Opposed to UNHRC initiatives: Sri Lanka

Peiris warned that the resources expended on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka were unwarranted, "especially when they are urgently needed for humanitarian and other constructive purposes in many parts of the world".

Sri Lanka on Tuesday said that it is opposed to the UNHRC initiatives adopted through its latest resolution on the country’s human rights accountability, stressing that any such move will “polarise” the society.

Foreign Minister G L Peiris made the comments during an oral submission at the on going 48th session of the UNHRC, which got underway in Geneva on Monday.

He was responding to the oral update on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation presented United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. She had raised several concerns on the island nations rights accountability.

“We reject the proposal for any external initiatives purportedly established by Resolution 46/1 while domestic processes are vigorously addressing the relevant matters. This will polarise our society, as we experienced with Resolution 30/1,” Peiris said via a video link.

The UN Human Rights Council had in March adopted a strong resolution against Sri Lanka’s rights record, calling upon “the (Sri Lankan) government to ensure prompt thorough and impartial investigation, if warranted, prosecution of all alleged crimes relating to human rights violations and serious violations of international human rights law”.

He said that the council must adhere to its founding principles and external initiatives, such as the UNHRC, without Sri Lanka’s cooperation cannot achieve the desired goals and will be subject to politicisation.

Peiris warned that the resources expended on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka were unwarranted, “especially when they are urgently needed for humanitarian and other constructive purposes in many parts of the world”.

He said that Sri Lanka has made progress in rights accountability through its own mechanisms such as establishing the office on missing persons and office for reparations.

“We are open in acknowledging our challenges and as a responsible and democratic government, we are committed to achieving tangible progress on the entire range of issues relating to accountability, reconciliation, human rights, peace and sustainable development,” he was quoted as saying by Colombo Gazette.

Sri Lanka was earlier defeated at three consecutive resolutions at the UN rights body when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother and incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was the country’s president between 2012 and 2014.

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