concept was coined, not by the United Nations, but by the 2001 International Commission of Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), which was set up by the Government of Canada in 2001. 

The doctrine marked a poignant transformation of international understanding of ‘sovereignty’. In the words of the drafters, a country loses its sovereignty if it is proved to have committed four atrocious crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.   Such was the case when UK and US  simulated the language of the Responsibility to Protect [R2P] doctrine to justify waging war in Iraq in 2003 under the guise of humanitarian grounds. Is this justifiable?. 

Tamara Kunanayagam   repeatedly  alerts the government to the  R2 P  language sneaked into the  Bachelet Report  found in Para. 56 of R to P : that is —       The Government has now demonstrated its inability and unwillingness  to pursue a meaningful path towards accountability for international crimes and serious human rights violations.”  It is this language that Bachelet uses to justify a call for preventive action and   application of unilateral coercive measures against Sri Lanka such as sanction  which are, incompatible with the UN Charter.’’

Does this imply  the Government admits that it is unable and unwilling to protect its own people

People ask, why has the Government not responded to the R2P logic underlying  the  Bachelet Report. Does this imply that  the Government admits that it is unable and unwilling  to protect its own people.  The report  is not about promoting and protecting the   human rights of  Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims but  paving the way for foreign occupation and interference in our internal affairs with aggressive unilateral measures

Bachelet’s   new precedent to exercise R2P in the conduct of the UNHRC  is a warning to all countries  

The Bachelet Report, by adopting the logic and language of  R2 P, attempts to set a precedent to undermine Charter based multilateralism and the sovereignty principle.   The Study Circle in its  articles point out to the Government that if we concede and accept the outrageous report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,  we will  lose our sovereignty and we will   endanger other countries by allowing an illegal precedent to be set up much against the UN Charter, whereby  other nations will  also automatically lose their sovereignty.   

 The UNHRC members [34 from NAM ] who suffered immensely under colonial domination  must realize the new precedence  to recolonize. 

   The Foreign Minister at the 43rd UNHRC session rightly said that Sri Lanka rejects the resolution and seeks closure. If that is so, the only way forward   is to call for a  vote  through a  friendly member state. It is on the basis of common interest that we must mobilise the countries of Non Aligned Movement and the Global south to vote against the resolution. If we fail in this regard it can imperil the foreseeable future of many countries. It is therefore a grave responsibility cast on us, the Non-Aligned nations, by history to preserve our independence and sovereignty.

Sri Lanka’s vital role to unite the NAM  to prevent return to foreign occupation and  domination

Sri Lanka today has a major role to play as before when NAM  was founded to unite all the countries to strengthen the Non Aligned Movement to prevent a return to foreign occupation and  domination

 The Sri Lanka study circle asks, ‘Why does Colombage barefacedly lie that the key to our Foreign Policy is ‘Neutrality’.   What strength would we be able to garner if we had the 120 countries of the Non Aligned Movement with us, on a common platform? Can we afford to alienate 120 out of the 193 countries, members of the United Nations, 34 out of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council ? Can we afford to isolate ourselves and become prey to the ambitions of a hegemonic power?

 Why does Colombage   say   that we will not surrender without a fight?.   Does it mean that   the Government has an idea to surrender ?. 

Shenali Waduge—in her article titled  ‘ Bring intrusive UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka to a conclusion with a VOTE’    endorses Tamara Kunanayagam who with her experience had said this in many interviews.   

 .  The Non-Aligned Movement’s objectives are clearly enunciated  by Fidel Castro in his Havana Declaration of 1979.  As he said the Movement is the safety net to  ensure the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics. 

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