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Sri Lankan's decision to release Indian fishermen welcomed

Posted on Mar 28 2014 | IBNS

Colombo, Mar 28 : India on Friday welcomed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's order to release Indian fishermen from the country's custody as a goodwill gesture to his neighbour.

"#SriLanka informs #India 98 fishermen and 23 boats being released," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted on Friday.

"Release of fishermen from #India in custody of #SriLanka as a good will gesture is 1st step towards long-term solution to fishermen's issue," he said.

This comes after India on Thursday abstained from voting on the US-backed resolution which sought to probe into Sri Lankan war crimes at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here, thus refusing to be a party to outside investigation into human rights abuses in the neighbouring nation.

"#India abstaining on #SriLanka resolution at #UNHRC citing resolution's potential to hinder efforts rather than contribute constructively," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

The resolution was, however, passed with the support of 23 nations.

India had earlier voted against Sri Lanka on the same issue but called this resolution intrusive for a sovereign nation.

Permanent Representative of India to the UN Offices here, Dilip Sinha, has presented an explanation over India's decision.

"In asking the OHCHR to investigate, assess and monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the resolution ignores the progress already made by the country in this field and places in jeopardy the cooperation currently taking place between the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR and the Council's Special Procedures. Besides, the resolution is inconsistent and impractical in asking both the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to simultaneously conduct investigations," Sinha said in his explanatory statement.

"India believes that it is imperative for every country to have the means of addressing human rights violations through robust national mechanisms. The Council's efforts should therefore be in a direction to enable Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of human rights violations through comprehensive, independent and credible national investigative mechanisms and bring to justice those found guilty. Sri Lanka should be provided all assistance it desires in a cooperative and collaborative manner," the statement said.

He said this resolution at the UNHRC imposes an "intrusive approach" of international investigative mechanism which was counterproductive.

"It has been India's firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive. Any significant departure from the core principle of constructive international dialogue and cooperation has the potential to undermine efforts of this Council for promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, any external investigative mechanism with an open-ended mandate to monitor national processes for protection of human rights in a country, is not reflective of the constructive approach of dialogue and cooperation envisaged by UN General Assembly resolution 60/251 that created the HRC in 2006 as well as the UNGA resolution 65/281 that reviewed the HRC in 2011," it said.

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