Sri Lanka’s refusal to move a joint resolution on accountability issues, at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions, has set the stage for a vote on the second US motion, targeting the country, since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. The vote will take place on March 21.
The first US resolution was passed in March last year with 24 voting for and 15 against with eight abstaining. The UNHRC comprises 47 countries and is divided into five regional groups – African States (13 seats), Asian States (13 seats), Latin American and Caribbean States (8 seats), Western European and other States (7 seats), Eastern European States (6 seats). Members serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
The US explored the possibility of having Sri Lanka’s consent to present the resolution, co-sponsored by those who had voted in support of the first resolution, at its 19th sessions last year.
Government sources told The Island that a vote would expose those who had sided with the US for their benefit as well as countries influenced by the LTTE rump. Sources claimed that the US had been seeking to move the resolution with Sri Lanka’s consensus as many countries wanted to avoid a high profile vote. Responding to a query, a senior official said that many governments had indicated to the US their reluctance to throw their weight behind a country specific resolution targeting Sri Lanka.In fact, the US had been always opposed to country specific resolutions, sources said. India’s position on country specific resolution, too, had been the same sources said.
Well informed sources said that the number of governments likely to abstain at the forthcoming vote was expected to exceed the eight registered last year. Asked whether the government was concerned about India voting for the US resolution, like it did at the last time in Geneva (19th sessions), sources said that India, too, had come under heavy fire by the UNHRC at the 19th sessions. South African national Ms Margaret Sekkaggya, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression lambasted India at the 19th sessions demanding far reaching constitutional changes.
Sekkaggya’s statement drew an angry response from India at the same sessions.
British media outfit Channel 4 News propagating lies against Sri Lanka, had produced controversial documentary titled ‘Kashmir’s torture trail’ targeting India, sources recalled, adding that an adjournment debate in the House of Commons targeted both India and Sri Lanka over accountability issues. Those engaged in protests in India calling for Indian Central government to back the US resolution should realize the attack on Sri Lanka could boomerang on them, sources said.
Sources said that Sri Lanka would request a friendly country to call for a vote. The following is the full group UNHRC members:
COUNTRY TERM EXPIRES ON
Burkina Faso 2014
Costa Rica 2014
Côte d’Ivoire 2015
Czech Rep. 2014
Sierra Leone 2015