India Raised the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue at the United Nations

Since 2009, India has voted three times in favor of a U.N. resolution on Sri Lanka, with two of those votes being decisive, and twice abstained.

Palais des Nations (United Nations Office at Geneva)
Cover Image Attribute: Palais des Nations (United Nations Office at Geneva) / Source: Wikimedia Commons

On September 12, 2022, India voiced its concern over the "lack of measurable progress" in Sri Lanka's promised political solution to the long-standing Tamil national question. India also made an unusual reference to the crisis-hit island nation's "debt-driven" economy in the context of its current crisis, which was somewhat surprising.

In its statement delivered at the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, India stated that it has "always believed in the responsibility of States for promotion and protection of human rights and constructive international dialogue and cooperation." This stance is in line with the principles outlined in the United Nations Charter. "In this regard, the Indian delegation notes with concern the lack of measurable progress by the Government of Sri Lanka on their commitments of a political solution to the ethnic issue — through full implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, delegation of powers to Provincial Councils and holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest," India said. Around three years ago, the terms of office for Sri Lanka's nine provincial councils ended, and the councils have been dormant since then. The Indian statement precedes a resolution on Sri Lanka that the Council will likely vote on.

Since 2009, India has voted three times in favor of a U.N. resolution on Sri Lanka, with two of those votes being decisive, and twice abstained, in 2014 and 2021. Regardless of its vote, India has always emphasized the need for a political settlement "within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, providing justice, peace, equality, and dignity for Sri Lanka's Tamils," as it did again on Monday.

Over thirteen years after the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed or disappeared, survivors continue to demand justice and accountability for war crimes. In addition, in the years following the end of the civil war, Sri Lankan human rights activists have regularly expressed alarm over the country's continued militarization, particularly in the Tamil-majority north and east; repression, and the diminishing space for dissent.

Although India has provided Sri Lanka with approximately $4 billion in critical assistance this year, the country has refrained from making public comments on the island's economic policies up to this point. Nevertheless, in a rather unusual move, India stated during the 'Interactive Dialogue' of the current Council session that the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka "demonstrated the limitations of a debt-driven economy and the impact it has on the standard of living." 

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IndraStra Global: India Raised the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue at the United Nations
India Raised the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue at the United Nations
Since 2009, India has voted three times in favor of a U.N. resolution on Sri Lanka, with two of those votes being decisive, and twice abstained.
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