PM says Govt. to halt co-sponsorship of Resolution 30/1

Thursday, 20 February 2020 01:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Roundly criticises UNP, TNA and JVP for adopting resolution in 2015 
  • Says resolution reason for Army Commander and family being denied entry into US 
  • Visa denial tantamount to “collective punishment reminiscent of medieval times” 
  • Insists Army Commander innocent until proven guilty  
  • Slams non-condemnation by UNP, TNA and JVP, says political divide between “patriotic camp and born traitors” 
  • Calls on people to decide fairness of steps taken by US  

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Government had decided to withdraw from co-sponsoring United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution 30/1 and severely criticised the former Government for adopting it in 2015. 

In a statement, Rajapaksa termed the passage of the resolution a “historic betrayal” of the former Government and placed the responsibility for it collectively on the United National Party (UNP), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). 

He argued that it was due to the adoption of the resolution that Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his family had been denied entry to the US. 

“The UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 in 2015 is the reason why other countries are able to name members of our armed forces as violators of human rights. The first operative paragraph of that Resolution had taken note of ‘with appreciation’ the September 2015 Report of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights which accused the Sri Lankan armed forces of human rights violations,” the statement said.  

“This report was based on the previous 2011 unofficial report prepared by a three-member committee appointed by the then-UN Secretary General outside the established procedure of that organisation. In this manner, the UNP-TNA-JVP combine ended up accepting all the unfounded allegations made against our armed forces by various interested parties. Our Government has decided to withdraw from the process of co-sponsorship in relation to Resolution 30/1.” 

Rajapaksa’s statement also went on to blame the UNP, TNA and JVP for not condemning the US Government’s refusal to grant entry to the Army Commander and his family. The statement insists that this incident is a “collective punishment reminiscent of medieval times.” 

“UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella says that this travel ban imposed on the Army Commander and his family is the responsibility of the present government. The JVP says that the USA has imposed a travel ban on the Army Commander and his family at this particular moment due to a deal to ensure that the SLPP obtains a resounding victory at the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections. For its part, the Tamil National Alliance has welcomed the collective travel ban imposed on the Army Commander and his family. 

“The people should take note of the fact that when the UNP government co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 at the UN Human Rights Council, the so-called anti-imperialist JVP did not oppose it. From the discussion that has taken place with regard to the collective punishment imposed on the Army Commander and his family, it becomes clear that the political divide in this country is between the patriotic camp which puts the country first, on the one hand, and born traitors who are waiting for the first opportunity to betray the country, on the other hand,” the statement added.  

The statement called on the people to judge the fairness of the steps taken by the US Government and pointed out that the accepted position in international jurisdiction is that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. 

“Even though this collective punishment has been meted out on the grounds that the Army Commander had committed violations of human rights, no one knows what these allegations are. Even though the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says that until a person accused of a crime is proved guilty according to law, he should be deemed innocent, this principle does not seem to apply to Sri Lanka’s Army Commander or even to members of his family. Our Government has already conveyed our displeasure in this regard to the government of the United States in the strongest possible terms.”  



Some progress made on reconciliation and rights: Report