Govt to reject any Geneva Resolution – Udaya Gammanpila | Sunday Observer
Support of friendly nations sought to face ‘UNHRC challenge’

Govt to reject any Geneva Resolution – Udaya Gammanpila

21 February, 2021

Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila said that since Sri Lanka has already decided to reject the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report and any Resolution or Commission based on that report will be resisted by the Government at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions.

The Minister said the Government through its diplomatic channels has sought the support of friendly nations to successfully face the ‘UNHRC challenge’ in Geneva. The President, Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have met Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Sri Lanka to explain the country’s position and to canvas support in favour of Sri Lanka, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Articulating the country’s position on the latest report on Sri Lanka by United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and the decision by the Core Group to submit a fresh Resolution on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena is scheduled to address the high-level segment of the 46th session of the UNHRC on February 24.

Asked whether Sri Lanka would submit a home-grown Resolution at the UNHRC, Minister Gammanpila said so far, the Government hasn’t decided to do so.

Commenting on the attempt by the Core Group led by the UK, Canada and Germany to present a fresh resolution on Sri Lanka based on the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s report, the Minister said this is nothing new. Whenever there is a patriotic Government, these countries bring Resolutions against such Governments. In the past, we have been fighting against these Resolutions. So, we will definitely face this Resolution as well.

Minister Gammanpila said this time, the UNHRC sessions in Geneva would be a virtual conference with no room for a healthy debate, negotiations or compromises. Therefore, this will have an adverse effect on us. When this kind of Resolution is being brought against a nation it needs to have fair opportunity to explain that country’s position.

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka has been denied that opportunity due to the Covid-19 pandemic which is really unfair. That is why many nations such as China, Russia and Cuba had insisted that the UN Human Rights Commissioner postpone this UNHRC session. However, the Western dominated UNHRC didn’t agree to postpone the session. So, we consider holding this UNHRC session when the entire world has faced a pandemic is extremely unfair and it reflects the arrogance of several member nations of the UNHRC, he said. The Minister said, “It should have been right is might but at the international fora especially, within the UNHRC forum might is right. So, we know it is an upheaval task but we are ready to face it.”

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena during a recent meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Foreign Affairs said that the Government and Opposition should work together when representing the country’s foreign policy. Though the country’s foreign policy may have debates within the country, Minister Gunawardena said that everyone must unite in one voice when representing the country internationally. He said that many countries including our neighbour India represent their nation in one voice at international platforms despite domestic differences.

The Minister said he is hopeful that all parties will unite in representing the country’s foreign policy internationally as one nation.