Home » News

Lanka wins diplomatic battle at UNHRC

[Sunday Times.lk, Sunday, 29 May 2011 07:25 No Comment]

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka will not come up for discussion when the UN’s Human Rights Council meets in Geneva tomorrow (May 30), diplomatic sources told the Sunday Times.

Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who was vested with the added subject of Human Rights earlier this year is leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the UNHRC’s sessions. He and the rest of the Sri Lankan contingent which includes Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Attorney General Mohan Peiris have been in Geneva for a week lobbying representatives from other countries, especially those from the 47 member-states in the UNHRC to ward off any moves to raise the UNSG’s adverse report on Sri Lanka during the sessions.

The report calls for an international mechanism to investigate allegations of violations of human rights and humanitarian law during the last stages of the government’s military offensive against the LTTE. The UNHRC is one of the inter-government agencies that could trigger such an investigation if its 47 member-states vote in favour of a resolution calling for such an investigation.

These sources said that moves to bring forth such a resolution was being worked out by some western countries, but indications were that while there could be references to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, past and present, a formal resolution that would be put to vote was expected to be postponed for the next session of the UNHRC sometime probably in September this year.

Discussions between Sri Lanka’s UN envoy Palitha Kohonna and UNSG Ban Ki-moon seeking more time for the domestic investigations to be concluded by way of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) were attributed as one of the reasons to give Sri Lanka more time. The other is that the human rights situation in West Asia and North Africa was attracting greater attention among the western countries represented in the UNHRC.

On Thursday, Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene went on record saying that the Sri Lanka government would now not formally respond to the panel of experts report submitted to the UNSG. The report has been dismissed by the government as "illegal, biased and baseless". Earlier, spokesmen for the government said that a detailed response would be made justifying the use of force to end terrorism in Sri Lanka by crushing the LTTE in May, 2009.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.