D-Day in Geneva, both sides battle hard

Ameen Izzadeen reporting from Geneva

Sri Lanka has intensified its diplomatic efforts in Geneva to defeat a United States-sponsored resolution -- with a large delegation comprising ministers, deputy ministers, diplomats, ruling party politicians and legal experts working round the clock.

As part of these diplomatic efforts, the President’s Human Rights Special Envoy and Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who is spearheading Sri Lanka’s fight, has met a group of ambassadors from Like-Minded Group (LMG) countries on Thursday and Friday and discussed a common strategy to defeat the US-backed motion.

Mr. Samarasinghe met ambassadors of 15 LMG countries including China, Algeria, Cuba, Pakistan, Senegal, Russia, Brazil and Ecuador and said he was optimistic about the outcome. Sarath Kongahage, Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Berlin, also met several envoys.

Mr. Samarasinghe said Pakistan, Cuba and Sri Lanka were working out a statement which would be circulated among the envoys of member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council for their signature.

The Sunday Times learns both the US and the European Union have also stepped up diplomatic efforts to ensure that the resolution against Sri Lanka is passed.

Diplomats of the US and the EU are visiting the capitals of the UNHRC member-states, many of which have pledged support to Sri Lanka, to urge them to vote for the resolution., which calls on the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and investigate war crimes alleged to have taken place during the last stages of the war.

The Non-Aligned Countries, the Organisation of the Islamic Countries and several African countries have pledged their support to Sri Lanka, but diplomatic sources said some African countries were now wavering.

The Sunday Times also learns that the United States has communicated to the Sri Lankan government that it was going ahead with the resolution. The US has also told the Indian government that it had no intention to withdraw the resolution, the Sunday Times learns.

While Sri Lanka continues its diplomatic efforts aimed at winning the required number to defeat the resolution, it is also beset with the task of countering a series of NGO-led side events at the UN premises on the sidelines of the ongoing UNHRC sessions.

Tomorrow (March 19), the Society for Threatened People’s International and the Minority Rights Group will hold a side event on ‘human rights in Sri Lanka”.

It is believed that at least sections of the controversial Channel 4 video documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: A War Unpunished,” will be screened at this event. One of the panelists billed to address this side event is a family member of the disappeared activist.

Sri Lankan delegation members believe that the wife of the abducted journalist Pradeep Ekneligoda will address the event. Sri Lanka will hold a counter side-event on Tuesday to explain its part of the story with a new video documentary – a sequel to Lies Agreed Upon – to counter the charges leveled at Sri Lankan armed forces in the Channel 4 documentary.

In a side event organized by the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), its President Nimalka Fernando claimed women of minority people in the highly militarized Sri Lanka north were facing sexual harassment. She also claimed her life was in danger because she had come to Geneva to explain human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

The Council for Liberal Democracy in Sri Lanka, which recently released a draft on National Action Plan for Reconciliation, a document which has recommended sweeping reforms, held two side events where Presidential Reconciliation Advisor Rajiva Wijesinha, Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies Chairman Jeevan Thiyagarajah and former ambassador and former Human Rights Commission member Javed Yusuf, explained their views on reconciliation and urged the international community to give Sri Lanka time and space to implement the LLRC recommendations and measures aimed at reconciliation.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other News Articles
Government lifts SriLankan Airlines
D-Day in Geneva, both sides battle hard
Colombo Museum burgled
Lanka boycotts C’ wealth Day reception
Iraq offers oil to Sri Lanka
SF can’t be tried before 2 courts for the same offence: HC Judge
Fashion stars behind bars
Fisher families return to safe-zone Nandikadal
Police used brutal force on a peaceful rally, MPs say
Matale man sold dog meat, saying it was venison
Day-to-day hardship killing voter enthusiasm for polls
Detective journalist busts doctorate racket
GMOA to strike for increased transport allowance
Army, Police claim ‘mistaken identity’ while victim insists he was target
ASP’s arrest is biggest bribery case in 10 months
Switch on to conserving electricity by switching off
Two new Lichens from Horton Plains
Zoo probes unfortunate death of Rosi the camel
Consider the children
PS member questioned by CID
Mahamodera (PBU) to undergo long overdue facelift
Bodies of mother, child flown back to UAE sans postmortem
Luxury buses running low on comfort
Collated results of research bring new hope of ridding deadly scourge: Health official
Unpopular prawns cause major profit loss


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2012 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution