ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from the previous United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution resulted in the fresh resolution that was passed in Geneva this week, the United National Party (UNP) said.
Calling the outcome in Geneva a colossal failure, the UNP said the government’s reversal of the UNP-led government’s cosponsorship of the previous resolution in 2015 left Sri Lanka with the support of just 11 countries.
UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena told reporters today that it was then President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009 who entered into an agreement with the then UN Secretary-General.
“Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa undertook a joint agreement with former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which is something no Sri Lankan president had done before. It is now the duty of the government to uphold the obligations the former president signed”, he said.
Explaining the reasons for his government’s decision to cosponsor the resolution, Abeywardena said they were simply adhering to the conditions the former president agreed to on behalf of the country.
“According to the resolution sponsored by the UNP Government, Sri Lanka would adhere to a domestic mechanism. We did not agree to any foreign involvement beyond observers”, he said, adding that the government should explain what domestic mechanism Sri Lanka is now going to follow.
“Under the UNP Government it was the local courts which would investigate allegations of war crimes and decide on the innocence or guilt of those accused. This government has rejected that procedure by withdrawing from the resolution,” he said.
Abeywardena further said it was the UNP’s ability to positively engage with the international community that secured Sri Lanka the GSP+ concession from the European Union in 2017. Sri Lanka now has until 2023 to win back the confidence of the international community, before the GSP+ comes up for renewal, he said.
It was UNP leader and then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to not sign the Rome Statue which ensured that no citizen of Sri Lanka would be taken before the International Criminal Court, despite the government claiming otherwise, he added. (Colombo/Mar24/2021)