UN Rapporteur wants Lanka to invite him

Christof HeynsA top UN official said that there were encouraging signs that Sri Lanka will deal with human rights concerns related to the war but the new government was not willing to go all the way.

Christof Heyns, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that for him Sri Lanka stands out as the most defining moment when carrying out his mandate in 2015.

“To me, the case of Sri Lanka stands out. And the resolution that has been taken in Geneva about that, in many cases, I think one has a situation where there are large scale killings, violence, and with this impunity, and for some time it looked like that was going to be the case with Sri Lanka,” he said.

Heyns noted that while it is still early days and no one knows exactly what and where the process in addressing human rights concerns in Sri Lanka will go, it is encouraging that the process went as far as it has gone.

“It is encouraging that it has not been completely imposed on the state, but the state itself is receptive to some of these ideas. And I think it’s encouraging for the system that it does not work in all cases but in some cases, the system can actually address this, and accountability is the central point really of protecting the right to life, without that it’s simply an ideal, but when one has accountability as we may have at least to some extend in Sri Lanka it’s an affirmation of the right to life,” he said.

However, he also noted that he has requested for a visit to Sri Lanka and he needs the approval from the Sri Lankan government to undertake the visit.

“They’ve accepted some of the other mandates, but not my mandate. But I have a standing request to the government to visit Sri Lanka, and I’ll drop everything if they say I can go,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)