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Sri Lanka congratulates itself on 'emerging proud' at UNHRC

The Sri Lankan government said the country had emerged "proud" at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this month. 

"Sri Lanka concluded the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council with its head held high with the acceptance of Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review Report followed by a strong supportive joint-statement by the United States, United Kingdom and other member nations," the government's news portal noted in a feature published today. 

The government's self-praise comes amid criticism of its failure to fulfil commitments agreed to in the 30/1 resolution and concerns expressed about the ongoing reports of human rights violations by Sri Lankan forces. 

Despite this, the governments news portal noted: 

"The strategy of the government in working with the Human Rights Council has also come into much praise, as it is widely believed that by changing the combative and defensive approach taken by the former government, and instead showing the world that Sri Lanka had nothing to hide, Sirisena-Wickremesinghe duo has shielded the country from the indignity and hardship that would have ensued if the world had united against Sri Lanka, as seemed inevitable going into 2015. According to a person involved in Sri Lanka’s engagement with the UNHRC over the last several years, “it was a foregone conclusion that we would have been hammered with economic sanctions, and that members of the armed forces may have been tried in absentia for alleged war crimes in foreign courts, before January 8, 2015.”

The diplomat pointed out that since the new regime opted for a fresh start, Sri Lanka has been successful in restoring its reputation on the world stage without any of “the bombast” of the past. “Remember, every single prosecution or investigation in Sri Lanka involving members of the armed forces are for personal criminal conduct that had nothing to do with the war. This government has not allowed a single person to be investigated for their conduct of the war, despite several false allegations to the contrary. That is what it means to truly stand by the armed forces, and not to just use our brave men and women in uniform as political tools to win votes.”

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