UN Human Rights Council flunks test on Sri Lanka

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.  The UN Human Rights Council concluded its special session on Sri Lanka yesterday by adopting a resolution proposed by the Sri Lankan government.  The Council’s session should have been used to examine the reports of human rights violations and war crimes occurring during  the recent fighting between the Sri Lankan security forces and the opposition Tamil Tigers.  On May 17, the Sri Lankan government had announced that it had defeated the Tigers, recapturing all the territory controlled by them and killing their leaders.  The Tigers had been fighting over the past 26 years to establish an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the country.  Both sides have committed gross human rights violations and war crimes over the course of the conflict.

Amnesty International had called for the Council to set up a fact-finding mission to look into allegations of abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by both sides.  The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told the Council’s special session that an independent, international investigation should be undertaken into these abuses.  Both also called for the Sri Lankan government to give journalists and aid agencies unimpeded access to the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians who’ve been placed by the government in overcrowded internment camps which they can’t leave.

Of course, the Council’s resolution, since it was drafted by the Sri Lankan government, does none of these things.  While condemning the Tigers, it makes no mention of abuses committed by the government forces.  It simply acknowledges that the Sri Lankan government would provide aid agencies with access “as may be appropriate” to the displaced civilians.  

What’s next for the Human Rights Council – asking the Sudanese government to draft a resolution on Darfur?  asking the government of Myanmar to draft a resolution on Aung San Suu Kyi?  The Council could still redeem itself; its next regular session starts next Monday, June 2.  The Council should take up action again on Sri Lanka and this time live up to its responsibilities by establishing an international investigation into the abuses committed by both sides and ensuring unimpeded access for aid agencies and the media to the displaced civilians.

Yesterday was a very sad day for the cause of human rights in Sri Lanka.  Let’s hope it’s not repeated.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

5 thoughts on “UN Human Rights Council flunks test on Sri Lanka

  1. Pingback: Will they remember to tell it right? « This Little Life

  2. Pingback: Sri Lanka: what the UN council should have addressed; possible help from Rep. Shuler | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog

  3. Why should you be disappointed with 3/4th of the world population ??

    Take the countries who voted for it – China, India etc.. and the countries who voted against it as in European countries… Look at the demographic divide….

    Apart from may be China and Cuba, the governments were elected democratically (as in India) hence, the people in those countries have given the right to these governments future decision making. They voted for Sri Lanka.

    I though accepting the fact of majority wins any resolution is being democratic. I cannot fathom why you westerners who love to glorify democracy so much, cannot accept the fact that the motion brought in by SL was passed with a sweeping majority of votes in a democratic manner…

    ACCEPT THE FACT that the LTTE & it's supporters were defeated. Look after your own bloody hands and not others… Bring USA and Israel to the UN before Sri Lanka for the crimes they committed.

    BTW, remember that Isreal voted for the resolution and not against – ACCEPT that fact too !!

    JIM – I have seen many of your articles here and all directed to Sri Lankan government – I trust that you are being paid by the LTTE diaspora !! Prove me wrong !!

  4. Why should you be disappointed with 3/4th of the world population ??

    Take the countries who voted for it – China, India etc.. and the countries who voted against it as in European countries… Look at the demographic divide….

    Apart from may be China and Cuba, the governments were elected democratically (as in India) hence, the people in those countries have given the right to these governments future decision making. They voted for Sri Lanka.

    I though accepting the fact of majority wins any resolution is being democratic. I cannot fathom why you westerners who love to glorify democracy so much, cannot accept the fact that the motion brought in by SL was passed with a sweeping majority of votes in a democratic manner…

    ACCEPT THE FACT that the LTTE & it’s supporters were defeated. Look after your own bloody hands and not others… Bring USA and Israel to the UN before Sri Lanka for the crimes they committed.

    BTW, remember that Isreal voted for the resolution and not against – ACCEPT that fact too !!

    JIM – I have seen many of your articles here and all directed to Sri Lankan government – I trust that you are being paid by the LTTE diaspora !! Prove me wrong !!

  5. Pingback: Sri Lanka: Time for action by the UN | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog