The Government today slammed the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay and expressed confidence in the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.
The Ministry of External Affairs said Pillay, who is scheduled to leave office at the end of this month, is making public pronouncements to the media on an investigation which has commenced only recently, and is a clear indication of personal bias.
“It is evidence of an attempt to influence the investigation process and make it follow a preconceived trajectory. She refers in her statement to a wealth of information outside Sri Lanka. This is the same wealth of information that she has tended to refer to in the past, justifying it to be from credible sources, although their origins continue to remain undisclosed, and verification has not been facilitated. In fact the High Commissioner has desisted from acknowledging verifiable statistics of UN sources. Instead, she has sought to endorse exaggerated claims of former UN sources of spurious credentials by including such uncorroborated statistics in UN documentation. Utterances of this nature from an Officer who is expected to maintain the highest standards of objectivity is disappointing,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
The Government says prejudice and lack of objectivity on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka displayed by High Commissioner Pillay in the past are unfortunate.
The Government says Pillay seems determined to pursue her objective of internationalizing issues pertaining to Sri Lanka, discounting and disregarding all internal processes even before they could be set in motion.
“In order to advance this agenda, the High Commissioner has repeatedly sought, through her reports and oral presentations to the Council, to confer an official status through the Council and credibility on the Advisory Report to the UN Secretary General. The allegations against the Government in this Report, in flagrant violation of natural justice, were drawn from testimonies shrouded in secrecy in view of the twenty-year confidentiality granted to those who had given testimony,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
The Government notes that by comparing in her comments, the situation in Sri Lanka with those elsewhere, that too situations of emergency, the High Commissioner attempts to create a distorted impression of the position in Sri Lanka.
“Ignoring completely, the socio-economic and infrastructural developments that have taken place since the conclusion of the conflict, the High Commissioner continues to invite the attention of the international community to Sri Lanka where there is no human rights or humanitarian emergency which merits such consideration, intrusive action or relentless pursuit,” the Government said.
However, the Government of Sri Lanka says it is confident that the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, would be guided at all times by the principles of objectivity, impartiality, non-selectivity and equal treatment while respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States in carrying out his mandate and in guiding the work of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (Colombo Gazette)