Five anxious days for Lanka at UNHRC

With only five more days to go for the 18th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council to end, the Sri Lanka delegation is waiting in anxiety to prevent any resolution against the country.

This is despite the deadline for resolutions ending last Thursday. Concerns over a possible resolution being moved by Canada set alarm bells ringing. So much so, delegation leader and President’s Special Envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who returned to Colombo last Monday hurriedly departed for Geneva the next day.

The Canadian delegation in Geneva had made preparations to move a resolution to list the impending Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) final report, due in November this year, for discussion at the 19th UNHRC sessions in March next year. For that purpose, they were to move that their resolution be listed on the agenda during the current sessions.

The Canadian delegation had in fact invited other delegations in Geneva for a preliminary discussion. In a surprise move, Sri Lanka delegation leader, Mahinda Samarasinghe, had asked Mohan Peiris, senior legal advisor to the cabinet, to take part in the discussion.

Mr. Peiris, who attended the event, has said that the Sri Lankan issue should not be pre-judged and that members should

wait first for the LLRC final report to be made public. The deadline for submission of resolutions was last Thursday. However, a Sri Lanka delegation member said, “We are not taking any chances. Despite the deadline, there is always the possibility of a last-minute shock.”

Mr. Samarasinghe in Geneva has been in regular telephone contact with External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, over issues related to the UNHRC sessions. President Mahinda Rajapaksa who met heads of state in New York had also referred to the on-going UNHRC sessions and the moves that had been afoot to embarrass Sri Lanka. This is the first time both Dr. Peiris and Minister Samarasinghe have been co-ordinating Sri Lanka’s campaign jointly.

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