External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has said, the highly prejudiced actions taken by a few countries
and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to give disproportionate negative
attention to Sri Lanka, has made the separatist Tamil elements in Sri Lanka and abroad more intransigent,
making the intensely difficult task of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, even harder. He said it was unfortunate
that Sri Lanka has become a “political football” in the electoral fortunes in some countries.
He made this observation, when as leader of the Sri Lanka delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council
sessions now on in Geneva, as is customary, earlier today (6 March) he met with UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights, Navaneetham Pillay.
The Minister who briefed the High Commissioner on the continuing efforts on reconciliation and
development in the country, said she was well aware of the important political decisions the Government of
Sri Lanka had taken in the restoration of normalcy to those affected following the conflict, the channeling
of necessary resources to develop the previously conflict affected areas and then holding of the Northern
Provincial Council elections- in September 2013, the latter which four previous Presidents over 26 years did
not have the courage to do.
Minister Peiris drew to the High Commissioner’s attention the objections he made in the national statement
yesterday to her report on Sri Lanka to the current Human Rights Council session, where he detailed
the lack of objectivity and patent bias evidenced in her report, which also called for the setting up of an
international inquiry mechanism on Sri Lanka. He said the report was both one sided and politicized. The
Minister observed that it was particularly unfortunate that the High Commissioner should have done so, after
having had the benefit of an extended visit to Sri Lanka where she was given unimpeded access. Noting
that the High Commissioner had undertaken her visit almost 2 ½ years after the original invitation was
extended by the Government of Sri Lanka, he said some of the High Commissioner’s comments while in Sri
Lanka, as well as her final report, represented a “lost opportunity” in contributing positively to Sri Lanka’s
reconciliation process and development.
Minister Peiris said the bias and unfairness with which Sri Lanka was being treated was also evident in
recent acts such as the refusal of the OHCHR to place Sri Lanka’s comments on the High Commissioner’s
report as an addendum giving it equal visibility, as done when she presented her report on Sri Lanka
the previous year. While appreciating that the OHCHR had incorporated some of the glaring errors that
were contained in her draft report following Sri Lanka’s comments, he said, the GOSL was nevertheless
concerned about the methodology and sources that continue to inform the High Commissioner’s reports and
action on Sri Lanka. He said this eroded the confidence in the UN system, the HRC and the OHCHR.
Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha and Deputy Permanent
Representative Manisha Gunasekera were associated with the Minister at the meeting. Mr. Hanny Megaly,
Head of Asia Pacific of the OHCHR and other officials of the OHCHR were associated with the High
Sri Lanka Permanent Mission
6 March 2014