Posted on January 20th, 2013

Editorial, Courtesy The Daily NewsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Predictably, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navinathan Pillai has issued a statement that is clearly not within her remit as a UN official in purporting to classify the recent impeachment as some kind of a Rule of Law issue concerning this country. Pronouncing on what is clearly within the constitutional right of the President of this country is absolutely not within her remit, as even if somebody were to oppose the impeachment per se, there is nothing that can be said about the candidate for the succession, a matter clearly within the constitutional prerogative of the President.

But the office of the Human Rights Commissioner, which is by the very manner in which the institution is structured, heavily dependent on the input of non-governmental organizations, has obviously taken the version of the anti-Sri Lankan dollar paid NGO lobby as gospel when arriving at the conclusion it did about the appointment of the new Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. Yes, Mohan Peiris defended Sri Lanka’s human rights record in Geneva and in other forums where it was necessary.

Does that somehow make Peiris’s appointment illegal by any stretch? Absolutely not. There are no Supreme Court orders stating unlike in the case of the former Chief Justice, that Peiris is prevented from hearing certain types of cases, for example. It would be remembered that as for the former CJ, a clear court order had been made by a Supreme Court bench that she is forbidden from hearing cases that pertain to the issue of devolution of power, as she was intimately involved with formulating policy in this area as an academic.

Sans any such strictures on Mohan Peiris, what is the legal bar to his appointment to succeed the former Chief Justice? None whatsoever. What authority then does the UN Commissioner on Human Rights have, to make a pronouncement on what is a strictly an internal issue, squarely within the purview of the country’ elected Executive?

If on the other hand, she deems that somehow there is some kind of conflict of interests issue related to the appointment, which then boils down to an objection based on moral and not legal grounds, why is she framing the issue of succession as a Rule of Law related problem, as she has done in her statement issued from the High Commissioner’s office in Geneva? If the appointment is legal, the Rule of Law is not transgressed, period, so what is the basis for her intervention?

All of this goes to show that the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights is rather cavalier in making her pronouncements on internal issues of a country, which makes her statements tantamount to the abuse of the powers of her office. It certainly appears as if she is making her views known from a standpoint of ignorance of the facts involved, perhaps at the behest of the vast corpus of NGOs that are affiliated now to the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s office.

Ms. Navi Pillai should be suitably rebutted, and she will be, we suspect, but that is not the issue — the more troubling aspect of her intervention is the fact that the UN High Commissioner’s office can be used to queer the pitch as it were, before the UN Human Rights Council sessions which are conducted with the participation of all member states of the council, and on the basis of one country one vote.

Such a process should not be prejudiced by NGOs which have made their own heavily weighted judgments, arising from the agendas they are compelled to follow due to the heavy inputs of the donors who work to agendas that have nothing to do with the legitimate interests of the people of the countries involved.

For example, in Sri Lanka, the people are more interested in leaving the memories of war behind, and getting ahead with their lives, which are much better now as a result of the post war economic uplift. But the NGOs insist on keeping these people shackled to the memories of war, thorough spurious and overdone advocacy of concepts of ‘accountability’ and ‘reconciliation.’ A UN High Commissioner should not have the leeway to impact on a country’s internal affairs unfairly in this way. It’s time the people of member countries asserted themselves, against a new form of alien domination.


  1. sena Says:

    “For example, in Sri Lanka, the people are more interested in leaving the memories of war behind, and getting ahead with their lives, which are much better now as a result of the post war economic uplift” – I do not think this is true apart from the city folks who are benefiting without contributing anything.

  2. Sirih Says:

    What Pillai is saying is that ” Patriot cannot be the CJ”… Just because Mohan defended the nation from UN, HR council.

    CJ Mohan Peiris is well qualified and also a patriot and he personally called me at hight of the ch4 fiasco to work with me to create the UN rebuttal document which was never published to the public and ultimately UN ask Prof Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur to apologised to the SL govt and 2nd Rapporteur’s technical team agree with me re. technical report that it was edited which was the final outcome.
    Talking about due process here since Philip Alston, fail utterly as a law professor .

  3. Christie Says:

    Navi Pillai an Indian colonial parasite, what right she got to take on subjects of Indian imperialists?

  4. Marco Says:

    I assume you take great pleasure in “name calling” than addressing issues in a reason and objective manner.

  5. aravinda Says:

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navinathan Pillai, should champion the plight of women in India, especially the Dalit women, who are routinely raped and brutalized by high caste Hindus.

    As the Human Rights Commissioner defending these 100 million Dalit women who enjoy the lowest standard of living in the world, lowest level of human rights and who murdered and raped as a “right of passage” by high caste Hindus, should be the most pressing issue for Ms.Pillai. Where are you Ms. Pillai, are you hiding when real Human rights issues are presented?

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