Sri Lanka gains support for UNHRC counter-moves, states Foreign Minister


Sri Lanka has garnered the support of a fair number of countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as the Government faces a crucial session that began yesterday in Geneva with confidence, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

“The UNHRC is acting on country-specific resolutions. This was not what it was established for. It was to reach for a higher ground on principles and for general consensus-based agreements to be moved. Now, most of the countries are reacting to this issue because today, it is Sri Lanka while by chance, tomorrow, it could be any other country,” he elaborated.

The minister was participating in a political discussion on YouTube conducted by Senior Journalist Malinda Seneviratne on ‘Sri Lanka’s Position on Geneva Allegations’ over the weekend.

According to the Minister the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report on Sri Lanka consists of the allegations against Security Forces, internal matters and proposals on possible sanctions. Sri Lanka has already replied to its contents in an official capacity, he said.

Sri Lanka had been facing such allegations since 2009 even as the country was taking clear steps to restore the lives of the war affected people with the support and knowledge of the United Nations, he said.

“The situation is not going to be that easy for the Core Group on Sri Lanka to carry through in this manner. We have a fair number [of supportive countries]. I don’t want to make any announcements because things are still moving on,” he said.

“In the post-independence era, economic domination comes under different patterns. As Asia is going to be the new economic power in the next century, powerful nations are attempting to dominate countries like Sri Lanka,” he commented.

“Some Western countries seek regime changes in some parts of the globe to realise their goals. Sri Lanka is also listed under that. However, the way how countries react to these issues have changed. So, this is a battle between the people’s power and the dominating powers that go against the people’s power,” the Minister stressed.

“We have explained the situation. We have circulated the Reply to all member countries. They know the reality. Most of them know Sri Lanka’s achievements, the process in Sri Lanka, and the situation inside Sri Lanka. The rest of the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights deals with internal affairs. I do not think that any country would like their internal appointments made under the Constitution or by law to be commented on in this manner, virtually on hearsay, with no inspection on the ground or a visit to the country. When you are expected to hold the scale in balance, you are not expected to prejudge on any matter,” the Minister added.

“We are following a Non-Aligned foreign policy. We are still committed to our friends and friendships. There could be differences but we have friends. We are also in the global South, fighting for issues concerning COVID-19 and for debt relief. Sri Lanka is also the oldest parliamentary democracy, I would say in Asia. We have many friends who are ready to understand and listen to Sri Lanka,” he noted.