India told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva that Sri Lanka must respect the rights of the Tamils. Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, the Permanent Representative of India to Geneva has made this demand during the interactive dialogue on the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the 46th Session of Human Rights Council.
He said that India has taken note of the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka and her oral remarks.
Pandey noted that the Council has adopted seven resolutions on the question of human rights in Sri Lanka since May 2009, when the three decades old conflict ended.
“India has been an active participant in the discussions on these Resolutions and has remained engaged with Sri Lanka as its close friend and immediate neighbor,” he said.
The Ambassador said that India’s consistent position rests on two pillars. One is to support Sri Lanka’s unity and territorial integrity, and the other is the abiding commitment to the aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, peace and dignity.
“These are not either-or choices. We believe that respecting the rights of the Tamil community, including through meaningful devolution, contributes directly to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka.
Therefore, we advocate that delivering on the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community is in the best interests of Sri Lanka,” the Ambassador said.
India called on Sri Lanka to take necessary steps for address such aspirations, including through the process of reconciliation and full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador said that the assessment of the High Commissioner regarding developments nearly 12 years from the end of the conflict raises important concerns.
Pandey also said the Sri Lankan Government has articulated its position on these issues as well.
He said that in evaluation of both of these, one should be guided by a commitment to find a lasting and effective solution for the issue.