UNHRC Twitter video contains footage shot in other countries: Keheliya

ECONOMYNEXT – Some of the footage seen in a widely shared video tweeted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) about Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations were shot in other countries, a top cabinet minister said.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters this morning that Sri Lanka has already proved that some of the content were shot in different countries involving incidents unrelated to Sri Lanka’s protracted armed conflict.

The video was tweeted by the UNHRC on January 27, days before the release of a new report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet press briefing today, Rambukwella said questions raised by certain members of the international community about Sri Lanka’s human rights record are politically motivated.

He said it is important to filter out the questions Sri Lanka should answer at a diplomatic level as some of the questions are raised by parties with a vested interest.

For example, he said, in Toronto, Canada, and parts of the UK where a sizeable Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora reside, political leadership can be persuaded to raise issue with Sri Lanka in various international fora.

“It’s not like we don’t have and don’t know about certain pressures and questions which are raised only for political purposes. We are bound to answer them to the required extent,” the minister said.

Recalling former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s decision to co-sponsor the US-backed Resolution 30/1, he said: “We are still experiencing those results.”

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However, Rambukwella said, Tilak Marapana, who was also Foreign Minister in the same government after Samaraweera, was able to clearly state at the UNHRC that some of the conditions imposed were contradictory to the constitution of Sri Lanka.

However, Marapana’s statement focused on the constitutional and legal challenges of “non-citizen judges” participating in a judicial process to address Sri Lanka’s alleged violations.

Last February, incumbent Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena officially informed the council that Sri Lanka will withdraw its support for resolution 30/1 and the subsequent resolutions 34/1 and 40/1, claiming it would instead appoint a domestic commission of inquiry. (Colombo/Feb02/2021)

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