By Shamindra Ferdinando
Having had brazenly used the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt an anti-Sri Lanka Resolution in Oct 2015 on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, the US has endorsed what we have been saying with regard to the inherent bias and lack of objectivity on the part of the UN agency, former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris says.
Responding to a query by The Island, Prof. Peiris, yesterday, alleged that the Geneva body always treated Sri Lanka with preconceived notions and shuts its eyes to compelling evidence contrary to the conclusions which they wished to reach.
Prof. Peiris pointed out that US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley was quoted in the international media as having called the council a “cesspool of political bias.”
The former Law Professor said that it was funny for Haley to now accuse the UNHRC at a joint media conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it was a “hypocritical and self-serving” body that “makes a mockery of human rights.”
The US quit the 47-member organization alleging its hostility towards Israel.
The UN transformed the human rights commission to a council in 2006.
Prof. Peiris recollected the circumstances under which the US coerced Sri Lanka to co-sponsor the Resolution just over a week after the then Sri Lanka Permanent Representative in Geneva quite rightly rejected the text.
The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government certainly owed an explanation to the public over its refusal to make fresh representations on behalf of Sri Lanka in respect of Geneva Resolution 30/1 in the wake of Naseby revelations in Oct last year.
Asked whether the US move would have a bearing on Sri Lanka situation, Prof. Peiris said that both UN and the US couldn’t ignore the post-US pullout situation. Prof. Peiris pointed out how a US led group had been pursuing Sri Lanka at Geneva since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 and finally achieved their objectives after the change of government in January 2015.
Israel on Tuesday night praised the US move a “courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies” of the international body.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US move, branding the council “a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.”
Prof. Peiris said that the US couldn’t expect the world to believe that Geneva had been biased towards one country and impartial in handling other situations.
Former Minister Prof. Peiris recalled how the US had intervened to have rescinded Goldstone war crimes report on Gaza invasion by Israel commissioned by the UN years ago, while pursuing Sri Lanka.
Prof. Peiris said that the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) would critically examine the situation.
The SLPP Chairman alleged that the government had been simply following Western dictates and struggling to implement the Geneva Resolution in spite of it being inimical to Sri Lanka’s interest. The government was on record as having said that it secured two year additional period to fulfill Geneva obligations while the country responsible for our predicament now accused UN body of playing politics.