The Sri Lankan government has been defiant even after last year’s UNHRC resolution, which has forced the US to propose a new “procedural resolution” at the upcoming 22nd session. The island has
not only done precious little to address the recommendations of the last resolution, but it has also become more brazen in muzzling free speech and civil liberties, and stripping down its constitutional and democratic institutions. The free run of violent proxy-attacks against rights activists and journalists, including foreign nationals, and disappearances still continue.
Reportedly, the graves of about 20,000 Tamil tiger fighters have been razed in the Vanni area where new museums and war memorials hailing the Sri Lankan soldiers have been erected. There have also been reports of military-tourism in the area to further the triumphalist sentiments, which effectively ridicule the suffering of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians who died at the hands of the country’s military.
If not for the respect for human rights and the demands of its own people in Tamil Nadu, India should take a stand for its own security. Strategically, it is certainly dangerous to have a rights-violative dictatorship next door, which openly encourages the Chinese and the Pakistanis.
Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid is right when he says the only effective problem to Sri Lanka's solutions should come from within Sri Lanka itself. The country already feels cornered, and
is, as a result getting more defensive and defiant in the way they operate. A vote is not going to benefit Sri Lankan Tamils in any way unless there is a strong mechanism to ensure compliance which will not be the case, as the resolution will have to take Sri Lanka's sovereignty into account.
In the absence of such a mechanism, Sri Lanka will only feel slighted, which could potentially translate into further action against Lankan Tamils who are already being persecuted in the country. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon to censure Sri Lanka, India should look for ways to engage the government and get directly involved in rehabilitating Tamil civilians and ensuring their rights. By voting against Sri Lanka, the opportunity for India to actually do some good on the ground will diminish. Also from a foerign policy point of view Sri Lanka's close relationship with China is a matter of concern, especially given Sri Lanka's proximity to India. The last thing India wants is another hostile state, aiding China against it.