India called Sri Lanka out at United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for lack of measurable progress on the latter’s commitments for a political solution to the ethnic Tamil minority issue.


What did India say at the UNHRC?

  • India has voiced concern over the lack of measurable progress by Sri Lanka on its commitment of a political solution to the ethnic issue through full implementation of the 13th Amendment of Constitution.
  • India made this statement at the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
  • India highlighted that its two fundamental considerations remain —
      • support to Lankan Tamils for justice, dignity & peace;
      • Unity, stability & territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.


About the UNHRC

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
  • Based in Geneva, the council was created in 2006 by the UNGA.
  • It is made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
      • 47 Member States are elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly.
      • Human Rights Council candidates are elected in geographical groups to ensure even representation.
  • The members of the Council serve for a period of three years and they are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.
  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the UN.
  • The council meets three times a year to examine human rights violations worldwide.


What is the Tamil issue?

  • Communal tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities had been brewing since the early 1940s.
  • The nearly three-decade long armed conflict between Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE came to an end in May 2009.
  • Since then, Indian government is persuading Sri Lankan government for greater devolution of power to Tamils.
  • The need for national reconciliation through a political settlement of the ethnic issue has been reiterated by India at the highest levels.


What is the 13th Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution?

  • The Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution in November 1987 with the objective of creating provincial councils based on the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of July 1987.
  • The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides for —
      • The establishment of Provincial Councils
      • The appointment and powers of the Governor of Provinces
      • Membership and tenure of Provincial Councils
      • The legislative powers of the Provincial Councils
      • Tamil as an official language and English as a link language
  • Elections to the three provinces – Northern, Central and North Western Provinces were held. However, the terms of Sri Lanka’s nine provincial councils expired about three years ago, and they have remained defunct since.