By Rajeewa Jayaweera –
UK’s statement, delivered at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council during the discussion under Item 2, held on March 08, 2018 as usual reeks of bias and hypocrisy.
Britain has expressed its concerns of post-election violence in Honduras and urged the authorities to investigate these incidents.
It finds the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo deeply troubling with increasing reports of violations and abuses. UK opines, state actors are the main perpetrators and calls on the DRC as a Council member to demonstrate commitment to the highest human rights standards by reversing these alarming trends.
UK has expressed concerns on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention. It urged highly concerning settlement expansions, demolitions of Palestinian property and proposed legislation to extend Israel’s sovereignty beyond the Green Line to be halted.
Urging Thailand to deliver credible, inclusive elections in line with international standards as soon as possible, UK called for gradual restoration of freedom of expression and assembly, including the lifting of restrictions on political parties and space for civil society organizations to function.
It expressed its increasing concerns of the worsening restrictions on freedom of expression in Vietnam. It has preached, peaceful expression of views on issues of public interest does not constitute a criminal offence and all citizens should be allowed to express their views freely and without persecution.
Expressing concerns of proposed steps to limit freedom of expression, including increased restrictions on the media; threats against Human Rights Defenders; and shrinking space for political opposition in the Philippines, UK has urged the Government to ensure thorough investigations into all deaths associated with the campaign against illegal drugs.
Then comes the icing on the cake. The statements states; “Finally, we share concerns about recent inter-communal violence in Sri Lanka. We support the government’s determination to end it swiftly, using measures that are proportionate and respect human rights, and urge it to hold the perpetrators to account.”
The present government, known for its servile kowtowing to UK, US and European Union member states should seek guidance from UK as to what would amount to “measures that are proportionate and respect human rights” of those responsible for looting and arson based on ethnic lines.
Once apprehended, will UK grant them sanctuary in UK as done with terrorists during last several decades?
As hard as this writer searched, not one word could be found in the statement of the treatment meted to scores of people including dozens of Saudi royals who were arrested in the recent crackdown on corruption, housed in a star class hotel and tortured in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman was on a three day visit to UK. After being hosted for lunch by the Queen and Duke of York, dinner with the Prince of Wales and Duke of York and a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, he signed 18 economic agreements worth more than GBP 1.5 billion.
A statement from Downing Street said Prime Minister May had offered assistance to “progress and intensify reforms, particularly on women’s rights, and on universal human rights”. She had also expressed particular concern about the case of Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam” online.
Both Prime Minister May and UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva forgot to bring up the issues of the tortured detainees by Saudi security apparatuses and women and children bombed to oblivion in Yemen by the Air Forces of Saudi Arabia and its allies. After all, those tortures and the lives of Yemeni women and children are not worth jeopardizing GBP 1.5 billion of economic agreements.
Diplomacy and Duplicity are synonyms in the vocabulary of UK government.
The full text of UK government’s statement may be accessed here