The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka’s human rights violations during the war against the ethnic rebels of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The resolution was passed with 25 of 46 member countries voting in favor, 13 against and with eight abstentions.
The resolution called on Colombo to conduct an independent and credible investigation of crimes allegedly committed by government forces against the minority Tamil community.
The US and other countries and rights groups assert Sri Lanka’s own probes into the alleged war crimes were inadequate.
UN reports that in 2011, 40,000 people, mainly Tamil civilians, died in the final stages of fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army.
Meaningful Action Needed
In his remarks in Washinton DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the vote in the UN Human Rights Council encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward lasting peace and prosperity following decades of civil war and instability.
“This resolution, which builds on a similar 2012 resolution, reaffirmed that Sri Lanka must take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability in order to move forward.” – Secretary Kerry
He says the United States, together with international partners, calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its public commitments to its own people on these longstanding issues.
US says Sri Lanka must take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability to move forward
More work still to be done
According to Secretary Kerry, while some important progress has been made, there is much work still to be done.
The US looks to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to reverse recent negative developments on rule of law and human rights.
The United States stands ready to assist with this vital work, Secretary Kerry emphasized.
“I look forward to continuing our engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and strengthening our friendship with the Sri Lankan people.” – Secretary Kerry
UN Mission To Promote A Durable, Just and Equitable Peace in Sri Lanka
In March 2012, the United States commended the UN Human Rights Council for taking strong action to promote a durable, just and equitable peace in Sri Lanka.
The resolution adopted convincingly promotes reconciliation and accountability after decades of terrorism and civil war.
The resolution welcomes the constructive recommendations in the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, while acknowledging the need to address key issues of accountability.
The resolution also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to present a plan to implement the recommendations and address alleged violations of international law.
To advance these efforts, the resolution encourages the UN to offer advice and technical assistance to Sri Lanka.
By a vote of 24 in favour, 15 against and 8 abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate potential human rights abuses committed during its 26-year-long civil war.
In September 2011, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon sent the report of his panel of experts on accountability issues during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka to the United Nations human rights chief and the President of the Human Rights Council.
The report of the three-member panel, which was released in April, found there were credible reports that both Government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had committed war crimes in the months leading up to May 2009, when Government forces declared victory over the separatists.