Geneva, March 21: India voted for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling on Colombo to conduct an “independent and credible” probe into allegations of human rights violations.
The resolution was adopted 25-13 here Thursday. Pakistan was among the 13 countries that voted against the resolution.
“India votes for Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in SriLanka @UNHRC,” said India’s external affairs spokesperson on Twitter.
India’s envoy Dilip Sinha, in a strongly worded statement, said: “We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this Council in 2009. Further, we call on Sri Lanka to move forward on its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through full implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it.”
“We call for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, disappearances and abductions, reduction of ‘high security zones’, return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of the security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province,” he said.
“We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community.”
The envoy said, “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.”
Sri Lanka has repeatedly denied killing Tamil civilians during its military campaign against the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.
The resolution, among other things, “Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;
“Reiterates its call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;”
It was the second year in a row that the 47-member council adopted a resolution on reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.
The council “noted with concern” the failure by Sri Lanka to address serious allegations of violations but stopped short of holding it accountable for that failure, Human Rights Watch said.
The Human Rights Council “noted with concern” the failure by the Sri Lankan government to address serious allegations of violations, but stopped short of holding Sri Lanka accountable for that failure.
“The resolution was adopted by a clear majority of 25 votes in favour, including India, Sierra Leone and Brazil, and 13 against, including Pakistan, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand,” it said.
Among the countries that voted in favour of the resolution were Benin, Libya, Sierra Leone Argentina, Brazil, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and South Korea.
Those who voted against the US-sponsored resolution included Congo, the Maldives, Thailand, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Ecuador.
Among those who abstained were Kenya, Japan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, and Botswana.
The new UNHRC resolution highlights past and ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka but fails to set up a credible investigation into alleged crimes, Amnesty International said.
India did not move any amendments to the resolution sponsored by the US.
DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said he was not satisfied with India’s response and the US resolution. His party quit the United Progressive Alliance government earlier this week for failing to take a strong stand against Sri Lanka.