Former UN High Commissioner Pillay Says It’s Time for the Human Rights Council to Act on Sri Lanka

Former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says the Sri Lankan government has made clear it has no serious intention of pursuing accountability for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the country’s civil war that ended in 2009, and that as a result, the U.N. Human Rights Council must act. Successive high commissioners have made increasingly strong statements calling for a comprehensive process of accountability, she said, based on successive U.N. reports outlining what she describes as “credible evidence that the Sri Lankan state itself committed international crimes.”

“It is time for the HRC to make a drastic departure from its customary complacency over the failures of the Sri Lankan government and hold it to account,” Pillay said.

I interviewed the former high commissioner, who served from 2008 to 2014, about the role of her office in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka in the final stages of the war and since that time, and her views on what the council should do at its upcoming session.