18 countries pledge to speak on behalf of SL at UNHRC

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Eighteen countries have pledged to speak on behalf of Sri Lanka during the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a top source said.

These countries will share their views in support of the Sri Lankan government’s position during the High-Level Segment and events. According to the source, there are countries that hold the UNHRC membership among these 18 countries that will stand by Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has undertaken an intense international campaign to lobby for the support of the respective countries to thwart an attempt by the core group of countries to pass a resolution on Sri Lanka on alleged human rights and accountability issues during the war time.

A zero draft of the resolution has been circulated at the moment. Sri Lanka believes the content is identical to the 30/1 resolution passed in 2015. The present government that took office in 2019 withdrew from co-sponsorship of this resolution in March, last year.

The zero draft calls for the Office of the High Commissioner to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including progress on reconciliation and accountability, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session, and a comprehensive report including further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-first session, both to be discussed in interactive dialogues.

However, India has not yet made known its stand on Sri Lanka. The two countries are currently involved in a row over the withdrawal from the commitment of the previous government to develop the East Container Terminal of Colombo Port jointly with India. Also, India has raised concerns over the offer of a contract to a Chinese company to execute power projects in three islets off Jaffna. India is opposed to the involvement of a Chinese company citing security concerns. The Chinese company issued a statement on Monday firmly opposing India’s interference. The company said it won the project through an international, competitive bidding process, and wanted Sri Lanka to respect the guidelines.