Written by Staff Writer
26 Jul, 2019 | 9:27 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Clement Nyaletsossi, the UN Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association convened a media briefing at the UN compound in Colombo today (July 26).
The rapporteur, who has been in the island from the 18th to the 26th of this month, presented his preliminary observations during the media briefing. The Permanent Representative of the UN in Sri Lanka, Hanna Singer said that Clement was appointed as Rapporteur in March 2018 by the Human Rights Council of the UN. She further said that he is an independent human rights expert with a mandate to report and advice of rights to freedom and assembly and of association. She further said that they are delighted that the government of Sri Lanka invited him for an official visit to the country.
Speaking exclusively to News 1st, the special rapporteur commented regarding the recent claims of his meeting with the country’s Chief Justice. Clement says that he wanted to clarify that as a matter of practice for the special procedure for the UN Human Rights aspect since they usually meet all aspects of the country when they visit a country. He further explained that even in his reports when he had gone to Tunisia and Armenia that he had visited all sectors and that he had informed previously.
He added that therefore the meeting with the judiciary was only a matter of practice.
Q: What did you discuss with the chief justice?
To this, he replied that he cannot elaborate on those specific areas because discussions held with these institutions are confidential and that he respects this including NGO’s.
Q: Several groups have raised concerns that your discussions with the judiciary, included three ongoing court cases.
The rapporteur only responded that although questions were brought regarding these cases that the confidentiality behind these matters will have to be respected. It must be noted that the UN Special Rapporteur cannot summon the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, as he is not above him. The practices of the Rapporteur in Tunisia and Armenia do not concern Sri Lanka.
The Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary are considered as three pillars of Democracy. The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is the head of the judiciary and the Supreme Court. Therefore, summoning the Chief Justice can also be considered as an infringement of our country’s sovereignty.
What does the UN Special Rapporteur mean by not elaborating on the three specific cases, when he was not allowed to discuss the cases in the first place. Summoning the Chief Justice is equal to summoning the President of this country, as the President himself swears in before him. What a mockery by the United Nations and the actions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in defending these actions highlights the shallow thinking and is also downright ignorant.
Does the United Nations show interest in the actions of global powers like the United States of America. What is their stance on the decision made by the US federal government to resume executing death-row inmates after a 16-year hiatus? What is their view on the human right violations in countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan?
The people are watching.
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