The government has refused to accede to a request by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, to visit Sri Lanka.
The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva has told La Rue that his mandate on Sri Lanka was only for the period the UN Human Rights Council resolution 19/2 adopted in March 2012 was in force and not after that.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha had told the Special Rapporteur that the March 2012 resolution has now lapsed and is ready to be submitted to the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council currently meeting in Geneva.
“I hereby wish to inform you that your previous requests to visit Sri Lanka were transmitted to the relevant authorities for processing. However, with regard to your latest request to undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka, in the context of the mandate granted to you by the resolution 19/2 should have been made, as per due process, either immediately after the adoption of the resolution 19/2 in March 2012 or within a reasonable timeframe thereafter,” Ambassador Aryasinha said.
Aryasinha says it is evident that the relevant timeframe has lapsed for any special procedures mandate holder to request to visit Sri Lanka in fulfillment of the mandate of resolution 19/2.
He also reminded the Special Rapporteur on the the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate holders of the Human Rights Council, in particular to article which calls upon mandate holders to act in an independent capacity, and exercise their functions in accordance with their mandate, through a professional, impartial assessment of facts based on internationally recognized human rights standards, and free from any kind of extraneous influence, incitement, pressure, threat or interference, either direct or indirect, on the part of any party.
The Ambassador also reminded the Special Rapporteur of the article which calls upon mandate holders to ensure that their visit is conducted in compliance with the terms of reference of their mandate.
“In this context, I would be happy to provide information to you with regard steps taken to implement the National Action Plan for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, relevant to your mandate, as part of our continuing and legitimate process of engagement with the special procedures mandate holders,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam