India refrained from moving oral amendments to the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after it became clear that the main sponsors, especially the U.S., were in no mood to make changes owing to fears that some African countries might abstain or cross over and oppose the resolution, said official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs. While 25 countries, including India, voted in favour, 13 countries, including Pakistan, voted against and eight abstained.
When India’s Permanent Representative to UN Dileep Sinha was summoned here, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai asked him to move seven amendments. On reaching Geneva, Mr. Sinha contacted his American counterpart and informed him about India’s desire. The principal amendment would have brought the progress made by Sri Lanka in implementing the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) under the gaze of the international community.
The U.S., after consulting other co-sponsors of the resolution, came back to India late on Wednesday and said the incorporation of Indian amendments could lead to a fracture in the alliance favouring the resolution. These included some African countries who, as it is, were uneasy allies. From Asia, while Japan was mollified by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit and voted against the resolution, South Korea, with a newly elected government, was a cat on the wall (it finally voted with India and the United States).
The U.S. Permanent Representative told Mr. Sinha that his country wanted to increase the margin as compared to last time rather than see a depletion in the strength of those questioning Sri Lanka’s human rights record during the closing phases of the conflict between its security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Therefore, said official sources here, India decided not to press for amendments and fell in line with the resolution as hammered together by the U.S. and other co-sponsors. “We would have been seen as disruptive rather than constructive. It just didn’t work out,” said official sources.