The government has sent its observations to the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and has requested amendments to 37 points mentioned in the report.
In a response sent to Pillay’s office detailing its observations on her draft report on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, the government insisted that all references made to the Panel of Experts (PoE) appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon be removed.
The government said it does not extend any credence or legitimacy to the Panel of Experts report as it is not the product or a request of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly or any other UN body.
“The PoE Report on Sri Lanka which was commissioned by the UN Secretary General was the culmination of a private consultation that the latter sought to advise him on. As it has not received the endorsement of the intergovernmental process, it has neither credence nor legitimacy within intergovernmental fora. The PoE’s mandate did not extend to fact finding or investigation. In its Report, the three-member Panel also makes it clear that the assertions set out therein remain unsubstantiated and require a higher standard of proof. For these reasons, the government does not extend any credence or legitimacy to the PoE Report,” the government said.
In her report Pillay has demanded an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.
She notes that while the government has made significant progress in rebuilding infrastructure and while the majority of internally displaced persons have been resettled, considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods.
Pillay also calls for the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice.
On the issue of enforced disappearances, the government told Pillay in its observations that it has on numerous occasions provided information to the UN Human Rights Council on the process adopted with regard to disappearances. The government said that the generalization made highlighting a few isolated incidents as a spike in reports of abductions and disappearances in the period last quarter of 2011 to mid 2012 is inaccurate.
“As a case in point, categorizing the case of a ‘diplomat’s child’ is erroneous. Investigations have revealed that this case cannot be categorized as either an enforced disappearance or abduction and the incident appears to be of a personal nature and the child has not been forthcoming in revealing the truth,” the government said.
The government also said that it is inaccurate for Pillay’s report to state that Sri Lanka “has no comprehensive national policy on IDPs”. Pillay’s report was made public last week and a draft was sent to the government two weeks ago. (Colombo Gazette)