UNHRC decision will be based on US resolution

isaipriya-and-Chennel-4-21By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will decide future course of action on Sri Lanka on the basis of a US resolution scheduled to be moved at the 30th sessions next month.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Kolonne told The Island that UNHRC would decide on the recommendations contained in a report submitted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through the passage of a resolution. Kolonne said: “This is not something new. Resolutions are the means by which decisions in the UNHRC are taken.”

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson was responding to a query by The Island regarding Geneva issue in the wake of the US changing its stance on war crimes inquiry.

Kolonne said that the US had told organisational session of the forthcoming conference on Aug. 21 that on behalf of a core group, it would offer a resolution on Sri Lanka to follow-up on the new Sri Lankan government’s efforts to promote post-war national reconciliation and accountability and on the release of the OHCHR report as requested by Resolution 25/1. Responding to a query, the spokesperson said they had indicated their desire to work collaboratively with the new government of Sri Lanka and key stakeholders on the text of the resolution.

Addressing the media at the National Freedom Front (NFF) party office at Battaramulla, its leader Colombo District MP elect Wimal Weerawansa alleged that the new government was cooperating with the US move to drag those who had battled the LTTE before an international war crimes tribunal. Weerawansa urged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe not to adopt a course of action that could be inimical to national security interests. Weerawansa said that Western powers should allow the new government to handle war crimes investigation without any external input. Weerawansa was responding to a query raised by The Island at the briefing. Weerawansa pointed out that there couldn’t be any reason for external intervention as Western powers had publicly claimed that the Sri Lankan judiciary had been freed since the change of government in January this year.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Island that OHCHR had conducted an investigation in accordance with a resolution adopted on March 27, 2014

Kolonne said: “Operative paragraph 10 of the Resolution called upon the OHCHR to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the LLRC and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedure mandate holders.”

The official said that the report was to be originally handed over at the 28thsession in Geneva, though it was put off to September consequent to a decision taken at the Organisational Session of the 28th Session of the Council held on 16 February 2015.

She said: “In the past, Sri Lanka did not work with the sponsors of the Resolutions but lobbied HRC members to vote against the Resolutions that were tabled by the sponsors. Matters cannot be resolved in this manner through divisive approaches.” The current approach was in line with the vision of the President and the Prime Minister, Kolonne said.