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Sri Lanka receives support for a counterproposal to dilute the US -sponsored resolution at UN

2014 Feb 17

Several countries supportive of Sri Lanka have considered a counterproposal against the United States- sponsored resolution that will be brought against the country at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva next month.

Attention of several countries including Russia and China has been focused on presenting a proposal at the UNHRC session to dilute the third resolution US brought within two years calling for an international investigation into the alleged war crimes during the last phase of the three-decade long war, the state-run radio Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said in a news brief.

Russia and China have declared their strong support to Sri Lanka against the US-sponsored resolution and opposed an international investigation into the allegations of war crimes committed during the war saying human rights should not be used as a pretext for interference in internal affairs.

China also has opposed the resolution and offered support to the Sri Lankan government in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Several other countries including Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates have expressed their support to Sri Lanka.

The idea of a counterproposal to dilute the US resolution that has already received the backing of the UK, European Union and India has been considered amid reports that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in her report to be presented at the upcoming session has called for an international investigation into Sri Lanka.

Pillay in her "Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka" has reportedly asked the UNHRC to set up an independent probe since the Sri Lankan government has "consistently failed to establish the truth" and ensure accountability for the atrocities, despite repeated calls.

Sri Lanka meanwhile, will send a high-powered delegation to Geneva to present the efforts taken by the government to address the accountability and reach reconciliation.

The delegation will reportedly be led by the External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris replacing President's Special Human Rights Envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who headed Sri Lankan delegation at previous sessions.

The delegation is expected to comprise Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, who chairs the task force monitoring the National Plan of Action on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Attorney General Palitha Fernando, and other senior officials of the External Affairs Ministry.

Sri Lanka has launched a vigorous diplomatic offensive to apprise the member states of the UNHRC on the post-conflict developments on the issues the international community has raised.

The External Affairs Ministry sent envoys to the member countries of the UNHRC to enlighten them on Sri Lanka's progress since the end of the three-decade long war in 2009.

Weeratunga visited Geneva and Washington in January to apprise the envoys of the UN member states and the US officials on the latest developments regarding implementing the LLRC recommendations. The government has maintained that its security forces did not commit war crimes during the final stages of the war and said that any investigation should cover the whole thirty years of war and the atrocities committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorist group as well.

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