The U.S.: If Sri Lanka doesn't 'internalize' 'accountability probe' it may go global
The United States wants Sri Lanka to 'internalize' the issues of accountability, transparency and credible probe on killings of civilians indicating that the possibility of the inclusion of an 'international probe' could be added in the next year's resolution if the Sri Lankan government does not heed to the 'clear message' given by the international community at 2013 UNHRC session.
Analyzing what the US Resolution on Sri Lanka means to the U.S., international community and to Sri Lanka, and what are in store for this South Asian nation, Ambassador Eileen. C. Donahoe, the US Permanent Representative to Geneva's UN Human Rights Commission disclosed, at the media briefing following the adoption of the Resolution, much more than the Resolution itself said.
When many international media outlets claimed that the US-sponsored resolution would be 'Watered Down' when it is presented at the Session for discussion and vote, this Internet Media Network Asian Tribune takes comfort for its initial declaration that the resolution will in fact be 'strengthened' over previous drafts.
Ambassador Donahoe addressing the media following the adoption of the Resolution said "We are not satisfied with the progress to date, which is why we felt the need to go forward with this resolution. I think if you compare the text from last year to this year it is fair to say there’s a strengthening in the language and the meaning of the text".
As to the international probe the U.S. ambassador to the UNHRC said "In terms of the mood for an international probe, as I stated, no determination has been made by the Council members yet as to whether an international probe is required. What we’re hoping for is a domestic, credible, independent investigation that satisfies the people of Sri Lanka. That has not happened to date. That’s what’s being called for this year.
And it remains open, it’s an open question as to whether and how the government will respond".
She reiterated "The door is open for next steps that are required, depending on what takes place in the coming year".
Further on the issue that the Government of Sri Lanka has the option of 'internalize' the issues or allow it to be 'internationalize' (toward a probe), Ms. Donahoe further commented at the media briefing (Quote) The resolution does very clearly state that the international community knows an independent and credible investigation must go forward and that that’s what’s lacking. We did not today take the step of calling for an international commission of inquiry or independent inquiry because we have not yet completely closed the door on the possibility of a domestic independent credible investigation. That’s what we’ve been calling for. That is what the Sri Lankans have promised. But that is exactly the area where we are seeing a lack of progress and we have underscored the need for an independent, credible investigation. Our hope is that it is done domestically, but we have made it clear that we have not yet seen signs of that happening. I think the resolution makes clear that that is what is expected. (End Quote)
The endeavor of this Asian Tribune political Note is to cogently convey the intentions of the United States and its international backers who strongly feel that a credible 'domestic' investigation is vital to avert an 'international' investigation, and what actions that US-led 'some' community of nations could take and what's in store for Sri Lanka in the near future.
TheAsian Tribune has, on many a occasion, been clear that the separatist Tamil Diaspora elements have been instrumental and working toward this end since the demise of the Tamil Tigers domestically to rally influential Western nations to make the Sri Lanka issues, which could have been dealt internally from the outset without allowing those issues to go global, internationalize.
The Asian Tribune has advocated the vitality of strategically breaking the 'alliance' between the Tamil Diaspora and the United States for Sri Lanka to give a better focus on its domestic issues such as reconciliation and accountability.
The media briefing given by Ambassador Donahoe following the passage of the Resolution gave clear indication of the thinking of the United States and its western allies.
Ms. Donahoe without any reluctance used the term 'mass killings' and what the US and its backers expected of: "I think this outcome is also important not only for the people of Sri Lanka, but for human rights generally and for the international human rights principle that when there are mass-scale civilian casualties and human rights violations, there must be some credible investigation and some form of accountability.
Without that element there cannot be real reconciliation or lasting peace".
In what she said of 'internalize' and 'internationalize' the U.S. is connecting those to "when there are mass-scale civilian casualties and human rights violations, there must be some credible investigation".
In the same vein she said "The international community has sent a message that lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka will require meaningful steps toward truth and accountability.
"Today, in effect, the international community came together to call upon the government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its stated obligation to its own people to take concrete steps to move forward to address outstanding issues related to truth and reconciliation, and by meeting its obligation on accountability", she noted.
She reiterated "Our hope is that they follow through on two important things. One is that they take credible steps to implement the recommendations of their own domestic reporting effort; and secondly, that they investigate the serious allegations of civilian casualties from the civil war so that there is a basis for real reconciliation.
"Our view is that if there isn’t some form of truth and accounting for that scale of atrocities and casualties, you cannot have lasting peace. You will sow the seeds of future violence. So we think it’s important that they take steps to show there will be some form of truth and accountability".
At this media briefing in Geneva Ambassador Donahoe gave an assessment of the current trend in Sri Lanka in this manner:
"The resolution passed today also addresses the growing concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including reports of forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, as well as intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders.
"Over the past year the United States and many others have expressed strong concern over the lack of process on these vital issues as well as backsliding on respect for human rights and the rule of law.
"Over the past year the United States and many others have expressed strong concern over the lack of process on these vital issues as well as backsliding on respect for human rights and the rule of law".
She further noted : "(We) put forward this resolution in a spirit of friendship toward the people of Sri Lanka, but also out of genuine concern about the lack of follow-through on the promises by the government of Sri Lanka to carry out a credible form of domestic accountability. We are concerned about some worrying signs of back sliding with respect to the rule of law and protection of human rights in the current situation as well".
The United States, in preparation of the Resolution, drew heavily from the 'wisdom' of the report forwarded by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, and Ambassador Donahoe very clearly stated that.
"I would say the High Commissioner has done an excellent job and she is absolutely within the bounds of her authority to present her assessment on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. I thought her report is not only fair and accurate, but it sent an important message to the government of Sri Lanka about the need for truth, and that’s the essence of the resolution that was just supported by the international community and that’s the animating spirit behind the U.S. initiative in the first place.
"The resolution relied upon the detailed report of the High Commissioner Navi Pillay, which made clear that Sri Lanka must take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability, including the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of transitional justice".
She said: "The United States stands ready to assist Sri Lanka as it makes necessary progress on these longstanding issues of reconciliation and accountability. The Office of the High Commissioner, as well as the Special Procedures, are also standing by ready to assist the government of Sri Lanka with technical assistance and capacity building so that they can move forward toward a sustainable peace and reconciliation, based on truth and accountability".
On India's Role Ms. Donahoe said this at the media briefing:
"Having India join in that initiative was very helpful because they are such a close neighbor and have also worked with the Sri Lankan authorities. So we see India’s support as nothing but positive.
"We think India’s support is very helpful and very positive. As I said, all of the countries that supported this resolution see it as a way to help the Sri Lankan government and support the Sri Lankan people. But having a partner like India, a regional friend of Sri Lanka, support this resolution underscores the positive nature of the resolution".
Ambassador Donahoe said this about her triumph at Geneva in getting the Sri Lanka resolution adopted:
"The bigger number was in support. Twenty-four countries out of 47 voted in favor. And I don’t think it was as much to do with the merits of the resolution as an understanding of the role of the Council. But the vast majority supported this outcome. It’s a very good outcome".
- Asian Tribune –