The EU presidency is bent on pursuing a resolution against what it described as the poor human rights record in Sri Lanka on or before the next UN Human Rights Council session on November 27 unless the government makes substantive progress into the latest inquiries on the spate of abductions and killings of civilians in Colombo and the north and east, the Daily Mirror learns.
Finland, who holds the rotating presidency of the EU, attempted to put forward a similar resolution at the last UN Human Rights Council session which concluded in early October but was defeated in its efforts following stiff opposition from India and several other countries which supported Sri Lanka`s efforts to investigate the incidents.
However with little or no progress in investigations conducted so far even as the government set up a National Commission of Inquiry and invited an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to observe the inquiries Finland will seek to put forward the resolution in the very near future.
In fact it was Finland which issued a statement last week on behalf of the co-chairs expressing ?deep regret? over the air raids in Killinochchi which killed 5 civilians and also damaged a hospital in the area forcing patients to flee in fear. The draft resolution Finland attempted to put forward at the last UN Human Rights Council Session read ?Expresses its concern at the recent escalation of violence in Sri Lanka following the resumption of hostilities, leading to increasing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including increased extrajudicial killings and disappearances, impunity, large-scale displacement and the continuing forced recruitment of soldiers by the LTTE, including of children. Contd. on A 3
The Council calls for the respect of human rights and calls upon all parties to put an immediate end to the violations of humanitarian law, and to guarantee access for humanitarian aid to the population as well as to guarantee the protection of humanitarian workers.?
Just prior to the Geneva talks the EU presidency issued another statement expressing concern about the development of the conflict in Sri Lanka and underlined the need for thorough and credible investigation and monitoring of the alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in order to end the culture of impunity and guarantee that law and order are respected.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka`s permanent representative at the UN Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam in a speech at the UN on October 27 responded to reports by the EU stressed that the Government of Sri Lanka does not resort to a strategy of deniability with regard to allegations of human rights violations as .
He said as a further manifestation of its policy of active engagement with the UN, the Government has invited the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion or Expression to undertake missions while this month Ambassador Allen Rock, Special Advisor of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict will also visit Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Kariyawasam reiterated that the Government firmly believes in the policy of constructive engagement and cooperation, which he says is the cornerstone of the approach to peace process, and is at the core of the vision of the Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who himself is a firm advocate of human rights and individual freedoms.