Lanka’s all-weather friends slam Western double standards | Daily News

Lanka’s all-weather friends slam Western double standards

Adhere to principles of non-selectivity, objectivity and impartiality, and without submitting to politicization:
A UNHRC session.
A UNHRC session.

Most of the third world countries in the South – from Asia to Africa to South America as well as Middle East – stood by Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week and denounced the practice of selective targeting by deviating from the principles of non-selectivity, objectivity and impartiality.

While the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia deplored the attitude of the affluent Western countries, other friends in three continents, Venezuela, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Syria urged the world body not to be selective in its criticisms and refrain from politicization and double standards.

“Indeed, protection and promotion of human rights is a prime responsibility of the State concerned and it is for them to seek any support and assistance, as they may deem it useful and necessary, from the relevant UN human rights mechanisms,” Iranian delegate told the 51st Regular Session of the UNHRC on Monday.

The Egyptian delegation stressed the importance of adhering to the principles of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity when considering human rights issues in Sri Lanka, and avoiding the politicization and exploitation of human rights to interfere in internal affairs, with the importance of paying attention to building the capacities of national institutions and technical cooperation.

Turkey, pointing out that Sri Lanka has made significant progress in several areas, called on the UNHRC to provide time and space for further steps to improve the situation. Venezuela also made a similar plea to the human rights body of the United Nations.

China and Russia openly spoke for Sri Lanka and opposed external interference during the Interactive Dialogue at the 51st Session. Permanent Representative Chen Xu stressed that China appreciates Sri Lanka’s continued efforts in enhancing and protecting its human rights, especially in reconciliation, reconstruction and counter-terrorism.

As a traditional friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka, China firmly supports Sri Lanka in safeguarding national sovereignty and independence, maintaining social stability and realizing economic recovery. “We believe that the Sri Lankan Government is able to lead the people to overcome temporary difficulties,” he said.

In a scathing attack, China expressed vehement opposition to any country taking advantage of current difficult situation in Sri Lanka to seek self-interest, and urges relevant parties to respect the human rights development path that Sri Lanka has independently chosen according to its national conditions, and abandon the practice of using human rights to exert political pressure and interfere in other’s internal affairs.

The Chinese envoy emphasized that the UNHRC’s resolution on Sri Lanka is a product of politicization. It does not abide by the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity. It has not been recognized by Sri Lanka, the country concerned, and has not played a constructive role in promoting and protecting human rights in Sri Lanka.

The support from these countries show the goodwill, trust and confidence Sri Lanka enjoys at the international level. During the last six weeks, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held a series of discussions with dozens of ambassadors and high commissioners and most of them assured that their countries would stand by Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. They include Cuban Ambassador Andres Marshelo Gonzales Garrido, Ambassador of Turkey Rakibe Demet, Ambassador of Iran Hashem Ashjazadeh, outgoing Russian Ambassador Yury Materiy and Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang.

Now seven countries, US, UK, Canada, Germany, Malawi, North Macedonia and Montenegro are working on a plan to bring a new resolution to continue the Western agenda. Earlier this week, Iranian Delegate to UNHRC noted that the UN Human Rights Council should avoid politicization and refrain from political prejudices toward any country. “These mechanisms should not be misused for the political goals of specific group of countries against developing nations.”

“We are alarmed at the proliferation of country-specific mandates that are initiated and persisted in pursuance of political agendas of some States and that would adversely affect the credibility of the Council,” he added. The Syrian delegate commended the actions taken by the Sri Lankan Government to overcome the social challenges and economic difficulties it faces. The Syrian delegation urged the Council to support, in a spirit of constructive dialogue and cooperation, the Sri Lankan Government's efforts to restore stability through national dialogue and to meet the basic needs of its people. “We renew our rejection of Western interventionist agendas that exploit human rights issues to implement political agendas and to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries of the global South,” said the Syrian Delegate.

The adoption of resolution 1/46 by the Human Rights Council without the consent of the State concerned, Sri Lanka, was contrary to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and a violation of the foundations on which the Council was founded, he pointed out.

“It confirms that the establishment and imposition of politicized mandates through non-consensual resolutions without the consent of the State concerned is a failed approach that must be stopped. Syria notes Sri Lanka's readiness to cooperate with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council based on respect for its national sovereignty and non-interference in its internal affairs and urges the Council to support efforts to address its internal situation through national mechanisms,” said the delegate.

Cuba told the UN Human Rights Council that the UNHRC should privilege the use of universal mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review or UPR, as the only guarantee to deal fairly and non-selectively with human rights issues in all countries. The delegate said that Cuba will continue to defend these principles in all relevant intergovernmental bodies, particularly in the Human Rights Council.

The delegation of Egypt also reiterated the importance of the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner continuing to strengthen dialogue and coordination with Sri Lanka, in order to ensure a positive outcome and provide the necessary support in accordance with national priorities, and in full respect of its sovereignty. South Sudan said that it is necessary to point out that the needed constructive dialogue in the area of the promotion and protection of human rights must always be within the consent of the country concerned.

Indian delegate Indramani Pandey, while expressing concerns over what he described as lack of progress in implementation of the measures to find a solution to the ethnic problem, however emphasized that, “India has always believed in the responsibility of states for promotion and protection of human rights and constructive international dialogue and cooperation guided by the principles of the UN Charter.”

Sri Lanka has sought genuine support and understanding of the UNHRC to address the issues. The Sri Lankan delegation led by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC said Sri Lanka, hard hit by the economic crisis, would not agree on the clause of the previous resolution that has started external evidence gathering.

“Measures aimed at promoting reconciliation and human rights, if they are to be meaningful and sustainable, must be based on cooperation with the country concerned, be compatible with the aspirations of its people, and be consonant with its basic legal framework,” he said and added that, “We endeavour to establish a credible truth-seeking mechanism within the framework of the Constitution. The contours of a model that would suit the particular conditions of Sri Lanka are under discussion.”

Sri Lanka consistently held the position that an external investigation mechanism was not acceptable as it would be a violation of the country’s Constitution.


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