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India abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.


GS-II: International Relations (India and its Neighborhood, International Organizations, International Treaties, Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background to the Resolution
  2. About the UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka
  3. Results of the UNHRC Voting

Background to the Resolution against Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka is facing a new resolution calling on it to hold human rights abusers to account and deliver justice to victims of its 26-year civil war (1983-2009).
  • The war was mainly a clash between the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgent group, the latter of which had hoped to establish a separate state for the Tamil minority.
  • Sri Lankan forces and Tamil rebels were accused of atrocities during the war, which killed at least 1,00,000 people.

About the UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka

  • The draft resolution is based on a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) – according to which the government of Sri Lanka had created parallel military task forces and commissions that encroach on civilian functions, and reversed important institutional checks and balances, threatening democratic gains, the independence of the judiciary and other key institutions.
  • Sri Lanka abruptly withdrew in 2020 from an earlier UNHRC resolution (Resolution 30/1) on war crimes – under which it had committed, 5 years previously, to a time-bound investigation of war crimes that took place during the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Results of the UNHRC Voting against Sri Lanka

  • The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was, however, adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.
  • Sri Lanka was quick to reject the UN move to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes in the country, committed by the armed forces and the LTTE.
  • The statement made clear Sri Lanka’s resistance to the process envisaged in the resolution to prosecute war criminals through an international evidence gathering and investigation mechanism.
  • Sri Lanka also extended a “warm thank you” for the “solid support” shown by the 11 countries, including China, Pakistan, Russia and Bangladesh, that voted against the resolution, and in support of the Sri Lankan government.

Click Here to read more about the India-Sri Lanka relations and the Geopolitical significance of Sri Lanka

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023