News

No resolution from Sri Lanka as UNHRC 46th Session commences

 

  • Home-grown resolution plan abandoned

  • Foreign Minister’s address tomorrow

 

Sri Lanka would not be presenting a home-grown resolution at the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which began yesterday (22), despite flirting with the idea for a couple of weeks, The Morning learnt.
High-level sources at the Foreign Ministry told The Morning yesterday that Sri Lanka had decided against submitting its own resolution at this year’s Session in Geneva, Switzerland.

On 16 February, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Dr. Ramesh Pathirana told The Morning that indications are pointing at a home-grown resolution from the Government to be submitted at the Session.

Although the Government initially considered co-sponsoring a resolution with the Core Group of Countries for Sri Lanka (The UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro, and North Macedonia), it was later learnt by The Morning that the expectations of the Core Group were not met by the Government’s negotiations.

When contacted regarding the matter yesterday, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella directed us to the Foreign Ministry. All attempts to contact Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Foreign Ministry Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage proved futile.

The 46th UNHRC Regular Session, held virtually this year due to travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, would proceed until 23 March, where Sri Lanka’s issues of accountability with regard to the final stages of the war in 2009 would be discussed. The Core Group for Sri Lanka is expected to submit a resolution after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet raised serious concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s human rights situation in her report earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena will address the “high-level” segment of the session tomorrow (24). On 25 February, High Commissioner Bachelet’s report on Sri Lanka is scheduled to be discussed. Bachelet’s report also raised concerns over more recent incidents of alleged human rights violations, including the mandatory cremation policy adopted by the Government. The Government responded to the report by citing inaccuracies in the report and charging that it went beyond her given mandate.

Earlier this month, both the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organisation and Amnesty International Sri Lanka called for an end to what it called Sri Lanka’s impunity with regard to alleged human rights violations.