The United States draft resolution (A/HRC/19/L.2) on Sri Lanka was tabled at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 8 March 2012. Once again Sri Lanka has become the talking point at the UN in Geneva.
This resolution can be analysed in various ways. Sri Lanka’s club mates – China, Cuba, Russia and Pakistan are tirelessly working to either defeat this resolution or to bring a “no action motion”, finding some procedural pretext to avoid this resolution being discussed or voted upon.
Is the plot against the US achievable? Can the US rely on their supporting countries?
Whether it is a vote on the resolution or on procedural matters, a simple majority out of forty-seven is needed. Members are allocated on a regional basis – thirteen countries each for Asia and Africa; eight for South American countries; seven for Western Europe and six for Eastern Europe.
Considering past records, it can be predicted that at least nineteen countries will vote in favour of this resolution – from South America, West and Eastern Europe, excluding Cuba, Ecuador and the Russia Federation.
It is worth noting that the US has a special relationship with certain Asian and African countries. This permits one to predict that a few countries from Asia and Africa will either vote in favor of this resolution or may abstain from voting.
In these circumstances we should consider the resolution on Belarus which was successful during the 17th session. The resolution on Sri Lanka and Belarus have many similarities, including the pressure and the heavy lobby by both countries. During the voting on Belarus, nineteen countries abstained. It was passed successfully. The lesson learned from the resolution on Belarus is that some countries did not stand together with their regional members when casting their vote.
My artcile in the ‘Sunday Leader of 3 July 2011’, “Sri Lanka is A Replica of Belarus” will give you better knowldge about what may happen in the 19th session on Sri Lanka.
“In the recently concluded 17th session of the Human Rights Council-HRC in Geneva, one of the resolutions successfully passed was on the human rights situation in the Republic of Belarus.
The resolution, (A HRC/17/L.20/Rev. 1) was adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, five against, and 19 abstentions,…………………..
“Interesting to note how member states of the UN Human Rights Council of the 17th session were divided on the resolution concerning Belarus. 21 members were in favour – Argentina; Belgium; Brazil; Chile; France; Gabon; Hungary; Japan; Jordan; Maldives; Mauritius; Norway; Poland; Republic of Korea; Slovakia; Spain; Switzerland; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay and Zambia; five (five) were against – China; Cuba; Ecuador; Nigeria and Russian Federation and (19) nineteen abstained from the voting – Angola; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Djibouti; Ghana; Guatemala; Kyrgyzstan; Malaysia; Mauritania; Mexico; Pakistan; Qatar; Republic of Moldova; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Thailand and Uganda.” (Excerpt)
Let us wait and see the outcome of this saga, next Wednesday or Thursday.
Now let me look at certain realities.
The US resolution against Sri Lanka could have been averted by the giant delegation that arrived from Colombo and London. Instead, inside and outside the council they added fuel to the fire by insulting the US and their allies. Some members of the delegation were uttering pure racism, which also caused Sri Lanka to lose the sympathy they had had from a few countries. This motivated the US to table the resolution earlier than planned.
Concerning this resolution, the situation in Geneva is not the same as some pro-government media in Colombo portray it.
For example, Sri Lanka had their second side/parallel event last Wednesday and only seven countries attended this meeting. There were about 35 participants and the majority of them were from the Tamil diaspora and others who came from Colombo and London. In fact, this was a bad show for a country which may be voted upon next week.
Furthermore, it was counter-productive to have EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, who was accused in the LLRC report, as panelist in a meeting in which the Sri Lanka delegation was trying to convince member countries that they will implement the report of the LLRC .
The President who won the war and won his re-election, failed to win the hearts and minds of the people. Will he manage to defeat this resolution? Otherwise this will be the beginning of one era and the end of another.
(By S. V. Kirubaharan in France)