COLOMBO:The US may ask the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to postpone taking up a resolution against that country at its March session, in view of the delicate political situation in Sri Lanka, said informed sources in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to the Express here on Wednesday.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, had hinted at this during her interaction with TNA leaders on Tuesday, the sources said.
The US was happy with the exit of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hostile government and saw a bright future for US-Lanka relations during the tenure of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The US did not want to upset the Lankan apple cart by presenting a strong anti-Lankan resolution at the UNHRC.
Biswal is understood to have warned that a strong resolution accusing the island nation of war crimes will be exploited by ultra nationalist forces opposed to Tamils, which could in turn bring Rajapaksa back to power through the June parliamentary elections.
The Sirisena government had a crowded and wide ranging agenda to fulfill in the first hundred days before it faced a very challenging parliamentary election. A strong resolution at the UNHRC at this juncture could divert attention away from the politically crucial 100 day programme, Biswal reportedly said.
However, TNA leaders told Biswal in no uncertain terms that they could not allow the Tamil issue to be brushed under the carpet. Their feared that once Colombo and Washington warmed up to each other, the Tamil issue would be put on the back burner and other bilateral issues would be brought to the fore.
“Now we are not sure if a resolution will be presented even at the next UNHRC session in September,” a dejected TNA activist said.
“The Lanka government is looking after its interest. Washington and New Delhi look after their own interests. Nobody will look after the Tamils’ interests except the Tamils. That is why we are speaking up,” said a TNA MP.
The TNA complained to Biswal about the non-performance of the Sirisena government on the Tamil question. Basic issues such as devolution, land grabbing by the military, and resettlement of the war displaced, now living in 30 camps, were still to be sorted out.
According to a Tamil MP, pilgrims who got permission to enter the High Security Zone at Myliddy in Jaffna district to perform pooja at a temple on Thai Poosam day, were shocked to find the ‘Kovil’ gone and a hotel coming up in its place.
Hotels are coming up in places where Tamils cannot enter, he said.