UNHRC resolution seeks to interfere in matters within domestic jurisdiction – Foreign Min.
Posted on March 25th, 2021

Courtesy Adaderana

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena the new resolution against Sri Lanka, adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seeks to interfere in all matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of a country.

Sri Lanka considers the resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and a violation of the relevant articles of the United Nations Charter, in particular, Article 2(7) and the relevant sections of the UN resolutions 60/251 that provides for the mandate of the HRC, the minister remarked, delivering a special statement during today’s parliamentary session earlier today (March 25).

For the above reasons the resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal, he added.

Although the resolution says it is guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, it has violated Article 2(7) of the Charter which states that nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.

We are a sovereign state that had been cooperating with the United Nations. We will protect our sovereignty. We are a democracy. We are the oldest parliamentary democracy in Asia. We have enjoyed universal suffrage for 90 years and today we are told that elections are not being held. We have held all the elections that could be held when the Election Commission decides.”
 
Foreign Minister says this resolution against Sri Lanka was pushed forward at the behest of a few countries representing one part of the world without the consent of Sri Lanka. It is therefore unhelpful and divisive.”

He stressed that there is no moral right to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country in this manner.

No country has a greater interest in bringing about reconciliation among its people than Sri Lanka – a point that has been repeatedly been emphasized during the proceedings of the Human Rights Council.”

Minister Gunawardena, in his statement, pointed out that the list of co-sponsors of the resolution has amply demonstrated the divisive manner of such a country-specific initiative. He said it is clear from the result of the vote that there is no consensus within the Council on this resolution.

The resolution adopted on Tuesday (March 23), is intrusive of the sovereignty of the people of Sri Lanka and core values of the UN Charter, the minister said stressing that it can have an adverse effect on the ongoing efforts to maintain peace, reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka. It will lead to polarization of our societies.”

Sri Lanka categorically rejects the proposal in this resolution to expand the role of the OHCHR, the Foreign Minister reiterated. This sets a dangerous precedence and will have wide-ranging implications for all other countries.”

He went on to say that the Council cannot assume tasks that are not assigned to it by UN General Assembly in Resolution 60/251 or subsequent resolutions. This resolution is based on the rejected report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council which violates the principles of sovereignty and equality of all states and non-interference in internal affairs, he continued.

The report is one-sided and has exceeded the mandate of the Human Rights Council, Foreign Minister emphasized. He said the report contains unsubstantiated, unwarranted comments of essentially political nature, which no self-respecting sovereign nature can accept.

The minister pointed out that the report was compiled within months following the formation of the new government in Sri Lanka, without any field visits, while the whole world was grappling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

He said a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign was launched against Sri Lanka ahead of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council. This campaign was carried out with an extensive focus on Sri Lanka while reports pertaining to the situation in over 10 other countries were presented at relevant HRC session. The synchronized content of the propaganda against Sri Lanka and exploitation of the OHCHR mechanisms demonstrated a clear case of pre-mandated endeavour. 

The new resolution, in an unwarranted manner, seeks to interfere in all matters that are domestic affairs of a sovereign country, Minister Gunawardena said further. He questioned the UN members whether Sri Lanka represents a case warranting the immediate attention of Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka only defeated a terrorist campaign and acted within the legal rights to defend its territorial integrity, he elaborated.

The minister says the Sri Lankan government is determined to achieve its main targets to improve the lives of its people despite the distractions from international bodies. No sovereign government is bound to work according to the external prescriptions but be guided by the democratic aspirations of its people.”

The government remains committed to protecting those who have made immeasurable sacrifices to neutralize terrorism, to protect the territorial integrity of the country and to regain the right to life, he added.

It is regrettable that the proponents of the resolution seek to create ambiguous mechanisms with funds of millions of US dollars at a time of severe financial constraints faced by the UN.

Pointing out that the UNHRC is wasting money to engage in an unnecessary inquiry against Sri Lanka, the Foreign Minister called upon the proponents of the resolution to diversify the money allocated for the implementation of this proposal to improve the lives of people affected by the conflict. He urged them to direct the funds to a more positive cause.

Speaking on the vote on the UNHRC resolution, he highlighted the fact that some countries that voted in favour of Sri Lanka withstood immense pressure. He thanked the countries for braving such adversities to reject the resolution.

Despite the vote on the resolution against Sri Lanka, the island nation will pursue its domestic mechanisms as pledged before the UN agencies aimed at bringing about reconciliation and lasting peace, the minister stressed.

Sri Lanka will continue to engage constructively with the UN and its agencies in the same spirit of cooperation for the betterment of the people including through the achievement of sustainable development goals, in keeping with the domestic priorities and policies as well as international obligations and undertaking.”

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