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
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
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
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