Sri Lanka slams door on rights monitors after UN snub

 

Sri Lanka's hawkish government on Thursday angrily ruled out allowing foreign monitoring of the island's human rights situation after being denied a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

The war-torn country's foreign minister also blamed the diplomatic drubbing on what he alleged was an anti-government conspiracy by international rights groups in league with Tamil Tiger rebels.

"I reiterate our position again – we don't see a need for a foreign body to monitor us. We have the necessary laws and procedures in place to monitor cases of human rights," Rohitha Bogollagama told reporters.

Sri Lanka secured 101 votes at the UN's 192-member General Assembly, but this was not enough to beat the other Asian nations competing for the diplomatically prestigious seats on the UN Human Rights Council that are alloted to the region.

"We don't see the vote as a defeat, it's not a setback," Bogollagama said. "In fact 101 countries backed us, which is a show of support for our government."

In recent weeks a coalition of international non-governmental organisations and rights groups has been lobbying UN members to oppose Sri Lanka's candidacy.

Nobel peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have also spoken out against Sri Lanka's government, which is currently on the offensive in a drawn-out war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Human Rights Watch has branded Sri Lanka one of the world's worst perpetrators of "disappearances" and abductions.

But Bogollagama said international NGOs "representing the LTTE carried out the campaign against us" and had "maybe bought votes" against Sri Lanka at the United Nations.

Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered truce with the Tamil Tigers in January.

 

Comments

Comments