Business chambers issue strong statement; corporates stage walk out protesting US-led resolution in Geneva
Posted on March 21st, 2012

The private sector yesterday in unison joined the growing chorus across the country against the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva planning to move a resolution against alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

“The joint chambers of commerce of Sri Lanka express concern over the resolution to be tabled at the UNHRC against Sri Lanka,” the private sector grouping said in a statement yesterday. It stressed that the Government of Sri Lanka had on numerous occasions expressed its commitment to fully implement the LLRC proposals in an expeditious manner.

“The business community will fully support the development and reconciliation activities that will be undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka, where all communities could benefit from the sustainable peace that has been attained after the 30-year conflict. The business community would also like to remind the international community that this is an internal matter and that the proposed resolution at this juncture would not be in the interest of the reconciliation process,” the statement said.

The signatories of the joint statement were the National Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Exporters, Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs, Joint Apparel Association Forum, Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and

Industry of Sri Lanka, Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ Association and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
They represent almost the entirety of the organised private sector in the country and the joint statement was an emphatic message to the current sessions in Geneva which is likely to vote on a US resolution against alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the thick-end of the battle against terror in May 2009.

The private sector written objection also came amidst a business community-driven vocal protest in Town Hall against the UNHRC. Hundreds of private sector employees and several business leaders participated in the protest walk carrying placards and banners, exposing the double standards of UNHRC and its prime movers, mainly the Western nations.
Speculation was rife that the US-led resolution may come up for vote at the UNHRC sessions on Wednesday, due to which Sri Lanka and Lankan expats in several parts of the world stepped up their opposition against the move.
If the UNHRC and its Western allies felt the opposition so far was merely political, then the private sector action could force a rethink on the US-led resolution to punish Sri Lanka over alleged war crimes, analysts said.

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