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Thursday, August 13, 2020

India votes against Lanka in Geneva

India was among the 25 countries that voted in favour of the controversial resolution.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 21, 2013 10:08:01 pm

India Thursday voted in favour of a UN Human Rights Council resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka but failed to convince the US and other sponsors to accept amendments that aimed to make it harsher.

India was among the 25 countries that voted in favour of the controversial resolution at the 47-nation body,after making efforts until late Wednesday night to push seven amendments to the draft.

However,with the US conveying that it was too late to amend the resolution and changes could hurt the chances of a strong vote,India decided to go through with the vote without moving any amendments. Pakistan voted against the resolution.

Making an intervention on the issue,India’s permanent representative to the UNHRC in Geneva,Dilip Sinha,said a credible investigation that would satisfy the international community is needed to probe allegations of human rights abuse during the war with LTTE.

“We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community,” Sinha said.

It is learnt that Sinha,who was in the capital for consultations before the vote,proposed seven amendments to the draft resolution to the US special representative Wednesday evening. The main point,which was reflected in the intervention during the vote,was for the institution of a credible and independent investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.

Sources said that India was trying to push for the institution of some kind of an investigation agency to probe the charges. Establishment of a credible and independent investigation commission was one of the demands of former UPA ally DMK that walked away from the government on the Sri Lankan issue. The other six amendments related to making some words in the resolution stronger.

However,sources said that the US representative got back late in the night and conveyed that the amendments had been discussed with other sponsors but putting them up in the draft at this stage could erode support for the resolution among other members.

Faced with the chances of diminished support for the resolution if more amendments were brought through,India decided not to formally move them on the floor. Sources said that moving amendments on the floor would have been seen as disruptive,contradicting the constructive role India has traditionally played at the body.

Also,moving amendments on the floor would have opened up the matter for debate and could have delayed the resolution or hurt the support for it,sources said.

In his intervention,Sinha said that “as a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka,we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter.”

India also noted with concern,the “inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment” to the UN council,and called upon the nation to fully implement the 13th amendment. “India has always been of the view that the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political settlement,acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka,including the Tamils,” Sinha said.

India also called for “effective and timely implementation” of all the recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report,relating “to missing persons,detainees,disappearances and abductions,reduction of ‘high security zones’,return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province”.

Sinha also said that India hoped that the people of the Northern Province “can exercise their democratic rights freely and without delay as guaranteed to them by the Sri Lankan Constitution” in the upcoming election in September.

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