Withdrawal from resolution: Sri Lanka to go solo

Sri Lanka will not seek the support of any foreign nation to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution it co-sponsored at the Council in Geneva back in March 2019, as it does not require any such support for withdrawal, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Government is expected to withdraw from the resolution on the third day of the upcoming 43rd session of the UNHRC on Wednesday (26) in Geneva.

“We don’t need the support of any country to withdraw. We are not canvassing for the support of anybody,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary RavinathaAryasinha told The Sunday Morning late last
night (22).

He added that Sri Lanka would not canvass for the support and would act as a sovereign nation.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Aryasinha, who is presently in Geneva, briefed UNHRC President Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger on the decision of the Government to withdraw its co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1.

The resolution was entered into by the previous Government in March 2019 and was aimed at “promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka”, and incorporated and built on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017.

The Cabinet of Ministers last Wednesday (19) approved this decision following a cabinet paper submitted by Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena and the decision was also presented to Parliament on Thursday (20).

Gunawardena is leading the Sri Lanka delegation at the 43rd Session and will formally inform the Council members of the Government’s decision when he addresses the High Level Segment of the Council on Wednesday (26).

He is also expected to present five proposals during his address.

Gunawardena will also respond to the Oral Update on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner on Thursday (27) and is scheduled to meet High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet during his stay in Geneva.

Aryasinha said he had also briefed the ambassadors of the core group that had moved the resolution, who were resident in Colombo (the UK, Germany, and Canada), about the decision to withdraw.