UNHRC’s Sword of Damocles

In an unprecedented development, the UN Commissioner, in her report, has called on member nations to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC) while going on to recommend targeted sanctions on individuals, including punitive action such as travel bans and freezing of assets. It is to be noted that the UN Commissioner’s call to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC, which is the court of last resort when all domestic options have been exhausted, points to the fact that the UNHCR has lost faith in domestic mechanisms that have been proposed by successive governments over the past 12 years.

If the UNHRC is to go down that road, it will no doubt cast a cloud over the country and its economic prospects. To put it into perspective, every tourist and every potential investor will think twice about venturing into a country that is on trial for human rights violations. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all concerned to avert such an eventuality by calling on our friends in the global community to desist from embarking on that rocky road by voting against such a resolution, and in return for the Government to act in a spirit of co-operation. Given what is in store, it is clear that the Government in general and the Foreign Minister in particular have their work cut out.

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