Sri Lanka has won the backing of 22 countries against the UN Human Rights Council’s investigations into allegations of human rights violations during the final stages of the conflict.
A government statement said the countries in a joint statement had termed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution passed last March as an intrusive mandate and unwarranted in the context of Sri Lanka’s own local investigation.
The Like Minded Group (LMG) chaired by Egypt included Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The Group “believes that the intrusive mandate given to the OHCHR by Res. 25/1 to carry out investigations on Sri Lanka is unwarranted, especially in the context where the country is implementing its own domestic processes”.
The statement added “the international community should be mindful not to jeopardize the delicate process of reconciliation that is already underway in Sri Lanka”.
Full text of the LMG statement
It is the second time this year that we are engaging on the situation of Sri Lanka in this Council.
Sri Lanka has regularly briefed this Council on the reconciliation process and developments in that country since the end of the conflict, despite its non-recognition of the resolution 25/1. We also note that Sri Lanka has continued to engage with regular mechanisms of this Council, including special procedures, treaty bodies and the UPR.
We recognize these efforts and encourage Sri Lanka to continue its endeavours towards achieving reconciliation in an inclusive and comprehensive manner. We also note Sri Lanka’s efforts to share experiences with its regional and international partners towards this end.
We therefore believe that the intrusive mandate given to the OHCHR by Res. 25/1 to carry out investigations on Sri Lanka is unwarranted, especially in the context where the country is implementing its own domestic processes.
OHCHR’s efforts should contribute to a state’s own efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights, as stipulated in the UNGA Res. 48/141, UNGA Res. 60/251, UNGA Res. 65/281 and in the IB package. These core documents do not confer any oversight authority to the OHCHR over sovereign countries. Any external assistance to countries should expressly be in consultation with and with the consent of that country.
However, in contravention of these fundamental principles, Resolution 25/1 calls for ‘comprehensive investigation’ by the OHCHR, thereby vesting an investigative authority on the office.
As we have observed, successive resolutions on Sri Lanka have not enjoyed the consensus of the Council members. This was amply evident by the divided vote of 14 against, 10 abstentions on OP 10 of resolution 25/1, which sought to establish the OHCHR investigation.
The international community should be mindful not to jeopardize the delicate process of reconciliation that is already underway in Sri Lanka. Constructive dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation in keeping with the accepted norms of international engagement is key in ensuring and promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
Naming and shaming countries through country specific action based on politically motivated agenda, neither bodes well for human rights nor the future and the credibility of this Council. We should also be mindful not to set dangerous precedents, which may adversely affect all our countries”.