Sri Lanka’s lobby to disrupt war crimes evidence collection

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Several media reports from Sri Lanka have expressed happiness on the fund shortage in setting up a separate secretariat by United Nations Human Rights Council to probe the war crimes under the Resolution passed against Sri Lanka at Geneva.

The UN Human Rights Council on March 23 adopted a resolution promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The Resolution also mandates UNHRC to collect, consolidate and preserve evidence for future prosecutions and make recommendations to the international community on steps they can make to deliver on justice and accountability, for which the budget of $2.8 million has allocated. But, now, the Sri Lankan medias’ claim that the UNHRC’s evidence collection plan has facing fund shortage. 

“Sri Lanka too can be happy about a negative response from donors at the world body to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC’s) move to set up a separate secretariat to enforce matters relating to the Resolution it passed on Sri Lanka in March this year. The inability to raise sufficient funds is a major setback to UNHRC plans to implement the Resolution.

The moment UN Human Rights Commission chief Michelle Bachelet had sought to set up a 13-member Secretariat with a budget cost of US$ 2,856,300 for the current year to give effect to the implementation of the Secretariat on Sri Lanka as required in the UN Resolution, Sri Lanka launched a major campaign in New York to lobby against the fund,” said in a report published on Daily News. 

The news report furthers claimed that the campaign spearheaded by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Sri Lankan delegates urged the UN members not to provide funds for unilateral plans of the UNHRC to implement a Resolution from which Sri Lanka had already withdrawn. 

“We have learnt that the UN Headquarters has cut down by more than 50 per cent of the amount the Council sought,” Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told The Sunday Times. The Sri Lankan minister further says that the only option for the UNHRC is to seek the balance from the Western Co-Sponsors.

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