Miracles can't be performed overnight
The United States and the
co-sponsors of the latest Resolution against Sri Lanka to the United
Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) have not only brazenly
interfered with the internal matters of a sovereign state but have also
violated Sri Lanka's constitution.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador
Ravinatha Aryasinha had quite rightly pointed out that the draft
resolution on Sri Lanka deposited with the UNHRC by the core group
comprising the US, UK, Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia, violates the
constitutional provision of Sri Lanka.
The draft resolution is highly intrusive and is in breach of the
sovereignty of the citizens of Sri Lanka and the country's territorial
integrity. It is politicised and a clear contravention of the accepted
principles of conduct in the UNHRC. The resolution sets a bad precedent,
and can in the medium-to-long term have an adverse impact on all
developing member countries in the Council.
The vested interests of some Western countries are understandable as
they prefer to have a Sri Lankan leadership that would dance to their
whims and fancies. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the ruling UPFA
Government have always maintained an independent foreign policy without
singing hosannas to the West.
It goes without saying that certain British politicians thrive on the
Tamil Diaspora vote and are obliged to the LTTE sympathisers. But it is
intriguing that Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia have become
co-sponsors of the Resolution against Sri Lanka. It would be small
wonder whether the representatives of these countries know at least Sri
Lanka's geographical location on the world map, apart from the contents
of the Resolution and the true ground situation here altogether.
As Aryasinha had stressed, anyone unaware of the real ground
situation in Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council sessions over the
past week, could not be blamed for thinking that Sri Lanka is perhaps
the most troubled spot on this planet.
The draft text before the UNHRC sessions by the core group presenting
this resolution - the USA, UK, Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia,
should be reminded that Sri Lanka, like many Asian, African and Latin
American countries represented in the world human rights body, had
emerged from the yoke of colonialism as far back as 1948.
It is deplorable that they had conveniently forgotten the fact that
Sri Lanka had suffered untold misery for almost three decades due to
ruthless terrorism unleashed by the LTTE, world's most ruthless
terrorist organisation. After battling terrorism for three years in the
humanitarian operation - the world's largest human rescue mission, over
half a million civilians were rescued from the jaws of death.
The most noteworthy achievement after the successful completion of
the humanitarian operation on May 18, 2009 was that not a single person
died in Sri Lanka due to terrorism. Moreover, all displaced civilians
have been resettled after demining the LTTE-held areas. They received a
new lease of life as the Government had invested four billion rupees on
infrastructure development in the North.
Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious reconciliation drive by
implementing the National Plan of Action of the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). It is a crying shame that certain
Western countries which pontificate to us on reconciliation had failed
to behold the peaceful coexistence of all communities after terrorism
Notwithstanding these remarkable achievements, the obsession shown by
some leaders, in the call for action on Sri Lanka, only bears out their
hidden agenda in relentlessly targeting Sri Lanka, to placate pro-LTTE
Tamil constituencies, for collateral electoral political gain. The
baseless Resolution and any further action would only impede
reconciliation now under way.
There is no rationale whatsoever to justify the call for a third
successive US-led resolution on Sri Lanka during the UNHRC's current
session. The Government will continue to engage with all parties to seek
a constructive dialogue on how to move reconciliation in Sri Lanka
It is earnestly hoped that this spirit of engagement will be
reciprocated, and that member and observer states of the UNHRC will
perceive development in Sri Lanka with an open mind. Nevertheless,
disgruntled international elements would by no means be tolerated in the
guise of reconciliation.
The US intention to present the third successive Resolution against
Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions was made known to the Government only in
January, long before the UNHRC chief's report was available. This is a
clear indication that it was led by political imperatives, rather than
an objective assessment of the situation on the ground situation as the
UNHRC mandate, would need to base its assessment on Navi Pillay's
Sri Lanka has categorically rejected the recommendations in Pillay's
latest report, which reflected bias, and was tantamount to an
unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
The Report itself contained substantial erroneous information and
misperceptions and Sri Lanka called upon the OHCHR to correct through
its Comments of the State on the Report which has been made public,
though not reflected as an Addendum to the Report.
Sri Lanka was amazed by the violation of the UNHRC procedure
envisaged by this draft which is in clear contravention of the rules of
procedure and the method of engagement that guide the Council. The draft
resolution is an unjustified endeavour to vest the Office of the High
Commissioner with an investigative mandate, monitoring and assessment.
These run contrary to the UNHRC Resolution 60/251, the IB package and
Resolution GA 48/141.
Hence, Sri Lanka has rejected in toto such disingenuous efforts on
the part of the proponents of the resolution to by-pass the method of
engagement of the Council, which could not only set bad precedents, but
also have wider relevance to all member and observer states of the
It is crystal clear that the new draft resolution, which violates the
constitution of Sri Lanka, is highly intrusive and is in breach of the
sovereignty of the Sri Lankan people and the country's territorial
integrity. It also goes against, the core values of the UDHR, core
international human rights treaties and basic principles of law that
postulate equality among all people, the GA resolution 60/251 and the IB
Hence, the proponents of the resolution should take cognizance of the
reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This is imperative at a time when Sri Lanka
is implementing comprehensive reconciliation with all communities,
having overcome the scourge of terrorism after a 30-year struggle.
This type of intimidation would not only be confined to Sri Lanka and
would also pose a challenge to other sovereign states which are smaller
in extent and with limited firepower. In this scenario, all Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) member states must continue to show their solidarity with
Sri Lanka's opposition to the Resolution was a fight on a matter of
principle and Sri Lanka would not compromise on it. The member states of
NAM should realise that what happens to Sri Lanka today, could happen to
any other NAM country tomorrow.
Sri Lanka, over the years, continued to engage with the international
community and needed no Resolutions encouraging it to do so. During that
time too, Sri Lanka briefed various groups and shared information in a
Quite apart from the successful demining of the areas held by the
terrorists and the speedy resettlement of persons displaced due to LTTE
terror, Sri Lanka has rehabilitated around 12,000 ex-combatants and
former child soldiers have been reunited with their families while
others have been provided with a tertiary education within five years.
No other country, for that matter, had achieved such unique goals
after the bitter battlefield experience. One is at a loss to understand
as to what the West expects of us in the guise of reconciliation. Can
they coerce Sri Lanka to perform miracles overnight?