A group of senior legal practitioners have advised the government to be realistic of in their expectations in hoping for a change in the decision making process of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concerning Sri Lanka, following the retirement of outgoing UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay on August 31.
The Lawyers Collective in a statement today have pointed out that although international decision making and norms do not depend on personalities alone, the Rajapaksa-regime unfortunately is expecting Pillay’s successor – Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein to bend human rights norms.
Criticising this mindset of the government, the Lawyer’s Collective has pointed out that its time the government realises that international decision making is not heavily reliant on personalities while adding it is a grave mistake to perceive international decision making processes in the same light as that of the local political sphere.
In the joint statement issued by the Lawyers’ Collective co-conveners- Lal Wijenayake, Chandrapala Kumarage and JC Weliamuna, they have commended Pillay furthermore, describing her as an individual who was ‘in the forefront in protecting and promoting human rights norms’ and as a personality who discharged her functions as the UN HR Chief free of any fear or favour.
The legal practitioners meanwhile recalling Pillay’s visit to Sri Lanka and her concluding remarks have noted that they made an enormous impact on the human rights community globally.
They have pointed out that its extremely praiseworthy, the manner in which she maintained objectivity and professionalism in assessing the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and accurately identifying the authoritarian tendencies as well as concerning how terrorism has affected the Sri Lankan human rights situation, despite the Rajapaksa-regime and its supporters ridiculing her and the various other challenges she had to face.
Furthermore, the Lawyers Collective has noted that they hope Pillay’s successor will follow her footsteps.