Prof Wijesinha commends the HRC for being mechanism addressing both strengths & weaknesses of States
Posted on June 12th, 2009

Intervention on behalf of Sri Lanka by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights,

Intervention on behalf of Sri Lanka by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, in the General Debate on the Universal Periodic Review

Sri Lanka wishes, Mr President, to express its appreciation of the UPR process, both as it has been conducted under your leadership this year, and in general. It may not be perfect, and it could certainly be refined, but like democracy it is as good a system as we will get.

It shares certain other characteristics with democracy as properly understood, Mr President, for it seeks to empower all on the basis of equality. Too often do we find the debate on human rights hijacked by a few, with partisan agendas, and it is salutary that we, the member states of the United Nations, have here a mechanism that enables us to explore our strengths in all areas of human rights with a view to building on them, and to examine our weaknesses so that we can improve. In our interventions this week we made clear areas in which success stories were to be appreciated, and we hope these will be generally understood and replicated as possible.

This Council, Mr President, is about development through cooperation, and we welcome a mechanism that avoids the tendentious finger pointing of the self-righteous, or that at least allows for some correctives to such destructive behaviour. In this context let me use the Wagnerian metaphor I was timed out of bringing before the attention of the Council earlier, and urge some of our friends who operate on a Wagnerian scale that they should avoid the Beckmesser School of diplomacy, the school that simply rings out
the faults of others without being able to appreciate their strengths. A true Meistersinger, Mr President, understands that the old order must change, yielding place to new, though of course the positive features of any order, old and new, should be synthesized and developed in terms of common human interests and values.

In urging our friends to follow Hans Sachs rather than Sextus Beckmesser, Mr President, I would also urge some mechanism to restrain those non-governmental organizations which believe that progress is achieved by saying the same thing over and over again, whatever the context. If they could perhaps express their views in a different room, with one of your staff allowing them in here if and only if they had something novel and constructive to say, perhaps much time could be saved. Holding such sessions in a different continent might even help to build up another hotel industry to rival and even surpass that which we have so conscientiously to endure.

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