Sri Lanka has slammed plans by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in a statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council this week, even as Colombo continues with its own Sinhalisation of the Tamil North-East.
The planned annexation “would constitute a grave breach of international law,” Sri Lanka’s representative told the Council in Geneva. “Further, we note the concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur that this annexation plan would potentially have negative impacts on the human rights of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley and lead to forcible displacement of thousands of Palestinians.”
“In the above context, Sri Lanka joins the international community in its call on the Government of Israel to comply with international law and abandon the planned annexation and urges all parties to continue the dialogue towards peace.”
Sri Lanka went on to reiterate that it has “consistently and steadfastly held the principled position of the legitimate and inalienable right of the people of Palestine to statehood and to the natural resources in their territory”.
Sri Lanka’s statement comes just weeks after president Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced the formation of a task force to preserve “archaeology” in the Eastern province, a move criticised by many Tamils as providing cover for Sinhalisation of the region. For decades state-sponsored Sinhala settlements have been constructed in the Tamil homeland, with areas in the North-East coming under more intense efforts in recent months.
In an earlier statement delivered to the Council last month, Sri Lanka once more stated that “two states living side by side in harmony with one another within secure borders, is key to achieving long term security, peace and prosperity”.
File photograph: Abbas meets Rajapaksa in 2014
See more on Sri Lanka and its relationship with Palestine here.