Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Government’s statement on resolution related to Sri Lankan Tamils issue


Source:http://www.pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx
Following is the text of the statement made by the Government, to media, on the resolution related to the Sri Lankan Tamils issue (20-March, 2013 11:46 IST:)

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“We wish to share with you certain developments since the last week end. 

The President of the DMK, Shri M Karunanidhi, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on the Sri Lanka issue with particular reference to the Resolution that is under consideration by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Shri A. K. Antony, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and I visited Chennai on 18.3.2013 to discuss the contents of the letter with Shri M Karunanidhi and his senior colleagues. As you are aware – and as disclosed by Shri M Karunanidhi – the DMK urged the Government to bring amendments to the draft Resolution before the UNHRC and also to take steps to bring a Resolution to be adopted by Parliament. We returned to Delhi late on the night of 18.3.2013. 

On the morning of 19.3.2013, Smt. Sonia Gandhi addressed the Congress Parliamentary Party and stated, inter alia, 

The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka is very close to our hearts. Our support for their equal rights and equal protection of the laws to them has been unwavering since the days of Indiraji and Rajivji. We are most pained at the manner in which their legitimate political rights continue to be denied to them. We are anguished by reports of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians and children, especially during the last days of the conflict of 2009. That is why we demand an independent and credible inquiry into the violation of human rights in Sri Lanka.” 

Shortly thereafter, at about 10.00 AM, the Core Group met to discuss the outcome of the meeting in Chennai. It was decided to formulate amendments to the draft Resolution before the UNHRC. It was also decided to consult political parties on bringing a Resolution to be adopted by Parliament. Even as the meeting was underway, the media reported that Shri M Karunanidhi had announced that the DMK would withdraw its Ministers from the Government and would withdraw support to the UPA. He also stated that if Parliament adopted a Resolution before the end of the current sittings, the DMK would reconsider its decision. 

We are not aware of the reasons why the DMK changed its position between the night of 18.3.2013 and the morning of 19.3.2013

Nevertheless, Government began to formulate amendments to the draft Resolution before the UNHRC. The amendments were finalized yesterday. India’s Permanent Representative to the UNHRC is in Delhi for consultations. He will be given suitable instructions to move the amendments at the meeting of the UNHRC. A section of the media has reported that India worked with the United States to ‘dilute’ the text of the draft Resolution. This is a canard. The story is stoutly denied. India’s position has always been – and remains – that the UNHRC should adopt a strong Resolution that would send a resolute message to Sri Lanka and goad Sri Lanka to accept an independent and credible investigation. 

On the issue of a Resolution to be adopted by Parliament, my colleague the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Kamal Nath, began consultations yesterday with the political parties. Opinion on the matter is divided. The consultations are continuing and it may be possible to reach a conclusion only later today. 

The Core Group and other senior Ministers met several times yesterday to review the situation. Even as another meeting was underway late last night, DMK leaders met the President of India and gave a letter withdrawing support. We are not aware of the reasons why the DMK changed its position between the morning of 19.3.2013 and the night of 19.3.2013. 

In the meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written a letter dated 18.3.2013 to the Prime Minister urging that India should move amendments to the draft Resolution before the UNHRC. 

As far as the Government is concerned, our position is that we intend to move amendments to the draft Resolution before the UNHRC. We will also continue to consult political parties on bringing a Resolution to be adopted by Parliament.” 

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