Sri Lanka expresses strong reservations on the HR High Commissioner's report on country
Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 06:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Mar 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka today expressed 'strongest' reservations on the content of the report prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Navanetham Pillay on Sri Lanka following a technical mission to the country.
Participating in the general debate on country specific reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General at the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Wednesday, Sri Lanka's special envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the report has been formulated pursuant to the last year's resolution against Sri Lanka which Sri Lanka has rejected.
The envoy questioned how a technical mission after a visit of just over a week to the island could have produced such a document claimed to be a comprehensive report.
He said Sri Lanka has already placed on record numerous inaccuracies and misconceptions in the OHCHR's report.
Minister Samarasinghe noted that the report has gone beyond the mandate granted under the UN resolution against Sri Lanka, L 19/2 which limited the High Commissioner's role to reporting on the provision of technical assistance.
The OHCHR has ventured into territory not envisaged by the L19/2 by making substantive recommendations which are totally unrelated to the mandate under the resolution L19/2, he pointed out.
He noted that OHCHR's report refers to the report by the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Expert (PoE) which is not referred to in the Resolution L19/2 and said Sri Lanka has requested the OHCHR to delete all sections referring to the PoE report as reference to it in the OHCHR report expands the ambit of Pillay's report beyond the original scope and mandate of the L19/2.
Minister Samarasinghe also raised concerns over the conduct of the OHCHR team who immediately after the return from Colombo had briefed a selected group of countries at an event hosted by a third party country even before it releasing the outcome to Sri Lanka or its Permanent Mission in Geneva.
According to the Minster the OHCHR report appears to be an outcome of an information gathering exercise to launch a fresh resolution rather than a follow-up of the first resolution.
The Minister informed the Council that despite concerns Sri Lanka has cooperated with the OHCHR team and worked with the High Commissioner.
He pointed out that Sri Lanka has several times extended invitations to the High Commissioner to visit Sri Lanka since April 2011 but she has not done so although she had time to visit the region in the past 12 months.
The Sri Lankan envoy requested the Council members to critically evaluate the content and scope of the OHCHR's report to ensure that an "unhealthy precedent" should not be established.
He urged the Council to resist all attempts to use the flawed and misconceived document to be the basis on which the Council contemplates taking further action.