Sept 09, Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay today expressed gratitude to the Government of Sri Lanka for facilitating her recent visit to the island on a fact-finding mission.
Delivering the opening statement at the 24th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva Monday, Pillay said she is grateful to the Government of Sri Lanka for facilitating her recent comprehensive visit and will report her observations later in the session.
"I am grateful to the Government of Sri Lanka for facilitating my recent comprehensive visit, which allowed me to assess the progress being made towards reconstruction, reconciliation and accountability in the aftermath of the war - as well as the broader human rights situation, including religious intolerance, governance and the rule of law," she said.
She also expressed concern over the questioning of right activists and journalists who spoke to her during her visit to the North, by the Sri Lankan security forces.
"I will be reporting on my observations later in the session, but wish to stress my immediate concern for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and communities I met during my visit from any reprisal, intimidation or attack," she said.
Pillay visited Sri Lanka from 25-31 August to assess the post-war progress in North and the development s in implementing the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
At the end of her week-long visit to Sri Lanka, UN human rights chief in a press conference drew attention to the "disturbing aspect" of her visit, namely the harassment and intimidation of a number of human rights defenders who met her during her tour in the North.
The UN official stressed that the UN takes the issue of reprisals against people because they have talked to UN officials as an extremely serious matter and warned that she will be reporting those that take place in connection with her visit to the Human Rights Council.
In response the government said it is ready to probe the allegations if formally lodged with evidence.
Pillay is scheduled to deliver an oral report on her visit to the Council on 25 September. She will present a comprehensive written report to the next UNHRC session in March.