UNHRC Resolution – Improved, but Insufficient

for Accountability & Justice

by Thambu Kanagasabai – LLM [London] Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 14, 2021

Sri Lanka’s contemptuous stand regarding UNHRC Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1 as rejected by it has come under discussion in the current 46th Session of the UNHRC which is expected to pass a final Resolution against Sri Lanka. A zero draft Resolution has been crafted by the Core members with the UK playing the leading role. This follows after the Human Rights High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka made public on January 27, 2021. Among other statements issued by the UNHRC Commissioner, a warning to the International Community was made stating that “Sri Lanka’s current trajectory sets a scene for the recurring of the policies and practices that gave rise to human rights violations.”

She also stated that, “It is time for international action to ensure justice for international crimes as Sri Lanka has demonstrated inability and unwillingness to advance accountability at the national level.”  She also pointed out that the “Systematic impunity must be addressed by Sri Lanka.”

It is a sad chapter in the history of UNHRC when its Commissioner’s Report listing five important recommendations to the member countries hasbeen swept under the carpet and the Core members particularly UK with the support of USA have dealt a blow to accountability and justice by submitting a Resolution which is straying away from the Recommendations of the UNHRC High Commissioner.  The crucial and much needed recommendation of referring Sri Lanka to the ICC and the Recommendation of Universal Jurisdiction and applying of Magnitsky Act sanctions have all been left out. After the lapse of 6 years since Resolution 30/1 in 2015 neither accountability nor justice nor reconciliation and nor even human rights have come under the serious attention and even mentions by the Sri Lankan Government… Having miserably failed to implement any of the recommendations, the Sri Lankan government has finally declared its withdrawal and rejections of these Resolutions to free itself from its commitments to UNHRC.  The commitments it made in the Resolutions will remain alive, however, and will not lose their validity and binding on Sri Lanka.

By discarding and rejecting the Recommendation of referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC, the UK has shielded the alleged war criminals in Sri Lanka from all culpabilities by allowing the encouragement and continuation of human rights violations by other rogue countries who committed and are committing human rights violations.

It can be stated that UK  hailed as a champion of democracy, human rights and rule of law has unabashedly trampled the core concept of democracy namely accountability and justice while shielding war criminals and Sri Lanka which will never admit its own failings in human rights through accountability.

It is time for the UK to rise to the occasion and pursue the correct path to mete out justice to the Tamil victims of war without leaving them in limbo for the sake of narrow geo-political and economic interests and or parochial considerations.

It need not be stated that while accountability is the main pillar of a democratic state, non-accountability and impunity are the main armours of a dictator to sustain his dictatorial rule… Distressingly and disappointingly, the UNHRC has ignored and booted out the recommendations of the Human Rights High Commissioner who called for the setting up of a full independent International Impartial Mechanism [IIIM] even after UNHRC confirmed the lack of accountability in Sri Lanka’s domestic Judicial Mechanism. There is no iota of doubt that war victims deserve full justice not half-baked solutions.

With the  ICC and international mechanism being shut out, the helpless Tamil war victims are forced to explore other avenues in search of justice. The option appears to be that they should stand on their own feet and consider launching peaceful non-violent mass demonstrations and agitations without involving politicians who always have their own axes to grind.

UK owes the responsibility to live up to its reputation and international standing as a champion which must dispense justice through actions and not by words. The duty also lies on UK to vindicate the relevance, objectives and obligations of UNHRC and ICC in their role to net the war criminals in any country while closing all avenues of their escapes and evasions. These steps will strengthen and enhance the reputation of UNHRC and validation of its Resolutions enabling UNHRC to become more effective and vibrant. The current discussion in UNHRC 46th Session on Sri Lanka must uphold its commitments and should resurrect itself from its blow to ICC and entrench its role and stature thereby making accountability and justice fully complied and respected without any delay or evasion.


No Responses to “UNHRC Resolution – Improved, but Insufficient”

  1. Pon Kulendiren

    UNHRC Draft Resolution is an Eyewash
    My view is that :
    UNHRC Resolutions are full of confusing, slippery words like a cat sitting on the fence. They never directly give a wording or Timeline warning in the Resolution to solve at least the problem by 75%. It is pure diplomacy. The leading country that is responsible for committing the SIN is Britain. They would have easily solved the issue when they left Sri Lanka before giving Independence in 1948. If they did not want to introduce Federal states like India in Sri Lanka when they left, they should have made North and East India’s state like the Andamans. Divide and rule policy was the British strategy so that the countries they ruled will depend on them to solve their internal issues. That is what is happening now.
    Sri Lanka has a history of not honoring pacts and agreements. The country wiil take UNHRC on an excellent ride again as they were doing in the past. They have the Communist, Buddhist anti-American countries on their side. They have problems getting Muslim countries’ support because of Sri Lanka’s policy on Muslims and Islamic traditions.
    The Defence secretary during the Mahinda government gave financial support to the Zaharan militant Islamic group. It is an accepted fact. There is proof for it. The Presidential council did not investigate it. They used the country’s Security as a Trump card to deceive people and win the 2019 Presidential elections. In the 2020 Parliamentary elections, Mahinda’s party did not get a two-thirds majority. Mahinda’s Bud party bough over six Muslim MP’s, one Tamil, and one Sinhalese MP using Chinese money. Now they are facing economic disaster along with Covid 19 Epidemic which and badly Tourism and Local businesses. It helped the Lotus Bud party to play politics using COVID 19. The government creates issues to antagonize Minorities. Issues such as :
    1 Burying of Mualim corpses in Irrainaiteevu island in Northern Province.
    2 Creating Gossips that Kurunegala Muslim doctor was trying Sterilising Singhalese women. There was no proof for it.
    3 The Claiming Tamils’ heritage sites as Buddhist sites by appointing an archaeological team consisting of Singhalese only.
    4 Colonizing Tamil areas by Singhaese, Occupying Tamil people’s hereditary lands.
    5 Face covering issues for Muslim women etc. etc.
    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, as stated by Newton. It applies to Sri Lanka. The ethnic hatred seeds sawn have turned into Politics. All people are now up in arms through demos., COL is high rocketing. Political vengeance with the help of the judiciary is at its peak. Will there be a revolution like the Libyan revolution. These are moving towards that direction UNHRC experts should know that. After LTTE lost the war, Sri Lanka violated Geneva’s convention in handling those who surrendered with a white flag. Why did LTTE lose the war; Igaibe 11 countries suortedSri Lanka on an agreement; if LTTE is disposed of, the Sri Lankan government will give Tamil-speaking people the rights. Did they do it? NO. They used the victory aginst LTTE to come to power Thaey acted as saviors. It was not one to one fight, Thye were unlucky Congres, and DMK was in control, and the 9/11 attack took place. They took advantage of the unsolved murder of Rajive Gandhi
    They killed selected people on suspicion after the war with the help of some Tamil traitors. The Tamil refugees after the war were kept in an open-air slave camp Menik farm uber watch.
    Th resolution should strongly be worded to ensure the Implmeantino of PC of North and East within a given time frame as agreed. Failure to implement wiil end up Si Lanka in International Justice of Inquiry

  2. Kana

    UK has the responsibility safeguard of the Tamils in Sri lanka because they are the former rulers of Ceylon who united the Tamils’ Kingdom with majority Sinhalese. When they left the country on 1948, they hand over United Ceylon to the majority Sinhalese. It was our Selfish Tamils’ leaders mistake. Today also the same scenario following by TNA.

  3. Kanagasabapathy Balendra

    Diplomacy is a ‘Slippery Equipment’ used by the so called diplomates to cheat others and themselves to varying degree depending on the “matters’ under discussion expecting others to be. fools.