May 30, Geneva: During the general debate of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today, the two global powerhouses China and Russia expressed their support to Sri Lanka while the United States expressed deep concern on the findings in the Expert Panel report.
During the opening of its seventeenth regular session the HRC heard the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay’s call for establishing an internal mechanism to monitor Sri Lanka’s national investigations into the alleged violations of international humanitarian law.
Responding to Ms. Pillay’s call Xia Jingge, of China said it believed that the Sri Lankan Government and its people had the ability to deal with their internal affairs and the international community must support the government in its efforts to reconcile the country and should provide helpful assistance in this regard.
The representative said the group of experts sent by the UN Secretary-General was to advise the Secretary-General only and asked the Human Rights Council to adopt a prudent approach to the country.
Representative from Russian Federation, Konstantin Dolgov welcomed the steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to address the allegations.
Dolgov said the Russian Federation believes that the approach to this issue must be independent and impartial, as experience showed that all parties to a conflict committed violations.
The United States said it was deeply concerned by the findings of the panel of experts on the violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka and insisted that reconciliation in this country must be built on accountability.
“It was a responsibility of the Government of Sri Lanka to respond to the findings of the panel and to ensure the future for the people of Sri Lanka,” Eileen Chamberlain, the US representative said.
Zamir Akram, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to UN in Geneva speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Organization of the Islamic Conference was of the opinion that the report concerning the events of Sri Lanka was an internal document of the Secretary-General, included information never verified, and that the ongoing efforts in Sri Lanka for peace and reconciliation should be supported by the international community.
Pakistani diplomat Mariam Aftab highlighting the HRC11/1 report on official development assistance to help Sri Lanka fight poverty noted that the international community owed it to Sri Lanka to assist it and to rid the country of the scourge of terrorism.
Norwegian represntativw Bente Angell-Hansen noted the intent of Sri Lanka to address the residual issues after the conflict in an inclusive and just manner.
“Norway remained committed to supporting the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring rights, development and prosperity of all its citizens,” she said.
Andras Dekany, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN in Geneva speaking on behalf of the European Union reiterated the EU’s view than an independent process to address extremely serious allegations should contribute to strengthening the process of reconciliation and ensuring lasting peace and security in Sri Lanka.
France said it supported the UN Panel report, emphasized its legitimacy, and called for justice in relation to violations of human rights there while Belgium noted that the recommendation to establish an independent commission of inquiry on Sri Lanka should be taken seriously.
Dante Martinelli, Representative of Switzerland agreed that it was crucial for Sri Lanka to follow up on the recommendations of the panel.