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UNHRC divided on Lanka report

2013 Sep 27

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was divided today on the oral report on Sri Lanka submitted to the Council by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

While most council members including the US and EU backed Pillay’s report and criticized the government, some countries including Pakistan, Russia, China  and Venezuela strongly backed the efforts of the government following the war.

India meanwhile encouraged the government to continue to work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The Indian delegation said that Pillay had noted the achievements of the government in the field of reconstruction, demining and resettlement conceding that these perhaps had not been sufficiently recognized.

India also noted that the Sri Lankan government has honored its commitment to the international community to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council.

The Indian delegation urged the government and the Tamil National Alliance to engage constructively in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation so that the needs of the people of the Northern Province are addressed with a sense of urgency and purpose.

The EU delegation said that it was concerned that senior figures in Sri Lanka rather than building on the potential of corporation with OHCHR, attempts to undermine its work.

“We are dismayed at the reports that having facilitated a wide reaching visit for the High Commissioner last month, some government officials in Sri Lanka and other commentators appear to be coordinating a campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the High Commissioner or to distract from the core messages of her visit,” the EU said.

The US urged the government to accept technical assistance from Pillay’s office and also implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Australia meanwhile welcomed the successful conduct of the provincial elections in the North and noted that engagement with Sri Lanka and not isolation is the best way to deal with human rights concerns. (Colombo Gazette)

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