The UN Human Rights Council today raised concerns over the proceedings of the Presdential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons during the oral update delivered on the probe on Sri Lanka (OISL) led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri in the oral update delivered before the Council today stated that independant observers have raised concerns with the line of questioning by the Commissioners and the Council, the quality of translation services and the lack of counselling support to the victims.
She also noted the concerns raised by families of the disappearances on the reported harassment and pressure by Police, military and the intelligence prior to and at the time of the hearing.
Pansieri in her statement also commented on the disregard of the Government of Sri Lanka so far, with concern to the requests made by the OHCHR to publish reports of other domestic investigation.
Meanwhile she also expressed her regret over the Government’sposition speficially on the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka that was mandated in March and reitered the UNHRC call to encourage the government to keepits channels open, pointing out that the investigation is a unique opprtunity to establish an accountability process in the country.
During the oral update, Pansieri also raised concerns over the threats that have been levelled at civil society groups, human rights defenders and victims and organisations including those engaged with the international investigation, stating such intimidations are ‘deplorable’.
She went on to state that this climate of intimidation and threats prevailing in the country also constitutes a real challenge for the investigation mandated by the UNHRC and also undermines prospects for Sri Lanka’s own domestic investigation where it has long been a concern.
Meanwhile, responding to the oral update, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha accused the conduct of the probe as a ‘flawed process’ and stated therefore, Sri Lanka will not “help legitimize a flawed process and have a detrimental precedents established.”
Ambassador Aryasinha also said that the oral update delivered by Deputy High Commissioner Pansieri is ‘replete with accusations and unsubstantiated statistics’.
Speaking further he added, “with all the calamities and afflictions around us today, Sri Lanka is clearly not a situation that requires the urgent and immediate attention of this Council. Sri Lanka is continuing on a transformative journey in the interest of all the people of Sri Lanka. What Sri Lanka needs at this juncture is to be encouraged, and not impeded.”