M A I N   N E W S

India votes against Sri Lanka at UN
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, March 21
India today voted in favour of the US-sponsored resolution for promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. It however failed to get its amendments incorporated in the text of the document.

The resolution, critical of human rights record of Sri Lanka, called on Colombo to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged war crimes. However, what must have brought some relief to Sri Lanka was the fact that the resolution avoided references like call for an international probe into alleged human rights violations or “genocide” in the context of civilian killings during the prolonged conflict.

The resolution was adopted with 25 votes in favour, 13 against and eight abstentions in the 47-member body. Gabon, a member-nation, could not vote due to voting rights issue.

Pakistan voted against the resolution, saying the resolution would fail to engage Sri Lanka constructively and negatively impact the ongoing reconciliation process.

Last year too, India had voted for the resolution against the island nation.

Official sources said India wanted to introduce some tough amendments to the resolution in view of the overwhelming concerns over the plight of Tamils in the island nation but was dissuaded from doing so by the US. India’s envoy to the UN offices Dilip Sinha, who returned to Geneva early this morning carrying instructions from New Delhi, was told by the sponsors that the attempt was to make the resolution “broadest possible” and that certain words in the text might make things difficult for its smooth passage.

The Indian representative was allowed to make intervention during the discussion. In his remarks, Sinha criticised Sri Lanka for making “inadequate progress” in fulfilling its commitment to the UNHRC in 2009 for genuine national reconciliation and full enjoyment of human rights by all its citizens. He said India would encourage Lanka to expedite the process of a broad-based, inclusive and meaningful reconciliation and political settlement that ensured all communities live in dignity, with equal rights and equal protection of the laws. “As a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter.”

The Sri Lankan envoy strongly opposed the resolution, contending that it was based on misrepresentation of facts. “The resolution casts aspersions on domestic processes without any foundation and could hinder the reconciliation process.”

The resolution called upon Colombo to effectively implement the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

The resolution

  • Calls for independent investigation by Colombo into alleged war crimes
  • Seeks implementation of recommendations made in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation panel report
  • Avoids references to international probe into alleged human rights violations or term ‘genocide’

Disappointing: DMK

Expressing 'surprise' over India supporting a 'weak' and 'diluted' US resolution against Sri Lanka at UNHRC, former UPA ally DMK on Thursday said New Delhi had by its action "totally disappointed" the entire Tamil diaspora.





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