COLOMBO: India told Sri Lanka at the 30th. Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday, that “meaningful devolution of authority” to the provinces under the 13 th. Amendment of the Lankan constitution, and “building on it”, are essential for ethnic reconciliation in the island nation.
Speaking after the consensual adoption of the US-led resolution on Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, which Lanka had co-sponsored with 36 other members, Indian Ambassador Ajit Kumar said that it is India’s “firm belief” that the way to reconciliation is through devolution of power.
India hopes that given the “sagacity and political will’ of its leadership, Lanka will move towards “genuine” reconciliation and development, he said.
“India has always supported efforts to preserve Sri Lanka's character as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society in which all citizens, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, can live in equality, safety and harmony, and prosper and fulfill their aspirations within a united Sri Lanka,” Kumar said.
The Sri Lankan Ambassdor Ravinatha Aryasinha said the resolution encourages and inspires the Government and the people of Lanka to travel the path they had taken since the January 8 Presidential election, to uphold human rights, establish rule of law, end impunity, strengthen democracy and good governance.
“In a clear departure from the past when this Council witnessed the Sri Lanka situation as divisive, today, the Council is joining my delegation to adopt a resolution by consensus, reflecting the common objective of my country, members of this Council and the larger community of stakeholders in Sri Lanka,” Aryasinha said.
China said that it supports Lanka’s decision to co-sponsor the resolution though it is, in principle, opposed to country-specific resolutions and the use of human rights as a devise to interfere in the internal affairs sovereign states.
Interestingly, in deference to Lankan sensitivities, the US-led resolution mentions that it respects the sovereignty, integrity and unity of Sri Lanka.
The UK described Lanka’s decision to co-sponsor the resolution as a “historical” one. South Africa described it as a “turning point” in the relationship between Lanka and the UNHRC and offered to help Lanka move towards ethnic reconciliation through “non- prescriptive” methods.