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.