The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has completed the formality of unanimously approving US-sponsored resolution asking for a multinational probe into the alleged rights abuses in Sri Lanka during the civil war. The UN has asked for a credible judicial process , with the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators known for integrity and impartiality. It is of particular interest that Sri Lanka also has supported the US-sponsored resolution, which may be a strategic move of the government to convince the world body about its sincere desire to enquire into the alleged rights abuses.
While the Sri Lankan government has said earlier that it would conduct an enquiry itself and punish the guilty, the world body has not found this adequate and wants to institute a multi-national probe.
However, a careful and dispassionate analysis of the ground realities would highlight the fact that the US-sponsored UN resolution is a mockery.
It would be legitimate and appropriate to term the UN resolution as mockery due to several reasons such as the following :
Does USA have the credibility?
It is ironical that of all the nations, USA has sponsored this resolution in UN. Perhaps, no other country has violated human rights and indulged in aggressive warfare in other countries and killed thousands of innocent people in the last few decades, more than the USA.
USA has sent troops to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and several other countries, to safeguard its assumed role as the global policeman. Even in the present Syria conflict, it is widely suspected that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US government is providing training to the rebels in Syria to create unrest and indulge in violence.
While it is a fact that US itself has lost many of its men in such warfare in other countries, the number of people who died in other countries where US sent its troops is several times more. In any case, no country has the business to interfere in the affairs of another country in the name of restoring human rights or protecting civil liberties. It is the job of the United Nations to do and not that of US or any other country.
Now, the US’ sponsoring a resolution asking for a probe in Sri Lanka for the war crimes is similar to a pot calling the kettle black.
UN not impartial
Many human rights violations have taken place in various regions of the world, apart from the human rights violations repeatedly perpetrated by the USA and a few other so-called powerful countries. In several of these cases, the UN has kept its eyes shut.
There has been no greater violation of human rights in the past than the act of Communist China forcibly occupying the territory of helpless Tibet, massacring the protesters in Tibet and driving out thousands of Tibetans, including the venerated Dalai Lama out of Tibet. While Tibetans now living as refugees in many parts of the world are protesting against the act of China, the UN is conspicuous by its silence on the matter. On the other hand, China itself is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The US, which is moving with double speed to pass a resolution on Sri Lanka’s internal matter, has done practically nothing to defend the rights and liberty of Tibetans.
What about the Palestine issue and bombing by Israel frequently in Gaza Strip and other places, claiming that it is a defensive action? The UN appears to be remaining as a helpless spectator. So many other instances can be pointed out, where the role of UN in protecting human rights has been minimal or nil. Obviously, the UN can act only if there are issues relating to small and weak countries not backed by powerful countries and not rich and powerful nations.
Will it make any change in the ground situation?
Now that UN has passed the resolution asking for a multinational probe in the alleged human rights issues in Sri Lanka, what would be the ultimate result ? Will it really make any change on the ground? Will the resolution end up as a scrap of paper?
One fact that cannot be ignored is that Sri Lanka now has a democratically elected credible government, and citizens of Sri Lanka including the Tamil minorities who have suffered during the time of ethnic war, have also actively participated in the recent elections. The present government of Sri Lanka has repeatedly assured that it would protect the interest of minorities, conduct an enquiry and take appropriate steps to redress the grievances of the victims.
The UN resolution has failed to recognise the fact that Sri Lanka underwent a bitter civil war and the Sri Lanka government had to necessarily fight to protect its territorial integrity. While passing the resolution, the UN has not given the benefit of doubt to Sri Lanka. In a situation similar to the one faced by the then Sri Lankan government, every government in the world would have acted in the same way that Colombo did.
It is sad that in such conflict, innocent people have suffered enormously. The rebels and terrorist groups in Sri Lanka killed many innocent people and many rebel groups fought between themselves and killed each other. Certainly, a softer approach from Sri Lankan government would have resulted in Sri Lanka getting split. Have the USA which sponsored the resolution or the UN taken this aspect into account?
Sri Lanka now needs support and understanding.
The damage has been done during the civil war period and the dead people cannot be brought back. Many people have suffered and the suffering that they underwent cannot be undone now.
What is required is massive international support by way of grant, technology inputs to Sri Lanka in building up the strife-torn areas. If the UN had adopted a resolution, offering such support, it would have been meaningful. Instead, it has simply passed a resolution asking for a probe. This resolution by itself will not provide relief to the affected people from their sufferings and may ultimately end up only as mere lip sympathy.