FM to meet UN rights chief | Sunday Observer
To convey govt’s decision on Resolution 40/1

FM to meet UN rights chief

Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena is scheduled to meet the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to convey Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from the co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 of March 2019 since it violated the country’s constitution and served only to appease extremist sections and vested interests, the Minister’s Media office stated.

The Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday unanimously decided that the government should withdraw from the Resolutions 40/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ which also incorporates and builds on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017.

The Minister in a statement to Parliament the next day announced the government’s decision and it’s desire to co-operate with the members of the UN to meet this goal. “Resolution 30/1 conceded a false narrative of both the circumstances of the 30-year separatist conflict and also the number of casualties,” he told the Parliament.

“During the 2019 election President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received an overwhelming mandate to follow non aligned, neutral foreign policy and to find home grown solutions to overcome contemporary challenges,” he underscored.

The Minister will leave for Geneva early Tuesday where he is expected to address the High Level segment of the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 26 to formally inform the HRC on the decision. He is scheduled to respond to the Oral Update by the High Commissioner who has raised a number of concerns on Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing the March 2019 Resolution, on February 27.

The Minister’s media division said Minister Gunawardena will meet the Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UK’s Human Rights Minister and Secretary General of International Parliamentary Union during his stay in Geneva.

Ahead of the upcoming Session of the HRC scheduled to commence next Monday (24 February), Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha briefed the President of the HRC Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger on the decision of the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw its co-sponsorship of the Resolutions.

The Foreign Secretary left for Geneva on Friday. He had informed the President that the Cabinet of Ministers approved this decision following a Cabinet paper submitted by Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. He also informed her that Minister Gunawardena will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council, and will formally inform the Council Members on the Government’s decision.

She was also informed by the Foreign Secretary that on the eve of the decision being taken by the Cabinet, the Ambassadors of the ‘core group’ that had moved the resolution, who were resident in Colombo ( the UK, Germany and Canada), had also been briefed by Minister Gunawardena.

Ambassador Tichy-Fisslberger appreciated Sri Lanka’s initiative to keep her briefed on the matter.

Minister is scheduled to return to Sri Lanka on 29th of February.