Sri Lanka, which was censured over its human rights record in March, is set to welcome a team of technical experts led by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to check on the country’s resettlement programmes.
The team is to arrive on September 14 to offer advice and technical assistance to the Sri Lankan government, months after the adoption of the US-sponsored and India-backed resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council sessions held late March.
The team would visit north and east Sri Lanka checking on the government’s resettlement programmes and the internally displaced people (IDP) issues, external affairs ministry officials said.
The decision to welcome the Navi Pillay-led team is being seen as a change of heart.
The government initially showed resistance to the move.
The main elements of the U.N. resolution which urged expeditious action by the Sri Lankan government over its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) were that Sri Lanka should formulate an action plan, and that the office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner in consultation with the government of Sri Lanka offer advice and technical assistance on implementation of the resolution.
The LLRC report had dismissed allegations that Sri Lankan troops deliberately targeted civilians during the last phase of the civil war with the LTTE which ended in 2009.
In the immediate aftermath of the resolution, Colombo took the public stand that technical experts’ visit was unacceptable since it was not a party to the resolution.
Sri Lanka had blamed the pro-LTTE diaspora for enticing the US to move the resolution, an action they described as interference in the country’s internal affairs.