Thursday, 31 October 2019 16:26

30.10.2019 - Continuity of State Commitments to Ensure Sustainable Development

Among the plethora of promises made by the presidential contestants is one that Sri Lanka will withdraw from the UNHRC resolution it co-signed in Geneva in 2015. This was an international commitment made in an assembly of 46 other countries. If Sri Lanka were to unilaterally withdraw from its commitments made to the UNHRC by rejecting the co-sponsored resolution, this is likely to have international repercussions that isolate the country. It will also create fear within the country that the negative practices of the past will re-emerge. The Sri Lankan state and successor governments need to respect international bodies and treaties and truly live up to its role as a member of a universal fraternity within a rules-based international order.

One of the positive benefits of agreeing to co-sponsor the UNHRC resolution in 2015 was that Sri Lanka regained access to the economic benefits of the GSP plus tariff concession from the European Union. It has also enabled Sri Lanka to access the USD 480 million MCC grant from the United States. Such benefits are likely to be placed in jeopardy in the event of a unilateral withdrawal from international commitments which will diminish the economic resources to improve the people’s standard of living which most of the election promises are directed towards.

The UNHRC resolution sets out the process of reconciliation that Sri Lanka will undertake in the aftermath of three decades of war. The President and his government need to ensure, among others, continued support to the Office of Missing Persons in its efforts to locate the missing in the North, East and the South and also ensure that the Office of Reparations resolves the issues of people affected by the war and pay compensation in an equitable manner.

The National Peace Council calls on the presidential candidates and the political parties they represent to present their vision of a political solution that includes all ethnicities and religions, and to publicly pledge that the impunity that prevailed in the past will not reemerge to violate human rights. Whichever candidate wins, the outcome of the presidential election must be one that gives hope about the future in which the human rights of all sectors and all communities are protected and nurtured. 

Governing Council
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.