Feb 27, London: Britain is seeking support from member states of the United nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to get the resolution against Sri Lanka passed at the upcoming session in Geneva, a senior minister of the UK government said.
The Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Warsi said at the House of Lords of UK parliament Wednesday that a number of countries have indicated strong support for the resolution but cannot predict the outcome of the vote at this stage.
"We have been working with a number of countries that have indicated strong support for the resolution, but it would be wrong for me to predict at this stage what the outcome of the vote will be. We continue to work incredibly hard to make sure that we get the resolution," Baroness Warsi said.
During the debate at the House of Lords, Lord Naseby, chairman of the All-Party British-Sri Lanka Group, asked why the UK government is "already working to influence the UNHRC to call for an international investigation," when the UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in November 2013 that the UK would allow Sri Lanka until March to begin its own investigations into alleged war crimes before taking steps through the UN.
In support of Sri Lanka, Lord Naseby informed the House that there is now conclusive evidence that the Channel 4 film on Sri Lanka's war features two key "independent female witnesses", who were in fact fully paid members of the Tamil Tigers.
He asked the dispatches from UK's military attaché from Colombo, who witnessed the final stages of the war to be published.
In response Baroness Warsi said she was aware of the new material but the UK is yet to see a meaningful solution to the issues.
"We have yet to see a meaningful, time-bound, independent, domestic-led political process with clear milestones in this matter. Of course, should a genuine and credible truth and reconciliation commission get under way, the UK would be prepared to support it."
When asked whether the invitation for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who chairs the Commonwealth until 2015, to participate in the ceremony in Glasgow Cathedral at the end of the Commonwealth Games to commemorate the start of the First World War, should be reconsidered, the Baroness said the UK must maintain a constructive engagement with the Sri Lankan Government.
While acknowledging that there has been some progress in relation to demining and resettlement, and that there has been some economic progress, Baroness Warsi said the constructive engagement is the right way forward.
"I do not feel that completely disengaging from the Government is the right way in which to move them forward," Baroness Warsi said.