Lanka rejects US Resolution in Geneva
By Dharisha Bastians
Sri Lanka yesterday rejected a proposed second US resolution against the country, saying country specific resolutions could not be brought before the UN Human Rights Council.
The Sri Lankan Delegation to the 22nd Session of the UNHRC said the US resolution smacked of double standards and an attempt to draw “disproportionate attention” towards the country.
Exercising a right of reply to a statement made by US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Esther Brimmer who announced a second US sponsored Sri Lanka resolution against Sri Lanka, Counsellor to Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Priyanga Wickremasinghe told the council that Sri Lanka was ‘surprised’ by the announcement by the US official.
“We strongly reject any unfair, biased, unprincipled and unjust approach that may be adopted by this Council towards the protection and promotion of Human Rights of Sri Lanka,” Wickremesinghe said in her reply minutes before sessions ended for the day.
Assistant Secretary Brimmer yesterday called for Sri Lanka to cooperate with the new resolution to be moved at the UN Human Rights Council next month saying the work of the Council would not be done as long as Colombo fell short of implementing the LLRC recommendations and address the underlying sources of its ethnic conflict.
The US official was addressing the High Level Segment of the Session yesterday.
The Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC said that Sri Lanka was “firmly of the view” that the Council should not debate or discuss a country specific resolution.
“This Council should not embark upon or encourage either debate or any country-specific resolution by virtue of a singled out process which would run counter to the founding principles,” the Sri Lankan official said.
The Sri Lankan Delegation called on teh Council to encourage Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, rather than singling the country out for disproporationate attention.
Wickremesinghe said that any action to promote Human Rights in a country must have the consent of that country.
US Assistant Secretary Brimmer told the Council that the new resolution on Sri Lanka will seek to ensure that the international community monitors progress on outstanding reconciliation and accountability issues in Sri Lanka.
The resolution will “again offer assistance,” Assistant Secretary Brimmer said.
The senior US State Department official noted that the work of the Council will not be done as long as Sri Lanka falls short of implementing even the recommendations of its own Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) or in addressing the underlying sources of its longstanding ethnic conflict.
“Last year’s HRC resolution encouraged brave civil society groups on the ground to continue their efforts, and the United States will introduce another resolution at this session to ensure that the international community continues to monitor progress and to again offer assistance on outstanding reconciliation and accountability issues,” the US official said.
The US is expected to move a second procedural resolution on Sri Lanka next month, to follow up on the 2012 UNHRC resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in the island.
This year’s resolution notes with concern that the Government’s action plan on reconciliation was inadequate in addressing the recommendations of the LLRC. The new resolution also calls for “unfettered access” for UN rapporteurs on several key areas including extra-judicial killings, disappearances and independence of judges and lawyers to Sri Lanka.