UNHRC is a toothless tiger – will Sri Lanka play its cards right in Geneva?
UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding. Its mandate covers only human rights not international humanitarian laws. Whether all 47 members vote against Sri Lanka, or whether all 47 Members vote for Sri Lanka, UNHRC cannot force Sri Lanka to do anything. Its only an annual circus for political pressures via resolutions. When UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding it implies that he Main Sponsors/Core Group can demand the Sun or the Moon from Sri Lanka, but Sri Lanka is bound in no way to accommodate their demands. However, if Sri Lanka goes and does something stupid like co-sponsoring a resolution inimical to Sri Lanka or accepts a consensual resolution, then we are more or less agreeing to comply with the provisions demanded by the Core Group/Main Sponsors. This was what happened with the co-sponsorship by Sri Lanka in 2015 which led to the OMP, Reparations to Tigers, Truth & Reconciliation Commission and all that was left to do was to create a Special Prosecutors office/Special Court with international lawyers & judges. The 2021 UNHRC Resolution is aiming to put the lid of Sri Lanka’s coffin with this last objective.
If UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding – do we need to go begging to hostile nations to ‘please refrain from drafting resolutions against us’ – NO
If UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding – do we need to go begging to India promising them this port terminal or that port terminal or whatever shopping-list India demands from Sri Lanka? – NO
If UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding – should Sri Lanka go & co-sponsor the Resolution? – NO
If UNHRC Resolutions are legally non-binding – should Sri Lanka agree to a consensual resolution? – NO
Note: why are the Main Sponsors leaking their draft resolutions? This ploy was used when the Ban Ki Moon personally commissioned report was leaked as was the Petrie Report.
Is it to provoke the weak officials representing Sri Lanka to follow the usual appeasement line and agree to something, simply to dilute the resolution, so they can return home claiming to have ‘fought’ and surrendered!
What should be very clear is that Sri Lanka should not go for a co-sponsorship or a consensual resolution.
By agreeing to either Sri Lanka is voluntarily committing itself to what the Main Sponsors want. This is the worst hara kiri or treachery any officials can commit against a sovereign state & the armed forces that eliminated terror.
Therefore, Sri Lanka must
- Stop begging to hostile countriesbut engage countries that have been consistently voting for Sri Lanka
- Request a Sri Lanka-friendly country to seek a vote by show of hands (we will then know who are true friends are) This will prevent a consensual resolution as Sri Lanka has no vote being an observer nation.
- Sri Lanka friendly nations will not take the floor on behalf of Sri Lanka unless Sri Lanka requests them.This is part of diplomatic protocol in respecting Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. If Sri Lanka wants to commit suicide – Sri Lanka-friendly nations will not ask ‘why’. So Sri Lanka must seek assistance from its traditional friends (not traditional enemies)
- 12 years of UNHRC Circus is now enough.We want a closure to this nonsense. Legally non-binding wasting everyone’s time resolution texts full of lies should end. The resolutions have nothing related to violations of international humanitarian laws which is the yardstick that Non-International Armed Conflicts are measured. The recommendations and demands are violating the UN Charter, intruding the sovereignty of Sri Lanka demanding implementation of 13a, abolition of terrorist laws, penal codes and even re-structuring the armed forces & police. Clearly, these resolutions are not about the last phase of Sri Lanka’s conflict or any concern for Tamils or victims of terror.
- Sri Lanka must table a powerful speech highlighting all of the gross irregularities, procedural errors, biases of the UNHRC & its head as well as the factually incorrect reports issued by Special Rapporteurs sent.
- Sri Lanka must declare that it will appoint a task force to answer every allegation made with facts and figures for next Geneva Sessionand based on this rally the Non-Aligned Movement countries for a Joint Declaration of Closure on Sri Lanka which eliminated 30 years of terrorism in 3 years, saved 300,000 lives at the collateral damage of 7721 lives but has had 12 years of no LTTE suicide terrorism and Tamil children, Tamil men and Tamil women have been saved from being turned into LTTE child soldiers and LTTE combatants. Sri Lanka can show the development that has taken place since 2009 in the North & East of Sri Lanka as against how life was under LTTE. These are the success stories that the UNHRC choose to ignore for geopolitical reasons.
Instead of witch-hunting Sri Lanka for ending terror, the Main Sponsors must look at how LTTE fronts are swindling their citizens operating from foreign shores. The GoSL and Foreign Ministry must demand action on LTTE’s illegal financial network that swindles foreign citizens and pockets swindled money into the accounts of foreign politicians and international heads who are the one’s parroting pro-LTTE statements. Investigate them all. GoSL must go on the offensive. Compile a list of all foreign MPs and request they be investigated for links to LTTE & the international illegal monetary network. The only claim of war crimes is based on the allegation of 40,000 dead, the GoSL/Foreign Ministry must go on the offensive using this too by demanding they present names of the supposed dead! There are plenty of ways Sri Lanka can turn the bogus allegations to Sri Lanka’s advantage, why are we not using them?
Shenali D Waduge