India has urged Sri Lanka for early holding of Provincial Council elections and to ensure that all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively, in accordance with the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.
Delivering a pre-vote statement during the UNHRC session on draft resolution L1/Rev.1 titled “Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka,” Indian representative reiterated that his country supports the call by the international community for the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority.
Despite Sri Lanka’s calls for India’s support at the UNHRC sessions on its human rights and accountability record, the closest neighbor of the island nation decided to abstain from voting today. Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retired) Jayanath Colombage recently stated he is hopeful that India would stand by and vote in favor of Sri Lanka.
During the pre-vote statement, the Indian representative Mr. Pawankumar Tulshidas Badhe said, “India believes in the primary responsibility of the states for the promotion and protection of human rights and constructive international dialogue and cooperation guided by the principles and purposes of the UN Charter in support of such efforts.”
India says it has contributed to the relief, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process in Sri Lanka after 2009, as an immediate neighbour of the island nation.
“Our development assistance has focused on the restoration of livelihoods and economic revival, especially in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern Provinces.”
India stressed that its approach to the question of human rights in Sri Lanka is guided by two fundamental considerations. First is their support to the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, dignity and peace and the second is in ensuring the unity, stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. “We have always believed that these two goals are mutually supportive and Sri Lanka’s progress is best assured by simultaneously addressing both objectives.”
Mr. Badhe went on to note: “India supports the call by the international community for the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority, including through the early holding of elections for Provincial Councils and to ensure that all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively, in accordance with the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.”
India stresses that the work of OHCHR should be in conformity with mandate given by the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly.
India urged the Sri Lankan government to carry forward the process of reconciliation, address the aspirations of the Tamil community and continue to engage constructively with the international community to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens are fully protected.
Japan, which was among the 14 countries that abstained from voting at the UNHRC session, meanwhile stated that in order to achieve national reconciliation and improvement of human rights situation, it is critical for Sri Lanka to implement its own initiatives.
“Japan hopes the international community will encourage and support Sri Lanka’s efforts.”
Japan recognizes the need for improvement regarding the human rights situation in Sri Lanka as well as the need for further effort for national reconciliation in the country, the representative said.
He stated that Japan takes note of the action taken by Sri Lanka such as the establishment of the commission of inquiry to investigate past cases of human rights violations and payment of reparations amounting to Rs. 142 million during 2020.