Sri Lanka - UN Human Rights failure

During a recent evidence session of the Foreign Affairs Select Committe Mike Gapes criticised the UN Human Rights Council for failing to act over the appalling human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Mr Gapes pressed Foregn Secretary David Miliband on the "ineffectiveness of the UN Human rights Council" and asked him "In the light of the statement it made on 27 May and voted by 29 votes to 12, which included ourselves, that the conflict in Sri Lanka was 'a domestic matter that doesn’t warrant outside interference', do you think that the Human Rights Council is doing the job it was set up to do-to deal with human rights abuses and civilian deaths as a result of that conflict?".

Mr Gapes then said

There is a worrying situation, when there are some of the major countries in the world - China, India, Egypt - among the 29, and there seems to be a shift away from the optimistic agenda of the responsibility to protect, and the approach that was taken a few years ago. It is now clearly reflected that the majority of members of the Human Rights Council and therefore, presumably, the majority of members of the General Assembly are of that view. Because of Russia and others in the Security Council, you are unable to get the Security Council to act either: welcome statement from Ban Ki-moon, welcome statement from Mrs. Pillay, welcome statement from John Holmes-nevertheless, when it comes down to it, the UN is not prepared to act on human rights issues, which it says are domestic matters that do not warrant intervention.

posted 28 June 2009

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