SL hits back at UNHRC chief

8 November 2014 06:31 am - 31     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Sri Lankan government today accused the UNHCHR Chief Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of challenging the right of a sovereign State to raise concern regarding procedural aspects of an Investigation.

 

“It is a matter of deep concern to note that you, as a high official of the UN system, have resorted to the use of intemperate language to attack and vilify a sovereign member of the United Nations,” Sri Lanka said with reference to the News Release OHCHR office dated 7 November 2014 titled ‘Zeid condemns persistent disinformation designed to discredit UN Investigation on Sri Lanka’.

 

“It is only reasonable for the OHCHR to have explained this fact in a professional manner while assuring the Government that the Investigation will exercise vigilance regarding attempts by parties to manipulate the system. Instead, you have challenged the right of a sovereign State to raise concerns regarding procedural aspects of an Investigation which impacts its people and their future in the context of the ongoing sensitive reconciliation process,” the letter said.

 

“The Government’s categorical rejection of the investigation established by the Human Rights Council is not tantamount to concealing information. The Government of Sri Lanka has steadfastly maintained that it owes to the country’s dignity not to subject its people to an investigation that does not conform to even the minimum requisites of justice and fairplay. This position has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the national Parliament. It is a principled position which the Government chose to take that was supported by many countries in the Council.”

 

The full letter written by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha:

8th November 2014


Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva

 

Dear High Commissioner,

I write with reference to the News Release by your office dated 7 November 2014 titled ‘Zeid condemns persistent disinformation designed to discredit UN Investigation on Sri Lanka’.

It is extremely regrettable that a News Release should have been issued on this matter attributed personally to you questioning the integrity of the Government of a sovereign nation which has been a member of the United Nations since 1955. As you would be aware, Sri Lanka has contributed consistently to the United Nations system in numerous capacities by taking a lead in norm setting processes including the Law of the Sea Conference, disarmament and human rights.

It is unfortunate that your News Release has been issued without making any attempt to understand the context or content apparent from the Media Release of the Ministry of External Affairs dated 5th November 2014.

In fact, the OHCHR has been inept in comprehending for reasons best known to it that the thrust of the concerns expressed by the Government of Sri Lanka related to the flawed procedure of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL).

The Government of Sri Lanka, its departments and agencies made no attempt whatsoever to prevent bona fide witnesses from submitting information to the investigation team. Neither was any attempt made to deter and intimidate individuals from submitting evidence. The submissions that the Investigation would have received by now would stand to prove this fact.

The Government of Sri Lanka informed a selected group of Ambassadors and Representatives based in Colombo, about the revelations made by an individual who was apprehended on the grounds of being a non-rehabilitated LTTE cadre. These revelations included him being employed to collect signatures of persons affected by the conflict on blank forms by deceiving them into believing that they would be granted monetary compensation by the UN. The forms were to then be used to submit false and fabricated information to the OISL. This information was shared by the Government in order to caution the interlocutors on attempts being made at manipulating the investigation process.

Connected to this issue was the Government’s concern regarding the response of the OHCHR Spokesperson to a Sri Lankan newspaper that although officially the deadline for submissions was October 30th and will not be extended, submissions arriving late would not be necessarily  refused as some material may take time to arrive. This is in contravention of the original deadline established in the OISL announcement. This statement by the Spokesperson implies that only some material arriving late would be admitted, the basis for which is unknown. However, it is astonishing that your News Release at this juncture seeks to confirm the said deadline for submissions and the closure of the e-mail address. Such conflicting positions only serve to call into question the integrity of the OISL process.

As the OHCHR is well aware, when the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was in session, the venues and dates of hearings were made known to the public. This was to ensure that no individual or organization, local or foreign, would be excluded from accessing the Commission. The Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces whose mandate was expanded in July 2014 operates on the same basis. It is in this context that the Government of Sri Lanka expected the OISL which claims to be the embodiment of best practices with regard to conducting investigations to at least maintain the same level of transparency to facilitate access to the public.

With regard to your position on trained investigators, it is only reasonable for the OHCHR to have explained this fact in a professional manner while assuring the Government that the Investigation will exercise vigilance regarding attempts by parties to manipulate the system. Instead, you have challenged the right of a sovereign State to raise concerns regarding procedural aspects of an Investigation which impacts its people and their future in the context of the ongoing sensitive reconciliation process.

The Government’s categorical rejection of the investigation established by the Human Rights Council is not tantamount to concealing information. The Government of Sri Lanka has steadfastly maintained that it owes to the country’s dignity not to subject its people to an investigation that does not conform to even the minimum requisites of justice and fairplay. This position has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the national Parliament. It is a principled position which the Government chose to take that was supported by many countries in the Council.

The OHCHR would recall that the Government of Sri Lanka was not alone in raising concerns regarding the Investigation mandated by Resolution 25/1. While the Resolution itself saw a divided Council in March 2014, several countries voiced grave concern regarding the Investigation not only then but in September 2014 as well.

It is a matter of deep concern to note that you, as a high official of the UN system, have resorted to the use of intemperate language to attack and vilify a sovereign member of the United Nations. Further, you have chosen to cast aspersions and denigrate a democratically elected Government. In fact, some countries have, on extremely cogent grounds, rejected mandates of the Council previously in much stronger ways, and have not been censured in the manner as in this instance.  This undoubtedly confirms the double standards being applied. This type of action on your part would regrettably constrain constructive engagement which the Government of Sri Lanka has consistently sought to pursue.

Since you have released your comments to the public domain, I am compelled to make the text of this letter available to the membership of the Council and the people of Sri Lanka who deserve to be aware of the facts pertaining to this matter.  


Yours sincerely,


Ravinatha Aryasinha
Ambassador
Permanent Representative

 


cc. H.E. Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council  

 

 

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  Comments - 31

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  • Yuri Sunday, 09 November 2014 05:48 AM

    Why dont put your country in Order. why you have to this point? Just hold on.. then you can Bark more

    Toto Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:00 PM

    Human rights?The best business. This man is shouting for his supper.

    Suq Madique Sunday, 09 November 2014 07:16 AM

    After its modus-operandi in collecting false accusations against the GOSL was exposed the UN had no option but to deny and further accuse us of suppression of the truth. The double-standards of the UN is shocking.

    Wewala Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:11 PM

    Well said, sir. You are a patriot continue good work for humanity.

    Suq Madique Sunday, 09 November 2014 07:20 AM

    Its the integrity and ulterior motives of the UN which should be questioned.

    A.H.S.A.Cassim Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:14 PM

    What a wonderful letter, sure this guy had to resign

    roshan Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:30 PM

    naturally ravinatha has to shout after what happened to Dr, Chris, sajin is going to go therevery soon, ...

    Toto Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:36 PM

    UNHCHR Chief Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al HusseinA Prince with a conscious would never stoop this low.This is a a begger singing for his supper ones

    dan Sunday, 09 November 2014 08:04 AM

    Excellent reply...keep it up...should not giving to back licking puppets of international arena...

    ChittyChittyBangBang Sunday, 09 November 2014 08:15 AM

    Just after the war, a certain government official, not elected by the people was asked about the war crimes allegations from the International community. He responded by moving his face round and round saying Sri Lanka is a sovereign state and no one can investigate Sri Lanka. Now the man is very silent on this issue. I think he has got a ticket to the Hague.

    bababoo Saturday, 08 November 2014 02:55 PM

    Adding fuel to the fire, Nice

    Wise Old Man Sunday, 09 November 2014 09:03 AM

    You have hit the nail on the head! If the External Affairs Ministry had intelligent people, they would have realized by now, cooperation is the best solution if we have nothing to hide.

    mack Sunday, 09 November 2014 09:35 AM

    human rights chief is spot on via DM Android App

    Lobo Sunday, 09 November 2014 09:39 AM

    The UN acting arrogant after being caught in the process of fabricating false testimonies. Accusing the GOSL of covering up is like the pot calling the kettle black

    sammy Saturday, 08 November 2014 04:55 PM

    first he has to put his own country right. they simply walk in to civilization

    Suq Madique Sunday, 09 November 2014 11:46 AM

    Like even more developed and powerful countries SL also has its imperfections but it does not mean every Tom Dick and Harry can waltz in and dictate to us. Especially those with their own skeletons to hide!!

    Premalal Saturday, 08 November 2014 06:11 PM

    We are going about this in the same way our government handles local disputes. First you throw mud, Then send in the goons and finally shoot. The difference here is that the adversary is very strong. The more mud you throw the more determined they get.

    Suq Madique Sunday, 09 November 2014 01:19 PM

    True. Thats why prabakaran paid the full price. As or SL well, they have to be found guilty first.

    A.C.M.Inayathullah Saturday, 08 November 2014 06:29 PM

    Sri Lanka has already missed the train and certainly this is not the reciprocal attitude nor the diplomatic norms of the govt. of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan PR in Geneva would have been blasted to response.His letter to the OHCHR is nothing but fuel to the fire!

    bababoo Saturday, 08 November 2014 06:30 PM

    The more convinced

    sss Saturday, 08 November 2014 06:42 PM

    can an inter national figure please comment on the non application of law to politicians and their thugs and henchmen, which has resulted in a dangerous situation in Sri lanka

    ari Saturday, 08 November 2014 07:22 PM

    If the OHCHR is a principled body should it not criticise the positions taken by the more powerful nations when they defy UN resolutions. Why the double standards?

    Pathi Saturday, 08 November 2014 08:22 PM

    Well said sir!. You are a patriot. This proves that the UN is a toll of the western hypocrites. We should stand firm, like the Israelis do, to save our country.

    omega Saturday, 08 November 2014 08:31 PM

    In the event of a change in the Executive e all these lackeys top to bottom will have to serve a mandatory jail term

    Saskia Sunday, 09 November 2014 07:48 PM

    Do u really feel from ur heart that LTTE was the only war criminals? Do you feel that SL armed forces did no crimes?

    gobbaya Saturday, 08 November 2014 09:47 PM

    fishmarket style diplomut strategy will only have 1 outcome....the hague via DM Android App

    kumar Monday, 10 November 2014 12:31 PM

    They are still busy in preparing mud sliding scripts against new UNHCHR Chief.

    Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Sunday, 09 November 2014 12:51 AM

    The UNHRC is a tool of the US. It will not even address US war crimes. It treats nations the US is not close with the level of contempt not seen in her dealings with major nations. Human rights have become a political battering ram to push their agenda on a selected group of nations while ignoring many others of far worse ongoing atrocities.

    Saskia Sunday, 09 November 2014 02:44 AM

    I thought that this new HR commissioner would change the stance about SL because Navi pillai was a LTTE supporter according to SL government. What about this guy? also LTTE supporter?

    Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Monday, 10 November 2014 01:50 AM

    "Hits back"? the UNHRC should be banned from Sri Lanka for their double talk

    Yuri Sunday, 09 November 2014 03:22 AM

    All the Criminals Pays Price. one Day or Another. This Gang will pay very very Soon. its remind me Milosevic from Yugoslav. that day is coming soon. its all happen after the election.


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