Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the resolution on Sri Lanka tabled before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has “hostile provisions” which need to be removed.
Rajapaksa said that the government has decided to accept and pass by consensus the USA sponsored draft resolution on Sri Lanka tabled before the UN Human Rights Council on the grounds that it has been ‘watered down’ in Sri Lanka’s favour.
“When this resolution was under discussion, the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Geneva in fact formally requested the sponsors not to place primary emphasis on alleged war crimes issues and to change their approach in consideration for the new government of Sri Lanka. However the sponsors of the resolution have not heeded that request,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that there are serious issues with regard to the operational paragraphs in the draft resolution including ‘operational paragraph 6’ which he says ‘takes note with appreciation’ the Government’s proposal to set up a judicial mechanism to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law and ‘affirms’ the importance of the participation of foreign prosecutors, judges, investigators and lawyers in this process.
He says this flies completely contrary to the claim now being made by the Government that any mechanism set up will be purely domestic.
Rajapaksa also said that the first operational paragraph encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the recently released UN report on Sri Lanka and the most contentious recommendations in that report has been included as operational paragraphs in the UNHRC draft resolution.
He also noted that ‘operational paragraph 4’ welcomes the willingness of the government of Sri Lanka to allow the mechanisms set up ‘to deal with the past’ to obtain financial and material assistance from ‘international partners’. Rajapaksa says this would amount to personnel in important judicial and non-judicial bodies in Sri Lanka being paid by foreign powers.
The former President also drew concerns over ‘operational paragraph 8’ which encourages the Government to remove from office military officers suspected of having violated human rights through a vetting process (even if there is no evidence to prosecute them). This in reality amounts to a purge of the armed forces.
He says such operational paragraphs run completely contrary to the expectations that the Government itself has generated among the people by claiming that the draft resolution has been ‘watered down’ in Sri Lanka’s favour.
Rajapaksa says if the government is going to accept this resolution and allow it to pass by consensus, then they should ensure that the hostile provisions are removed and the resolution is brought into line with the expectations of the people of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)