Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

India takes 13th Amendment to Geneva

Calls on Sri Lanka to ensure meaningful devolution


India yesterday raised the issue over the 13th Amendment to the Constituti­on during a discussion on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

In a critical statement reflecting the position, India will continue to take on Sri Lanka in future, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, the Permanent Representa­tive of India to Geneva told the Council that Sri Lanka must ensure meaningful devolution of powers.

Some Ministers in the Government have already said that they will not support the full implementa­tion of the 13th Amendment to the Constituti­on. However, India yesterday called on Sri Lanka to take necessary steps to ensure reconcilia­tion and the full implementa­tion of the 13th Amendment to the Constituti­on of Sri Lanka.

Speaking during the interactiv­e dialogue on the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commission­er for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the 46th Session of Human Rights Council, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, noted that the Council has adopted seven resolution­s on the question of human rights in Sri Lanka since May 2009, when the three decades old conflict ended. Ambassador Pandey noted that India has been an active participan­t in the discussion­s on these resolution­s and has remained engaged with Sri Lanka as its close friend and immediate neighbour,” he said. He said that India’s consistent position includes supporting Sri Lanka’s unity and territoria­l integrity and an abiding commitment to the aspiration­s of the Tamils of Sri Lanka for equality, justice, peace and dignity.

“These are not either-or choices. We believe that respecting the rights of the Tamil community, including through meaningful devolution, contribute­s directly to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. Therefore, we advocate that delivering on the legitimate aspiration­s of the Tamil community is in the best interests of Sri Lanka,” the Ambassador said.

The Ambassador said that the assessment of the High Commission­er regarding developmen­ts nearly 12 years from the end of the conflict raises important concerns.

Pandey also said the Sri Lankan Government has articulate­d its position on these issues as well. He said that in evaluation of both of these, one should be guided by a commitment to find a lasting and effective solution for the issue.

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