Aug 25, Colombo: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay arrived in Sri Lanka on a week-long fact finding mission in response to an invitation formally extended to her by the Sri Lankan government in April 2011.
During her visit from 25 to 31 August, the High Commissioner is scheduled to meet a number of ministers, senior government officials as well as opposition political leaders and civil society members.
She is scheduled to meet with the Chief Justice and Minister of National Language and social integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara tomorrow whiles she will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa after he returns from his visit to Belarus.
Pillay will meet with the officials of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) on August 29th to discuss developments in the human rights front in the country. Commissioner of HRCSL, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said the UN High Commissioner would discuss the National Human Rights Action Plan and its implementation and likely question the progress made by the HRCSL in implementing recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Representatives of Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), will meet the UN High Commissioner on August 30th to discuss the human rights situation in the country and the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council elections.
The UN official is also scheduled to tour the North and East before her departure to get a firsthand look on the post-war progress in the conflict-affected region.
At the end of her visit, on Saturday 31 August, the High Commissioner is due to hold a news conference in Colombo.
According to the proposals presented at the last session of UNHRC in March this year, the HR commissioner is expected to present an extensive report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva at the upcoming session next month and she will compile the report on her visit to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Special Human Right Envoy Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will be attending the UN session that is to be commenced on 9th September and will present a report on current status. The Minister said Sri Lanka will pay careful attention to Pillay's report at the sessions and if needed will make clarifications or corrections to her report.
Pillay, who has been very critical of Sri Lanka's human rights situation, has constantly insisted on an international investigation into Sri Lanka's war.
The Sri Lankan government said it has nothing to hide and asked the UN High Commissioner to be open minded and submit an unbiased report after her visit to the island.
The Sri Lankan government believes Pillay's visit will help to enlighten the international community about the progress and development achieved by Sri Lanka after ending terrorism four years ago.