Conflicts & War

Sri Lanka rejects UNHRC report on reconciliation, accountability, reforms

Colombo, Oct 6 (EFE).- The Sri Lankan government Thursday “categorically” rejected a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR), claiming it went against the founding principles of the body and would not be beneficial to the country.

Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” the resolution called for accountability and deeper institutional reforms to prevent a recurrence of rights violations.

“Sri Lanka, categorically, rejects the resolution (…) as we have repeatedly stated this so-called external evidence-gathering mechanism will have wide-ranging legal and political implication for all countries,” Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry at the UNHRC.

He stressed that the resolution was presented “without our consent, despite our effort to engage with the main sponsors,” and instead of helping his country would only serve to advance “the domestic political concentration of the sponsors.”

Moreover, Sabry claimed that the move reflected “the unfortunate divisions and polarization” of the council, which went against its founding principles of “universality, impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation.”

The resolution was adopted after 20 nations voted in favor, seven against, and 20, including India and Japan, abstained from voting.

A report by the UNHCR on the subject underlined the current crisis in the south Asian country, where in recent months people have undertaken mass protests demanding a change of government and “accountability and deeper reforms.”

It also stressed that the victims of past human rights violations continue to wait for “truth, justice and redress” and urged the government to work towards advancing “human rights and reconciliation” and carry out the “deeper institutional and security sector reforms.”

“Fundamental changes will be required to address the current challenges and to avoid repetition of the human rights violations of the past,” said the report.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, in an interaction with EFE, said what would matter the most now is what the Sri Lankan government does regarding accountability.

“The question is if the government of Sri Lanka takes any steps for transitional justice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for South Asia, Dinushika Dissanayake, welcomed the resolution and said the government needs to abide by its commitment to the international community.

“We urge all UN member states to increase international accountability in line with the recommendation made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report, including through investigations and prosecutions under universal jurisdiction,” Dissanayake said.

Sri Lanka is undergoing a severe economic crisis and is in the process of finalizing a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund.

In this regard, the country’s Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said at a press conference that the UNHRC resolution and the intended IMF program were two separate processes and the bailout would not be affected. EFE


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