The final draft of the United States-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka, submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 18 March, will be taken up for voting on Thursday, still with possible minor oral revisions.
Highly placed diplomatic sources from Geneva said, some minor oral adjustments will be allowed, if necessary. “Some countries still feel the draft needs some work. There are some concerns,” a Sri Lankan delegate said.
The new draft titled, ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka,’ was significantly softened in the use of language before its submission on 18 March due to certain countries lobbying for a more amenable approach.
The United States, it is learnt, has been working overtime to achieve larger consensus on the 2013 resolution unlike the previous, and had come under serious pressure from certain countries, including Cuba, Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan to incorporate language that does not appear harsh.
Sources added, the first draft resolution, which was considered harsh by even countries that favoured the move, have strongly disagreed on the undertones and called for ‘critical’ amendments, up to the third version, which with further edits, will now be submitted for voting.
“The US did accommodate the comments and criticisms and to reach a broad consensus, reworked the draft that has a higher level of acceptance,” the Sri Lankan source added. The final draft, despite the amendments, refers and calls for action on the positions advocated for including the call for credible independent international investigations, special procedures, OHCHR monitoring/reporting and truth-seeking mechanisms.
Among the key amendments is the replacement of the High Commissioner’s call for international investigations, which is now replaced with ‘credible and independent investigations.’
Sources from Geneva emphasized that several countries that welcomed the draft and those who have not publicly expressed stance, have both required the US to acknowledge the work completed in Sri Lanka with regard to resettlement, demining and infrastructure development in the former war zones and to not be overcritical.