The most educated member of the Rajapaksa regime with a doctorate from Oxford, External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L Peiris says that the voting tally at the UN Human Rights Council on the resolution against Sri Lanka was “23 for, and 24 against.” Talking to the State run Daily News from Hambanthota where the Foreign Minister was located while the vote in Geneva was taking place on 27th March, the erudite Minister says that “the outcome of the vote on the U.S sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission reflects that more countries are against the U.S at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.”
According to the Daily News “He added that the results do not reflect the opinion of the entire world. The Minister said Sri Lanka asked for a separate vote on the operative paragraph 10 of the resolution which proposes to handover the investigation to Human Rights Commissioner Navanetham Pilley. However our suggestion to divest her of responsibility in this regard got 14 votes in favour where as 23 against. Ten abstained from voting, meaning that the number of countries that did not support the resolution are greater than those supporting it.”
The vote on whether to postpone the resolution was taken prior to the vote on the actual resolution. The proposal to postpone the resolution was defeated 23 to 14 which opened the floor for the actual vote where the resolution was passed with 23 countries out of 47 voting in favour and 12 against.
Speaking to State media the Minister adds “The resolution has not gained the support of the Asian region whereas 33 of the 36 countries that co-sponsored the resolution are from Europe.”
The resolution initially sponsored by five countries including the United States eventually had 41 countries joining in as co-sponsors at the time of the formal adoption. The vote on the resolution which calls for an international investigation to the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, passed with 23 countries voting for it while 12 voting against and 12 abstentions, is now part of international law and will be implemented whether Sri Lanka accepts it or not. At the HRC a resolution is passed simply if the yes vote is more than the no. There is no practice within the UN, any other international body or in any vote for that matter where the abstentions are counted with the No vote.
Apparently the legal luminary, Rhodes Scholar, Oxford graduate, Dean of the Colombo Law Faculty and the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Gamini Lakshman Peiris believes otherwise and argues that abstentions at the UNHRC can be counted as a No vote and therefore Sri Lanka has apparently in fact won the battle of Geneva.