Addressing the UN Human Rights Council for the first time since its exit in 2018, the US yesterday urged member states of the Council to back a resolution on Sri Lanka to address the lack of accountability for past atrocities in the island.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the 46th Session of the UNHRC currently underway that the US was “placing democracy and human rights at the centre” of its foreign policy.
“We encourage the Council to support resolutions at this session addressing issues of concern around the world, including ongoing human rights violations in Syria and North Korea, the lack of accountability for past atrocities in Sri Lanka, and the need for further investigation into the situation in South Sudan,” the US Secretary of State said. “I’m here to reaffirm America’s commitment to respect and defend the human rights of all people, everywhere,” Blinken said in a speech that took a hard-line against authoritarianism and impunity for human rights abuses.
“There is no moral equivalence between the actions of the United States, which are subject to robust, impartial, and transparent accountability mechanisms – and those of authoritarian regimes, which violate and abuse human rights with impunity,” he continued.
Blinken said that those who hide under the mantle of promoting economic development while seeking to undermine human rights will be held to account, including for their own human rights violations.