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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

UNHRC resolution anti-government, but pro-people, says Sri Lankan MP

Rejecting the notion that the Sinhalese community as a whole would harden its stand as a result of the resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the country’s Tamil Nationalist Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran on Sunday said that on the contrary, there was realisation that the resolution had come about because of the Sri Lankan Government’s failure to do the right things at the right time.

“There is realisation that grave injustice has been done to the Tamil people and it is coming back to them. We keep saying it is a good resolution for the whole country. It is anti-government, but pro-people. Regardless of ethnicity it will help all our people. It is an indictment of the government for it failure to live up to its promise,” Mr. Sumanthiran told The Hindu.

While expressing happiness over India’s decision to support the resolution, he said he appreciated that it was a difficult decision for India, considering the bilateral relations between the two countries. “But we are happy that India took a decision. Because it is only now the Sri Lankan government will realise that giving assurances gives it a duty to keep them. It will have some positive effect,” Mr. Sumanthiran said.

He said the TNA MPs were invited by the U.S. State department in October last year to discuss the issue and in January this year he went again to hold talks. “The resolution was the result of those efforts. The U.S. redefined its policy towards Sri Lanka in this period. It decided that the Sri Lankan government is not going to do anything unless some pressure is exercised,” he said.

Responding to a question whether such external pressure would not have adverse consequences, he said Tamil people could not continue to live as slaves or second-class citizens in their own country. Equality and respect for human rights had international standards. “The Sri Lankan government must discharge its accountability by agreeing to an independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he said.

Asked about the talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the TNA, he said the onus on the government is to restart the talks and take it to a conclusion. Urging the Sri Lankan government to quickly resettle the people, demilitarise the area and grant meaningful devolution of powers, he said resettlement must incorporate housing and creation of livelihood.
B. Kolappan
The Hindu


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