Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan says he was misquoted by some local newspapers on comments he made with regards to the meeting between the Sri Lankan Government delegation and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet in Geneva last week.
The Governor said that his comments made to the media had been particularly misquoted by some English newspapers resulting in the High Commissioner’s office issuing a clarification.
Dr. Suren Raghavan said that he has the utmost respect for the High Commissioner and her work.
Bachelet said this week that a newspaper article quoting a senior Sri Lankan official “seriously misrepresents” her discussion of the recent UN Human Rights Office report on Sri Lanka with a Government delegation attending the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 20.
Monday’s article in a local newspaper cited a member of the Government delegation, Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan, claiming the High Commissioner “admitted that certain facts incorporated in the UNHRC report against Sri Lanka could not be condoned whatsoever.” It also said he claimed she had advised two of her senior officials who attended the meeting “to be more responsible and cautious hereafter.”
“Neither of these claims are true,” Bachelet said. “Either the newspaper misunderstood the Governor, or the Governor misunderstood – or misquoted – me.” The High Commissioner said she stands fully behind the report and the oral statement she made when presenting it to the Human Rights Council, and that she believes it fairly and objectively reflects the situation in Sri Lanka.
“I am deeply disappointed by the spin that has been put on my discussion with the Sri Lankan Government delegation,” she said, noting that other news outlets in Sri Lanka were also continuing to significantly misrepresent the Human Rights Council process in Geneva.
The High Commissioner said she and her Office remained committed to assisting the Government and people of Sri Lanka to implement the Human Rights Council’s resolutions 30/1 (2015) and 34/1 (2017). And last week the Human Rights Council in another resolution (40/1) gave the Government two more years to deliver fully on the set of commitments it originally accepted four years ago. (Colombo Gazette)