DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
Preambular Paragraph 3 of the October 2015 resolution says that the resolutions of 2012, 2013 and 2014 formed the basis of the resolution of 2015. The 2015 Resolution flows directly from the 2014 Resolution which mandated the Office of the High Commissioner’s investigation on Sri Lanka. What is important is to note that the US resolution of 2015 makes no mention whatsoever of the resolution of 2009. This is because 2009 was an outright victory for Sri Lanka and left no residue which the West could use.
An important feature of the successful May 2009 UNHRC resolution was that unlike all other resolutions adopted at special sessions, and indeed unlike the 2015 US-SL resolution, there was no call for follow up at the subsequent sessions of the Council.
One of the most striking differences between the UNHRC May 2009 and UNHRC October 2015 was that in 2009 Sri Lanka initiated and co-sponsored a supportive resolution together with the Non-Aligned Movement, while in 2015 it co-sponsored a critical and intrusive resolution presented by the US-UK and the West in general. This symbolizes Sri Lanka’s dramatic realignment. This realignment detaches us from our natural habitat and who we really are: a developing country of the Global South and an Asian state in particular. It realigns us with whom we do not really belong and with who we are not: a state in the Western hemisphere. Worse still, it realigns us with that part of the world with powerful Tamil diaspora lobbies existentially hostile to us, i.e. to whom and what we are.
In the interests of political honesty it must be said however, that this profoundly counterproductive realignment with the West/Global North was possible because the previous administration eroded in its second term, our support among our traditional support base, the nonaligned and the Global South.
What most people probably don’t know is that in May 2009, there was indeed a resolution on Sri Lanka that the West tabled at the UN Human Rights Council, but it was not taken up for debate because the President of the Council announced that it was no longer necessary since all the issues included in it had been taken up in the resolution that Sri Lanka tabled which had just got voted in with a massive, near two thirds majority in the Council. It is also interesting that the only dissenting votes were the EU block of 12 votes. In 2009, the bulk of the international community was firmly with the resolution that Sri Lanka put forward together with the non-aligned nations. It had the broadest support of the Human Rights Council, bar that of the EU.