December 10, 2013
In the face of increasing international pressure to
conduct an inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, the Human Rights Envoy
for Sri Lanka, Mahinda Samarasinghe addressed the 18th session of
the Human Rights Council on September 12 stating that Sri Lanka had warned the
international community well before the end of the war that the LTTE remnants had
worked to tarnish the image of the country.
This anti-Sri Lankan diaspora is magnifying the false allegations in an attempt to force pressure on Sri Lanka, he added. Samarasinghe stated that even so the government wants to through engagement involve these factions in the reconciliation process of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka also slammed the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem ‘Navi’ Pillay for departing from the
clear procedures of the UN Human Rights Council. We draw the attention of this
body to a potentially worrying concern of a growing trend to depart from well
established principals of procedure in the conduct of the affairs of this
council, Mahinda Samarasinghe said.
In a surprising turn of events Sri Lanka was confronted with some information in the most peculiar circumstances. On the 9th of this month at a luncheon briefing we were given to understand that the High Commissioner for Human Rights had informed a group of countries that a decision had been taken by the office of the UN Secretary General to transmit the report of his advisory panel on Sri Lanka to the office of the President of the council and hers. Previous to this communication in a course of an interaction with you madam president (UNHRC) there was no reference to any such transmitting. It was rather embarrassing that both you and I had to learn of it through a third party at the luncheon meeting with representatives of 29 member states, Samarasinghe stated.
The failure on the part of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to inform the concerned state Sri Lanka was fully inappropriate to say the least, he added. Samarasinghe stated that this regrettably may lead to a loss of confidence in the office of the High Commissioner.
Sri Lanka believes that Navi Pillay should abide by the same principles that govern the work of the Human Rights Council such as universality, transparency, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, he added. He further stated that this incident raises concerns regarding the impartiality of the High Commissioner (Pillay), adding that this practice must be discouraged by the council.
Today it could be Sri Lanka, tomorrow it could be any other member state that faces this predicament, he stated.
Will Sri Lanka face an inquiry into alleged war crimes? Or will the international pressure blow over?
This is your forum. This is your voice.
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