India remains adamant to vote against Sri Lanka despite a last minute appeal by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister
Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh assured that India is inclined to vote in favor of a Resolution.
In his reply in the Rajya Sabah debate on the President’s address yesterday he expressed hoped that they will advance their objective, namely, the achievement of the future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.
In the meantime it was reported that as parties continued to raise the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in Parliament, Sri Lanka on Tuesday sought India's support in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament that India was inclined to vote for the U.S.-sponsored resolution.
Dr. Manmohan Singh in his reply to the debate on President’s addressed said, “Some other members brought up the question of the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils, and I will therefore devote a few minutes in describing our job of dealing with the problem of the Sri Lankan Tamil community. Some Members have raised concern regarding the situation in Sri Lanka.
Indian Prime Minister continued his reply as follows:
The Central Government fully shares the concerns and sentiments raised by hon. Members regarding the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Since the end of conflict in Sri Lanka, our focus has been on the welfare and well being of the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka. Their resettlement and rehabilitation have been of the highest and most important priority for our Government.
The steps taken by the Central Government in this regard has been outlined in the suo-motu statement made by the External Affairs Minister on 14th March, 2012. As a result of our constructive engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and our considerable assistance programme, a modicum of normalcy is beginning to return to the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka.
There has also been progress, given the withdrawal of emergency regulations by the Government of Sri Lanka and the conduct of elections to local bodies in the Northern provinces of Sri Lanka.
Members have also raised the issue of human rights violations during the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka and on the US initiated draft resolution on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka at the on-going 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Government of India has emphasized to the Government of Sri Lanka the importance of a genuine process of reconciliation to address the grievances of the Tamil community. In this connection, we have called for implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission appointed by Sri Lankan Government that has been tabled before the Sri Lankan Parliament. These include various constructive measures of healing the wounds of the conflict and fostering the process of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
We have asked the Government of Sri Lanka to stand by its commitment towards pursuit of a political process through a broader dialogue with all parties including the Tamil National Alliance leading to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution so as to achieve meaningful devolution of power and genuine national reconciliation.
We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the critical importance of this issue, act decisively and with vision in this regard.
We will remain engaged with them through this process and encourage them to take forward the dialogue with the elected representatives of Sri Lankan Tamils.
As regards the issue of a draft resolution initiated by the United States at the on-going 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, we do not yet have the final text of the Resolution.
However, I may assure the House that we are inclined to vote in favour of a Resolution. That, we hope, will advance our objective, namely, the achievement of the future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.
Appeal by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister
In the meantime it is reported that as the Members of Parliament continued to raise the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in Parliament, Sri Lanka on Tuesday sought India's support in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament that India was inclined to vote for the U.S.-sponsored resolution.
Minutes before Dr. Singh rose in the Rajya Sabha to reiterate India's position, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna received a call from his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris from Geneva.
Mr. Peiris urged that India reconsider its stand, given the close ties between the two countries, and said Colombo was hopeful of New Delhi's support. During the conversation, Mr. Krishna referred to India's suggestion that Sri Lanka take steps to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee.
Expressing the hope that Sri Lanka would implement these measures, Mr. Krishna said political parties in the country were voicing concern over the issue and both countries should remain engaged.
- Asian Tribune –