Sri Lanka to oppose new rights resolution at UNHRC: Ali Sabry
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry

Colombo: Sri Lanka will oppose a new resolution on its human rights accountability, especially an external investigation mechanism, at the UN Human Rights Council session getting underway this week, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said here on Monday.

Sabry told reporters that Sri Lanka was not agreeable to an external mechanism to investigate human rights abuses as it would be a violation of the country’s Constitution.

Sabry, commenting upon the 51st sessions of the UN human rights council to be held from September 12 to October 7 in Geneva, said the Minister of Justice Wijeyedasa Rajapakshe would represent the government at the sessions.

We will oppose the human rights commission investigation mechanism as it is against our Constitution,” he told reporters.

The UN high commissioner of human rights is on Wednesday expected to release her report on Sri Lanka, including the options for accountability under the HRC resolution number 46/1 of 2021.

Sabry said Sri Lanka was adopting a policy of engagement on rights accountability bilaterally and multilaterally and was looking for a lasting solution.

A possible draft resolution on Sri Lanka is expected to be presented on September 23. This would be followed by a vote among the member states on the new draft resolution on October 6.

The UN rights body since 2013 has adopted resolutions calling for rights accountability for war crimes blamed both on the government troops and the LTTE group that ran a violent campaign to create a separate state for the Tamil minority in the north and east regions.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the now ousted former president, at that time ruthlessly ended Sri Lanka’s nearly 30-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with the death of its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.

The former defence secretary, who stands accused of violating human rights, vehemently denies the charge.

Then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the elder brother of Gotabaya, on May 18, 2009 declared the end of the 26-year war in which over 1,00,000 people were killed and millions of Sri Lankans, mainly minority Tamils, displaced as refugees inside the country and abroad.

Another resolution initiated in 2015, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, called upon the country to establish a credible judicial process with the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorised prosecutors and investigators.

Sri Lanka, however, consistently opposed the idea.

In a 2021 resolution, the UN rights body rejected the domestic mechanism proposed by the then Gotabaya Rajapaksa government.

The 2021 resolution was adopted with 22 votes for and 11 siding with Sri Lanka, including China. There were 14 abstentions including India.

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