Sri Lanka criticizes UN resolution for going against its constitution

Colombo, Oct 5 (EFE).- Sri Lanka on Wednesday criticized a resolution set to be tabled for voting at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday – calling for a probe into attacks on the Sri Lankan civil society and ensuring its security during the ongoing economic crisis – saying some of its points went against the island’s constitution.

“This is heavy lobbying. This is geopolitics,” the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said in a virtual press conference, adding that the resolution was “very dangerous,” as many of its points violated the Sri Lankan constitution and the separation of powers and judicial activities within it.

The resolution, which is expected to be approved, was tabled by countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, and urges Colombo to respond about the attacks and human rights violations that have occurred in the country due to the ongoing economic crisis.

The island is going through its worst economic crisis since independence from the UK in 1948, which led to massive protests breaking out across the country in May, eventually resulting in the resignation of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July, along with the ouster of his brother, then prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, secured power with the help of Gotabaya and has pledged to defend natural security.

Wickremesinghe’s government has arrested hundreds of activists since he assumed office.

The government is particularly worried about the eighth point of the resolution, which seeks to widen and strengthen the power of Office of the UN High Commissioner to collect information over “gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka.”

The document also proposes that the Office should have the capacity to “to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial and other proceedings, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction.”

“We are compelled to oppose this. We are not naive, not to understand the reality of the voting and the results, with the clout which is carried forward by these very powerful countries against a small country like Sri Lanka,” Sabry said.

Sri Lanka is also accused of persistently failing to establish independent, impartial, and transparent domestic mechanisms to probe into human rights violations during the country’s three-decade war against the separatist rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which ended in 2009.

In this regard, the minister claimed that Sri Lanka had made progress in upholding human rights by various measures, such as rehabilitation of 12,194 LTTE cadres after the war and returning 94 percent of the land acquired by the military.

“We are introducing our own truth-seeking mechanisms. So, what we are saying at this crucial juncture in Sri Lankan history is that we need international support. What we need is unity in the country. We don’t want division, we don’t want this polarization in the council that divides Sri Lanka further,” Sabry insisted. EFE


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