Sri Lanka withdraws from UN resolution on reconciliation and human rights
This follows the US decision to bar Sri Lankan army chief accused of war crimes. The UNHRC commissioner calls for compliance with international rules. Local NGO calls on the authorities to admit to past crimes.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sri Lanka has decided to withdraw its support for United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 in retaliation against the United States.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that this is due to a recent decision by the United States to bar entry to the United States of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army chief and his immediate family.
General Shavendra Silva is accused of human rights violations in the later stages of the country’s civil war (1983-2009).
“Even though we are now in the 21st Century, even members of his family who have not been accused of any wrongdoing, have been subjected to a collective punishment reminiscent of the practice in medieval Europe,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Rajapaksa goes on to describe the agreement that led to the approval of the resolution in October 2015 as an “historic betrayal” as it treats “our armed forces as violators of human rights”.
UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of 2015 on Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka commits Sri Lankan authorities to finding the people responsible for serious crimes against humanity committed during the civil war. It also “welcomes the initial steps taken to return land” and the efforts at reconciliation, and encourages the “promotion and protection of human rights.”
Reacting to Sri Lanka’s decision, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the Sri Lankan government to fully implement the resolution and to continue working with other international human rights bodies.
In Sri Lanka, the National Peace Council, a local NGO, is also urging the country’s authorities to maintain their commitment to national reconciliation and outlines an alternative road map that starts, first of all, from the admission of crimes and violations committed in the past.