Sri Lanka, along with Cuba and Pakistan, will co-sponsor a resolution seeking transparency in funding and staffing the United Nationals Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here in Geneva, during its 19th session starting this week, diplomatic sources said.
According to diplomatic sources, 80 per cent of the UNHRC’s funding requirements are supplied by powerful nations such as the United States and its allies. Also, key positions in the UNHCR are mostly held by those who have served in the foreign services of such countries. Diplomatic sources said that there are serious concerns about the partiality of the UNHRC activities as a result when dealing with the developing world.
In this endeavour to move a resolution at the UNHRC sessions seeking transparency in financial activities, the co-sponsoring countries are backed by numerous countries such as China, Russia and Algeria.
At the last UNHRC session, Sri Lanka tried to move the same resolution. However, it was deferred later following a request from the supporting countries.
Instead of moving the resolution, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Geneva Ms. Tamara Kunanayakam made a statement at the last session. In that statement, she stressed the need for equitable geographic representation in the staffing, equitable appropriation of funds to the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner and the accountability of such appropriation.
“Any procedure that falls short of these ideals is wholly inappropriate. It is only timely that we would urge this Council to take serious note of whatever shortcomings that detracts from achieving these ideals and put in motion a process that would address these issues in a meaningful and responsible manner so as to achieve the ideals of equitable and efficient distribution of funds and symmetrical mobilisation of human resources. This process can only begin if the Office of the High Commissioner permits access to information in a spirit of candour. It is sincerely hoped that this resolution too should not be regarded by some as procedural trivia. May we respectfully observe, that this kind of critique, is symptomatic of the re-emergence of the ghost of the trend that might is right, a trend that must be discouraged at all costs,” she said in her statement last time. (Kelum Bandara reporting from Geneva)