Resolution failed to muster the desired
The high-handed manner in which the US and its allies campaigned to
pass the third successive Resolution against Sri Lanka at the United
Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sends a clear signal to smaller
countries as far as their sovereignty and territorial integrity are
The US, United Kingdom and some of their allies in the European Union
did everything within their power to exert tremendous pressure on the
so-called smaller countries in the UNHRC to ensure that they support the
Hence, most countries which voted for the Resolution against Sri
Lanka at the UNHRC did so merely to appease their Western masters. The
West even intimidated some UNHRC member countries in the Commonwealth
that possible sanctions and aid cuts would be imposed if they do not
support the Resolution.
Some Western countries did not fully endorse the US-led Resolution,
but had no option but to agree with the collective decision of the
European Union. If these factors are taken into consideration, securing
23 votes for the Resolution against Sri Lanka is nothing extraordinary.
In point of fact, it was a great setback for the US and the UK. Had
it not been for the extensive lobbying and the undue pressure on smaller
countries which rely heavily on Western aid, the Resolution wouldn't
have received even half the number of votes it secured.
In this scenario, Sri Lanka should be happy with its achievement as a
Lilliputian which gave Gulliver a good fight. Despite, all the
undiplomatic lobbying and undue political pressure, the US and its
allies mustered only 23 votes as against 24 countries which did not
If one were to analyse the voting pattern of the Resolution against
Sri Lanka, it is crystal clear that even half the number of UNHRC member
countries had not voted for it. This means while 23 countries voted for
the Resolution, 24 countries had either voted against it or abstained
This indeed is a significant achievement for Sri Lanka, which was
pitted against the superpowers which spared no pains to woo support for
the Resolution. Another setback which the West suffered was losing the
Indian vote. The US would perhaps never have imagined that India, having
voted in support of the two previous US-led Resolutions, would abstain
from voting this time. While 12 nations plucked up courage to ignore the
repeated calls by the US and UK to vote for the Resolution, an equal
number of countries, including India, abstained from voting.
The nation's tribute goes out to China, Russia, Algeria, Congo, Cuba,
Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela and Vietnam for
extending their support to Sri Lanka by voting against the Resolution.
At the same time, the commendable roles played by Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco,
Namibia, Philippines and South Africa by abstaining themselves from
voting should also be hailed.
There is no doubt, whatsoever, that the US-led Resolution which calls
for an international investigation on Sri Lanka poses a serious breach
of international law. Moreover, it also poses a grave threat to the
sovereign independence of the member states in the United Nations.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador
Ravinatha Aryasinha hit the nail on the head when he said that there is
no urgent situation in Sri Lanka which warrants the interests that were
expressed at the UNHRC. The Resolution surreptitiously opens the doors
for third party elements to interfere with internal affairs of Sri Lanka
as its lingo was couched in ambiguity.
This sets a bad precedent as even greater action could be taken by
the so-called big countries to tame smaller countries which do not dance
to the tune of the West.
Rather than encouraging and supporting the ongoing reconciliation in
Sri Lanka, and the constructive engagement Sri Lanka continues to
maintain with the UNHRC, it was most unbecoming that the draft
resolution reflects the same partisan politicised agenda through its
request to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation.
Seeking mandatory assistance to such a process by third party
'experts' poses a severe threat to the sovereignty of member countries
as the mandate and credentials of these so-called experts are
The Resolution's deliberate exclusion of a significant part of the
duration of terrorism that prevailed from the period under investigation
via the introduction of a particular timeframe, is prejudicial to the
interests of all UNHRC member and observer states in the future.
The Government had consistently rejected the previous resolutions on
Sri Lanka proposed by the US due to convincing reasons. The resolutions
emanated from a politicised process and mandate, sans the consent of the
Sri Lanka has consistently reiterated that any action to promote and
protect a country's human rights should have the consent of that
country. Due attention should be paid to the trajectory that has emerged
with regard to the recommendation contained in the Report of the UN High
Commissioner which reflects the preconceived, politicised and
prejudicial agenda which has been relentlessly pursued with regard to
The politicised process will only impede the delicate balance of the
ongoing reconciliation in Sri Lanka and the constructive engagement the
country has maintained with the UNHRC.
The overwhelming response that a small nation such as Sri Lanka has
received at the UNHRC is a remarkable achievement and an eye-opener to
the West. Several countries including Russia and China castigated the
UNHRC report compiled by its chief Navi Pillay. Sri Lanka received
tremendous support from Russia, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Venezuela,
Belarus and Zimbabwe, which criticised the controversial report
submitted by Pillay as 'imbalanced' and one that 'exceeded the mandate
granted by Resolution 22/1'. Representatives from Russia said that
they did not agree with the report as it exceeded Pillay's mandate and
interfered in Sri Lanka's domestic affairs. They drew home the point
that the absence of 'explosions or civilian deaths' in the past five
years should be duly recognised.
Russia put it quite succinctly that human rights should not be used
as a means of settling political goals or gaining geopolitical
advantage. A few Western countries should no longer be permitted to use
human rights as an effective tool to intimidate countries which do not
dance the fandango round them.
China said the report had undermined the basis of international
cooperation on human rights - food for thought. The lesser-known
countries should take serious note that the West could do anything to
the regimes which do not sing hosannas to the US and UK at all times.
It is deplorable that Pillay's one-sided report does not acknowledge
Sri Lanka's landmark achievements since the defeat of terrorism almost
five years ago. It had totally ignored Sri Lanka moving towards
reconciliation and reflects the imbalance in verifying human rights
issues in countries such as Sri Lanka. As Pakistan had pointed out, Sri
Lanka should not be penalised for rooting out terrorism from its soil.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the passing of the
Resolution is a victory for the people of Sri Lanka. Cameron need not
shed crocodile tears over Sri Lanka as the country's Head of State had
already brought victory for the people by defeating terrorism under his
illustrious political leadership. Cameron should address the burning
issues in his country and bring victory for the Britons rather than
showing extraordinary concern for Sri Lankans.
Sri Lankans are fortunate to have a fearless and forthright leader
such as President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has worked tirelessly for
people. No foreigner could feel for the people of Sri Lanka more than
our leaders. If foreigners such as Cameron and his allies feign such
concern, all those moves are being hatched with ulterior moves to rob
Sri Lanka's hard-earned peace.
The West yearns to see countries such as Sri Lanka battling with
never-ending problems such as terrorism and internal dissension so that
they could reign supreme. No Sri Lankan would fall for Cameron's
misleading statement. The nation would rally round the President with
more vigour with every election victory.