(MENAFN – NewsIn.Asia) By Sugeeswara Senadhira / Daily News
Colombo, March 25: Despite the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution on Sri Lanka adapted at its 46th Session with 22 members voting for it, 11 votes against and 14 abstentions. This means that the majority (25) did not support the resolution.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena described the vote as a Global South united against its counterparts in the North. The countries of the South – Asia, Latin America and Africa – refused to vote for the Western-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. The world’s most populous countries, China and Russia voted against Resolution and two others with large populations – India and Indonesia – abstained. Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America, Somalia and Eritrea in Africa and Asian friends Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, in addition to China and Russia voted against the Resolution.
Let’s examine the countries that support the resolution apart from its Western sponsors. Those who gave in to Western pressure and voted against Sri Lanka include Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast), Malawi, Uruguay and Brazil, countries with the worst records of human rights abuses and military coups.
The UNHRC is chaired by the Fiji Ambassador to the United Nations, Nazhat Shameem Khan wearing a Sari which indicates Indo-Fijian origin (his father is Pakistani and his mother is Indo-Fijian). When Fiji was elected to the Council, he promised to give ‘… the South Pacific region a voice in the world’s premier human rights body’. Those who know the South Pacific well point out that ‘Fiji must start by allowing its own citizens to speak and express themselves at home, without fear of reprisals.’ (https://devpolicy.org/fijis-review-at-the-human-rights-council-highlight…)
After all, anyone who has studied politics in the area knows the role of the military in Fiji. The leaders of the two major political parties are not only former military officers but also former coup leaders. Fiji’s racially divided politics is characterized by a split between indigenous Fijians (54.3%) and Indo-Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract workers brought to the islands by British colonial powers in the 19th century. .
Prime Minister Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama was the leader of the 2006 coup (he also led the 2000 coup). He has held power, although through several elections in which some of the Fundamental Rights including freedom of speech, association and assembly were not ‘widespread’. His Fiji First Party managed to win the backing of a large proportion of Indo-Fijian votes. The 2018 elections were won by Fiji’s First Party with more than 50% of the vote and 27 seats. The main opposition party, the Liberal Social Democratic Party (SODELPA), led by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, (sometimes referred to in the press as ‘Colonel Steve Rambo.’). He is best known for instigating the two military coups that rocked Fiji in 1987. He won about 40 percent of the vote.
Although Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama ‘restored’ democracy and held elections, he retained a number of decrees from pre-democratic times to maintain power. These include the Media Decree, which limits press freedom and encourages self-censorship (Bainimarama remains notoriously sensitive to criticism) and the Public Order Decree, which limits a group’s ability to hold public meetings.
Its 2013 constitution also states ‘It will be the overall responsibility of the Military Forces of the Republic of Fiji to ensure at all times the security, defense and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians’ – words that are flexible enough with which to rationalize further. military interference in the political affairs of the country. Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama’s authoritarian instincts remain a concern of many Fijians who believe that the future of ‘democracy’ in Fiji is in jeopardy.
However, all of that is lawful for the West. The West supports the Fiji First Party. The coup and its decisions were democratic, according to the lopsided Western logic.
Another country that has accused Sri Lanka of human rights abuses is the Marshall Islands, a country that was handed over to the US after World War II. The US uses it for nuclear testing. From 1946 to 1958, the United States detonated 67 atomic bombs on the islands – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshimas a day for 12 years. The effects are still being felt today, and the Marshall Islands are one of the countries least visited by tourists.
This vast chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a population of 58,791 people. The Bikini Atoll, where the US military conducted nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958, is one of the atolls in the chain.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands, despite claiming to be a sovereign State, has a Treaty with the US which has agreed to pay at least US $ 57 million annually for its maintenance. Under the Treaty, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Marshall Islands Government has an obligation to refrain from taking action incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities.
At the United Nations, the Marshall Islands have always followed the United States and in all major matters match their votes with the United States 100%. For example, in December 2017, the Marshall Islands were one of only nine countries (including the United States and Israel) to vote against a motion adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemning the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. from Israel. The Marshall Islands still recognize Taiwan and maintain diplomatic relations with it. And of course they also have good human rights records, including the right to sell their babies to the US.
Apart from the Bikini Atoll, the only media coverage the islands have received has been the recent British media coverage of the stunning and shameless human trafficking ring, which operated for years across the archipelago of the Marshall Islands and the United States. The fray involves pregnant women from the Pacific being lured into the United States with an offer of US $ 10,000 and the promise of a new life in America to give up their baby. If they sell the baby for US $ 10,000, what is the price for the UNHRC vote, one might ask?
Malawi is another notorious human rights violator. One of the poorest countries, in Malawi, democracy is often manipulated by the military. Malawi’s sixth election was held in May 2019. The results of the Presidential Popular Consultation were canceled in February 2020 by the Constitutional Court. The new Presidential Election was held on 23 June 2020 in which Lazarus Chakwera from the Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima from the UTM Party were elected as President and Vice President respectively after gaining 58.6% of the vote. Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party and the United Democratic Front coalition, which received 39.4% of the vote, accused the military of electoral malpractice.
Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast) is another country that supports the resolution. On many occasions, the Ivorian government has been accused of impunity and political violence, especially by the army and the politicized judiciary. Ivory Coast holds local elections in October, marked by violence that led to death. Although Ivorian judges continued to investigate post-election crisis crimes 2010-11, President Alassane Ouattara declared Amnesty for crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis, which had raised concerns that victims would not get justice in Ivory Coast courts.
The ICC is currently prosecuting Laurent Gbagbo, former President, and Charles Ble Goude, former Minister of Youth and leader of a pro-Gbagbo militia, for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election crisis 2010-11. The ICC is also investigating crimes committed by pro-Ouattara forces.
Ironically, these countries with a long record of human rights abuses were among the UNHRC members who supported a resolution against Sri Lanka that clearly gave their former colonial masters a cot.
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