UNHRC used as cat’s paw to harass SL, President MR – Mahinda


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said some countries were using the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as a cat’s paw to destabilise Sri Lanka. But, he declined to name those countries.

Minister Samarasinghe alleged that the government had been relentlessly pursed since the conclusion of the war in May 2009.

He was responding to a query at a media briefing at SLFP headquarters by Colombo based The Hindu correspondent whether Sri Lanka construed Indian National Security Advisor Ajith Doval meeting Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, MP

and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as a hostile act. Minister Samarasinghe said: "I don’t want to pin point any country."

Minister Samarasinghe said India hadn’t voted for US sponsored resolution to initiate an external investigation into accountability issues in Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UNHRC last March.

Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and United States of America voted in favour of the resolution.

Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Kenya, the Maldives, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Vietnam voted against the resolution.

 Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia, the Philippines, and South Africa abstained.

India threw its weight behind anti-Sir Lanka resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

Minister Samarasinghe said that Indo-Lanka relations were being strengthened. The minister recalled the circumstances under which the UNGA had set up the UNHRC in place of HRC to overcome the politicisation of the Geneva process. The minister alleged that the UNHRC had failed to live up to the expectations of the global community.

Minister alleged that a section of the international community was engaged in a campaign against Sri Lanka. He said the on-going Geneva process had given a fillip to the campaign against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the run-up to the January 8 presidential election.

Accusing Maithripala Sirisena and his alliance of not speaking with one voice as regards the executive presidency, Minister Samarasinghe said that the Opposition should clearly explain its stand on the issue. The Opposition had declared that the presidency would be abolished, though subsequently the country was told it intended to retain the presidency after having introduced far reaching amendments, the minister said. The Kalutara District MP challenged Maithripala Sirisena to specify the amendments he wished to bring in if the presidency wasn’t to be abolished.

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