UN adopts resolution against Sri Lanka; India votes against neighbour

Mar 21, 2013, 17:33 IST | PTI

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted a US-sponsored resolution on human rights violation in Sri Lanka with 25 countries, including India, voting in favour of the document in the 47-nation strong body.

While 13 countries, including Pakistan, voted against, eight member-states abstained from voting on the contentious resolution that saw political tremors in India with DMK pulling out of the UPA alliance and the government. Gabon, a member-country had voting rights issue.

The watered down resolution also saw India pushing for new elements through written amendments calling for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violation and other accountability measures to be accepted by Sri Lanka, according to sources.

During 'Intervention in the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka', India's permanent Representative Dilip Sinha said, "We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives".

DMK MPs protest outside Parliament in New Delhi against Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa as they condemn the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. File Pic/AFP

"We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this Council in 2009. Further, we call on Sri Lanka to move forward on its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through full implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it," Sinha added.

However, sources said when India pushed for the written amendments, the sponsors of the resolution said the attempt was to make it "broadest-possible" and with tougher amendments, the purpose will be defeated.

Criticising the resolution, Sri Lanka at the UNHRC said, "The resolution presented here today is clearly unacceptable to Sri Lanka."

"The government of Sri Lanka totally rejects the attempts by the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner and proponents of this resolution," the Sri Lankan representative said.

He also said the resolution failed to recognise the progress made in the country in recent years, saying it is "replete with misrepresentations" on the situation in his country today.

The resolution urged the government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address "continuing reports of violations of human rights" in the country, including threats to judicial independence and media intimidation.

India said it believes that the report of the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and its findings and recommendation provides a window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards a lasting political settlement through genuine national reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all its citizens.

"India has always been of the view that the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political settlement, acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamils," Sinha said.

"We call for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, disappearances and abductions, reduction of 'high security zones', return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of the security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province," he said.

"We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community," the Indian Permanent Representative said.

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