Against the backdrop of demands by Tamil parties that India should vote against Sri Lanka at the UN on human rights issue, Congress Party on Thursday said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has made it very clear that any reports that come of violation of human rights is something that needs to be condemned.
Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Ministry are constantly in touch with the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that rights of the Tamils enshrined both in their constitution and various agreements are followed through.
“There is a peaceful environment and there is an environment where Tamils can live with dignity and equality that is something India will never compromise with it,” he added.
The Prime Minister yesterday said India is firmly of the view that issues of reconciliation and political devolution in Sri Lanka need to be addressed with a sense of urgency.
“Members have raised the issue of human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka and the lack of progress on reconciliation, accountability and political devolution in Sri Lanka. The Government takes the sentiments expressed by members very seriously. We are firmly of the view that issues of reconciliation and political devolution in Sri Lanka need to be addressed with a sense of urgency,” said Dr. Singh, while winding up the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Lok Sabha.
Dr. Singh said as regards the issue of a draft resolution expected to be Tabled by the United States at the forthcoming Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, our decision will depend on the substance of the final text Tabled in the Council’.
“We will, however, be guided by our consistent position that we support proposals that seek to advance the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self respect,” he added.
Dr. Singh assured the Lok Sabha that New Delhi will remain engaged with Colombo to promote a durable settlement of the Tamil problem that enables the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka to lead a life of dignity and self-respect with equal rights.
” I also assure the members that we will remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka with regard to the welfare, safety and security of our fishermen to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner,” he added.
The External Affairs Minister has asked his Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris to work with the US and report progress if any made on the issue to arrive at a draft, which is “acceptable to everybody”.
“It is a humanitarian issue. It is not an issue on which anybody should stand on ceremony or ego. If it is possible, speak to them directly and find a suitable and acceptable draft,” Khurshid told media outside the Parliament here.
The External Affairs Minister’s comments came against the backdrop of mounting demands by Tamil parties that India should take a tough stand against Sri Lanka and vote in favour of resolution to be moved against it.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko earlier on March 2 pressed his demand for an independent international investigation on the war crimes committed by Sri Lankan military on Tamils. He said the Indian Government should severe all economic ties with Sri Lanka.
The US is set to move a new resolution against Sri Lanka at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council for its alleged war crimes, asking the country to promote reconciliation and accountability. (ANI)