US moves UN against Lanka

Resolution asks Lanka which put down a Tamil uprising, to meet obligations under international humanitarian law.

Published: 09th March 2012 01:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:32 PM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO: Ignoring strong objections from Sri Lanka and India, the United States on Wednesday moved a resolution at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, in which it asked the Lankan government to accept the “assistance” of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and meet all the relevant obligations under international humanitarian law.

The much-awaited resolution called upon Colombo to take all additional steps to fulfil its commitment to initiate “credible and independent” actions to ensure “justice, equality, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.” The resolution requested the Lankan government to present a “comprehensive” action plan as “expeditiously as possible” detailing the steps it had taken and would take, to implement the LLRC’s recommendations, and to investigate violations of international law.

The US resolution encouraged the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide “advice and technical assistance” to the Lankan government for implementing the recommendations of the LLRC and taking other additional steps that might be required to ensure human rights in the island nation.

The resolution also encouraged the Lankan government to accept such assistance.

It then went on to “request” the OHCHR to present a report to the UNHRC on the provision of such assistance, at its 22nd session in September this year.

Reacting to the US resolution, Lanka’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, said that the US was trying to turn the UNHRC into a tribunal.

“This has never been done before. It is creating a precedent. Most countries are not happy about it because that is not the purpose of the Human Rights Council,” she told the Lankan website Ada Derena on Thursday. “We are continuing to fight,” Kunanayakam said.

The Lankan government has consistently held that no outside interference, even in the form of a resolution, is necessary now, because it is actively engaged in implementing the LLRC’s recommendations, which it had got only very recently, in November last year.

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