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* Sri Lanka accuses outgoing UN HR chief of seeking to influence the OHCHR investigation
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 08:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka today charged that the outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay of seeking to influence the international investigation by her office, OHCHR into Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes.

In a statement issued today, Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs expressed regret over a statement made by Pillay to Thomson Reuters Foundation that visiting Sri Lanka is not necessary for the UN to conduct an effective investigation into the alleged war crimes.

"The 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," the Sri Lankan government said adding that the prejudice and lack of objectivity on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka displayed by High Commissioner Pillay in the past are unfortunate.

"It is evidence of an attempt to influence the investigation process and make it follow a preconceived trajectory," the Ministry statement noted.

In response to Sri Lankan government's defiant stance that it will not allow any international investigator to enter the country to collect evidence, Pillay said that there is a wealth of information outside of Sri Lanka which can be tapped into for the investigation.

The Ministry said this is the same wealth of information that she has tended to refer to in the past, justifying it to be from credible sources, although their origins continue to remain undisclosed, and verification has not been facilitated.

The government accused the High Commissioner of desisting from acknowledging verifiable statistics of UN sources regarding the information instead seeking to "endorse exaggerated claims of former UN sources of spurious credentials by including such uncorroborated statistics in UN documentation."

"Utterances of this nature from an Officer who is expected to maintain the highest standards of objectivity is disappointing," the Ministry said.

The government charged that the High Commissioner attempts to create a distorted impression of the position in Sri Lanka.

"Ignoring completely, the socio-economic and infrastructural developments that have taken place since the conclusion of the conflict, the High Commissioner continues to invite the attention of the international community to Sri Lanka where there is no human rights or humanitarian emergency which merits such consideration, intrusive action or relentless pursuit," the government said.

The Sri Lankan government expressed hope that the incoming High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, would be guided at all times by the "principles of objectivity, impartiality, non-selectivity and equal treatment while respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States in carrying out his mandate and in guiding the work of the OHCHR."

The Government of Sri Lanka said it will continue to engage constructively with the OHCHR.

** Related Story :: Access to Sri Lanka not necessary to conduct war crime probe, UN HR Chief says

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