Sri Lanka says UN resolution will polarize society and adversely affect development, peace and harmony
Posted on March 23rd, 2021

Courtesy Adaderana

Sri Lanka says it considers the UNHRC’s latest resolution against the island nation to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant articles of the UN Charter and also rejected the ‘unprecedented’ proposal in the resolution to expand the role of the OHCHR.

This was stated by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva, C. A. Chandraprema, while delivering remarks before today’s vote on the draft resolution. 

As the country concerned, the Sri Lankan representative was afforded time to deliver a statement before the vote on the resolution ‘L1/Rev.1’ titled Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka”.

He said it is deeply regrettable that a group of countries have tabled a country-specific resolution against Sri Lanka in spite of Sri Lanka’s consistent and  constructing engagement in the Human Rights Council and with the proponents of the resolution themselves. 

Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant articles of the United Nations Charter, in particular article 2 sub section 07, and relevant sections of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 60/251 that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council.”

The Sri Lankan envoy said the resolution is based on the ‘rejected report’ of the OHCHR on Sri Lanka, which was tabled at this session and which violates the principles of sovereign equality of all states and non-interference in internal affairs.

He stated that the resolution is presented without the consent of Sri Lanka as the country concerned and is therefore unhelpful and divisive.

No country has a greater interest in bringing about reconciliation among its peoples than the country concerned, a point that has repeatedly been emphasized during the proceedings of this council.” 

The list of co-sponsors of the resolution amply demonstrates the divisive nature of this resolution, he added.

He said Sri Lanka categorically rejects the unprecedented proposal” in this resolution to expand the role of the OHCHR. This is a dangerous precedence and will have wide-ranging implications to all countries”.

He said all members of the council would agree that UNHRC cannot assume tasks not assigned to it by the UN General Assembly in resolution 60/251 or in subsequent resolutions

In addition, I cannot emphasize enough the dangers posed to all nations, particularly those of the global south, by the trajectory taken in this resolution which is urging action on the basis of emerging trends and warning signs that is events that have not yet happened.”

In this context it is highly regrettable that the draft resolution that has been presented today appears to have ignored all these reservations and concerns, he added. 

Against this background, I call upon all members of the council to objectively assess whether Sri Lanka represents a situation that warrants the financial and human resources and the urgent attention of this council in this exaggerated and polarized manner at a time of severe financial constraints indicated by the secretariat.” 

He stated that over 2.8 million dollars is the estimated cost of this exercise and that over a dozen new staff members are to be recruited according to the programme budget implications (PBI).

Notwithstanding the stated objectives of the proponents of the resolution, Sri Lanka is of the view that this resolution will polarize Sri Lankan society and adversely affect economic development, peace and harmony.”

For all the above reasons, Sri Lanka rejected the draft resolution and requested the members of the council to reject the resolution by a vote.

The draft resolution against Sri Lanka was adopted by the UNHRC with 22 member states voting in favour of the resolution and 11 voting against while 14 member states abstained from voting.

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