The government will formally respond to the US resolution which was tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last Friday, the External Affairs Ministry said.
An official at the Ministry said that the government will provide, in detail, a response to the points raised by the US government in the draft resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka’ tabled by the US Ambassador to Geneva Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said in a statement that he had already conveyed to Ambassador Donahoe on Friday that the government rejects entirely the premise on which the resolution is based, and as has been its consistent position, does not intend negotiating with the US on the text.
He said that the pith and substance of resolution 19/2 was to mandate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide in consultation with, and with the concurrence of the Sri Lankan government, advice and technical assistance, and for the OHCHR to report to the Council on the nature of the assistance provided on the implementation of Sri Lanka’s domestic reconciliation mechanism, the LLRC.
The government has already noted that through the OHCHR Report the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has gone beyond her mandate in making recommendations which are arbitrary, highly intrusive and of a politicized nature, which have not given due regard or recognition to the work of Sri Lanka’s ongoing mechanism of reconciliation through the National Action Plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC.
Aryasinha says in the new US draft resolution substantive provisions have been introduced which are totally unrelated to the mandate given in the US resolution 19/2, and steers completely away from the spirit and substance of 19/2 into a new realm.
“The new resolution therefore based on a misconceived and arbitrary premise and does not have a nexus to 19/2, although it recalls 19/2, is also far from a “procedural resolution”, as it was originally claimed and is substantive, intrusive and political in nature. Contravenes UNGA resolution 60/251 and HRC resolutions 5/1 and 5/2. For example, there is blatant contradiction of resolution 5/2 [specifically Article 11(b)] which calls upon mandate holders to ensure that the field visits are conducted ‘with the consent or at the invitation of the state concerned’, is intrusive, politicized and in clear contravention of accepted principles of conduct in the Council, is precedent setting, and can in the medium-to-long term have an adverse impact on all developing countries,” Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha says he told the US Ambassador to Geneva, Sri Lanka hopes the US government and possible co-sponsors of the resolution, would do nothing to endanger the delicate reconciliation process ongoing in Sri Lanka, as well as the constructive engagement Sri Lanka is presently pursuing with the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner and the OHCHR, as well as our bilateral partners. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam