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A phenomenal victory

A phenomenal victory

Sri Lanka achieved a phenomenal victory at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday. The resolution put forward by Sri Lanka received 29 votes in favour, 12 against with 6 abstentions. Even some signatories who called for the Special Session did not oppose the Sri Lankan resolution.

This is a phenomenal victory for Sri Lanka, its foreign policy and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in particular. Almost all speakers, including those who sponsored the call for the Special Session acknowledged the President's genuine interest to bring relief to the internally displaced. They also welcomed the initiatives already taken by Sri Lanka in this regard.

What is important is that the Human Rights Council reaffirmed the respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Sri Lanka, and its sovereign rights to protect its citizens and combat terrorism and condemned all attacks that the LTTE launched on the civilian population and its practice of using civilians as human shields.

What more, it also commended the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of the Internally Displaced Persons and welcomed the continued commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of all human rights and encouraged it to continue to uphold its human rights obligations and the norms of international human rights law.

In contrast to the loud mouthed propagandists who called for tribunals against Sri Lanka the Human rights Council commended the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of the Internally Displaced Persons.

Those that wanted to put Sri Lanka in the dock had to beat a hasty retreat in face of the avalanche of support from the international community which was quite widespread, encompassing all continents.

The Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference all gave unreserved support to Sri Lanka and questioned the double standards on human rights. The debate on the Sri Lankan situation also turned into a debate on the principles of conduct in the Human Rights Council. For example, the Non-Aligned Movement firmly believed that preserving the core principles of avoiding selectivity and double standards, as well as promoting an approach of cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights, were vital to the success of the Human Rights Council.

The Indian delegate was of the opinion that by forcing a Special Session on the Council, some Members had, regrettably, politicized the Council's work. It was an opinion shared by many members. The delegate of the Organization of Islamic Conference said that for some there were differing standards for judging human rights as well as the criterion for combating terrorism. The Cuban delegate's opinion was that it was an attempt by certain colonial powers to stigmatize a smaller country.

The Syrian delegate said that the convening of the Special Session was clearly interference in the internal affairs of a country. "It was also strange that this Special Session had been requested by the very same who normally turned a blind eye to the violations committed by the forces of Israeli occupation in the Occupied Arab Territories," he said.

The representative of Democratic People's Republic of Korea was more forthright when he expressed grave concern over the politicization, selectivity and double standards that were practiced by some by singling out Sri Lanka for purposes other than genuine human rights, while ignoring gross human rights violations including civilian killings as a result of bloody wars that were carried out by powerful countries elsewhere in the world.

Today Sri Lanka stands not alone. It has great support among the community of nations. Even super powers could not put Sri Lanka in the dock. This shows that our foreign policy has been basically sound, correct and in harmony with new developments in the world where the Third World nations are beginning to have their say registered unequivocally.

What is also significant is the fact that even those countries that opposed the Sri Lankan resolution had to grudgingly acknowledge that the defeat of LTTE terrorism had opened a new opportunity for peace and reconciliation in the island. They also had to acknowledge that Sri Lanka is working in cooperation with the United Nations and the international community in the promotion of human rights.

We hope this victory would open the eyes of those local and foreign elements who were misguided by the biased and false propaganda barrage that emanated from Western capitals.

Courtesy : Daily News

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