By Dianne Silva

The Government intends to invite the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Navanethem Pillay for a visit this year, according to Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Kshenuka Senewiratne.

“Sri Lanka is in the process of formalizing an invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Sri Lanka this year, as a matter of priority among other requests,” she told the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The Ambassador had made this statement in her right of reply during the general debate on Monday in response to a statement made by the Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN office in Geneva Andras Dekany, on behalf of the European Union. The statement has accused Sri Lanka of not complying with repeated requests by various groups to visit the country.

“There is also the pending request of six special procedures to visit Sri Lanka, notably the repeated requests by the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances,” Dekany said in his statement. In response to his call for the “Government of Sri Lanka to co-operate fully with the work of the UN panel of Experts” Senewiratne defended the work of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

“From the very origin, it was established that the UNSG’s panel is advisory. The LLRC has been engaged in purposeful work. Therefore, on no account should the LLRC’s mandate be usurped and thereby constrain its contribution to the reconciliation process,” she had said.

Source: Daily Mirror – 18.03.2011