23 September, 2020

Blog

Sri Lanka Reaffirms ‘Very Firm Commitment’ To Resolution 30/1 At UPR In Geneva

By Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

Sri Lanka’s head of delegation to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Dr. Harsha de Silva, making his presentation to the UPR Working Group, said with reference to Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1, “I wish to reaffirm our firm commitment to ensuring their implementation”. He also said that the Unity government had ended the “acrimonious relationship that the former Government maintained with the Human Rights Council, by calling for repeated votes every year”, by cooperating to achieve a consensus and co-sponsoring the resolutions on Sri Lanka instead.

Secretary to the Foreign Ministry, Prasad Kariyawasam, responding to questions from member states, echoed this assurance when he said that Sri Lanka’s “commitment to implementation of Resolution 30/1 remained very firm”.

According to media reports, before the Sri Lankan delegation left for Geneva to attend the Review of Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council, head of delegation Dr. Harsha de Silva said that Lord Naseby’s findings that the numbers of civilian deaths during the last stages of the war could well be under 8000 rather than 40,000 or more, was of no direct relevance to the UPR process.

President Sirisena had himself written to Lord Naseby, in addition to the letter sent by State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vasantha Senanayake, thanking him for his efforts, indicating that the President views Lord Naseby’s revelations as relevant and welcome.

The President’s letter dated 2nd November 2017 was tabled in parliament by State Minister Vasantha Senanayake on the 14th of November and appears in the Hansard of Nov 14th as a footnote to his speech. It is curious that the fact that the President had written to Lord Naseby to thank him did not appear in the media and that the Sri Lankan delegation to the UPR chose not to appraise the Council of the contents of Lord Naseby’s revelations. Even more curious, there is reliable information that while Lord Naseby is aware of the President’s gesture, the letter itself has not yet reached him, being strangely held up by someone, somewhere.

Sri Lanka’s renewed “very firm commitment” to Resolution 30/1 (of 2015) and 34/1 (of 2017) without any reservation whatsoever, will do nothing to deter the mythical figure of 40,000 from continuing to be repeatedly quoted in the global media.

The question remains for the citizens of Sri Lanka if this is also the view of President Sirisena, who has recently stated that the armed forces will not have to face a judicial inquiry based on unsubstantiated allegations. 

To recall some of the commitments in Resolution 30/1, the following paragraphs include some provisions that Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of:

Takes note with appreciation of the oral update presented by the United Nations High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-seventh session, the report of the Office of the High Commissioner on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka and its investigation on Sri Lanka requested by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 25/1, 2 including its findings and conclusions, and encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations contained therein when implementing measures for truth-seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence;”

The Operative paragraphs of the Resolution includes the following:

“Welcomes the recognition by the Government of Sri Lanka that accountability is essential to uphold the rule of law and to build confidence in the people of all communities of Sri Lanka in the justice system, notes with appreciation the proposal of the Government of Sri Lanka to establish a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, as applicable; affirms that a credible justice process should include independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for their integrity and impartiality; and also affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the special counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators;”

“Also encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to introduce effective security sector reforms as part of its transitional justice process, which will help to enhance the reputation and professionalism of the military and include ensuring that no scope exists for retention in or recruitment into the security forces of anyone credibly implicated through a fair administrative process in serious crimes involving human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law, including members of the security and intelligence units;”

Despite Dr. Harsha de Silva’s assertion about the previous regime’s relationship with the Council, taking a vote in the Council is not considered “acrimonious” and is a legitimate and often used mechanism for ascertaining the majority view of the Council, although there may have been other indicators of an “acrimonious relationship”. As for Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1, when the country concerned co-sponsors a resolution, other countries don’t object to their adoption, although dissenting views were expressed at the time by some states.

In the official written submissions which form part of Sri Lanka’s review, there were a number of references to Resolution 30/1 by Governments, Special Rapporteurs and NGOs alike. This Resolution and the discourse surrounding it had been deeply influenced by the inclusion of the figure of 40,000 deaths by the Darusman panel and led to calls for Universal Jurisdiction to be applied by all member states of the UN, by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In addition, several NGOs referred to the following in their written submissions:

  • Foreign participation in judicial mechanisms
  • Hybrid mechanisms
  • International investigators, forensic experts, defense lawyers
  • War crimes
  • Mass killings and rape
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Genocide committed against Tamil people

As such, it could reasonably be thought that any evidence that helps to established that the genocidal figure of 40,000 was indeed a baseless allegation and that credible sources including the British Defense attaché had in confidential communications suggested it was less than 8000 including combatants, would most certainly be directly relevant.

‘Transitional Justice’ which first made its appearance in Resolution 30/1, is supposed to apply when ‘massive past abuses’ are alleged. The ‘security sector reforms’ which form part of TJ surely flows from such an assumption as well.

At the UPR, the US, France, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Australia and Denmark were among others who recommended the implementation of 30/1, but they needn’t have worried. Canada was one of the countries that mentioned foreign investigators, judges, investigators and prosecutors.  Several countries mentioned Transitional Justice and the OMP.

Sri Lanka’s National Report was commended by many delegations due to its consultative process and its comprehensive nature. Many delegations also commended Sri Lanka’s progress on previous recommendations and the standing invitation to ‘mandate holders’ (UN Special Rapporteurs).  The Sri Lankan Permanent Mission had done its work competently in informing other member states of Sri Lanka’s progress and the many measures taken by Sri Lanka to improve all human rights in the country such as poverty reduction, women’s rights, right to education and right to health and its National Human Rights Action Plan among others. The UPR process was conducted in a cooperative and constructive manner by all member states.

In his concluding remarks Dr. Harsha de Silva informed the Council that Sri Lanka was the oldest democracy in Asia with a social market economy and the document proposing the government’s Vision 2025 had been distributed to all members of the Council.

The final report which will include the recommendations that Sri Lanka accepts, will be adopted on Friday the 17th of November. This UPR has revealed beyond any doubt the present government’s “very firm commitment” to the implementation of the two Resolutions it co-sponsored, despite the President’s declared reservations on at least some of its provisions and their implementation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    Lucky Sri Lanka; they convinced all parties that there will be better things to come, and the world believed it. Again. Why does ‘pulling the wool over eyes’ come to mind?

    Wonderful Lord Naseby once again came good, just in time, with a shiny basket of red herrings. For Sri Lanka’s good fortune, the rest of the world has bigger fish to fry right now. So, the show goes on!

    • 1
      0

      Spring Koha ~ “……….Lord Naseby…….came……..with a shiny basket of red herrings………”.
      None of his colleagues ever accepted his gift of herrings. Not even his gardener. Red herrings look good on the outside but the inside is hollow.

  • 1
    0

    Sanja De Silva Jayatillaka
    Lord Naseby is on the right wing of the right wing conservatives. He is not taken seriously by anyone.
    Lord Naseby found out where SL is after David Cameron took SL to the cleaners at the 2013CHOGM.
    His visit was probably sponsored by ……………….guess who!
    And you of all people find him credible! That Sanja, is scraping the bottom of the barrel!
    Lord Naseby does not know who or what a Rohingya is. Do you?

    • 2
      0

      Naseby is the co-chairman of all party friends of Srilanka in UK. He was always on the pay roll of Srilanka government which the UK government knows about. He is not a member of cabinet and therefore UK government does not take him seriously. In UK every member of parliament or house of lords have to inform the government of any perks such as paid holidays they receive from various governments. Liam Fox being a cabinet minister failed to reveal what he got from Srilanka government and was reprimanded. Naseby is only a member of house of lords, and has no say in UK policy. There is a more powerful all party friends of Tamils in UK which has kept these idiots supporting Srilanka under check and will continue to be vigilant. The figure of 7000 given by British diplomat in 2009 is the figure given to him by Srilanka government at that time and not one he found out through independent means. When the government did not allow anyone to visit the war zone even several months after the end of the war, how could the British diplomat say he knows the exact figure. If 7000 people were killed where are their dead bodies, unless they have been disposed by dissolving in acid or burning in incinerators.

  • 2
    0

    Sanja Jayatilleka

    “the Tamil Diaspora is of course a Sinhala extremist creation. It is the direct product of the anti-Tamil riots of 1958 and 1983. If not for those attacks, the Tamil middle and upper middle classes would not have wished to migrate and the doors of the West would not have been opened for them. ” Dayan Jayatilleka

    “Without the Sinhala Only, the Tiger may have remained unborn. Without the Black July, the Tiger may not have grown exponentially. If the B-C Pact and the D-C Pact did not miscarry (thanks to the midwifery of Sinhala extremism), the LTTE, even if it was born, would have remained a fringe group.” Tisaranee Gunasekara

    Pls do something useful
    Read this and reply
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/devolution-rajapaksas-lies/

    • 1
      0

      video of   the first speech Dr. Samantha Ratnam has made in the Parliament of Victoria.  It is  a remarkable speech.  She appears to have worked in the Vanni during the  ceasefire in Sri Lanka.  We need such service oriented broad minded  leaders in our country. 

      https://youtu.be/8H1p7yOMqKo

  • 3
    0

    The central issue was the credibility of the Rajapaksa regime, which gave shifting accounts of the war.

    First the Rajapaksa regime said that there were only about 65000 civilians in the Vanni, then they said there were 130000, but the internment camps in Menik Farms overflowed with nearly 300000 people.

    Then they said that the Army fought with guns in one hand and the Human Rights charter in the other, that there were zero civilian casualties, which then shifted to 1200 and then to 6000 and then to 8000. There were videos from mobile phones taken by soldiers and leaked, which reveal to the world the bestial nature of SLA soldiers. There was also a complete blackout and ban on entering the war zone even for the elected representatives of the Tamil people.

    In the face of such strenuous secrecy and abysmal lack of credibility, and the history of terror unleashed by the GoSL in the past against innocent civilians, the claims by victims that 40000 civilians died has to be taken as a credible one, and therefore only a properly constituted independent investigation into war crimes can establish the truth. If it is established that the number is lower, say 10000 or 15,000, that still doesn’t absolve the GoSL/SLA of war crimes that it committed. It is an issue of context, of intent, of qualitative impact on lives, not simply a game of numbers.

    So whatever arguments that Naseby, Michael Roberts or anyone else comes up with on that 40000 number is irrelevant. Deliriously happy with the way the GoSL took them on visits to SL, and provided them money and comfort, perhaps even comfort women–who knows, they are simply wankers whose claims have no relevance to the UNHRC or the need for a proper investigation. Ms. Jayatilleka is welcome to join Naseby and Michael Roberts in whatever orgy they want to indulge in. But the UNHRC should hold the GoSL to its commitments.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.