UNHRC going beyond its mandate – Foreign Minister

Dinesh Gunawardena

Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has gone beyond its scope in urging the Member States to impose sanctions on sovereign nations.

The Minister said the UNHRC had issued reports against 10 countries urging the Member States to impose sanctions.

The Commission does not have a mandate to do so and such a decision should be taken by the UN General Assembly, he said.

He added that the UN Human Rights Commission has been informed in writing as to why the government has rejected the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s recent report on Sri Lanka.

He said that the government has informed the UNHRC, the reasons which have led to reject the Commission’s report on Sri Lanka. “The UNHRC has already acknowledged the receipt of our response,” the Minister said.

The Minister said that UN Human Rights Commission’s session will commence virtually on February 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Minister was speaking at the opening of a Consular office at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Information and Communication Technology Center in Kandy on Saturday.

He said that the government in 2009 succeeded in evacuating over 300,000 civilians who were held hostage by LTTE terrorists. Thousands of LTTE combatants were rehabilitated and integrated into society, he said.

The Foreign Minister said that former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka received the support from the TNA and the Diaspora when he contested the Presidential Election in 2010.

“If human rights of the Tamil people were denied by the government, would the TNA or Diaspora support Fonseka at the 2010 Presidential Election,” he asked.

(Source: Daily News – By Asela Kuruluwansa and Nihal Jayawardena)