India Abstains From Voting on UN Resolution Against Sri Lanka

However, after 22 out of 47 members voted in its favour, the resolution was adopted.

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India
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India on Tuesday, 23 March, was among the 14 countries that abstained from voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
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India on Tuesday, 23 March, was among the 14 countries that abstained from voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council, which took up a resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes against Tamils.

However, after 22 out of 47 members voted in its favour, the resolution titled: “Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka” was adopted. The resolution was brought up after a report released in January by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

According to the report, the island nation is ‘on an alarming path towards recurrence of grave human rights violations’.

Sri Lanka described the draft resolution as “unwarranted” and “unjustified”, adding that it violated the relevant articles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Pre-Vote Statement

India, in a statement before voting said that its approach to human rights in Sri Lanka is based on “two fundamental considerations”.

India said that as an immediate neighbour, it has contributed to the relief, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process in Sri Lanka after 2009.

“One is our support to the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, dignity and peace. The other is ensuring the unity, stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.”
Statement by India

"We have always believed that these two goals are mutually supportive and Sri Lanka's progress is best assured by simultaneously addressing both objectives," the statement said.

The statement added that it “supports the call by the international community for the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments on the devolution of political authority, including through the early holding of elections for Provincial Councils and to ensure that all Provincial Councils are able to operate effectively, in accordance with the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.”

India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment, which provides for devolution of power to the Tamil community and was introduced after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.

“At the same time, we believe that the work of OHCHR should be in conformity with mandate given by the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly.”
Statement by India

Background

The resolution comes amid the Indian government putting pressure on the Sri Lankan administration to handover the earlier scrapped East Container Terminal project, and the country facing internal pressure to favour the resolution from poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

According to PTI, major political parties in Tamil Nadu had urged the Indian government to take a stand against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC session.

According to sources, India also believes voting for the resolution will not be helpful in the strengthening of bilateral ties, ThePrint reported. Any action against the nation can be diplomatically detrimental, as Sri Lanka may tilt towards China.

A total of 11 countries, including China and Pakistan voted against the resolution, to support the Sri Lankan government.

(With inputs from PTI and ThePrint.)

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