Sri Lanka clueless on exit of key allies China & Russia from UN rights council

Sri Lankans worried over their government’s failure to block a recent UN resolution on its 2009  mass killings of Tamil civilians now have even greater reason to doubt the competence of Colombo officials.

According to a report today in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader, the government is concerned that four countries who voted with it in the March session of the UN Human Rights Council, including key allies China and Russia, are to see their terms end in June, putting them in a poorer position to defend the country when it goes before its automatic quadrennial review in October.

But the government is completely wrong.

In fact, the membership terms this year end in December (see UN website here). Their October concern is moot — China and Russia will both still be full members. How the Sri Lankan government could be ignorant of such key facts ought to raise serious questions among its citizens.

Note to Colombo: From 2006-2011, UNHRC elections were held each year in May, and members rotated on and off in June. The new system beginning in 2013 will have membership coincide with the calendar year. In this transitional year, members like China and Russia get an extra six months, exiting in December 2012 instead of June 2012. Elections for the new 2013 members are expected in the fall.

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