The 3rd revised draft of the US initiated resolution on Sri Lanka , Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka has been tabled this (18th March 2013) evening. No further changes are envisaged between now and voting day although it is possible to submit oral revisions on voting day.
It seems as the US has came under pressure to incorporate mild language from countries like Indonesia, Thailand and probably Pakistan and Cuba. Unlike in the March 2012, this year US has been working hard to get larger consensuses on its resolution. It held two informal sessions within a week to obtain opinions form member countries and has accommodated many such changes proposed.
The present 3rd draft has less strong in its wordings than the first draft and many believe that stronger first draft was aimed at creating a bargaining position for the US. US can now claim the moral high ground showing that it accommodated number of changes proposed by member countries while Sri Lanka lost its ground by taking a non negotiable stand.
This revised draft is not substantive as the initial draft text, but key components are there – High Commissioner’s report, truth seeking mechanism, credible independent international investigations, Special Procedures, OHCHR monitoring/reporting.
Here are the notable changes appeared in the revised draft submitted today.
- The HC’s call for international investigations has moved to a preambulary paragraph from OP1, while the new revised OP2 adds language on credible and independent investigations
- Removal of the individual Special Procedures mandates titles, but retains the wording on “outstanding” visit requests, so in that way still makes reference to all those mandates who requests are public on the OHCHR website
- Welcomes progress made in the area of de-mining, infrastructure, resettlement of majority of IDPs… this was strongly pushed for Thailand, Indonesia and Japan in particular, and it seems that the main sponsors were not too pleased and they have tried to balance out the para by “noting nonetheless” the further areas that need work.
- In OP6, the mention of an interim report at HRC-24 is replaced with an “oral update” and the interactive dialogue at HRC-25 is replaced by “a discussion” – this is due to reservations from Cuba, Russia and Pakistan mainly. Nonetheless it still maintains Sri Lanka on the official agenda of the HRC in both September 2013 and March 2014.
For the revised draft with track changes click here
For the revised draft with track changes click here
Here is the revised draft
Human Rights Council
Austria, Canada**, Croatia*, Belgium*, Denmark*, Estonia, France*, Finland*, Georgia*, Germany, Greece*, Hungary*, Iceland*, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania*, Malta*, Monaco*, Montenegro, Norway*, Poland, Portugal*, Romania, Slovakia*, Slovenia*, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis*, Sweden*, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*, United States of America: draft resolution
22/… Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka
The Human Rights Council,
Reaffirming the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations,
Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,
Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,
Recalling Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007, on institution-building of the Human Rights Council,
Recalling Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 of 22 March 2012 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,
Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population,
Reaffirming also that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable,
Welcoming the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013,
Welcoming and acknowledgingthe progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, and noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts,
Taking note of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to the process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka,
Taking note of the National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka and its commitments as set forth in response to the findings and recommendations of the Commission,
Noting that the national plan of action does not adequately address all of the findings and constructive recommendations of the Commission,
Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all and enact rule of law reforms,
Noting with concern that the National Plan of Action and the Commission’s report do not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,
Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief,
Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,
Expressing appreciationfor the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the visit of a technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner,
Noting the High Commissioner’s call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,
1. Welcomes the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lankaand the recommendations and conclusions contained therein, in particular on the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;
2. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;
3. Reiterates its callupon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity and accountability, and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;
4. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with special procedures mandate holders and to respond formally to their outstanding requests, including by extending invitations and providing access;
5. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;
6. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, with input from relevant special procedures mandate holders, as appropriate, to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion at the twenty-fifth session, on the implementation of the present resolution.
* Non-Member State of the Human Rights Council