If Govt fails to manage UNHRC resolution properly economic consequences will be catastrophic

By Eran Wickramaratne M.P – Former State Minister of Finance

This government is stumbling from one crisis to another. Poor economic management, dismal management of Covid-19, and now to disastrous management of foreign diplomatic relations. The vote on the Sri Lanka resolution at the UNHCR showed how few friends we have retained. The lowest point in foreign policy management since the end of the conflict. The present resolution is heavily weighted towards the correction of the infringements of human rights of the past 16 months over the issues pertaining to the military conflict that ended over a decade ago.

The government has compounded its policy failures by appointing the wrong persons for defined tasks. The Covid-19 virus containment should have been led by health professionals and scientists from the outset. Our diplomatic initiatives should have been led by foreign policy professionals.

An urgent fresh appraisal is needed to minimise the negative economic consequences of the resolution. We must not risk legal battles in foreign jurisdictions, travel bans, economic and trade embargoes. The economic consequences will be catastrophic.

A fresh approach will require the implementation of human rights initiatives as identified in Sri Lankan commission reports, where investigations and accountability are dealt with by domestic mechanisms that meets the concerns of the international community. Arriving at the truth is an essentials part of the healing and reconciliation process. This coupled with a fresh diplomatic initiative could avert a further economic and financial crisis within the next couple of years.

We in the opposition will support a progressive fresh initiative in the interest of all our people.

Related: UNHRC adopts revised resolution to enhance monitoring on human rights in Sri Lanka