Sept 02, Colombo: Sri Lanka says the delegation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay has made a "surreptitious effort" to pay a selective floral tribute to the dead at Mullivaikkal, the final battle front where the Tamil Tiger terrorist leader Prabhakaran perished.
Pillay was on a week-long visit to Sri Lanka on an invitation extended by the government in April 2011 as a part of Sri Lanka's consistent engagement with the UN System.
During a press conference on Saturday (August 31) at the conclusion of her visit, the UN Rights Chief paid respects to all Sri Lankans, across the country, who were killed during the three-decade long conflict.
The Sri Lankan government issuing a statement Sunday said the Pillay's delegation had planned to pay a floral tribute during the visit to Mullivaikkal and the government was not informed of such an event during the planning of her visit.
The government said it is significant that at no point of time during the discussions in formulating the High Commissioner's programme, that the holding of such an event was indicated and it was informed only a few hours before the unilaterally scheduled event.
The government has pointed out to the High Commissioner's team that if such a gesture needed to be made it should be done at a venue common to all victims of the 30 year terrorist conflict and not on the grounds where the LTTE leader met his death.
According to the authorities the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, who represents the UN Secretary General, was even not aware of the planned event.
The government said the UN side indicated to the local media not to follow the High Commissioner during her field visits to Mullaitivu, as it would impede the confidentiality of her discussions with those villagers she was to meet.
However, the High Commissioner's spokesman from Geneva has invited three international television agencies well in advance of her arrival in Sri Lanka to cover the floral tribute demonstrating the selective manipulation of the media in Sri Lanka, the government said.
After the government has communicated to the High Commissioner that selective commemoration of victims of the terrorist conflict is not appropriate the UN official has cancelled the event and granted brief interviews to the three media organizations in other locations.