The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his opening statement at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva today, hailed the role played by his predecessor Navi Pillay and urged Sri Lanka to cooperate with the investigation being conducted by his office.
He said that he will look at following Pillay in his actions but will also, at the same time, be humble.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also slammed Australia’s policy when dealing with asylum seekers, particularly the decision to send them back.
Al Hussein noted that he attaches great importance to the investigation on Sri Lanka mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, on which the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will report later in the session.
“I encourage the Sri Lankan authorities to cooperate with this process in the interests of justice and reconciliation. I am alarmed at threats currently being levelled against the human rights community in Sri Lanka, as well as prospective victims and witnesses. I also deplore recent incitement and violence against the country’s Muslim and Christian minorities,” Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said. (Colombo Gazette)
Navi Pillay Is One Of The Greatest Officials UN Has Ever Had – New UNHRC Chief
New UN Human Rights Chief Prince Zeil Al Hussein says his predecessor Navi Pillay is one the greatest officials the UN has ever had.
The Sri Lankan Government today maintained that its position on the international investigation on Sri Lanka will not change and it also rejected allegations of reprisals against human rights defenders.
Speaking during the 27th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council which began in Geneva today. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha said that Sri Lanka is willing to continue its engagement with the international community.
However he said the Government rejects the resolution submitted by the United States at the March session which called for the international investigation on the war in Sri Lanka.
He said the Government will continue with the domestic process to address the concerns on the war and will also be submitting a Witness Protection bill to Parliament tomorrow.
“What is most regrettable is that the intrusive external investigative authority vested on the OHCHR not only exceeds its mandate, but disregards completely the domestic processes in place in the country. It disrespects the inherent social, cultural and ethnic susceptibilities of the people of the country, jeopardizes the delicate process of reconciliation that is already underway, and militates against stability and peace in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, welcoming the new High Commissioner Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein on his appointment, Aryasinha said that his wide experience in diplomacy, in-depth knowledge of the UN system and understanding and respect for social and cultural characteristics are useful assets that will guide the work of the OHCHR, consistent with the IB package and based on the fundamental principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, non‑selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation.
He observed that despite Sri Lanka’s non-recognition of the “politically motivated” resolution Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the regular mechanisms of the Council, and looked forward to the opportunity to engage during Sri Lanka’s fifth periodic report under the ICCPR next month. (Colombo Gazette)