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Sri Lankan civil groups welcome Indian decision on Geneva

Sri Lankan civil groups have welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister that India is inclined to vote for the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Convention currently underway in Geneva.

The Prime Ministers statement is a significant departure from its earlier stands on Sri Lanka: Reuters

In his statement to parliament Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “We do not have the entire text of the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka, but we are inclined to vote in its favor”. The stand marks a significant departure from earlier stands taken by the Indian government. In 2009, Sri Lanka relied heavily on Indian support to escape censure at the Human Rights convention in the immediate aftermath of the war.

Responding to the news, the head of the Centre for Policy Analysis in Sri Lanka Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu spoke to Firstpost and said it was “important and significant that the government of India has said it is inclined towards voting for the resolution in Geneva.”

Dr. Saravanamuttu went on to say that the resolution was significant because it dealt with the non implementation of promises Sri Lanka had made to the international community, and also the non implementation of recommendations made by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, which is a government appointed body that sought to bring about a home grown mechanism to further reconciliation among Sri Lankan Tamils impacted by the war.

He added that the motion was not “censorious or punitive in any way”, and was only facilitating Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made by its own body and further advance the process of reconciliation.

Meanwhile the DMK which was planning a high level meeting to decide on whether or not to stay in the government coalition cancelled its meeting following the Prime Ministers statement. DMK Chief Karunanidhi who was planning a fast on 22 March said that the fast had also been cancelled, and welcomed the governments position on the resolution.

Sri Lanka is involved in heavy lobbying at Geneva, with Foreign Minister GL Peiris going so far as to warn that an adverse resolution against Sri Lanka would impede the process of reconciliation.

Earlier however, Sri Lankan civil groups said that the resolution has just proved to be a handy means for the government to divert attention from growing discontent within the country.

“I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about. The Geneva resolution is not a billah (demon). The government is trying to evade the real issues in Sri Lanka by making a big deal about the resolution,” said Ruki Fernando, the head of the Human Rights in conflict programme at the Law and Society Trust in Sri Lanka.
by Ayeshea Perera

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