20 October, 2020

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UNHRC Resolutions And The Politics Of Discomfiture

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

For Sri Lanka, the only relevant resolution at this year’s UNHRC sessions is the one tabled by the United States of America. It is relevant because it was on (read ‘against’) Sri Lanka.  If, however, the world is serious about the UNHRC and therefore whatever resolutions are tabled, voted on, adopted or rejected, then we would see decent coverage in the international media.

Something seems to have happened in the world of media, or rather the big name media houses in the West as well as those that are located in that political bloc for reasons of ownership or ideological bent.  There were many UNHRC resolutions. The most telling had nothing to do with Sri Lanka, namely the Pakistan-sponsored resolution on the use of drones (read, ‘Pakistan’s Resolution against the USA’) and the five resolutions on Israel.  Check the web.  BBC says nothing. Al Jazeera is silent.  You will have to sweat a bit to find any news report on these resolutions. And yet, Al Jazeera and others in what might be called the Washington Media Bloc were all over Sri Lanka in the run up to the vote and thereafter.

A quick glance at voting patterns might explain this state of affairs. It might also tell us that nothing that happens in the UNHRC is about human rights.

The Drone Resolution, if you will, was passed with 27 voting for it, 14 abstaining and just 6 voting against it.  The wording tells a story.

“The Council urges all states to ensure that any measures employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones, comply with their obligations under international law in particular the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality,” the resolution stated.”

The unnamed target of this resolution is obviously the USA for you can’t talk ‘drones’ without mentioning that country.  Now if the US voted in favor of this resolution or abides by the majority will of the UNHRC it would be a huge setback to Washington’s current strategy of domination (orchestrating internal instability and drone attacks).  It is pertinent to recall that two years ago in a side-event in Geneva the elder statesman of US politics Rev Jesse Jackson said ‘Those who own the drones violate human rights’.

Interestingly, the USA, UK, France, Republic of Korea and Macedonia, while saying ‘yes’ to the harassment of Sri Lanka over ‘alleged’ war crimes, were conspicuous also in refusing to vote with Pakistan on the vexed issue of drone attacks.  The USA contends that the UNHRC is not the right forum to talk about drone. What, pray, is the right forum? UN-Habitat, the World Health Organization, UNICEF? We should not forget that the British and European parliaments have made it crystal clear that they want increased transparency on drone strikes.  Perhaps the relevant governments don’t care about the voice of their respective peoples, which would mean that good governance is not their piece of cake. Why then talk of such things when it comes to Sri Lanka, one wonders.

These pertinent political subtleties were missed by BBC, Al Jazeera et al and that’s no surprise since they obviously didn’t even notice that a vote had been taken on drones.  BBC’s ‘latest’ drone story has nothing to do with the UNHRC resolution. It’s about Facebook’s plans to connect the two-thirds of the world that has no net access using drones, satellites and lasers.  How lovely, how far away from people who suffer death, displacement and bereavement on account of ‘resolution drones’!

Let’s move to Israel.  There were five resolutions relevant to that country: a) An independent international fact-finding mission on Gaza, b) Text on the HR situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory, c) Text on Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and Syrian Golan, d) The right of Palestine people to self-determination, and e) Human rights in Syrian Golan.

All five were adopted.  The first four garnered 46 out of 47 votes while the last had 33 in favor, 1 against and 13 abstentions. Who was that stand-out ‘one’?  Why, the United States of America of course!  Did Al Jazeera have anything to say about these amazing numbers? Did BBC?  Nope.  Why not?  Well, it looks like ‘Human Rights’ is not the issue for these countries.  It looks like it is just about basic politics pertaining to the self-interests of various member states.

So what do we have to say about people like Navy Pillay when they wear grave expressions and weep copious tears on behalf of people they think have been wrongs, never mind that some of them ‘lost’ fathers and husbands who happened to have killed dozens of people in cold blood, not to mention advocating and indulging in kidnapping, suicide attacks and other wanton acts of butchery?  What do those who cheered the ‘victory’ of the US resolution on Sri Lanka have to say about the US and the UK playing ostrich on Israel and drones?  Do they feel shy, one wonders and concludes, ‘probably not’ for reasons that are too obvious to mention.

So what do we have to say about the UNHRC itself?  Is it an august body where serious people discuss serious issues became all those present value human life, are concerned about things like democracy, peace, justice, reconciliation etc.?  Or is it just a platform for the powerful to browbeat the weak and for the worst perpetrators of crimes against humanity to strut around as though the world has not known worthier defenders of freedom and benefactors of humankind?

The jury is in.  The verdict is out.  Al Jazeera will not report and neither will BBC.  Says a lot about the world we live in, does it not?

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    Malinda Seneviratne –

    “There were many UNHRC resolutions. The most telling had nothing to do with Sri Lanka, namely the Pakistan-sponsored resolution on the use of drones (read, ‘Pakistan’s Resolution against the USA’) and the five resolutions on Israel. Check the web. BBC says nothing.

    Sri Lanka is a minor player in the UN HRC resolution business. Even if it was the LTTE that killed 50,000 civilians, the outcome would have been about the same.

    How many did the US kill in Iraq. How many are being killed in Syria. using the Western and Saudi Arms? Well over 100,000. It looks like it is only in Crimea, nobody is killed so far.

    • 1
      2

      Everything will start to change after INDIAN Lok Sabha elections.

      Until then Mahinda and the skin heads enjoy kevum, kokis and kiribath.

  • 3
    6

    UNHRC should be ignored .

    • 5
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      Abhaya

      Former UN Adviser on Post-War Accountability Issues in Sri Lanka, Yasmin Sooka, says there would be serious repercussions including sanctions, if the Govt of Sri Lanka fails to cooperate with the UNHRC.

      On the other hand, if Modi and Jayalalitha come to power, Sinhala gvt’s whoever they are going to be in for a really rough ride, not only US but Jayalalitha says the new Indian govt will also move resolution in UN against Sri Lanka.

      Having said that, it will be very good if Sri Lanka ignores or rejects UN investigation because it will help the Tamil cause by getting the world (UN & others) continuously involved/interfere in the Sri Lankan affairs including HR violation, Law & Order issues and devolution.

    • 3
      2

      You can say that because even you don’t recognize about the suffering of the people, rule of law and the image of the Nation. You continue with ignorance.

    • 1
      2

      Are we that powerful nation ?

      Abhaya should be hung so as MR oligarchs. People are irreparably abused. It is worst than the days of Prabakaran.

      • 0
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        Anyone that live only in the country would feel that so long state media help them like feeling so, but we are just one another poor nation that live without International communities. Had the support came from ICs following tsunami disaster, nothing would have gone right to this day. Recalling the sums volunatarily donated by those nations at the time Tsunami hit the west coast and the other areas, and the way they stood by, I am still greatful to them. We must not be puppeted by psychopaths that see no beyond.

        • 0
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          it shold be had not the support came …

          And this country is seen to have forgotten the past that it lived during the tsunami days.

  • 0
    2

    Are you Sri Lankan talking about Citizens killing Citizens with malice or are you a foreign Jurnalist analyzing the civil war in Sri Lanka?. The hot topic and concern for Sri Lankans is how to handle the crisis and overcome the resolution. Do you as a Jounalist give some helpful thoughts to consider for those in Sri Lanka or are you planning on aiding and abetting Sri Lanka?

  • 1
    1

    .
    In 2009, the same council voted for Sri Lanka .
    Then we accepted the outcome, now we cry foul.

    :-)

  • 1
    1

    No point trying to catch the wild horse after it ran from the straddle.

    No point crying for spilt milk.

    No point blame others when we did the blundar.

    The ones who broke the pot have to fix it.

  • 2
    1

    Mal[h]indaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!.

    Let Other Countries will take care of their own business with UNCHR.
    AND We, Sri lanka should take care of our problems with UNCHR,

    Otherwise, withdraw the membership from U N and be a Free developed Country??????. like Switzerland.

    According to F King Jarapassa, G L Pee Risk, Central Bank Boss Caba raal,

    Now we are Free country!.
    We have a LION wit a Sword in Our Flag.
    We are not Afraid to Any Country. [But we pawned Every thing to India,China we have and Only the wife left]
    We are Self Sufficient Nation Now!.
    We have Far sighted Political Leaders and Parliamentarians without Cheating And Lootings. like the Italian parliamentarians, who sold Luxuriant Vehicals to save money for country!.
    Hard to find, Best Parliament Opposition without any Faults on their Back grounds.
    No Heroin, no marijuana, no Hard liquor. No where to find any Rapes, and Very religious minded people we are.
    We can Manage our House hold Income with Rs, 2500.
    We have Mannar oil and HambayaThota GAS!.
    Our Scientist are Sharing The Knowledge in Middle east House Holds!, and gets a good earning with out them there will be more chaos in middle east!,
    Middle eastern’ Sheiks, Sheik’s Wives and their children’s are working in our People’s Villas as NVQ qualified House Keepers { GRUHA PALIKA, GRUHA PALIKAAWOs } and Drivers For our Lamborghinis, Porches, Jaguars and BMWs.
    And Our school children get free full board and tickets To Disneyland in USA.
    Do not be Afraid:
    Mage “PUTHA MAL[H]INDA” Chandiya???????????

  • 1
    1

    Mal[H]indaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!.

    Do not Trace behind Resolutions.
    Tell your Idiot Bosses and tell your bloody educated idiotic brain also TO;
    FIRST Find, Find, Find Solutions for present Sri lanka’s crisis’s.

  • 2
    2

    Abhaya

    “UNHRC should be ignored .”

    At your own peril.

    It seems that you want entire country and people be dragged down, beaten and destroyed.

    Are you a secret admirer of VP?

    Are you an agent provocateur planted by LTTE diaspora?

    • 1
      1

      What else you can expect from a blind fellow that see nothing beyond the stupidity of Raja oligarchs ? These men like Abhaya living on the west, but do nothing- you could better make efforts to straighten dog tail, there you will learn the good sides of dogs, but not people like Abhaya.
      They are worst than rural illiterate that repeat voting to Rajapakshes even if their lovely ones have been caught by drugs and rape incidents. Abhaya is seen very egoistic by all means. No efforts can make him convinced about the gravity of the problems that the locals face in today´s context.

    • 1
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      Sooka, the ex-UN apparatchik (in cahoots with the other Tamil activist, Pillay) is threatening sanctions. We must heed her words, as we look at the long suffering Israel, which has had innumerable sanctions imposed on it.

    • 1
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      Dude it is a pointless body with no clout . do you have any idea how many resolutions have been ignored simply because a permenant member will veto it .(ahem China Ahem Russia Ahem Ahem India lmao) The only option for babama and the EU is to impose sanctions on their own . Which is not likely to heppen .

  • 0
    1

    The Pakistan resolution would have been more meaningful if it was confined to “armed drones”. There are so many surveillance drones that do not carry arms. By their nature, they cannot give prior warnings. However, it is a good move to press the need that any kind of armed attack should be followed by a warning.

    It is good that local media noticed that Sri Lanka was not the only subject of the UNHRC assembly.

  • 1
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    You’ve left out our friendly Ch. 4. It did report on the Resolution against Sri Lanka as expected, but not a word against the other two you mention. Ch 4 is but a propaganda arm of the UK government subsidised by the BBC.

    • 1
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      I know; you are very sharp on observing that. “Lies agreed upon” Fame Bell Pottinger too missing.

  • 0
    1

    The UN should establish a special tribunal before which MsLinda Seneviratne, Rajiva Wijesinha, Dayan Jayatilleke etc. should be arraigned.
    Their crimes?
    Subjecting the Sri Lanka reading public to their unbelievable sycophantic stupidities.
    The Sentence?
    Confinement together without any other intelligent human beings permitted to communicate with them. Visiting privileges accorded the Rajapassa siblings only!

  • 0
    2

    This joker Malinda is “trying to justify the guilt or murder of “A” by saying that since “B” did it to someone else, then “A” is perfectly justified in his action”.

    And this is the type of newspaper “laptop” editors SL can produce to sing hosnannas for the regime. The bad old professor GL Peiris has “failed” in his maths and is now trying to play a game of poker to save his head. It is only in SL the reverse means the obverse, that a loss is a win. So, Malinda, as he writes the way he does, can be understood as having been part of a growing list of jokers and dreamers.

  • 0
    1

    You live in a world somewhere not even close to reality. However it may help you to make your living as same as Mahainda Samarasinghe , G.L Peiris, Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimalasiri Gamlath and others.Butthe reality is Mahinda Rajapaksa, his familiy, you and your collegues has put our country into a grave danger. Now the regime cant do anything to correct this. Violating anyones human rights is unacceptable to any form of human beings in this world. You have to accept this universal truth. It doesnt matter you like it or not. Israel has not being implemented or not. No body can challenge the truth unless they are so stupid to that!

  • 0
    1

    Malinda’s question was answered by Commissioner Navi pillay at a interview for an Australian newspaper even before it was posed. “If 1,600 Palestinian killed needed an inquiry at UNHRC why not one for 40,000 Tamils(This number is 300,000)” was the Main-Frame questions Navi Pillay had posed before Malinda pose his Laptop question. Malinda did not ask BBC, or Al Jazeera et al, at that time why would not they carry Tamils news. He did not tell Royal Government that they should not have voted for the palestinian resolution either. Now Navi Pillay has to fill up the loophole on her question like this, “if there is revolution for 1,600 people death and Sri lanka wants to vote for that, why not have a revolution for 300,000 peoples death and have other counties to vote for that”?

    This Malinda’s myopia journalism. His questions should have been When the Sri Lanka’s devastating 8 Mighty Migs, days and nights, flew up to 200 sorties a day and burned the Vanni’s entire civilization, Landscape with Thermobarics, Chemical bombs, cluster bombs, the UNHRC did not bring a revolution even after the SG of UN was perplexed by seeing that seen ean exclaimed that he never had seen a devastation like that, but, then why the UNHRC is bring a revolution against tiny winey drones attack, they become active only when there is suspected movement and they are with electronic precision not to do any damage even unknowingly the innocents those who are not targeted.

    Malinda should asl BBC or Al Jazeera et al why didn’t they bring the Russian Mig bombing the Vanni Civilisation was not published in their medias. He must try to find out what these medias are going to tell when that GOSL deed of throwing these band bombs on the moving civilians are proved in the coming inquiry?

    Malinda may be a 2nd class child. He doesn’t know when a country sends its terrorist to attack other countries building and kills more 3000 people in one shot and the affected country retaliate with war and Drone attacks. It has to be dealt at Security Council. Certainly not at UNICEF. UNICEF may be good to take care of 2nd class school education only. When current 2nd class students grow up they can come to know more about UNHRC and Security Councils too.

  • 0
    0

    Malinda your man didn’t fare well at the elections. Did he?. Anyways get ready to line up for a new laptop when the other mob gets in. You can’t let your business of media _ _ _ _ _ go down (self censored). Can you?

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