Right of Reply exercised by
the Sri Lanka delegation at the general debate on Item 4:
Human Rights Situations that require the Council's attention
The Permanent Mission of
Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva
09th June 2008
(Mr. Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor-General delivering the statement
on behalf of Sri Lanka on 06th June 2008 )
"Mr. President, let me first refer to the references made by Slovenia,
on behalf of the EU and other EU countries, the Netherlands, France
and the UK. My Ambassador, two days ago, advised the EU with an appropriate
biblical quote to point its searchlight inwards before reaching outwards.
However, the words of wisdom in Mathew 7:3 do not seem to have had their
Mr. President, we regret that none of these countries mentioned above
made any reference to the tragedies that happened this morning in my
country. Two busses carrying civilians, men, women and children, were
targeted by the LTTE, killing over 23 persons and injuring over 70 others.
Further, two more bombs, one with over 40 kilograms of explosives, were
detected and defused today preventing further disaster and calamity.
This, Mr. President, is the threat civilians have to face day in and
day out. The most important human right of all, the right to life, is
being violated due to terrorist acts of the LTTE.
Mr. President, my Government wishes to thank the Government of Japan
for the sympathies extended to the victims of the bus bomb tragedies
today. We also thank the Government of Japan for its pledge of technical
assistance and human resource training to enhance capacity of our national
institutions. Sri Lanka has always believed in our national institutions
and appreciates any assistance to enhance the capacity of such institutions.
Mr. President, the Government of Switzerland referred to the need for
free and unimpeded access for humanitarian organisations to function
in Sri Lanka. While appreciating the need for speedy access to humanitarian
aid, security concerns cannot and will not be compromised. Today's events
bare ample testimony to this.
To all countries which referred to an OHCHR field presence and monitoring,
let me remind them that Sri Lanka, at its UPR less than a month ago,
gave its position clearly with regard to such an office.
Further, Mr. President, we wish to state that, although we hold the
High Commissioner Madam Louise Arbour in high esteem, the same cannot
be said about the OHCHR. This Council as well as the former Human Rights
Commission have passed many resolutions requesting that the OHCHR be
better represented in terms of geographical representation. Little has
been done to give effect to such resolutions. Once the OHCHR is better
represented, it may be possible for countries like Sri Lanka to have
more confidence in the OHCHR.
I thank you, Mr. President."