An interesting point about the new United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka was brought to my attention in a recent update by Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka country specialist. The resolution that was passed was drafted by the government of Sri Lanka!
Jim McDonald, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka country specialist, put it this way:
“What’s next for the Human Rights Council – asking the Sudanese government to draft a resolution on Darfur?”
A government body that has been accused of gross human rights violations for numerous years creating their own resolution just doesn’t seem right.
On May 13th, President Obama spoke about the conflict in Sri Lanka. The video can be found at the end of this post. I applaud President Obama for recognizing this crisis and bringing it to the public’s attention. The President also acknowledged the dramatic loss of lives and widespread suffering being experienced by civilians in Sri Lanka. He called for the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and also asked the Sri Lankan government to end indiscriminate shelling that has led to countless civilian casualties. While he did acknowledge that both sides were responsible for the humanitarian crisis, President Obama failed to call for accountability and to recognize that an independent investigation of both parties should be conducted. Why say that the behavior of the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government will not be tolerated without any consequences or follow up?
President Obama closed his statements on Sri Lanka by asking the government to open its borders to humanitarian aid agencies to alleviate the crisis that he described as close to a catastrophe. Without global outreach and the acceptance of aid by various aid agencies the civilian population will continue to suffer.
“I don’t believe we can delay. Now is the time for all of us to work together to avert further humanitarian suffering.” — President Obama
Does the international community have the right to investigate this government for its actions? Is it really our business? Yes. The country of Sri Lanka has signed and ratified numerous United Nations treaties that aim to protect civilians and uphold human rights worldwide. If the country makes a promise to the international community to uphold human rights, it has an obligation to do so. Otherwise, what’s the point of even having these treaties?