Former President Mahinda Rajapakse has stated that the government must ensure that the hostile provisions in the resolution be removed if it is going to accept it.
In a statement issued to the media, he said:‘The government has decided to accept and pass by consensus the USA sponsored draft resolution on Sri Lanka tabled before the UN Human Rights Council on the grounds that it has been ‘watered down’ in Sri Lanka’s favour.
When this resolution was under discussion, the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Geneva in fact formally requested the sponsors not to place primary emphasis on alleged war crimes issues and to change their approach in consideration for the new government of Sri Lanka. However the sponsors of the resolution have not heeded that request.
There are serious issues with regard to the operational paragraphs in this draft resolution and I wish to draw particular attention to the following:
Operational Paragraph -1 The first operational paragraph encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the recently released OHCHR report on Sri Lanka. The most contentious recommendations in that report have been included as operational paragraphs in the UNHRC draft resolution as the following indicates.
Operational Paragraph – 4 welcomes the willingness of the government of Sri Lanka to allow the mechanisms set up ‘to deal with the past’ to obtain financial and material assistance from ‘international partners’. This would amount to personnel in important judicial and non-judicial bodies in Sri Lanka being paid by foreign powers.
Operational Paragraph – 6 ‘takes note with appreciation’ the government’s proposal to set up a judicial mechanism to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law and ‘affirms’ the importance of the participation of foreign prosecutors, judges, investigators and lawyers in this process. This flies completely contrary to the claim now being made by the government that any mechanism set up will be purely domestic.
Operational Paragraph – 8 encourages the government to remove from office military officers suspected of having violated human rights through a vetting process (even if there is no evidence to prosecute them). This in reality amounts to a purge of the armed forces.
Such operational paragraphs run completely contrary to the expectations that the government itself has generated among our people by claiming that the draft resolution has been ‘watered down’ in Sri Lanka’s favour.
If the government is going to accept this resolution and allow it to pass by consensus, then they should ensure that the hostile provisions are removed and the resolution is brought into line with the expectations of the people of Sri Lanka.’