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* UNHRC to vote on Sri Lanka resolution today
Thu, Mar 27, 2014, 09:29 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 27, Colombo: The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva will vote on the resolution on Sri Lanka today when the Council meets this morning.

The 47-member Council will vote on the resolution HRC25 "Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka" tabled by the United States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mauritius.

The final version of the resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka, during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures.

The final draft reportedly prepared with the cooperation of India limits the time period for the OHCHR to conduct the investigations to the period covered by the LLRC from February, 2002 to May, 2009.

The specified time period effectively eliminates the inquiries into the atrocities committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists such as the Central Bank bombing and massacres of Muslims and Buddhist monks, as well as into the role India played, especially the alleged right violations by the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the late 80s.

It is expected that the vote by the Council, which is divided on geographical lines with the European countries teaming up with US and Canada to support the resolution while the African and Asian countries except India supporting Sri Lanka, will be a close one.

India, which has not yet openly declared its stance, is expected to side with the US as it did on the previous two resolutions. India had decided not to make a statement when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented her report on Sri Lanka Wednesday to the Council.

Presenting the report the High Commissioner said an international inquiry is not only warranted, but also possible. She called on the Council to establish an independent international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and monitor domestic processes.

Making a statement on behalf of the European Union, Greece called on the members of the Council to support the adoption of the resolution since the domestic investigations by the Sri Lankan government conducted to date into allegations of serious rights violations and abuses lacked credibility and insufficient.

The United States reiterated that while the government has taken some steps to implement the LLRC recommendations related to language and education, little progress has been made in the implementation of key recommendations relating to justice and accountability for serious violations, and called for the scrutiny by the Council.

Pakistan speaking in support of Sri Lanka said members of HRC must refrain from advocating a course of action that will exacerbate the challenges Sri Lankan people are trying to overcome after 30 years of terrorist war.

Pakistan said the international community should act as a facilitator for peace and stability and "be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem" and cooperate on addressing Sri Lanka's challenges rather than punishing for eliminating terrorism.

Egypt, Cuba, Namibia, Russia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uganda, Iran, Nigeria and Zimbabwe all spoke in support of Sri Lanka urging the Council to engage with Sri Lanka constructively to address the human rights concerns.

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