ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka should use diplomacy and not engage in confrontation at international fora such as the United Nations Human Rights Council to find solutions former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo Wednesday.
“The government should place its trust in diplomacy and not confrontation that is step number one because diplomacy can lead you to solutions but from the start, if you are going to call all the countries that criticize you enemies we will not go far because Sri Lanka has voluntarily over the years has become a signatory to all Human Rights resolutions passed in the UN since 1948,” he said.
Addressing a press conference Samaraweera who withdrew his candidacy from the last election said “so now we can’t be acting like North Korea or Venezuela of Eritrea, Sri Lanka is a country that has always dealt with the world on equal terms.”
He added that Sri Lanka’s foreign relations are more important than ever at this moment when the country’s economy is in the doldrums and hurtling toward an abyss.
Further, he said that the truth behind the UN Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 is hidden behind lies and untruth just like the MCC grant the country lost which was also hidden behind a mountain of lies.
Sri Lanka promised probes into allegations of war crimes in 2009
He said on May 23, 2009, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon came to Sri Lanka and issued a joint statement with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 26 that Sri Lanka promised that they will implement a mechanism to investigate whether international laws were violated towards the end of the war, as various allegations were levelled at Sri Lankan security forces.
He said this was a serious document issued by the two diplomats to which both sides agreed to.
“The Secretary-General underlining the importance of an accountability process in addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and the government stating that measures will be taken to address those grievances,” he said quoting the final passage from the joint statement.
Moreover, he said through UN Human Rights Council resolution S-11/1 which was presented by the Sri Lankan government in 2009 on assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion of Human rights and protection of the human right says that the government welcomes the Secretary-General’s arrival to Sri Lanka at the invitation of the President.
“President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the one who invited Ban Ki-moon to Sri Lanka, he did not come to visit Sri Lanka by force,” Samaraweera said.
He said it was through this resolution the 13th amendment to the constitution was internationalized for the first time.
“We know about their promises, but the world didn’t know that the world got to know it later, this proposal came in 2009, none of these was implemented in 2010 and 2011,” he added.
So he said the UN together with other countries presented resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2011 and in 2013 and in 2014, he said when the international community could no longer wait, decided to conduct an international investigation of Sri Lanka whether Sri Lanka likes it or not which won by a majority of votes at the session.
“Then the government appointed the Paranagama Commission just to show that they are doing something,” he said.
He added that the same commission in their final report said that independent judges need to appoint to investigate allegations such as the white flag incident, video clips by Channel 4 and bombing of hospitals as they would be considered as war crimes if they were found out to be true.
Also, he said In 2009 Sri Lanka was supported by 29 countries out of the 47 in the UN Human Rights Council, by 2012 it was reduced to 15 and when the countries knew Sri Lanka was lying and it was reduced to 12 by 2014 and now it’s 11.
“In 2015 all the countries supported us, no one voted against us, Sri Lanka is now supported by a handful of failed countries like Eritrea and Venezuela,” Samaraweera said.
He also added that countries with dictatorships support Sri Lanka not because they love Sri Lanka but because they fear if they vote against Sri Lanka then they will pave a path for the international community to look into their matters as well.
Samaraweera said that if the first report by the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) which was appointed in 2014, was tabled in the UN Human Rights Commission in March 2015, the leader of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government would have faced travel sanctions, “But luckily the government changed on January 8, 2015,” he added.
He said as soon as he was appointed Foreign Minister and he went to Geneva and requested Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, then president of the UN Human Rights Commission, not table the OISL report at the session as a new government is in power in Sri Lanka and that they will work according to the mandate they were given and will implement a national independent judiciary mechanism to look into the allegations. Which resulted in the 30/1 resolution.
Further, he said that President Sirisena saw every single word of the 30/1 resolution and approved it at that time and as a result of the resolution presented by the government they were able to get the GSP+ relief, get the EU ban on selling of Tuna fish from Sri Lanka in Europe removed and include Sri Lankan Military personnel in the UN peacekeeping troops. (Colombo/Mar31/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe