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Friday, March 28, 2014

UN Resolution against Sri Lanka - India abstains from voting..

Alex Hales hit a sensational unbeaten hundred as England pulled off a dramatic six-wicket win over Sri Lanka to throw open the Group I for semifinals places in the ICC World Twenty20, in Chittagong on Thursday. Chasing a huge 190-run target, England rode on Hales’ magnificent maiden T20 hundred to overhaul the target with four balls to spare after losing two wickets for no score in the first over. Members of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea's recent ballistic missile launch as a violation of U.N. resolutions and will continue discussions on an "appropriate response", the council president said.

This post is about Sri Lanka, but certainly not Cricket …… the International reaction was too varied … while Australia voiced its opposition to an international investigation, David Cameron welcomed the move.  It is all about the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka. The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Thursday to launch an independent investigation into alleged atrocities in Sri Lanka, despite fierce opposition and allegations of bias from Sri Lankan officials. Australia is not one of the 47 voting members of the council but could have co-sponsored the resolution if it backed the inquiry.

Twenty-three countries voted for the bill and 12 against and there were 12 abstentions ~ and India is part of the last 12 !!!. A United Nations resolution (UN resolution) is a formal text adopted by a United Nations (UN) body. Although any UN body can issue resolutions, in practice most resolutions are issued by the Security Council or the General Assembly.   Overriding fierce objections from Sri Lanka, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to open an international investigation into possible war crimes by both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the final stages of a 26-year civil war thatended in 2009. The high commissioner, Navi Pillay, had urged the creation of an independent inquiry on the grounds that the Sri Lankan authorities had made little progress in investigating possible war crimes during the military operations that crushed the Tamil Tigers’ brutal rebellion to establish a homeland five years ago. That lack of progress, Ms. Pillay added pointedly in a report to the council in February, is “fundamentally a question of political will.” Sri Lankan investigations of the military’s actions lack independence and credibility, she added.

The present vote is to be seen as the culmination of years of mounting international pressure for a credible investigation. Two months after the war ended, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution commending Sri Lanka’s actions in ending it. Thursday’s vote came after Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the council, Ravinatha Aryasinha, protested that the resolution represented “a grave threat to the sovereignty of U.N. member states” and breached international law. Ambassador Zamir Akram of Pakistan said, “This resolution is about politics, not about human rights.” In this background comes the news that India, which had supported tamer resolutions on Sri Lanka’s war in the last two years, backed both proposals, but abstained from the vote on Thursday, saying it was concerned about the creation of an external investigation with an open-ended mandate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the decision of the UNHRC to initiate its own independent investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. "This is a victory for the people of Sri Lanka who need to know the truth about what happened during those terrible years of the civil war so that they can move forward," he said in a statement.  While the U.S.-sponsored resolution was passed with 23 votes in favour, the immediate neighbour where people have been speaking on this for long – decided to abstain ! evoking mixed response in Sri Lanka.  The resolution itself may not have made everyone in Colombo as happy, but in terms of India’s decision, it did bring some cheer to politicians and rulers of Lanka. In what could be a major boost for Sri Lanka, Russia, India, China and South Africa decided not to support the US-backed United Nations human rights resolution against the island nation. Russia and China have voted against the motion while South Africa and India have abstained.

Looking at it, India has vascillated from supporting Sri Lanka, to voting against it in the last two Human Rights council sessions and now abstaining from voting ! India while defending its decision to abstain argued against the “intrusive” nature of the resolution, said it was concerned that the resolution had the potential to hinder the efforts of the country rather than contribute constructively to its efforts, and “inadvertently complicate the situation.”

One good reason for the Indian decision could be the condition internally – there could be a world of difference in what Delhi perceives as against what those in Tamilnadu do.. UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay recommended authorizing an investigation – India’s move may gain some geo-political mileage.  India’s only domestic worry about the UNHRC vote has been the backlash from Tamil Nadu. On both the occasions in the past, when US-led resolutions were passed against the island nation, India voted in its favour for fear of a backlash from Tamil Nadu after being publicly indecisive till the last minute. Tamil Nadu witnessed widespread protests and rallies demanding India to vote in favour of the resolution. All the political parties in the state wanted India to support the resolution, with the Tamil Nadu assembly even unanimously asking for it.

Now the elections have provided a newer perspective – Congress perhaps has nothing to gain, DMK is no longer constituent of UPA.  Congress for the first time is threatened to be no serious contender with some of its frontline leaders refusing to contest the elections. So, a decision of abstention on Lankan vote does no damage to them.  New  Delhi has been concerned by its curtailed geopolitical leverage with Sri Lanka, with the island nation apparently favouring China over India. so now some political parties would attack as Congress not caring for the  sentiments of tamils now and in the past too.

There is further news that elated by response at UN,  Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the release of all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody for poaching.  Narendra Rajapaksa, the fisheries ministry spokesman is quoted as saying  that at least 98 Indian fishermen are under Sri Lankan custody for violating the IMBL. 
Before the ink dries, comes the news that Union Minister P Chidambaram said, "Personally, I feel India should have supported the resolution." He is quoted as saying that there was no unanimity among the parties in Tamil Nadu on the resolution and the ruling Congress party took a neutral stand of abstaining ! ~ will it have any impact in the elections in Tamil Nadu remains to be seen

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th Mar 2014.

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