Ban backs Zeid’s views on Sri Lanka

un 1UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has backed the views on Sri Lanka of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and has urged Sri Lanka to cooperate with  Zeid’s office.

The views on the UN Chief were expressed following a war of words between the Sri Lankan Government and Zeid on the UN-led investigations on Sri Lanka.

“The Secretary‑General supports the views of High Commissioner Zeid, and he agrees with High Commissioner Zeid that the Government of Sri Lanka should cooperate.  And we will continue to urge that they do so,” Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General said.

Last week the Government hit back at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, accusing him of using intemperate language to attack and vilify a sovereign member of the United Nations.

In a letter to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, hours after he issued a statement accusing the Government of attempting to sabotage the UN led investigations on Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, said that the actions of Al Hussein would regrettably constrain constructive engagement which the Government of Sri Lanka has consistently sought to pursue.

“It is a matter of deep concern to note that you, as a high official of the UN system, have resorted to the use of intemperate language to attack and vilify a sovereign member of the United Nations. Further, you have chosen to cast aspersions and denigrate a democratically elected Government. In fact, some countries have, on extremely cogent grounds, rejected mandates of the Council previously in much stronger ways, and have not been censured in the manner as in this instance.  This undoubtedly confirms the double standards being applied. This type of action on your part would regrettably constrain constructive engagement which the Government of Sri Lanka has consistently sought to pursue,” Aryasinha said.

Al Hussein had criticized the continuing attacks by the Sri Lankan Government on the integrity of the UN Human Rights Office’s ongoing investigation into alleged grave human rights violations and abuses in Sri Lanka, and condemned the intimidation of human rights defenders and individuals who may wish to cooperate with the investigation. (Colombo Gazette)