Written by Staff Writer
10 Jun, 2014 | 9:12 pm
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says her office has put together a support team to conduct special investigations to advance accountability and, through this, reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
She made this observation at the twenty-sixth session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.
In response, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva said that Sri Lanka will not co-operate with the “OHCHR-driven comprehensive investigation”.
The twenty-sixth session of the UN Human Rights Council began in Geneva on Tuesday with follow-ups on matters discussed at the twenty-fifth session of the council.
This is incidentally the final session of the Human Rights Council where Navi Pillay presides as the High Commissioner for Human Rights, prior to the expiration of her term.
“I note also that last month marked the fifth anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka, where scars created by terrorism and conflict have yet to heal,” Pillay said at the session. “My office team has now put a support team which comprises several experts and special procedures to conduct special investigations mandated by this council in order to advance accountability and, thus, reconciliation.”
“Human Rights violations are among the root causes of every form of instability and conflict, which means that every state has an interest in detecting gaps in its human rights protection. Yet the very careful analysis conducted by my office and our calls for investigation into allegations of abuse have frequently been greeted with strong holds and denial. Is this because we have criticised governments? Surely that is the nature of human rights advocacy to speak truth to power to confront privilege and enraged hierarchy with an unshakable belief in human dignity and equality and freedom,” she stated.
Reacting to the statement made by Pillay on the appointment of a team of experts to conduct investigations into accountability concerns in Sri Lanka, Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, also spoke at the session.
“The resolution adopted with the support of less than half the council’s membership, challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state of the UN, violates principles of international law, is inherently contradictory and is based on profoundly flawed principles, inimical to the interests of the Sri Lankan people. The resolution’s lack of clarity sets a dangerous precedent and will destabilise the intricate balance of the homegrown process of national reconciliation.”
He added: “While the prejudice and bias concerning Sri Lanka, repeatedly displayed by the High Commissioner and the OHCHR, remains of deep concern, reports, which question the credibility of the co-ordinator appointed for the investigation, have already emerged. It is ironic that the resolution calls on Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to conduct parallel investigations.”
Meanwhile, following Ambassador Aryasinha’s remarks in Geneva, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement that Sri Lanka has re-iterated its categorical rejection of the Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, adopted at the twenty-fifth session, and that Sri Lanka will not co-operate with the OHCHR driven “so-called comprehensive investigation.”
The statement reads that Sri Lanka has observed that the government is firmly committed to continuing its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation-building and accountability, and towards this end, will continue to work with countries and inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan people.
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