The United Nations' top human rights official lashed back Friday at the Sri Lankan government, accusing some of its most senior officials of waging a disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting her and her office.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in a statement that's unusual for a top U.N. official to direct at a U.N.-member country, took aim at Sri Lanka's powerful Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other government officials, on the heels of her visit to the South Asian island nation last month.
During the visit at least three government ministers "joined in an extraordinary array of distortion and abuse" which is continuing now, Pillay's spokesman, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva. "We consider it deeply regrettable that government officials and other commentators continue what appears to be a coordinated campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the high commissioner or to distract from the core messages of her visit."
At the end of her visit, Pillay issued a hard-hitting statement that democracy was being undermined and the rule of law eroded in Sri Lanka, with the country increasingly becoming an authoritarian state, despite the end of its civil war four years ago.
The government responded that she had violated her mandate by making political statements. The defense secretary said her visit was influenced by propaganda from remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels who lost the war.
The Tigers were fighting to create an independent state for ethnic minority Tamils, saying they faced discrimination from the Sinhalese majority.
A U.N. report says that as many as 40,000 people may have been killed in the final phase of the civil war, and Pillay's visit followed a resolution in the U.N.'s 47-nation Human Rights Council in March that urged Sri Lanka to investigate more alleged war crimes committed by government forces and Tamil rebels. She is due to report her findings on Sri Lanka before the Geneva-based Council next week.
On Sept. 12, Pillay's office sent a formal complaint to the Sri Lankan government demanding that it immediately retract and publicly correct "misinformation which has — not surprisingly — aroused much disquiet in Sri Lanka," Colville said.
Pillay complained that the defense secretary made widely reported but false claims that she had asked President Rajapaksa during their private meeting to remove a statue of Sri Lanka's first prime minister from Colombo's Independence Square.
"Firstly, we categorically deny that the high commissioner ever uttered a single word about the statue of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at any point during her visit to Sri Lanka, let alone asked the president to remove it. This claim is without a shred of truth," Colville said. "Secondly, there has been a further distortion concerning comments the high commissioner made to the president concerning a flag in Independence Square."
Pillay told the president she was concerned about "rising inter-communal tensions and incitement to violence on the basis of religion in Sri Lanka," and asked the president why the flag of one religious community — the Sinhalese — was flying next to the national flag in such a symbolic location, Colville said.
She suggested "it might be more inclusive to fly only the national flag," he added. "At no time did she request any flag to be removed."(ABC news)
Its funny that people who don't live in SL have the biggest and loudest voices about whats going on here. As for 3rd class people well we do have a few left, most have already settled down abroad as refugees.
Ari Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:40 AM
As regards flags, the subject matter relates to two flags, namely, (1) the national flag and (2) the Buddhist flag. If she suggested that "it might be more inclusive to fly only the national flag", it is very clear she suggested the removal of the Buddhist flag from the scene.
Calistus Jayatilleke Saturday, 21 September 2013 11:29 AM
Ha ha, so at last the bloody liars who run the government are caught with their pants down for disseminating utter lies in a shameless manner. That is why the UNP leader wrote to Ms. Pillay asking for a clarification on her purported statement regarding the removal of the statue of D.S Senanayake from the Independence Square.
Chaminda Tilakumara Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:41 AM
The truth is coming out slowly. How can Mrs Pillay pass judgement on SL and the the Buddhist flag when she seems to know nothing of the countries history? My advice to would be to study the country's long history first before acting like a guard of the imperialists.
unchikun Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:47 AM
Well done madam. Keep the heat on. Teach the uneducated Sri Lanka politicians human ethics.
unchikun Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:48 AM
People who lie also steal and kill.
Lucky Weeramantry Saturday, 21 September 2013 11:38 AM
She Came To Marry Mervin Silva, The Biggest Joker.
Bathiya Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:48 AM
Now the entire world knows what the majority of Sri Lankans are made of.
Labby Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:52 AM
Looks like the Defense Secretary has finally met his waterloo,
james bond Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:59 AM
punished who insulted the country by spread lies and insulted the uno,sri lanka is now becoming a stae of lies and cheap country.
kith udugama Sunday, 22 September 2013 06:45 PM
She is third rate no body from South Africa.. You have no brains johnny
kith udugama Sunday, 22 September 2013 06:48 PM
Yes we all like to tell about her behind you oops jonny5h6y4
FOX Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:26 PM
ThIS IS TRUE. SL VOTERS MAKE MISTAKE IN ELECTION. BUT THEY BLAME THEIR MPs . MADNESS.
FOX Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:29 PM
RACISM MADE BLIND
Mangala Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:35 PM
She has no power, rights, justice or whatever to questions country cultural symbol. Raise a question or said a single word about the buddhist flag shows her incompetence, ignorance on country culture and indirect hit. Buddhist flag is more worth to us than DS statue. She is third class western instrument, That is it. We common men have two word for you lady, F..Y...
Young Lanka Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:11 AM
This confirms she is bias and belongs to a tribe practicing violence.
bandan Sunday, 22 September 2013 03:15 PM
Why is Srilanka is your grand father's land, it's my land you shut your mouth and any other holes and get to work.
Batty Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:16 AM
Don't worry about dogs barking madam.
come clean Saturday, 21 September 2013 01:00 PM
Pathetic, watching mediocre (?) Govt spokesmen challenging well educated and honest international officials, to cover up their misdeeds.
Renu Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:35 AM
We will see the repercussions of all these unwanted statements by unstately people during and after her visit , when she makes an oral statement about Sri-lanka, and would follow up with her written statement to the UN in March. We may see stars
per Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:40 AM
We see a conflict of interest in your dealings with Sri Lanka. So better UN address conflict of interest of its official and protect its credibility ( i doubt whether UN has any credibility )
ban Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:43 AM
its no surprise, you are tamil origin. if you act in this manner, it would be unavoidable another conflict.
ravi Saturday, 21 September 2013 01:27 PM
Decendents of king Vijaya too should go back to india!
RamUK Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:03 AM
uneducated politicians selected by uneducated 3rd class SL citizens. so stop blaming the politicians. they are always reflect the ppl of the country.
jaya Saturday, 21 September 2013 01:27 PM
While living in UK it is nice for you to dream about tamil home land. if tamils need jaffna for them then they must leave all other parts of country.
FOX Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:03 AM
SRI LANKA IS MULTI NATIONAL COUNTRY. ONE NATIONAL FLAG IS ENOUGH. LORD BUDDHA HAD NOT ANY FLAG.
CHANDRAPALA Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:04 AM
This is the usual method the government always applies in local politics. Now ,internationally they have fallen in to zero level.
kota Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:05 AM
No, she wanted flags from other beliefs too.
FOX Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:07 AM
PILLAI IS RIGHT> DONT MIX RELIGION WITH GOVT. YOU READ REAL HISTORY. NOT GOVT MADE SCHOOL HISTORY BOOK
Channa Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:01 PM
She did the same thing
vijay Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:08 AM
How right she was about lack of democracy Look at what happened to the Candidate in North
it is unlikely this woulsd be printed
Channa Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:04 PM
Poh You became a 1st class person . Oh my foot !
FOX Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:08 AM
BIAS? WHY DO YOU LIVE JUNGLE?
Rohan1 Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:08 PM
Not when the ballot boxes are stuffed, and jilmart becomes the main game....!!
Rohan1 Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:09 PM
She just did that!
Suq Madique Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:15 AM
Its also very clear she's working according to the diaspora agenda
Simple mind Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:25 AM
Was it only the Sinhalese who fought for freedom if so why does the history books mention people of other faiths in the struggle for freedom. Then why only the Buddhist flag is at the independence square.
Thusitha Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:25 AM
Madam, are you only paying for HR of Sri Lanka, Who is responsible for Midle- East
don Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:28 AM
labby, thanks to defence secretory we are at peace REMEMBER THAT.
jawad Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:40 AM
She is right. Only natioanl flag is more meaningful than any other religious flag in independent square.
orange Saturday, 21 September 2013 08:46 AM
ARI....Don't you realize that the Buddhist have represented a major portion in the national flag. So what more than a national flag, which represent all.......
Jinadasa,J Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:07 PM
Yes,Ms Pillai is hundred percent correct. We are far too much into religion. Its a private matter. We shouldn't have even ministries for religious matters. I agree that Govt higher ups ave lied to her. I know much more about whats happening in the country where there is no democracy.
Jinadasa,J Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:11 PM
Yes, I agree hundred percent what Ms Pillai had said. Our politicians lie from top to bottom. We have no democracy in the country although we cast the vote dates set by the President. We too pay far too much attention to Buddhism., even there is a Ministry for it, which other country in the world has this sort of matter. religion is a private matter. If our Ministers practice Buddhism, why do they lie so much. Jinadasa
Mason Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:27 PM
The arrogance and attitude of the government has got itself into a difficulties and the pit is being dug further deep by their own folly. The bad reputation gained by the country internationally is getting worse by the day.
Exorcist Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:03 AM
National flag is the proper and ethically suitable @ the independence square what ever said and done for a country after gaining independence.
Shah Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:47 PM
unchikun Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:04 AM
Any plans to send a "White Van" to Geneva?
raj Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:10 AM
Gen. Sarath Fonseka?
AJP Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:59 PM
Its embarrassing for us to live under the prevailing government
Saskia Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:13 AM
What do you mean? You accept the buddhist flag there? Then lets split us from SL and make own one own state in North and east. Then you can hoist whatever flags you want, even the sinhalese flag. we will not bother about it. Currrent SL is multi culture and multi religious.
kato Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:20 AM
what does a flag got to do with Human rights? Did she cross a line in even asking questions about why there is only a Buddhist flag at Independance square? Pillay of all people should appreciate the local context and never even brought up such a thing. Also, she should have thought through the consequences of raising such questions it can easily be interpreted the way Gota or anyone else in the government did. She cannot blame the government for her own mistakes.
unchikun Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:22 AM
Modawansa, Lover Boy, Ravans, Mr. % and the rest of the "sathakayas" as responsible for this. Free air tickets may be on line.
Rubert Vanderkoon Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:24 AM
She has nothing to say about the major claim that she was about to lay a wreath at the big terrorist´s Waterloo. This is using the international stage to intimidate a poor country, what a biased woman!
Rubert Vanderkoon Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:26 AM
Did you man "...live outside the jungle."? Yes it must hard for you to believe there are people living outside the jungle. But believe me, they do!
Suchala Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:27 AM
I believe we are specialized on manipulate things for the benefit of SL Govt, as our certain ministers speeches, assume the people don't get hurt or punished for the mistakes committed by the SL authorities..
Rakitha Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:27 AM
Sadly Madam Pilly its you and your LTTE cells in the west who have been on a long plan to tarnish SL and build up LTTE agendas..... Don't throw stones from glass building Madam Pilly...!!!!!!!!!
RamUK Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:27 PM
you can call me any names but important to reflect what is going on, end of the day you guys are the losers, faster you accept better for you or keep on denial
rakavan Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:32 AM
Ms Pillay's observation on this was spot on. Any country which claims to treat its citizens equally cannot be partial to a segment of its citizenry, regardless of whether they are the majority or minority. Open discrimination against non-Sinhalese / buddhists began with constitutions introduced post 1948 and what Ms Pillay saw was symbolic discriminatory actions of the govt.
s jayawardene Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:35 AM
Sri Lankans love all communities. They get married and propose to any one of any country
Young Lanka Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:33 PM
raj Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:37 PM
the curse of SL is people like you with communal attitude
N K Ratnam Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:43 AM
Independence square stands for the independence of all the people of Sri Lanka, not just Buddhists. The fact that UNHR H/C has to point this out to the Sri Lankan leadership is the crux of the ethnic conflict in this island. Instead of heeding her message the leadership is whipping up hatred between Buddhists and Non-Buddhists. She only inquired why you had a flag representing only a section of Sri Lankans albeit the majority, instead of a flag that represented all the people such as the national flag. If the leadership had any vision on uniting the peoples of Sri Lanka they would have headed her message and quietly rectified the error. Instead they have chosen to make an issue out of this to whip up Buddhist sentiments at the expense of Non-Buddhists
idroos2002 Saturday, 21 September 2013 09:46 AM
Madam Pillay it would be more honorable for you to look right as right and wrong as wrong without any religious , country race, cast or creed etc etc bias . Being an educated lady u should set an example to others.
Brumpy Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:47 PM
In Sri Lanka all Sri Lankans are 1st class. You are 3rd class in the UK. I have visited the UK on many occasions and have seen this 1st hand.
Brumpy Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:50 PM
Need to add the Prof who talks giblish.
sach Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:01 AM
yes so what is wrong with that? I am with her on that
Ruwan Perera Saturday, 21 September 2013 04:57 PM
Those who write above supporting Pillai are Deshadrohiyo. This woman, being a Tamil, should have stepped away from the Sri Lankan conflict as one of the parties is Tamil. She was from a poor family in SA and she was sent to university with the collection of money from the others in the Tamil community. She naturally has a bias towards her community and therefore has a conflict of interest. What can u expect from such a person other than biased views? Her UNHCR is nothing but a big farce. They are hypocrites who want to punish small countries like SL and look away of the massacres done by US, Israel et al. Don't waste time on reading or writing of this useless UN.
idroos2002 Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:07 AM
I think The Natonal flag is supreme to fullfill the aspirations of all communities in sri lanka
Ranil Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:14 AM
Maam, Where were you when we were not sure when our Daddy's went to work, whether they will return or not. Where were you when the country was bleeding and bombs were going on in fort more often than murders taking place in johannesberg? Where were you when our neighboring big brother (apperently you are also from that dissent) were openly helping the terrorists to wipe out the Sinhalese?
we have faced it. we have seen it through. We have seen tears too.
You say what you want to say. Thats all great. But you have no idea what went on over here, as you are surrounded by many who wants to seperate this country.
zeylanicus Saturday, 21 September 2013 05:23 PM
Buddhist flag is a more recent thing. The Sinhalese and buddhist have representations within the national flag itself.
ungi Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:21 AM
So we demand that the Brit National Anthem removes "GOD save the ...." part as there are people living in Britain that do not believe in GOD...
John Fernandez Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:42 AM
She is not only supporting diaspora, she is a Biaspora too.........
John Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:50 AM
Well you seem to be her kind. Pillay was in SL to see the development work and human right issues but at the end wanted to lay a wreath on terrorist leader Prabha's grave when she jolly well knew LTTE was a banned terrorist organisation. Where was she going? What was she thinking. We have no confidence on her for the way she got about her work. Don't blame the ministers but blame yourself for being a hypocrite. There is freedom of press and anyone can give their opinion. You know it all but looks like you have to go to school again PIllay. What does it matter to you with the flags. Its nothing to do with you.
Rohan Saturday, 21 September 2013 10:54 AM
You may see stars Renu. But what she did and uttered you can see what she is. We have no confidence at all as a nation. She proved for herself. She must be praised for sleeping when the LTTE were killing innocent people. She has only woken up now. Why because DIASPORA Talks.
nalaka Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:08 AM
yaa right as if your all clean and not one sided
CW Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:09 AM
Hey Sinhalese is not a religious community. It is the majority of SL.
raspi Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:11 AM
3rd class politics by our 3rd class politicians. no one tells her anything face to face.but all is done behind her back and when she isn't around.
orange Saturday, 21 September 2013 11:01 AM
DON - Yes, you are right, now we are at piece, REMEMBER THAT.....
Ahmed Ali Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:23 AM
Why can't you guys go back to south india and asked for a separate state?
zorro Monday, 23 September 2013 01:28 PM
Ruwan, because she is a Tamil she do not necessarily be biased towards the Tamils! It would mean because the President and the majority of the GoSL are Sinhalese they should necessarily be biased. So is it correct to assume that they would not want solve theproblems of the minority in the country. And what has her povetry to do with the office she is holding? And if she says that in our country a certain part of the population given more privilages and which would disturb the peace between the communities, what is wrong with that? better remove the buddist flag or hoist all relegious flags if necessary!
kay Saturday, 21 September 2013 11:19 AM
ahmed why don't you go back to pakistan and fight with al-quida
Ryan Saturday, 21 September 2013 06:29 AM
This lady hates Sri Lanka with prejudice.
SureshP Saturday, 21 September 2013 11:20 AM
Long Speech. So, are you saying that the Independence Square should have the Buddhist flag instead of the National flag because of all you have said above????
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