Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held a media conference at the Foreign Ministry yesterday, 23 March 2021, to brief the media on the outcome of the UNHRC sessions in Geneva. He appreciated the support extended by the countries in favour of Sri Lanka.
Video Link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N1IfiA9u8Dg
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that it is a victory for Sri Lanka that only 22 of the 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have voted in favour of the resolution against Sri Lanka. The vote on the resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council in Geneva took place on 23 March 2021.
The Foreign Minister addressed a media briefing at the Foreign Ministry after the voting. The Minister pointed out that, only the countries of dominant ideology had voted in favour of the resolution. He also pointed out that it is against the Charter of the United Nations to isolate selected countries of the member states of the Human Rights Commission and file charges against them.
The people have voted to elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the President of the country with an overwhelming majority and then the majority has voted to form a strong government for him. The previous government had co-sponsored and passed these resolutions at the Geneva Human Rights Conference to put our country in a dangerous situation. After the election of our Government in 2019, we participated in the 43rd Human Rights Council and withdrew from that co-sponsorship.
There, we said that we would abide by the constitution of our country. We have been working accordingly ever since. Today the whole world is plagued by the COVID pandemic. More than a hundred countries are distressed by the inability to get the vaccine. At such a time, the primary responsibility of the Human Rights Council should be to rescue the people affected by the COVID pandemic and keep them alive. We have stated this at the conference. We completely rejected the report of the Commissioner for Human Rights against us, pointing out that the report contained baseless statistics and misinformation. We also call on the member states of the Human Rights Council to oppose the resolution. The Human Rights Council cannot act contrary to the UN Charter.
They cannot act contrary to the original proposal for establishing the Human Rights Council. According to the UN Charter, they cannot select individual countries as they wish and make accusations against them. Only 22 out of the 47 member states of the UNHRC have voted in favour of the resolution against our country which was brought in contrary to that basic policy, by the countries including Britain, Germany, Canada and several other countries. As a result, they have lost the majority. It has defeated the attempt to control the South or the hard-won independence of the colonial countries, by the North.
Especially the President, the Prime Minister, our government and those important ones who love the country got together and made the world aware of this. None of us got to attend this conference due to the COVD pandemic. We are committed to defending the sovereignty and freedom of our country and defeating the resolution against us, despite holding virtual conferences and influencing countries like ours. As we promised then, a Presidential Commission headed by a Supreme Court Judge has been appointed to investigate human rights violations and its work is continuing.
We are working to make the 2030 Sustainable Development Plan declared by the United Nations a success. We have also created an environment where any Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim living in our country can travel, live and settle anywhere from Point Pedro to Dondra Head. Today, the country has been transformed into a country that protects the civil rights destroyed by the LTTE terrorists.
The resolution against us by several countries including Britain excluding these positive points could not get a majority but only 22 votes. Also, 11 votes have been cast against the resolution. 14 countries have abstained from voting for the British resolutions. Accordingly, 25 out of 47 countries have not agreed with this resolution. That is very important, said Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.