India should have backed UN resolution on Sri Lanka: Chidambaram

11:06 AM, Friday, March 28th, 2014

ChidambaramNew Delhi: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said that India should have supported the United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka, which calls for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in the final stage of the island’s civil war that ended in 2009.

“Personally, I feel India should have supported the UN resolution on Sri Lanka,” P Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram made this remark a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka, which saw India preferring to abstain from vote.

The UN resolution calls for authorising an international criminal investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the island nation’s decades long civil war against the LTTE.

Finance Minister, however, defended the dcision taken by the government and said, “Congress took a neutral stand at UN by abstaining from vote on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.”

The resolution, which was passed with a 23-12 vote with 12 abstentions, said it was time for a “comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka”.

“The international community has become increasingly concerned by the continued lack of progress in achieving reconciliation, justice and accountability for serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” Paula Schriefer, US deputy assistant secretary of state, told the Geneva forum.

Sri Lanka, as expected, dismissed the resolution.

President Mahinda Rajapakse told reporters later that he would instead press ahead with his own reconciliation plan.

“We reject this. This resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts. It does not help. But I am not discouraged. We will continue with the reconciliation process I have started,” Rajapakse said.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Offices here, Dilip Sinha, said the resolution imposes an “intrusive approach” of international investigative mechanism which was counterproductive apart from being “inconsistent and impractical”.

On previous occasions in 2009, 2012 and 2013, India had voted in favour of the resolutions.

According to Sinha, unlike previous resolutions the current one asks the UNHRC to “investigate, assess and monitor” the human rights situation in Sri Lanka which was an “intrusive” approach that undermines national sovereignty.

“It has been India’s firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive. Any significant departure from the core principle of constructive international dialogue and cooperation has the potential to undermine efforts of Human Rights Council for promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had earlier recommended that the 47-nation Human Rights Council in Geneva authorise an investigation, saying Sri Lanka has made “little progress” toward ensuring accountability for alleged atrocities.

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