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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka does not want confrontation at UNHRC, but will oppose anti-constitutional moves

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government under new president Ranil Wickremesinghe does not want any confrontation with any international partner at the upcoming United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions but will oppose any anti-constitutional move forced upon the country, Foreign Ministry Ali Sabry said.

Diplomats have told EconomyNext that Sri Lanka is likely to face a new resolution against the island nation’s human rights conduct and the new draft will include references to recent allegations of government suppression of protesters’ rights.

Minister Sabry will lead the Sri Lankan delegation to Geneva where he will brief the UNHRC on the government’s efforts on long sought reconciliation after the end of a 26-year war and how it is addressing past alleged human rights violations.

He said the past two resolutions have included an “external mechanism, external evidence gathering mechanism, charging Sri Lankan citizens outside the country and letting hybrid judges to come and hear the cases.

“Those are all against the constitution. We cannot agree with that,” Sabry appearing before the media for the first time as foreign minister told reporters in Colombo on Monday September 05.

“We are ready engage. We are not going to shut the door. We are a respected and dignified member of the international community. Our legacy is that,” he said.

The Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner has already started gathering evidence on Sri Lanka’s past human rights violations including during the final phase of a 26-year civil war, anti-Muslim riots from 2012 onward, and violations of basic human rights which have not been redressed by the state.

Already many top army officials including former army chief General Shavendra Silva have been banned from entering the United States of America over war crimes allegedly committed at the final stages of the conflict against the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009 when thousands of Tamil civilians were allegedly killed.

Some other military leaders have been banned from entering many Western nations including Europe and Canada over the same allegations.

Minister Sabry, however, said some of the allegations are unfair and blanket while the accused have not been given an opportunity to defend themselves.

Under pressure after crisis

Sri Lanka’s chances at successfully resisting international pressure are likely to be minimum due to the ongoing economic crisis, analysts say.

Sri Lanka will be compelled to engage with all its partners given that its economic recovery depends on better relations with countries who hold a majority stake at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral financial agencies.

“We are not interested in any confrontations. We are interested in consensus and a cordial relationship with all multilateral agencies and [bilateral] countries,” said Sabry.

“We will engage. We will discuss with the core-sponsors, the Human Rights Commissioner and the Commissioners’ office and find the way out.

“But our ultimate mechanism and solution should lie within the constitutional frame.”

Foreign Ministry officials told EconomyNext that they have yet to confirm a new resolution against Sri Lanka but will have a clearer idea  when the delegation led by Minister Sabry meets the core group later this week in Geneva.

When asked how Sri Lanka will face the challenge from some Western nations which are opposed to China’s role in Sri Lanka, the minister said the island nation will navigate the current geopolitical moves to achieve its final aim.

“We have understood the strength of our country and we are realistic about that. That does not mean that we will allow anybody to interfere in our sovereignty and independence,” he said.

“You all know that global powers have a separate geopolitical issue. The challenge we face is how to work with everybody without getting involved in that issue. In that we may have to take some decisions which we can’t reveal right now.”

Sabry said Sri Lanka wants to navigate through both the IMF deal and the human rights issue “diplomatically”.

“If the the content in the resolution is harmful for us and cannot be agreed upon, we will be compelled to oppose it. Once we oppose it, we will try to get the support of all member countries.

“But we should be realistic. When we compare the current composition and the 2021 composition, we might mostly get fewer votes than what we got in 2021. But still, as an independent nation, we may not be able to agree [to  content that’s bad for Sri Lanka].” (Colombo/Sep05/2022)

Comments (2)

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  1. Anu De Silva says:

    You want international money and investment but won’t let the UN investigate. If you have nothing to hide, then let them come and investigate.

  2. Bill Petersen says:

    What’s to hide?

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Comments (2)

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anu De Silva says:

    You want international money and investment but won’t let the UN investigate. If you have nothing to hide, then let them come and investigate.

  2. Bill Petersen says:

    What’s to hide?

Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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