Sri Lanka briefs UN rights official on resolution pullout

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – A Sri Lankan diplomat has briefed the president of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on the government’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 resolution calling for an investigation into alleged human rights violations committed during the country’s long civil war.

Foreign Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha met Human Rights Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger in Geneva and informed her that Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has decided to withdraw from the resolution, the foreign ministry said on Saturday. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister had announced on Wednesday the government’s decision to withdraw.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will formally announce the decision in his speech at the 43rd session of the council next Wednesday, the ministry said. Gunawardena will also respond to an oral update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and later meet with her.

Sri Lanka co-sponsored a resolution in 2015 along with 11 other countries, also including the United States, Britain, Australia and Germany, calling for an investigation into alleged serious human rights violations against both government forces and the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in the island’s civil war, which ended in 2009.