The United National Party (UNP) yesterday blamed the Government for a colossal failure during the recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.
UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena, speaking to media at Sirikotha, stated that it was the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution. Under the UNP Government in 2015, the country co-sponsored a resolution that had the unanimous support of the council. The current Government reversed that decision and left us with only the support of 11 countries.
He also said that it was Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009, who entered into an agreement with the then UN Secretary-General.
“Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa undertook a joint agreement with former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which is something no Sri Lankan President has done before. It is now the duty of the Government to uphold the obligations the former President signed,” he stressed.
Elaborating on the decision of the UNP-led Government to co-sponsor a resolution, Abeywardena said that the UNP was simply adhering to the conditions the former President agreed to on behalf of the country.
“According to the resolution sponsored by the UNP Government, Sri Lanka would adhere to a domestic mechanism. We did not agree to any foreign involvement beyond observers,” he added.
Noting that under UNP Government, it was the local courts which would investigate allegations of war crimes and decide on the innocence or guilt of those accused, he said this Government has rejected that procedure by withdrawing from the resolution.
“They must now explain what domestic mechanism they will adhere to,” he said.
He also said that it was because of the UNP’s ability to positively engage with the international community that the country regained the GSP+ from the EU in 2017. The current Government has until 2023 to win back the confidence of the international community before the GSP+ comes up for renewal.
Abeywardena highlighted that it was former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to not sign the Rome Statue, which ensured that no citizen of Sri Lanka would be taken before the International Criminal Courts, despite the Government claiming otherwise.