Dismissing claims made mostly by state media journalists at her press conference yesterday that the UN was biased towards poor Third World countries the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday urged Sri Lankan scribes to read more material published by her office and the UN to find out how vocal her office and the organisation was being on other major human rights issues around the world.
Asked by the editor of the Daily News if the UN was investigating US drone strikes against civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan Navi Pillay replied in the affirmative.
“Look at international issues, environment, drone attack and internet censorship. You would be doing a huge benefit for Sri Lankan readers if you raise these issues” the visiting UN HR Chief said.
Repeated attempts to bait the UN Envoy failed when she patiently urged scribes to read the material the UN was constantly publishing to learn about the UNHRC’s work.
“All you need do is just scroll and see what those recommendations are, there would be issues that the population here would be interested to hear about,” she explained.
Rupert Colville spokesman for the High Commissioner said the public perception of UN bias towards Sri Lanka because UN statements on the country were obviously highlighted by media in the country. “You don’t report what the UN says about Guatemala or the Congo, or many other places. So you may see the High Commissioner speaking more about Sri Lanka than any other country but that is not the reality. As she said she’s visited 60 countries and we make statements about countries all over the world,” Colville explained at the press briefing.
She said the published material will show that the UNHRC does a report of every UN member state.
“It’s honest exposure that’s a start. Then you have special procedures and independent experts, five of them have already done a report on Counter-terrorism and the measures adopted in Europe on Counter Terrorism,” Pillay said responding to a question posed by the state media about the UN targeting Sri Lanka out for special action.
She said the UN’s independent experts were currently examining the US run Guantanamo Bay Prisons, Extraordinary Renditions and Drone attacks.