Sri Lanka tells UNHCR not to equate it with a terror
Sri Lanka Army news | June 4, 2009 at 10:09 pmby
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June 05, Colombo: Sri Lanka expressing dismay at the remarks made by the UNHCR High Commissioner Navi Pillay, asked the world humanitarian body to not to equate a legitimate army fought to liberate the country with a ruthless terrorist group.
Addressing the United Nations Geneva-based Human Rights <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Council, Sri Lanka's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Dayan Jayatilleka said Sri Lanka does not believe in any attempt to equate the two sides involved in the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.
"We cannot equate, and we will not equate the fascists and the anti-fascist armies, the terrorists and the legitimate army of a democracy, the separatists and those who fought in order to reunify the country. This, we shall not do, Mr. President. And we shall not allow anyone else to do so either," the Ambassador stressed to the Council.
The UNHCR High Commissioner Navi Pillay, who is herself an ethnic Tamil from South Africa yesterday called for an independent international inquiry to probe the war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's military operations to liberate the North despite that such a move was voted out by the HRC earlier.
“A comprehensive process of accountability for human rights violations committed by all sides should be carried out. To that end, I have called for an independent international inquiry,” she said.
Ms. Pillay also called for “unfettered humanitarian access to, as well as freedom of movement for,” the over 250,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) held in welfare centers in Vavuniya.
In response Ambassador Jayatilleka said Sri Lanka absolutely has no problem with access but Sri Lanka, as a sovereign country will decide on the degree of access that it grants anyone from outside.
"That access will be broad and wide as it has always been. Unfettered...? I doubt it," he said.
Ambassador Jayatilleka told the Council that Sri Lanka is happy to accept the offer of assistance of the High Commissioner's office in Sri Lanka's efforts to handle the resettlement of the IDPs, as soon as the "OHCHR, itself, is regionally far more representative and transparent a body, as the majority of this Council has sought it should be."
Sri Lanka scored a major victory last month when it successfully presented a resolution against a resolution presented by 17 members of the HRC for a war crime inquiry. The Council adopted Sri Lanka's resolution with 29 countries voting for it and 12 opposing while 6 abstaining and praised the government for its commitment to human rights, while condemning the LTTE.
Ms. Pillay had made a few comments critical of the Sri Lankan government’s handling of human rights during the recently concluded fighting with the LTTE.
Check facts before commenting, Human Rights Minister tells Pillay
June 5, 2009 04:39 pm
Sri Lanka’s Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe met United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay - also called Navi Pillay – and urged her to check her facts with the government before she made any comments on Sri Lanka.
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