Sri Lanka on Friday blamed “unbelievable” US pressure on member states that led to the UN adopting a resolution censuring Colombo on its human rights record after a vote at the UNHRC session.
“The intensity of the pressure was unbelievable. Countries were told that Heads of State of countries, which sponsored there solution would be making official visits. Those visits will be in danger unless they supported the US,” Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris said.
Mr. Peiris claimed the US was using the defence agreements the member countries had signed with them for protection against attacks from other countries.
“There were financial arrangements (between US and them).They were even asked, are you a friend or not?” he said.
The US-moved resolution, which called for an international probe into alleged war crimes during the civil war that ended in 2009, was adopted with a 23-12 vote with 12 abstentions,I ncluding India, in the 47-member UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.
“India for example, they had voted in favour of the US both in 2012 and 2013. They departed from that course of action this time. This is a very significant development,” Mr. Peiris said, adding that he saw a clear division that favoured Sri Lanka.
India said the resolution imposed an “intrusive approach” of international probe mechanism which was counterproductive apart from being “inconsistent and impractical.”
Some of the leading nations such as Japan too had abstained. Saudi Arabia and UAE voted against the resolution while Australia and New Zealand both refused to co-sponsor the resolution, Mr. Peiris stressed.
He said the government’s position was there should not have been a debate at all.
“This has shown that countries have to conform to the will of the powerful countries. Sri Lanka had the courage to stand up,” he said.
He said that it was significant that a vote had to be taken on the operative paragraph 10 of the resolution which empowered the UN Human Rights chief to institute an inquiry.
“This was simply a way to have the kind of inquiry that they want to achieve the tailor-made outcome,” he said.
Mr. Peiris lamented that this was despite Sri Lanka having its own local mechanisms such as the commission to probe disappearances and the government-moved census to look at the armed conflict to ascertain personal and property destruction.
“Sri Lanka views the resolution as an unhelpful external intervention. Look at what happened in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan after such interventions,” he said.
In an immediate reaction after the vote in Geneva, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had dismissed the resolution saying Sri Lanka would reject it.