US dissuades India from moving amendments

US dissuades India from moving amendments

Lanka crisis: New Delhi called for independent and credible investigation

 The Congress-led government on Thursday failed to keep its promise to move amendments to the resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, as the US dissuaded India to make such a move.

India called for “independent and credible investigation” into allegation of human rights violation and loss of civilian lives during the 2009 military crackdown against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, but stuck to its stand of not seeking an “international probe” – notwithstanding the growing clamour from Tamil Nadu for the same.

New Delhi, however, is understood to have made a last-minute bid to accommodate in the draft resolution a diluted version of what the Tamil Nadu MPs were demanding. It sought to move amendments in the draft resolution to primarily incorporate a call to Sri Lankan Government to make it sure that its own investigation into allegations of human right violations satisfies international community.

But the US discouraged India to move such amendments stating that they could result in erosion of support in favour of the resolution at the UNHRC. New Delhi, however, finally incorporated a similar call in the statement that India’s Permanent Representative at UN offices in Geneva, Dilip Sinha, made during the debate on the resolution on Thursday.

“We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community,” Sinha made the statement intervening in the debate at the UNHRC headquarters.

The Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam snapped its ties with the Congress and formally quit the United Progressive Alliance Government on Wednesday, alleging that India had worked with the US to water down the draft resolution at the UNHRC.

In a news-conference on the same day, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday rubbished the allegation and said that although the DMK had already quit the Government, New Delhi would ask its Permanent Mission to UN offices in Geneva to suitably move the proposed amendment to the draft resolution at the UNHRC on Thursday.

According to the sources, top officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of External Affairs finalized as many as seven amendments to the draft resolution on Wednesday and Sinha, who was in New Delhi, was asked to discuss them with Betty E King, the Permanent Representative of the US to the UN offices in Geneva.

The US along with several other countries sponsored the resolution, which was a follow-up to the same adopted by the UNHRC in March 2012. Sinha conveyed the proposed amendments to King just before leaving New Delhi late on Wednesday.
But, by the time he returned to Geneva to take part in the debate on Sri Lanka, the King’s office had conveyed to New Delhi that many of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution had expressed reservation about the amendments proposed by India.