SL negotiating rewording us resolution

Published : 7:01 am  September 24, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (397) reads | 

By Lakna Paranamanna 
The Sri Lankan delegation is currently working with the ‘Core-Group’ of the US-sponsored resolution, as it raised objections to the language of the draft text that calls for an involvement of international investigators, prosecutors and judges in Sri Lanka’s justice processes. 

Therefore, sources in Geneva claim there is a possibility for the resolution tabling to be postponed as the sponsors work to reach a consensus over the language used in the text, even though it was on schedule to be tabled today. Informal consultations on the US-sponsored resolution took place on Monday and Tuesday at the Palais des Nations under the Chairmanship of US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Keith Harper. 

Since Monday, the Sri Lankan delegation has been making interventions, seeking deletions and amendments to various sections of the draft text. 

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha making an intervention at the first informal gathering sat by the ‘Core Group’ on the draft resolution on Sri Lanka requested the sponsors of the resolution to ensure the recommendations made in the resolution to be made more sensitive to the constitutional and institutional difficulties that would have to be overcome in implementation. He said the language used in the draft was counterproductive to the reconciliation efforts launched by the new government, He said that the draft was ‘repetitive, judgemental and prescriptive’ and noted that it was unhelpful in adopting a collaborative approach in reaching consensus. 

The Ambassador in his intervention also raised concerns over the terminology stating that its ‘intrusive’. 

During the informal meeting on Tuesday, the Sri Lankan delegation suggested several amendments and the deletion of 14 out of the total 26 operative paragraphs.

The suggestion included deletion of paragraph four that called for the proposed transitional justice process to include ‘independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality’ and to ‘involve international investigators, prosecutors and judges in Sri Lanka’s justice processes’. 

The SL delegation also rejected the calls made in the draft of the US-sponsored resolution for strengthening witness protection, land returns, demilitarisation, investigation into attacks on journalists and places of worship. 

These suggestions were met with mixed responses as Russia and China backed the objections and called for the language to be ‘softened, in the context of changes that have taken place in Sri Lanka’, while several other delegations including Switzerland, Norway, Netherland, Ireland and Canada strongly opposed the changes. 

In light of the inability to reach a consensus on the language of the draft resolution, sources in Geneva point out there is likelihood for the tabling of the resolution to be postponed as the US on Tuesday had pledged that everything possible would be done to reach a consensus on the draft.