India pulls up Sri Lanka at UNHRC

New Delhi: India pulled up Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and expressed its concern over the “lack of measurable progress” by the government of the nation in implementing its commitments to a political solution to the ethnic conflict in the country.

“India’s consistent view on peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka has been for a political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, ensuring justice, peace, equality, and dignity for the Tamils of Sri Lanka,” Indra Mani Pandey, India’s envoy to the UNHRC, said during an interactive dialogue in Geneva on the report of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka.

India also nudged Sri Lanka for full implementation of the 13th amendment to its Constitution to ensure devolution of power to the local governments in its Tamil-majority Northern and Eastern Provinces. It also stressed holding provincial council elections in Sri Lanka at the earliest

The 13th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was an outcome of the July 29, 1987 accord between New Delhi and Colombo. It was passed by the Sri Lankan parliament in November 1987 resulting in the creation of the provincial councils.

The process of devolution of power to the local governments as envisaged by it remained incomplete though. The elections to the provincial councils of Sri Lanka are long overdue. The terms of the elected provincial councils ended in 2018 and 2019.

“It is in Sri Lanka’s best interests to build the capacity of its citizens and work towards their empowerment, for which devolution of power to the grassroot level is a prerequisite,” Pandey told the UNHRC. “In this connection, operationalization of Provincial Councils through early conduct of elections will enable all citizens of Sri Lanka to achieve their aspirations for a prosperous future. We, therefore, urge Sri Lanka to take immediate and credible action”.

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