South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay would visit Colombo in August on an invitation extended to her by the Sri Lankan government in April 2011. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha informed this to the UNHRC’s 23rd council sessions yesterday. Sri Lankan officials said they had kept open the invitation for Pillay to visit the island to assess the progress of Human Rights in the country in spite of adverse propaganda carried out by the pro-LTTE diaspora in the West.

The UN Human Rights Council in 2012 and 2013 adopted two resolutions against Sri Lanka’s alleged lack of rights accountability. Pillay’s office, OHCHR, maintained that Sri Lanka was not willing to accommodate visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as a prelude to her Sri Lanka visit.

Aryasinha lamented what he termed the lack of financial independence of the OHCHR which he said leads to disproportionate attention being paid to country-specific action.

He said the UNHRC “which selectively targets some countries, while situations, human rights violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the world that warrant more urgent and immediate attention and action remain conveniently ignored”.

“As we have already informed the Council during past sessions, the ill-conceived resolution on Sri Lanka resulting from politicized action, diaspora compulsions and reports not mandated by the inter-governmental process and therefore lacking in legitimacy and credibility, is completely unwarranted and is for that reason rejected by the Government of Sri Lanka”.

The two UNHRC resolutions bind Sri Lanka for early implementation of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. Pillay would check progress of it during her visit.

source: Indian Express, 28/05/2013: