Free Press Journal

Sri Lanka slams Pillay for influencing UN rights probe


Colombo: Sri Lanka today slammed outgoing UN rights chief Navy Pillay of “personal bias” and for trying to “influence” UNHRC probe into reports of war crimes in the country during the last phase of conflict against the LTTE.

Taking exception to Pillay’s recent comments, the External Affairs Ministry said, “the United Nations can conduct an effective investigation into reports of war crimes in Sri Lanka without visiting the country”.

Sri Lanka has vowed not to cooperate with the investigation and allow the UN investigators into the country.

“High Commissioner who is scheduled to leave office at the end of this month making public pronouncements to the media on an investigation which has commenced only recently is a clear indication of personal bias. It is evidence of an attempt to influence the investigation process and make it follow a preconceived trajectory,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Pillay has also been accused of relying on unverified statistics from the UN sources.

“The prejudice and lack of objectivity on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka displayed by High Commissioner Pillay in the past are unfortunate,” it said.

Sri Lanka calls the allegations against the government in Pillay’s report, a flagrant violation of natural justice, which are drawn from testimonies shrouded in secrecy in view of the twenty-year confidentiality granted to those who had given the testimony, it said.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council should seek to work with Sri Lanka in a cooperative, collaborative, constructive and transparent manner to further strengthen the State’s capacity to promote and protect human rights but Pillay, instead, pays scant regard to the ongoing delicate process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka argues,” the statement said.

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights was empowered by the UNHRC resolution late March to carry out an independent investigation into alleged rights abuses during Sri Lanka’s final stages of the war with the LTTE which ended in 2009.

Sri Lanka has dubbed the resolution an intrusive step taken by the rights body and the appointment of the investigating panel as a breach of its sovereignty and refused to cooperate with the investigation.