SL committed to HR despite US exit: Rajitha

Thursday, 21 June 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Chathuri Dissanayake

Sri Lanka will continue to work towards implementing human rights, despite the withdrawal of the United States from the Human Rights’ Council, Cabinet Co-Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. 

The US, which co-sponsored two resolutions on Sri Lanka, announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday. 

“The withdrawal will significantly reduce the pressure mounted on Sri Lanka regarding the resolutions we co-sponsored and those that were agreed upon by the previous governments, as the US was the country which was pushing for the implementation,” Senaratne told reporters speaking at the weekly Cabinet briefing. 

However, he stressed that the Government is still committed to upholding human rights and will work towards implementation of all international treaties the country is signatory to, regardless of external pressure. 

“As a country, we are committed and will continue to work towards upholding human rights. It is either that or we will have to withdraw from all the treaties we are signatories to,” he said. 

Releasing a statement, the US Embassy in Sri Lanka also stressed on its continued support to Sri Lanka to fulfil the commitments undertaken by the country. The statement also said that the United States will closely follow the country’s progress.

According to the statement, Ambassador Keshap had met with senior Sri Lankan officials to “convey the assurance of the United States Government that we will remain fully engaged with the Sri Lankan Government to help it meet its continuing and standing commitments to the international community to advance the cause of reconciliation and lasting peace for all Sri Lankans”. 

“Sri Lanka co-sponsored, with the United States, two UN Human Rights Commission Resolutions: 30/1 in 2015 and Resolution 34/1 in 2017, and the United States continues to extend its support to Sri Lanka to fulfil these important commitments and obligations, as articulated and reaffirmed in these resolutions.  Sri Lanka’s continued progress toward fulfilment of these international commitments will facilitate further growth of our bilateral relations, and enhance Sri Lanka’s ability to engage with friends and partners around the world,” the statement said. 

Furthermore, the embassy also stated that the US will follow the country’s progress closely and “look ahead to engaging with Sri Lanka between now and March 2019, in the spirit of friendship that has marked our recent relations”.