Delegation will prepare visit for Pillay

A delegation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka this week, will set the groundwork for a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha told the UN Human Rights Council yesterday that Sri Lanka welcomes the engagement it has been able to maintain with the High Commissioner and her Office.

He said that the government looks forward to receiving in Sri Lanka later this week the team of officials from the OHCHR, to prepare the ground for a visit by the High Commissioner, in furtherance of the invitation extended to her in April 2011.

“It is hoped that this visit will help the OHCHR gain appreciation of the significant strides made by Sri Lanka in evolving a home grown process of reconciliation, in what has been a period of a little over three years since the guns fell silent.  We hope that this visit would also help consolidate the trust in the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, which have come to be viewed with circumspection by the people of Sri Lanka,” Aryasinha said.

He told the 21st regular session of the council that in fulfillment of its international obligations of engagement with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, last month Sri Lanka also submitted its National Report for consideration at the forthcoming 14th session of the Universal Periodic Review scheduled to take place in November 2012.

“Sri Lanka has always maintained that the UPR mechanism is the appropriate forum to address the human rights situation of all countries in an uniform and respectful spirit of engagement, and therefore looks forward to a constructive dialogue at the forthcoming UPR of Sri Lanka,” he said.