Pillay’s office not financially independent

Sri Lanka has expressed deep concerns over the lack of financial independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) currently headed by Navi Pillay, saying it leads to disproportionate attention being paid to country-specific action in the Council.

The government says such action selectively targets some countries, while situations, human rights violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the world that warrant more urgent and immediate attention and action remain conveniently ignored.

“The continuation and proliferation of the practice of the selective adoption of country-specific resolutions in the Council is a tool that exploits human rights for political purposes.  We reiterate that such politicized action is contrary to the high purposes and principles of the Council and must be arrested,” the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha P. Aryasinha said today.

He said this while making a statement at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva today.

“Regrettably, a similar pattern is evident in the case of continued action on Sri Lanka in this Council. It would be recalled that the call for an international investigation into the situation in Sri Lanka emanated here barely a week after the Government’s defeat of LTTE terrorism which reunited the country 4 years ago. As we have already informed the Council during past sessions, the ill-conceived resolution on Sri Lanka resulting from politicized action, diaspora compulsions and reports not mandated by the inter-governmental process and therefore lacking in legitimacy and credibility, is completely unwarranted and is for that reason rejected by the Government of Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Ambassador said that the collusion, which is increasingly evident between some countries that support action against Sri Lanka and some extreme elements of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora with vested interests, is a concern that must be addressed more comprehensively by the OHCHR.

“The fact that some of these diaspora elements were accredited as members of a country delegation at the 22nd HRC sets an alarming precedent. Let alone not adding any value to the ongoing domestic reconciliation process, such action has caused mistrust about international processes among the people of Sri Lanka, and also negatively impacted our reconciliation efforts,” he said.

He also said that Sri Lanka is firmly committed to supporting the High Commissioner in the discharge of her mandate as contained in GA Resolution 48/141. (Colombo Gazette)