Sri Lanka should not be allowed to water down a UNHRC resolution on its alleged rights violations during its civil war with the LTTE, according to a prominent rights group which said that the current draft of the resolution was “counterproductive” to the reconciliation efforts of the government.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said Sri Lanka’s conduct of proposing amendment after amendment to water down United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on the report by the Human Rights High Commissioner was an attempt to try and strip away all references to implement the recommendations.
The amendments affected by Sri Lankan tinkering include international participation in a justice mechanism and ending impunity.
“Virtually no paragraph was left unscathed. The delegation even suggested deleting proposals to ensure victim and witness protection, to investigate attacks on human rights defenders and journalists and to address sexual violence and torture,” an HRW release said.
Referring to the “trust us” plea by the Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera, the HRW says “Sri Lanka is asking the world to accept its promise to being accountability as it sees fit.”
But trust must be earned. Against decades long backdrop of politically motivated interference and inaction on justice issues, there is simply no basis whatever the sincerity of top officials to be confident of Sri Lanka’s ability to deliver justice without a significant international role, HRW asserts.
The HRW statement followed the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Geneva statement that draft of the new resolution to be submitted by the US was not helping in adopting a collaborative approach to reaching consensus.
Many paragraphs in the current draft are in fact counterproductive to the reconciliation efforts of the government, the release said.
The UNHRC report as mandated by the resolution of 2014 suggested the setting up of a hybrid court with international judges, prosecutors and investigators.
Sri Lanka is averse to the idea and insist on sticking to a local mechanism with international expertise.
The report charged both the government troops and the LTTE of committing crimes against humanity between 2002 and 2011 in the island’s civil war.