UNHRC adopts US resolution on Sri Lanka

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today adopted the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka with 25 in favor, 13 against it and 8 abstentions.

The US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, in presenting the resolution to the Council, said that there were 41 co-sponsors to the resolution.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, speaking as a concerned country, said that the resolution was unacceptable to Sri Lanka.

He said that the draft resolution casts aspersions on a domestic process which is ongoing in Sri Lanka.

The Minister also said that the resolution “smuggles in” parts of the UN Experts Panel report which was already rejected by the Sri Lankan government.

The Minister also questioned why so much focus is being put on Sri Lanka, more than three years after the war, even when there are conflicts in other countries.

The resolution tabled by US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, has as the co-sponsors Austria, Canada, Croatia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

In a toned down document as compared to the previous drafts, the resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with input from relevant special procedures mandate holders, as appropriate, to present an oral updateto the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion at the twenty-fifth session, on the implementation of the present resolution.

The resolution welcomes the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013.

It also welcomes and acknowledes the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, and noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts. (Colombo Gazette)