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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Govt. slams door on UNHRC team

The Government is to reject a move by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to send a team to Colombo to discuss the offer of “advice and technical assistance” towards implementing the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka.

The visit of such a delegation is conveyed in a May 14 letter which the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navaneethan Pillay has sent to the Ministry of External Affairs. She has said that such a visit would take place in July.

The government is to take up the position that the visit of such a delegation would not be acceptable since Sri Lanka was not a party to the adoption of the UNHRC resolution. Hence any visit by UN officials with matters related to the UN resolution would not be welcomed by the Government, a high ranking official source said yesterday.

During the March sessions of the UNHRC, one of the three key elements in the resolution adopted was to encourage “…the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with, and with the concurrence of, the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the (two previously mentioned) steps; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to present a report on the provision of such assistance to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-second session.”

The Government is also taking up the position that on its own, action was being taken on two other points made in the resolution. They are the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the formulation of an Action Plan. The source said, “we are taking these steps on our own and will not require any outside assistance.” The source pointed out that visits by any UN team, as the resolution specifies, should be “in consultation with, and with the concurrence of, the Government of Sri Lanka.”

In the light of this, there is still uncertainty over an impending visit to Sri Lanka by Ms. Pillai. This is on the grounds that the Government is unwilling to discuss any issues related to the UN resolution.
 By Political Editor ST


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