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Sri Lanka faces another resolution at UNHRC

Updated 25 March 2013

Sri Lankan reactions to the United Nations Human Rights Council's adoption of another resolution on Sri Lanka entitled - 'Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka', have been steadily seeping out since the vote took place on Thursday 21st March 2013 in Geneva. We've been collecting them, along with reactions from the Tamil nation and from around the world below...

The resolution was passed with 25 member states voting in favour of the resolution, 13 against, 8 abstaining, and Gabon not voting. 

Reactions to the resolution

From Sri Lanka:


Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa - Mahinda Rajapaksa defiant (23 March 2013)

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa - Sri Lanka fumes over Indian support for resolution (22 March 2013)

Opposition party UNP - UNP blames govt for UNHRC resolution (24 March 2013)
Special Envoy on Human Rights to Geneva Mangala Samarasinghe - Samarasinghe: resolution's agenda is not human rights (24 March 2013) 
Minister of Youth Affairs Dalas Alahapperuma - Imperialists are trying to divide SL - Youth Affairs Minister (22 March 2013)
Minister of Petroleum Susil Premajayantha - SL Petroleum Minister blames 'LTTE diaspora' for resolution (22 March 2013)
JHU leader & Minister of Technology Research Champika Ranawaka - JHU calls for Asian brotherhood without India (24 March 2013)
National Freedom Front - Govt must reconsider importing from India and US - NFF (24 March 2013)
Sri Lankan media reactions - Sri Lanka fumes over Indian support for resolution (22 March 2013)
SundayTimes.lk - SL media points the finger at GTF-TNA for Botswana's abstention (24 March 2013)

UN member states:

'Life does not stop on 21st march'... - US (24 March 2013)

‘International community will look at other steps’ – US State Dept (24 March 2013)

Canadian foreign minister Baird welcomes resolution (22 March 2013)

US calls for action on reconciliation and accountability (21 March 2013)

British Parliament debates ‘Justice for Tamils’ (25 March 2013)




HRW: Australia and India weakened UNHRC criticism of Sri Lanka (23 March 2013)

Amnesty, HRW criticise UNHRC resolution for falling short of international probe (22 March 2013)

ICJ calls for CHOGM venue change (22 March 2013)


Tamil nation:

Letter from Tamil civil society of the North-East (published prior to the final vote) - Appeal on upcoming UNHRC resolution by Tamil civil society in NE (14 March 2013)
Tamil National People's Front: TNPF: 'local investigatory process has to be rejected outright' (23 March 2013)

Tamil National Alliance: Sampanthan welcomes resolution and dismisses criticism of India (21 March 2013)

Canadian Tamil Congress: UNHRC resolution a 'missed opportunity' – CTC (21 March 2013)

British Tamils Forum: Failure of the UN system - BTF (22 March 2013)

US Tamil Political Action Council: USTPAC: 'Strong international action on Sri Lanka is well overdue' (23 March 2013)

Global Tamil Forum: GTF ‘dismayed’ at further time given to Sri Lanka (25 March 2013)


Before the voting took place a Discussion and Conclusions session was held, where several countries, including Sri Lanka, spoke on the resolution.

See our earlier post: Last ditch efforts… (21 March 2013)

See our Twitter feed for live tweets from the UN HRC in Geneva whilst the voting and discussion was taking place here.

See the full text of the resolution that was adopted by the council below or download the pdf here.



UNHRC resolution 22/1: 25 yes, 13 no, 8 abstain (21 March 2013)

25 member states voted YES: Argentina, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Italy, Libya, Montenegro, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, USA.

13 member states voted NO: Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Phillippines, Qatar, Thailand, Uganda, UAE, Venezuela.

8 ABSTENTIONS: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia.

The resolution was brought forward by the United States, and was co-sponsored by the following 11 UNHRC members: Austria, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Czech Republic.

Non UNHRC members who sponsored the resolution include Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, UK, Albanida, Australia, Bosnia and Herzogovina, Cameroon, Cyprus, Latvia, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.

According to UN proceedings, states can retrospectively co-sponsor upto two weeks after a resolution has been passed.

Text of resolution 22/1

Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka

The Human Rights Council,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,

Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on institution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the code of conduct for special procedures mandate holders, of 18 June 2007,

Recalling also Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 of 22 March 2012 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,

Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population,

Reaffirming also that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable,

Welcoming the announcement made by the Government of Sri Lanka that elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province will be held in September 2013,

Welcoming and acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, and noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and the resumption of livelihoods, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts,

Taking note of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to the process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka,

Taking note also of the national plan of action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka and its commitments as set forth in response to the findings and recommendations of the Commission,

Noting that the national plan of action does not adequately address all of the findings and constructive recommendations of the Commission,

Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all and enact rule of law reforms,

Noting with concern that the national plan of action and the Commission’s report do not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief,

Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,

Expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the visit of a technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner,

Noting the call made by the High Commissioner for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

1. Welcomes the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka[1] and the recommendations and conclusions contained therein, in particular on the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;

2. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;

3. Reiterates its call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;

4. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with special procedures mandate holders and to respond formally to their outstanding requests, including by extending invitations and providing access;

5. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;

6. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, with input from relevant special procedures mandate holders, as appropriate, to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its twenty-fifth session.










































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