Sri Lanka will not help legitimize a flawed process that could set dangerous  precedent by cooperating with the OHCHR investigation
Posted on September 25th, 2014

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka Geneva

Responding to the ‘Oral Update’ on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva today (25 September 2014), Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha  said the Government of Sri Lanka does not wish to help legitimize a flawed process and have a detrimental precedents established”, and hence has to respectfully refuse those who urge that Sri Lanka cooperate with the OHCHR investigation.” 

 He said this position has been taken after much consideration and represents not only the will of the Sri Lankan people as reflected in the motion recently adopted in the Parliament with an overwhelming majority, but also the majority within the Human Rights Council, who refused to support Operational Paragraph 10 of HRC resolution 25/1 which created an OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka in March 2014.

 Ambassador Aryasinha said with all the calamities and afflictions around us today, Sri Lanka is clearly not a situation that requires the urgent and immediate attention of this Council. Sri Lanka is continuing on a transformative journey in the interest of all the people of Sri Lanka. What Sri Lanka needs at this juncture is to be encouraged, and not impeded.”

 He pointed out that GOSL’s principled opposition to the OHCHR investigation stems from several well founded concerns: its politically motivated agenda; it challenges the sovereignty  and independence of a member state of the UN; it violates a fundamental principle of international law, which requires that national remedies have to be exhausted before resorting to international mechanisms;   and though pretending to help, the actions of the HRC has in effect impeded  the reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

 Besides these issues of principle, he said for over the past 6 months, the operationalization of this resolution has clearly violated both the letter and spirit of the said resolution: it had gone beyond the original timeframe, had expanded the scope and subject of the discussion; it had increased the number of Special Procedure Mandate holders from three to six, in contravention of the allocated budget (PBI); had decided to appoint three high level individuals instead of two, again in contravention of the allocated budget; and by the  appointment of high level international figures, who are by no means “technical experts relevant to the investigation” it seems that the OHCHR has sought to tacitly elevate the level of the OHCHR investigation to mimic an international COI.” He also said despite the proponents of resolution 25/1, as well as the OHCHR, repeatedly emphasizing the transparency of this process relating to Sri Lanka, the names of all but one of the ‘investigation team’ continue to remain secret, which is in clear contravention to the principles of natural justice.

 The Ambassador also reminded the Council that in recent weeks many countries in the HRC had expressed concern about the increasing trend to assign the Office of the High Commissioner with extensive investigative roles, which it is neither mandated to undertake nor equipped for, demonstrating a clear departure from UNGA Resolution 48/141”, adding that  such arbitrary and selective action, especially with respect to what clearly is a politically motivated and highly polarized issue in the Council, giving disproportionate and unwarranted attention to Sri Lanka, not only calls into question the credibility of the functioning of the OHCHR and OHCHR led processes, but also creates dangerous precedents, if left unchecked. Deviation from the established mandates and processes does not bode well for countries like mine that continue to seek a path to cooperate, but have to face obstacles at every turn.”

 Earlier in his statement, Ambassador Aryasinha reiterated that ”notwithstanding Sri Lanka rejection of the resolution 25/1 and the OHCHR investigation, GOSL continues to engage with the regular mechanisms of the Council, with the OHCHR and the High Commissioner. GOSL is also continuing its own domestic process of accountability, justice, reconciliation and nation building with utmost dedication, the results which were detailed in Sri Lanka’s comprehensive statement earlier this session, including on the COI on Missing Persons.”

 The GoSL statement emphasized that addressing accountability issues has to be based on available evidence properly sourced and verified.  In order that any appropriate accountability measures can be devised and be meaningful the following key factors must be addressed in evaluating the evidence; LTTE’s use of the population in their terrorist campaign, analyse evidence of attacks on the basis of principles of distinction, necessity and proportionality, the manner in which GOSL treated persons after the conflict and to accurately establish civilian deaths counting as civilians only non-combatants and also taking into account civilians killed by the LTTE.”

 Pointing out that the oral update is replete with accusations and unsubstantiated statistics”, he noted that whenever details of statistics have been requested from the OHCHR on claims made in their comments and reports to this Council, such information has not been forthcoming. This was true with respect to the previous High Commissioner’s Oral Update to HRC 24 and Comprehensive Report to HRC 25.

 The GoSL statement today also addressed several issues raised to in the High Commissioner’s oral update, with respect to the  deportation of a number of refugees and asylum seekers, GOSL’s listing of some Tamil organizations and individuals pursuant to UNSC 1373 and issues raised on Weliweriya, Vavuniya and Welikada prisons and mass graves. The Ambassador also observed that Sri Lanka rejects assertions regarding threats leveled against the human rights community. Sri Lanka will treat all such persons equally before the law guaranteeing to them and upholding the full gamut of constitutional rights available.” He also said Sri Lanka expressly rejects all acts of violence against any religious or ethnic communities, and is committed to bring the perpetrators of such actions to justice.

 Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


5 Responses to “Sri Lanka will not help legitimize a flawed process that could set dangerous  precedent by cooperating with the OHCHR investigation”

  1. Christie Says:

    Thank you. We should stand up to Indians and those who are being manipulated by Indians.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Not only Sri Lanka should stop this investigation since the UNHRC will not take the entire war into consideration mainly due to pressure from India but Sri Lanka needs to be as pro active as New Delhi in supporting the independence of Kashmir from India as well.

    An independent Kashmir would emerge almost the size of the United Kingdom, share a border with 2 of the world’s largest economies and have a chance to be a member state of Russia’s CSTO and/or China’s SCO she will be a new member state of SAARC with her own military and air force.

    An independent Kashmir would be free of the 70 years of intrusion by foreign armies into her territory including having control of waters that form rivers in her neighboring nations. She would also be a mediating voice between India and Pakistan.

    Because of her history and natural beauty and her long history an Independent Kashmir would be important to Hinduism, Buddhism and islam and continue to draw tourists as she once did. There is a book of relevance called “America Shattered United no More by Columbus Falco. it writes about the inherent evil of mega states and their broad sweeping impersonal laws needed to manage continent sized populations. It also addresses the power of a smaller nation who can mange the people while maintaining the individualism inherent in a Democracy.

  3. S de Silva Says:

    It is refreshing to find that at last Sri Lanka has boldly said what should have been said. Well done Ambassador Aryasinha. That’s the style!! SL has to move from the “servile” mode into ‘Combat’ – S de Silva -London.

    Thank you LW editor for bringing the site back and hoping that it is now less prone to hacking

  4. AnuD Says:

    It is simply stupid to corporate with the UNHCR investigations. It is not at all an honest and accountable process. IT is dirty politics.

    But, we should not criticize the person who hold the position. simply we should not criticize the individuals only the processes.

  5. aloy Says:

    Well done ambassador Aryasinha, keep it up.
    It is good to understand how the demographics change in Kashmir before rushing for help. We too will have parallels.

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