Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has backed out on the commitment made to the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) over wartime atrocities against Tamils.He said that he will now ask the UNHRC to reconsider a 2015 resolution which called for credible investigations into alleged atrocities.
However,President’s cohabitation government distanced itself from his stance and said that the administration of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will remain engaged with the UN on war crimes.It will also back a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on March 20 seeking a further two-year extension for Sri Lanka to deliver on promises of accountability.
President Sirisena and his government have been at loggerheads since he sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and had called for a fresh election,sparking a major political crisis.But the Supreme Court had held the president’s action as illegal and restored the status quo.
The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015 had adopted a resolution on accountability for the alleged human rights violations during the Sri Lankan civil war.The resolution had called upon Srilanka to establish a credible judicial process,with the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges,defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators,to go into the alleged rights abuses.
The resolution was adopted in the backdrop of Sri Lankan government troops been accused of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the final months of the island’s 37-year guerrilla war that ended in May 2009.