India abstains from vote on Sri Lanka resolution at UNHRC

India along with 13 other countries abstained from voting on a resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes against Tamils at United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

The resolution comes after a scathing report released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on January 27.

The UN report warns that lack of accountability of Sri Lanka’s previous violations has increased the risk of repetition of those crimes.

Sri Lanka described the draft resolution as “unwarranted, unjustified and in violations of the relevant articles of the United Nations’ Charter” India urged that the government of Sri Lanka to carry forward some process of reconciliation, address the aspirations of Tamil community and continue to engage constructively with the international community to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens are fully protected.

Sri Lanka was earlier defeated at three consecutive resolutions at the UN rights body when Gotabaya’s elder brother and incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was the country’s president between 2012 and 2014.

The government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa had officially withdrawn from co-sponsoring the previous resolution undertaken by the previous government.

It had called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both the government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the final phase of the near-three-decade-long civil war that ended in May 2009.

Sri Lanka was assured of support from China, Russia and several Muslim countries, including Pakistan.

Ahead of the voting on the resolution, President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda made phone calls to world Muslim leaders.

The resolution calls upon “the (Sri Lankan) government to ensure prompt thorough and impartial investigation, if warranted, prosecution of all alleged crimes relating to human rights violations and serious violations of international human rights law”.

The resolution has been tabled by Core Group on Sri Lanka consisting of the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro, and North Macedonia at the 46th Session of the (UNHRC) in Geneva.

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