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Sunday, 18 May 2014





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Japan's stand on UNHRC resolution is food for thought

Barely two months after the third successive US-led Resolution against Sri Lanka was passed at the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva last March, Japan has openly said that the controversial Resolution would not help Sri Lanka in any way.

Japan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Seiji Kihara has said that his country abstained from voting on the US-backed resolution at the UNHRC, having decided that it would not help Sri Lanka.

"We considered whether the Resolution against Sri Lanka moved in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva would help Sri Lanka. We decided it will not. That is why we abstained when the vote was taken," the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister was quoted as saying during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees recently.

Deputy Minister Kihara had assured Japan's continued support to Sri Lanka at international fora, adding that Japan is "not ready to accept biased reports prepared by international bodies". He said that Japan is confident that Sri Lanka is capable of solving its own problems. He pledged to further expand ties in economic, trade, investment and maritime security sectors.

Japan's stand on the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka is food for thought for US and its co-sponsors of the Resolution - Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia and the UK. They had not only brazenly interfered with the internal matters of a sovereign state but also violated Sri Lanka's Constitution.

Are the leaders or UNHRC representatives of Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia aware where Sri Lanka is located on the world map, apart from their knowledge on the true ground situation in Sri Lanka altogether? It is as clear as daylight that none of these countries had any knowledge on the circumstances which compelled Sri Lanka to launch the humanitarian operation though they have joined as the co-sponsors of the Resolution against Sri Lanka merely to pander to the whims and fancies of the US and the UK.

Apart from Japan, several other countries had opposed the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. Among the most forthright statements during the 25th Sessions of the UNHRC last March was from South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nkoana Mashabane.

He told the UNHRC in Geneva that the international community must permit Sri Lanka to find its own solution to the problem. She had said that the UNHRC has been seized with the issue of Sri Lanka for a while. The statement of the South African minister was indeed an eye-opener to all the sinister international forces which try to poke their snout in Sri Lanka's internal matters in the guise of human rights.

The vested interests of some Western countries are understandable as they opt 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 is an open secret that certain British politicians, who thrive on the Tamil Diaspora vote, are obliged to the LTTE sympathisers. Moreover, the LTTE rump is adept at dishing out concocted stories to woo sympathy of the international community. Those who are unaware of the real ground situation in Sri Lanka and the agony its 21 million people subjected to three decades of terrorism, could not be blamed for thinking that Sri Lanka is perhaps the most troubled spot on this planet.

The UNHRC and the international community should take into account that not a single person died in Sri Lanka due to terrorism during the past five years. They could see the difference by calculating the number of people killed in the previous five years (2005-2009), before the LTTE was militarily crushed by May 18, 2009.

As the nation celebrates the Victory Day and the fifth anniversary of the success of that great humanitarian operation, the international community must take a closer look at the massive development during the past five years. 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 some Western countries which pontificate to us on reconciliation had failed miserably to behold the peaceful coexistence prevailing among all communities.

Apart from Japan and South Africa, ten other countries - Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia and the Philippines, abstained from voting as they were supremely aware of the sinister moves behind the Resolution

Although the US and the UK went hammer and tongs to force UNHRC member countries to support their Resolution against Sri Lanka, 12 countries vehemently opposed it. China, Russia, Algeria, Congo, Cuba, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela and Vietnam voiced strongly in support of Sri Lanka and voted against the Resolution.

The Resolution would not have been passed if the European Union countries had not been coerced to vote as one bloc. Several European countries had pledged their solidarity with Sri Lanka but were obliged to support the Resolution as the European Union countries had to abide by the collective decision.

More countries are getting to know the true situation in Sri Lanka and they do not subscribe to the same viewpoint they held a few years ago. Several countries realised that Sri Lanka got a raw deal from the UNHRC due to the extensive and unethical lobbying by the godfathers of the Resolution.

Hence, Navi Pillay will by no means find it that easy to use human rights as a tool to intimidate Sri Lanka and put her subtle motion in action. The Government will under no circumstances bow down to undue international pressure. There will be no room for any international investigation to be conducted on the so-called war crimes allegations but Sri Lanka would always cooperate with the international community in development and reconciliation efforts.

The proponents of the resolution should take cognizance of the reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This is imperative at a time when the country is implementing comprehensive reconciliation among all communities, having overcome the scourge of terrorism after a 30-year struggle.

Sri Lanka continues to engage with the international community and needs no Resolution to encourage it to do so. No country should dictate to Sri Lanka on the course of action it should take. It is entirely an internal matter and up to the democratically elected leaders of Sri Lanka.

Certainly, there is no urgent situation in Sri Lanka which warrants the interests that were expressed at the last UNHRC sessions. The Resolution surreptitiously opens the doors for third party elements to interfere with Sri Lanka's internal affairs as its lingo was couched in ambiguity.

This undoubtedly, sets a bad precedent as even greater action could be taken by the so-called big countries to browbeat smaller countries which do not dance the fandango round the West.

Being acutely aware that the manner in which they had passed the resolution against Sri Lanka did not comply with all accepted international protocol, the UK is now making repeated appeals to Sri Lanka to comply with the UNHRC resolution.

The time is now opportune to call in question whether the UNHRC had made any tangible contribution to protect human rights or Pillay and her confidants had undermined the good intentions of the UN human rights watchdog. The so-called big countries should desist from using the UNHRC as a platform to intimidate the smaller countries or their rivals. This unhealthy practice should cease forthwith with the support of Russia and China.

No other country than Sri Lanka had made such great strides after its bitter battlefield experience. Does the West expect Sri Lanka to perform miracles overnight - which no other country had achieved after a similar situation?


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