Sri Lanka doesn’t need to revisit the UNHRC resolution

Thursday, 28 November 2019 01:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Taylor Dibbert

I don’t understand why Sri Lanka needs to revisit the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka (‘Govt. to ‘revisit’ UNHRC resolution as priority, says FM’). How can something so irrelevant be a priority?

I suppose anything pertaining to transitional justice and the Geneva-based HRC could be used to stir up nationalist sentiments. Nevertheless, the Government would probably be wasting its time by trying to formally undercut the UNHRC process or open a negotiation about it. Surely, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is confident enough about his presidential victory to know that he doesn’t need to take action in this area?

The Coalition Government didn’t meaningfully engage with the resolution. There were some early and important steps in the right direction, but the government mostly ignored a resolution that it co-sponsored. And there is no enforcement mechanism. Sri Lanka isn’t required to do anything. The UNHRC process on Sri Lanka has been a sideshow for far too long. Sirisena and Wickremesinghe were never serious about transitional justice. The transitional justice process was never explained to the general public because the government was fearful of doing so.  Some very sincere, talented and committed people have attempted to make genuine progress, although that’s tough to do when there’s no political support from the top. The current administration can just, like the previous administration, fail to fulfill those purported commitments.