India abstains in UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka

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News info:

India abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was, however, adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favor.


The Sri Lankan Civil War: Every Month - YouTube
  • Sri Lanka is facing a new resolution calling on it to hold human rights abusers to account and deliver justice to victims of its 26-year civil war (1983-2009).
  • The war was mainly a clash between the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgent group, the latter of which had hoped to establish a separate state for the Tamil minority.
  • Sri Lankan forces and Tamil rebels were accused of atrocities during the war, which killed at least 1,00,000 people.


The New Draft Resolution/The Zero Draft:

  • It incorporates some of the elements of the UNHRC report, including those on strengthening the HRC’s capacity on preserving evidence, devising strategies for future accountability processes, and supporting judicial proceedings in member states with jurisdiction.
  • As per the UNHRC report, the government of Sri Lanka had created parallel military task forces and commissions that encroach on civilian functions, and reversed important institutional checks and balances, threatening democratic gains, the independence of the judiciary, and other key institutions.
  • It also talks about encouraging the Sri Lankan government to implement the requirements of the previous 30/1 resolution (from which it pulled out).

Resolution 30/1:

It wanted Colombo to establish a credible judicial process, with the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defense lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators, to go into the alleged rights abuses.

Sri Lanka's stand:

  • Sri Lanka had earlier deemed the resolution “politically motivated”.
  • It rejected the UN move to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes in the country, committed by the armed forces and the LTTE.
  • Sri Lanka had clearly stated that without its consent and acceptance the UN's move is condemnable. 
  • The statement made clear Sri Lanka’s resistance to the process envisaged in the resolution to prosecute war criminals through an international evidence gathering and investigation mechanism.

India’s Stand on Previous Resolutions Against Sri Lanka:

India voted against Sri Lanka in 2012.

India abstained in 2014.

India abstained in 2021


  • The ‘China factor,’ the ‘Sri Lankan ethnic issue,’ and the attendant ‘UNHRC resolution’ have negatively impacted bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka. India needs to focus more on its traditional and cultural ties to improve relations with Sri Lanka. Mutual recognition of each other's concerns and interests can improve the relationship between both countries.
  • The state is at the core of the historical problems, whether it is repressive militarisation, the reinforcement of majoritarian interests, or the centralization of state power in Colombo. But reforming the state requires direct challenges by its citizenry, rather than flight to international forums.

Source: The Hindu

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