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* Civil society organizations in Sri Lanka and overseas urge UNHRC to reject US resolution
Sat, Mar 22, 2014, 09:57 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 22, Colombo: World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka, a collective of 51 civil society organizations and individuals in Sri Lanka and overseas, has urged the United Nations Human Right Council in Geneva to reject the United States sponsored draft resolution(HRC-25) directed against Sri Lanka.

In an urgent appeal sent to the UNHRC, the concerned individuals and organizations around the world said the draft resolution is in contravention of the basic principles of the UNHRC as enunciated in its 'Charter,' including the principles of "universality, impartiality, objectivity, non- selectivity and constructive international dialogue," along with the norms of fair play and justice.

The collective said the UNHRC has an established mechanism to take up the issues raised in the resolution namely the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and therefore there is no justification for a country- specific resolution.

The Appeal noted that the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which is intended to be the basis of any Resolution adopted in the present sessions is in fact based on the Secretary General's Panel of Experts (POE) Report of March 2011, and the Channel 4 videos.

"The POE and Channel 4 videos have not at any stage been tabled officially before the Council and Sri Lanka has had no opportunity to respond to them before the Council. Thus, the credibility of these two sources has never been tested. This is a serious violation of procedural fairness," the urgent appeal pointed out.

The appeal said the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 that set up the Human Rights Council does not mandate the Office of the High Commissioner to engage in any investigation, leave alone "lead" an investigation into Human Rights violations.

"Assigning such a mandate would be in violation of the UN Charter and would furthermore set a dangerous precedent. The Resolution should be rejected for these reasons," the collective wrote.

The Appeal said that in pursuing country-specific resolutions against Sri Lanka UNHRC is exceeding its mandate and thereby facilitating an erosion of international law and urged the United Nations to advise the Human Rights Council to reject the draft Resolution (HRC-25).

Full Text of the Appeal sent to UNHRC (Courtesy of Canadian South Asians For Peace and Unity)


World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka
PO Box 4066, Mulgrave VIC 3170, Australia`
20th March 2014

To: Members of the UN Human Rights Council 2014

An Urgent Appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council to Reject the Draft Resolution against Sri Lanka

We, concerned individuals and organizations around the world, urge the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to reject the proposed draft Resolution (HRC-25) directed against Sri Lanka. The draft resolution is in contravention of the basic principles of the UNHRC as enunciated in its 'Charter,' including the principles of "universality, impartiality, objectivity, non- selectivity and constructive international dialogue," along with the norms of fair play and justice.

The draft Resolution raises concerns with respect to two sets of issues: first, a purported increase in human rights violations in the country; and second, a lack of progress with regard to accountability, i.e. a lack of credible investigations into violations of humanitarian laws allegedly committed during the last stages of the war.

With regard to the issue of human rights violations, the UNHRC has an established mechanism to take up such matters - namely the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and therefore there is no justification for a country- specific resolution.

With respect to the issue of accountability, the High Commissioner's report of 24 February 2014 (A/HRC/25/23) that is intended to be the basis of any Resolution adopted in the present sessions, cites two sources of allegations regarding the issue of alleged violations of humanitarian law: The Secretary General's Panel of Experts (POE) Report of March 2011, and the Channel 4 videos.

The POE and Channel 4 videos have not at any stage been tabled officially before the Council and Sri Lanka has had no opportunity to respond to them before the Council. Thus, the credibility of these two sources has never been tested. This is a serious violation of procedural fairness.

Furthermore, with respect to the POE, there are allegations that sample letters generated by Tamil Diaspora elements and sent online to the Panel comprise a part of the evidence on which the Panel reached its conclusions with regard to alleged violations of humanitarian law; that satellite photos used by the Panel were manipulated; and that data on humanitarian aid sent to the conflict zone by the Government of Sri Lanka was deliberately under-reported.

With respect to the Channel 4 videos, the latest allegations against them involve claims that witnesses used in the videos are "fully paid-up members of the Tamil Tigers." These allegations are of so serious a nature that they deserve to be investigated.

The draft Resolution (HRC-25) in its recommendations requests the High Commissioner, inter alia "to lead a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of Human Rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka." It should be noted that the UNHRC can avail itself of the UPR mechanism to address these concerns, because the UPR mechanism is specifically designed to ensure compliance with the principles of the UNHRC's 'Charter.'

The UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 that set up the Human Rights Council does not mandate the Office of the High Commissioner to engage in any investigation, leave alone "lead" an investigation into Human Rights violations. Assigning such a mandate would be in violation of the UN Charter and would furthermore set a dangerous precedent. The Resolution should be rejected for these reasons.

We represent organizations and individuals in many countries. Standing in solidarity with the great majority of people in Sri Lanka and others who are of view that the UNHRC in pursuing country-specific resolutions against Sri Lanka is exceeding its mandate and thereby facilitating an erosion of international law, we urge the United Nations to advise the Human Rights Council to reject the draft Resolution (HRC-25).

Signed:

For Organizations :

  1. Mr. Ranjith Soysa Spokesperson, Society For Peace Unity Human Rights In Sri Lanka , PO box 4066.Vic 3170.Australia
  2. Mr. Ahsan Qureshi President, Canada Pakistan Friendship Association, Toronto, Canada
  3. Dr C.K. Fernando Chairman, Sri Lankan Americans for President Obama.com
  4. Mr. Piyum Attanayake President, Society For Peace Unity Human Rights In Sri Lanka, NSW.Australia
  5. Mr. Palitha Welgama Society for Peace, Unity and Rehabilitation, WA Australia
  6. Mr. Channa Lokulliyna United Sri Lankans. UK
  7. Mr. Hemantha Piyasena Helabima- Sri Lanka and ME
  8. Mr. Janaka Alahapperuma British Sri Lankan Forum
  9. Mr.Sunil Chandrakumara Helabima Organization
  10. Mr.Senaka Rajapakse Sri Lankan Expatriates Forum - Poland
  11. Mr.Upul Gamage Lanka Friendship Forum - ME
  12. Mr.Badra Karunarathna Sinhala Cultural Association of Australia Inc
  13. Executive Committee Canadian South Asians For Peace Unity Forum
  14. Mr.Kirthi Perera Socialist Left Alliance Of Canada
  15. Board of Directors Toronto Sri Lankan Student Alumni Alliance
  16. Mr.Nagesha Wickramasuriya Media Spokesperson for Australian Sri Lankan Community in Victoria
  17. Lt Col (Rtd.) Anil Amarasekera Thawalama Development Foundation
  18. Mr.Susantha Perera Senior Consultant, German Red Cross, Sri Lanka Mission SL
  19. Dr. Mohan Kumaratne United Sri Lanka Association of Southern California
  20. Mr.Anura Ferdinand Voice of Canadian Sri Lankans
  21. Mr. Lalith Ganhewa Coordinator Eksath Sri Lanka Kavaya Berlin Germany
  22. Executive Committee SLUNA Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada
  23. Mr. Sivam Vinayagamoorthy Friends of Sri Lanka -Canada
  24. Mr. Chanaka Kurera Free Lanka International, Montreal, QC
  25. Mr. Dewitt Lee III, 2010 & 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate Toronto Community Advisory Board / World Culture Bazaar
  26. Mr. Sebastian Rasalingam Canada
  27. Mr.Eric K Makawitage Sri Lanka Europe Friendship Association Geneva Branch
  28. Mr. Chanaka Bandarage Sri Lanka Support Group (Australia & Global)
  29. Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera Patriotic National Movement
  30. Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka thero National Bhikku Front
  31. Mr .Jagath Sumathipala All Ceylon Buddhist COngress
  32. Mr. Olcott Gunasekera Dharmavijaya Foundation
  33. Mr. Piyasena Dissanayake Sri Lanka Ekeeya Sanvidanaya
  34. Mr. Suren Abeygunasekera Sri Lanka Weera Widanaya
  35. Dr. Anula Wijesundera Success Sri Lanka Colombo
  36. Mr. Dimuth Gunawardena Protect Sri Lanka
  37. Mr. S.L. Gunasekera Manel Mal Movement
  38. Mr. Susil Kumarasinghe Keppetipola Tharuna Vyaparaya
  39. Ms. Priyanga Kotelawala Lakmaw Diyaniyo
  40. Ven. Madagama Dhammananda thero Dharmapala Parapura
  41. Ven. Elle Gunawansa thero Patriotic National Movement
  42. Mr. Kapila Gamage Sri Lanka Neethinya Sansadaya
  43. Mr. C. Boange Buddhist Lawyers Association
  44. Mr. Lalith Dharmasekera All-Island Three-wheeler Drivers' Welfare Association
  45. Mr. Kalum Jayasumana All Island Three-wheel Drivers Union
  46. Mr. Gallage Punyawardena Ratata Hithayange Sanwidana Ekamuthuwa
  47. Mr. Jayantha Weerasekera Organization to Defend Rights of People in the East
  48. Prof. Nalin de Silva Chinthana Parshadaya
  49. Mr. K. Karunadasa Sri Lanka Deshapremi Peramuna
  50. Dr. Ananda M. Samarasinghe Veera Parakramabahu Foundation, Australia
  51. Dr. Bandu Madanayake Canadian Association for United Sri Lanka

Individuals : 1000+

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