3RD LEAD (Adds comparison, video, Tamil translation)
Watered-down resolution passes in UNHRC, stops short of international investigations
[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 March 2012, 13:57 GMT] The UN Rights Council on Thursday approved the LLRC-based US-tabled resolution urging Colombo to probe Human Rights violations domestically with assistance and advice from the UN rights body. The resolution stopped short of calling for an international investigation. In the 47-member UNHRC, 24 countries including India, voted for the resolution while 15 voted against. 8 countries abstained. Meanwhile, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported SL minister Laksman Yapa Abeywardene as saying that Colombo's relationship with close neighbor India and powerful USA would not be changed despite the resolution passed in UN Human Rights Council. "Whatever decisions taken by India and the U.S. with regard to the resolution, that will be limited to that issue only," the Sri Lankan minister said.
The resolution has been watered-down further before the voting on point 3, especially on the role of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and relevant special procedures mandate holders (click to enlarge the image):
Meanwhile, India's External Affairs ministry issued a statement echoing Colombo's concerns that the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights lies with the States. “Consequently resolutions of this nature should fully respect the sovereign rights of states and contribute to Sri Lanka's own efforts in this regard,” the Indian statement said.
“While we subscribe to the broader message of this resolution and the objectives it promotes, we also underline that any assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights or visits of UN Special Procedures should be in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Sri Lankan Government,” the Indian statement said.
Observers in Tamil Nadu said that the Indian statement contradicted the demands put forward by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, who had demanded India to declare SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa complicit in genocide and war-crimes and to call for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka till the country ensured equal status to Tamils.
The Indian statement further said that a “democratic country like Sri Lanka has to be provided time and space to achieve the objectives of reconciliation and peace. In this Council we have the responsibility to ensure that our conclusions do contribute to this objective rather than hinder it. ”
Further, the Indian statement expressed hope in Sri Lankan measures saying that “this Council has also been briefed by the Government of Sri Lanka in this session on the series of steps taken to implement the report and other measures. We welcome these steps. We are confident that implementation of the report will foster genuine reconciliation.”
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Pieris, paramilitary leader and SL minister Douglas Devananda and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe were present in Geneva to oppose the resolution.
China, Russia, Cuba, Bangladesh, Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Kuwait, Qatar, Congo, Mauritania and Ecuador are the countries that voted against the resolution while Malaysia, Senegal, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Djibouti and Angola abstained.
The countries that voted for the resolution are: United States, India, Norway, Switzerland, Benin, Cameroon, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and Romania.