Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, who officially informed the Parliament of Government’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsored UN resolution 30/1, said that the government would continue to work with the UN and its agencies, including the regular human rights mandates/bodies and mechanisms as required in keeping with domestic priorities and policies.
In a special statement, he told parliament that this resolution was co-sponsored by the government without the approval of the Cabinet, Parliament and the people, overruling the reservations expressed by professional diplomats, academia, media and the general public.
He said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received an overwhelming mandate during the November 2019 election to character a sustainable path for the country, to follow a non-aligned, neutral foreign policy and to find home-grown solutions to overcome contemporary challenges. The Minister said the approval of the Cabinet was sought to government’s approach to the upcoming 43rd session of the HRC and to undertake diplomatic initiatives necessary to realise this strategy.
Minister Gunawardene said the government was committed to achieve sustainable peace through an inclusive, domestically designed and executed reconciliation and accountability process including through the appropriate adoption of existing mechanisms, in line with the government’s policy framework and said the government would announce its intention to work towards the closure of the Resolution, in cooperation with the members of the UN.
The Minister said in his statement that ensuing period (2015-2019) saw little progress being made on the pledges to the HRC by the previous government and the operationalization of the resolution 30/1 was extended twice not to expose the misjudgement and low delivery of the previous government that co-sponsored it. “Through Resolution 30/1, severe impositions were cast and Sri Lanka State and its security forces were vilified to append the extremist sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora and certain media, INGOs/CSOs with vested interest.
It also negatively affected the ethnic and religious harmony, already challenged by the ravages of the divisive conflict. During the UNHRC session in 2019, belatedly the former government itself sought to qualify the parameters of the co-sponsorship,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)