Why Pakistan opposed the US resolution on Sri Lanka
Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:01
Explanation of vote by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Zamir Akram on Sri Lanka Resolution
27 March, 2014
1. Pakistan is opposed to country specific resolutions in principle. This is because such resolutions are ineffective and counter-productive. Consent of the country concerned is imperative for tangible results to promote and protect human rights.
2. Pakistan played a key role in the 2009 resolution on Sri Lanka with the consent and cooperation of the country. This resolution achieved positive results. Sri Lanka fully cooperated with the human rights machinery. It also demonstrated continued and tangible progress on the ground in addressing issues related to the reconciliation process including accountability, within the framework of Sri Lanka’s domestic reconciliation process – the LLRC.
3. Sri Lanka has a long and proud tradition of democracy. It has suffered for 30 years due to brutal terrorism by the LTTE, and internationally recognised terrorist organisation. Eventually it has succeeded in overcoming this menace of terrorism and separatism. The international community, including the HRC, should help and support Sri Lanka to heal its wounds and achieve reconciliation and lasting peace. It should not add fuel to the fire.
4. Interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka is unacceptable. No self-respecting country would agree to the intrusive measures advocated in this resolution. In particular operative para 10 of the resolution is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter which calls for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
5. We strongly believe that reference to international investigation, as a monitoring and investigation role of OHCHR in OP10 and singling out the Northern Provincial Council for preferential treatment in OP6 are clear violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Such a preferential focus is inconsistent with PP9 of the current draft which reaffirms that all Sri Lankans are entitled to the full enjoyment of their rights regardless of religion, belief or ethnicity. This highlights the inherent contradictions contained in the draft.
6. OP10 vests the OHCHR with an investigative mandate in violation of HRC resolution 60/251 and the IB package. The OHCHR does not have the capacity or the resources to do so.
7. The budgetary implications for the proposed mechanism are not clear, due to lack of clarity of the contours of the mandated activity in OP10. Mandated activities need to be carried out through the regular budget. Specificity of mandated activity or activities are therefore a prerequisite with regard to the budget.
8. OP10 also introduces a timeframe into the investigation of alleged violations through reference to the period covered by the LLRC, which may be taken as from 2002-2009. This timeframe, however, does not take into account the entire duration of the conflict which spanned 30 years and thereby excludes the atrocities and violations of IHL and IHRL committed by the LTTE prior to 2002. No inquiry can be justifiable and balanced without taking into account the entire duration of the conflict.
9. The allegation of the absence of a credible domestic process to address issues of accountability is not substantiated by evidence, given the range of processes under implementation within the framework of the reconciliation process, including the LLRC, of which this Council has been briefed in detail by Sri Lanka.
10. We have also been just informed by the Secretariat that an amount of $ 1,460,900 would be required to implement this resolution whereas this amount was not available in the regular budget. In case co-sponsors of the resolution would provide the financial support then resolution will already be tainted.
11. This resolution is about politics not Human Rights. It is also a crass example of hypocrisy and double-standards. It selectively targets the Government of Sri Lanka but fails to hold to account the LTTE terrorists who indulged in mass murder of innocent people for 30 years. Moreover, the main sponsors of this resolution are hardly in a position to hold Sri Lanka to account given their own track record of human rights violations. For more than a decade they have and continue to indulge in a consistent pattern of gross human rights violations including illegal renditions, incommunicado detentions, torture and extra-judicial killings – all behind the smokes-screen of fighting terrorism. While maintaining a conspiracy of silence over their own misdeeds, these countries arrogate to themselves the right to sit in judgment over others. This Council must, therefore, reject such duplicity.
12. For all these reasons and as a first step, Pakistan calls for a note for deletion of Operative Para 10 of Res.L.1/Rev.1.