UN rights commissioner, Sri Lankan foreign minister spar at 46th UNHRC

The ongoing 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is proving one of the toughest sessions that Sri Lanka has ever faced in more than a decade

Feb 25, 2021
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The ongoing 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is proving one of the toughest sessions that Sri Lanka has ever faced in more than a decade. 

 With calls for fixing the accountability for various war crimes committed during the three-decade long Sri Lankan civil war, the pressure is growing on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC. On Wednesday, Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, and Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena sparred in the UNHRC session. 

Bachelet asked members states to “explore new ways to advance various types of accountability at the international level, for all parties, and seek redress for victims.” She alleged the Sri Lankan government has failed the process of “genuine truth-seeking and fixing accountability”. 

She said, “The impact on thousands of survivors, from all communities, is devastating. Moreover, the systems, structures, policies, and personnel that gave rise to such grave violations in the past remain – and have recently been reinforced.”

Tamil and Muslim minorities are being excluded by divisive and discriminatory rhetoric including from the highest state officials, she said. 

On the other hand, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena rejected the allegation and said the council unjustly broadened its scope to matters, including that of governance, that is pure domestic to any sovereign country. 

He said, “trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendations and conclusions reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which certain elements have relentlessly pursued against Sri Lanka. These recommendations are based on ill-founded allegations.” 

He further said, “We regret the disproportionate attention drawn to Sri Lanka by this Council, driven by political motivations.” He further asked members to reject the erroneous report and its recommendation. 

DMM Thank you

SPS-NBN

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