India’s vote against Sri Lanka on the United States-sponsored resolution for the second successive year in the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has disproved the charge that Delhi had watered down the contents of the draft, said Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan here on Thursday.
Without naming any party, the Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu told journalists here that India’s stand had boosted the image of the country among the Tamil diaspora. It would help in expediting relief and rehabilitation for the war-affected Tamils in the island nation, he said.
Mr. Vasan claimed the move would make Colombo treat Tamils on par with the Sinhalese. “The vote is a clear reflection of the views and sentiments of India as a whole.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International India Chief Executive G. Ananthapadmanabhan said the new U.N. resolution did a good job of highlighting the past and ongoing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, but regrettably failed to establish an independent and international investigation into the alleged crimes under international law.
In a statement, he said: “This is a positive development. U.N. member States have sent a clear signal to Colombo that crimes of the past cannot simply be ignored, but need to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.” Since the conflict ended, “we have seen the government crack down on dissenting views in a bid to increase its grip on power. Human rights defenders, journalists and the judiciary are among those that have been targeted through threats, harassment or even violent attacks — this has to stop,” he said.
“This resolution should be a wake-up call for all the Commonwealth countries — they cannot leave grave human rights violations in Sri Lanka unaddressed. Commonwealth leaders must ensure before they meet in November that justice for past crimes has been served,” Mr. Ananthapadmanabhan said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Geneva Director Julie de Rivero said while the continued inclusion of Sri Lanka on the UNHRC’s agenda was an important step, it failed to call for an independent, international investigation into war crimes and other serious human rights abuses committed by the LTTE and government forces during the last phase of the war, a step called for by Sri Lankan groups, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the U.N. Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.