India tells UNHRC devolution of power is critical for reconciliation in Sri Lanka
Posted on February 26th, 2021

By P.K.Balachandran Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, February 26: India has told the UNHRC’s on-going 46 th.session in Geneva that the full implementation of the 13 th. Amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution, which provides for devolution of power to the provinces, is the way to bring about ethnic reconciliation in the country.

The Indian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Indra Mani Pandey told the council that India’s policy towards Sri Lanka rests on two pillars: i). Support for Sri Lanka’s unity and territorial integrity. ii). An abiding commitment to aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, peace and dignity. But these are not either-or choices, he added.

We believe that respecting the rights of the Tamil community, including through meaningful devolution, contributes directly to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka,” Pandey said.

While advocating that delivering on the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community is in the best interests of Sri Lanka, India calls upon Sri Lanka to take necessary steps for addressing such aspirations, including through the process of reconciliation and full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.”

Ambassador Pandey, who is the Permanent Representative of India, said Indian believes that respecting the rights of the Tamil community, including through meaningful devolution, contributes directly to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka.

We have taken note of the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka and her oral remarks. The Council has adopted 7 Resolutions on the question of human rights in Sri Lanka since May 2009, when the three decades old conflict in that country ended.”

The assessment of the High Commissioner regarding developments nearly 12 years from the end of the conflict raises important concerns. The Sri Lankan Government has articulated its position on these issues as well. In evaluation of both of these, we should be guided by a commitment to find a lasting and effective solution for this issue,” Pandey said.

US Seeks Mandates To Pursue Accountability

United States has urged Sri Lanka to make public a strategy and timetable for the implementation of recommendations in the report compiled by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Daniel Kronenfeld of the US mission in Geneva informed the UN Human Rights Council that the United States shares the concerns of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Sri Lanka.

We thank High Commissioner Bachelet for her comprehensive report and note the Government of Sri Lanka’s engagement.”

Kronenfeld stressed that the US is concerned by accounts of increasing marginalization of minority communities and shrinking space for civil society, including independent media.

We remain concerned about the lack of accountability, including high-level appointments of military officials credibly accused of conflict-era abuses,” he went on to say.

The US envoy insisted that Sri Lankan government’s efforts to address concerns raised in OHCHR’s report via a domestic process need to be meaningful and credible. We note that the Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry does not include a mandate to pursue accountability, and that the Office of Missing Persons and Office of Reparations need to operate without political interference.”

We note that respect for the human rights of all Sri Lankans is critical to Sri Lanka’s long-term peace, security and prosperity, and call on the Sri Lankan government to take meaningful, concrete steps to promote accountability, justice, and reconciliation,” he remarked.

China Backs Lanka

Chen Xu, Chinese Ambassador in Geneva

The Chinese Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador Chen Xu extended China’s support to Sri Lanka in his official statement in the Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka.  

As a friendly neighbor of Sri Lanka, China sincerely hopes that Sri Lanka maintains political stability, ethnic solidarity and national unity and wishes Sri Lanka greater achievements in its national development. We commend the government of Sri Lanka for its efforts to actively promote and protect human rights, advance sustainable economic and social development, improve people’s living standard, protect the rights of the vulnerable groups, advance national reconciliation and combat terrorism.”

It’s the consistent stand of China to oppose politicization and double standards on human rights, as well as using human rights as an excuse in interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. We are concerned about the clear lack of impartiality shown in the OHCHR’s report to this session on Sri Lanka and express our regret over the failure of the OHCHR to use the authoritative information provided by the Sri Lankan government.”

The so-called preventive intervention” and the proposed targeted sanctions contained in the OHCHR’s report are clear interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and exceed the mandate of the OHCHR. We hope that the HRC and the OHCHR will strictly follow impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity and non-politicization principles, respect the sovereignty and political independence of all nations, respect the efforts of the nations for the protection and promotion of human rights, advocate constructive dialogue and cooperation, and abandon the practice of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and exerting political pressure.”

Prior to the opening of the 46th Session of UNHRC, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping requesting China’s understanding and assistance on the resolution. On 24th February, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena also made a telephone call to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to seek the continued solidarity and support. Wang Yi reiterated that China is willing to unswervingly support each other with Sri Lanka to jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, the basic norms governing international relations, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter including non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”

3 Responses to “India tells UNHRC devolution of power is critical for reconciliation in Sri Lanka”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    It is time our stupid politicians call India our relative and friend. I know these politicians are afraid of that big, ugly smelly neighbor after it dropped PARRIPU to scare JR. But it is a well known fact India is jealous whenever Sri Lanka is doing well.

    This UNHCR session shows clearly who our real friends are. They talk about the 13th amendment which the majority of Tamils do not support. It was forced down JR’s throat by that thug Gandhi. If it was good for Tamils they would not have killed him.

  2. aloy Says:

    I refer to the second para of this article.

    There are two main issues to the statement by the Indian envoy:

    One is the unity and territorial integrity. That is to get even more than due share for the northerners which is happening even as at now.

    And the other is the aspirations.

    They tried for 30 long years for this one and got comprehensively beaten. Now India has seen an opportunity (because of disunity among ourselves) and is thinking of getting the support of a group of countries whose power is declining to win it for them; just wishful thinking.
    The Tamils cannot have it both way: while enjoying every thing that Sinhala people do not have but at the same time try and get an Eelam if possible. They would do well to select one of the options and forget the other for good, ASAP.

  3. Charles Says:

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    the Countries in the south China, India Pakistan,Thailad , Burma, Sri Lanka should get together. Australia, New Zealand will always go with the white west. We always have our political problems but we should bury them for the common good of forming a united front against USA and West which use the UN and the UNHuman Rights Council as a political weapon.
    India wants to be a part of the West for prestige reasons and raises 13A to score points from USA and the West..
    India is the blacksheep in the South. India creates problems with China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as well. Sri Lanka is not bound to implement 13A as it was only a condition of the Peace agreament that Sri Lanka had to fulfill if India fulfils its condition of getting the LTTE to surrender weapons to end terrorism. India failed to do it and there for the that agreement between India and Sri Lanka does not exist . It had been rescinded since India failed to keep their part of ther agreement. Now India has no right at all to keep asking us to implement 13A. The Government should remove 13A from the Constitution and introduced another system of provincial administration

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