Colombo: Citing America’s close ally Israel’s decision to sever ties with the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka on Thursday accused the US of adopting double standards saying Washington was against any global involvement in the Jewish state but did not follow the same policy for Colombo.
“Israel has taken this step (to cut ties with UNHRC) despite losing the vote (against it) 36 to 1. Only US supported them. How do you explain US position when Israel says they are withdrawing from UNHRC?” Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, a deputy minister and the government’s acting spokesman, told reporters.
He was referring to the Council’s decision to launch a fact-finding mission into Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Abeywardena asserted that the Sri Lankan government too was totally against foreign interference in the country.
His comments came days after the UNHRC approved in Geneva a US-backed resolution censuring Sri Lanka over its rights record.
“America, which has stated at the Geneva session that an international inference is needed in Sri Lanka, objected against such an involvement in Israel,” he noted.
Israeli Premier Benjamin Natanyahu has charged the UNHRC of bias for ordering an investigation into Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.
Israel has said the UNHRC mission would not be granted permission to enter the country.
Asked if Sri Lanka planned to sever ties with UNHRC, Abeywardena replied in the negative.
“What I want to highlight is the inconsistency in the process.”
He, however, said the government was yet to make its official stand known on the resolution.
“The Cabinet has not taken any decision on the resolution yet,” he stressed.
Earlier, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris had said the government had taken a decision not to abide by the resolution.
However, Abeywardena said the government would be issuing its official statement very soon.
The US-moved resolution which had sought to commit Sri Lanka for expeditious implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was adopted by 24-15 with 8 abstentions last week.
Sri Lanka resisted the move to present the resolution claiming it was a biased action by the West to prop up the pro-LTTE diaspora.