The third and possibly the final draft of the United States resolution against Sri Lanka at the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, has asked the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to “undertake a comprehensive independent investigation” into alleged “serious” violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The US resolution, which recalls High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s recommendation for an international investigation in the absence of a credible national investigation, has entrusted her office with the task of ‘monitoring’ the rights situation in Lanka and ‘assessing’ the progress of the relevant national processes.
The resolution asks the OHCHR to investigate incidents which occurred during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) between 2002 to 2009. The US resolution calls upon the OHCHR to present an oral update to the UNHRC at the 27 th Session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at the 28th session.
Tasks for Lanka
Turning to the Lankan government, the US resolution calls upon Colombo to conduct an “independent and credible” investigation into alleged violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law and to “hold accountable” those responsible for such violations and to end continuing incidents of human rights violations and abuses.
The resolution calls for devolution of adequate powers to the provincial councils including the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). It stressed on all elements of the LLRC’s report including the call for demilitarization of the North.
According to the Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris, the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is unfit to conduct any probe in Lanka because she has shown her bias consistently. The Minister told the Buddhist Mahanayakas at Kandy on Sunday, that if the OHCHR’s investigation is accepted, the elected government of Lanka will have no role to play. The country will lose its independence. The Mahanayakas are to write to the UN, objecting to an international probe.
Indian officials here were still working out their strategy for the vote scheduled for Thursday in Geneva. Unlike 2013, there is no political pressure on South Block. Neither is the parliament in session, neither has the regional political parties taken up the UN Human Rights Council resolution issue in their campaign politics.
While India has voted in favour of the previous two resolutions against UNHRC, officials say that New Delhi had still not made up their mind - as there was still scope for change in text of resolution even as this late stage.