Sinhala  Tamil    Seperate    
Governtment of Sri Lanka

Anti-Sri Lanka Moves Deterred at Human Rights Council

( Created date: 14-Dec-2007 )

The resumed Sixth Session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva from 10th to 14th of December ’07 concluded with no resolution moved or any action taken on Sri Lanka despite an intense campaign. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in a joint open letter had called upon the Council to ‘press’ and ‘push’ Sri Lanka into accepting a UN human rights monitoring mission. There had also been mounting speculation in media outlets supportive of the LTTE and /or other anti-State forces, that there would be a resolution critical of Sri Lanka at these sessions.

The ambassadors of Japan, the Philippines and India spoke out in support of Sri Lanka at the sessions. Western delegates and NGOs were unable to secure even a single voice from Latin America or Africa to echo its slogan of the establishment of an OHCHR field presence or to criticize Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka rejected a move by the European Union to enlist the Government of Sri Lanka’s support for a statement by the Human Rights Council’s President which would have called for or welcomed the establishment of a field office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner.

In the run up to the Session, the Mission conducted a series of successful briefings for diplomats on Sri Lanka, led by the Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights. The Minister also had a frank discussion with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and proposed models of cooperation compatible with the national system.

The Sri Lankan delegation to the resumed Sixth Session of the Human Rights Council was led by H.E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, and comprised Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), Ms. Shirani Goonatilleke Director Legal SCOPP, Mr. Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. G.K.D. Amarawardena, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, and Counsellors at the Geneva Mission, Mr. Sumedha Ekanayake and Mr. O.L. Ameerajwad.

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of SCOPP met with senior officials of  the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and briefed them on the current situation in  Sri Lanka and the importance of ensuring that Humanitarian and Human Rights activity went hand in hand with the struggle against terrorism, a necessity highlighted by several countries in discussions in the Council.

He reiterated that Sri Lanka is a sovereign member state of the United Nations and that activities of international organizations on its territory must be undertaken in close cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Seventh Session of the Council will be held in March 2008.



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