Posts Tagged ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’

U.N. High Commissioner says Sri Lanka increasingly authoritarian

September 2, 2013

On Saturday 31 August 2013 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said at the end of her long awaited one-week-long fact-finding mission that the Sri Lankan state is becoming more authoritarian. “The war between government troops and Tamil rebels may have ended, but in the meantime democracy has been undermined and the rule of law eroded,” the U.N. commissioner for human rights told a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She visited the former Tamil rebel-held areas in northern Sri Lanka, and met civil society groups, politicians and aid workers before meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa.” I am deeply concerned that Sri Lanka, despite the opportunity provided by the end of the war to construct a new vibrant, all-embracing state, is showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction,” Pillay said. The U.N. envoy said that some people she visited in the northeastern part of the country previously held by the rebels had been later visited by military and police officers and questioned again. “This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced,” she said. Pillay visited Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Sri Lankan government, but some of the members of the government have criticized her and openly ridiculed her, with one of the Cabinet ministers saying he was willing to marry her.Pillay also expressed concern about media freedom, incomplete investigations into disappearances and abductions, attacks on civil protests, issues of sexual harassment of women and harassment of human rights defenders. She is due to submit a report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month. Cabinet Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government had invited her to the country genuinely and would await the report to be submitted next month.

via U.N. human rights chief says Sri Lanka increasingly authoritarian – Wire Lifestyle – The Sacramento Bee.

the full version of her very substantive speech can be found at: 

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/full-speech-un-high-commissioner-for-human-rights-navi-pillay-at-the-press-conference-on-her-mission-to-sri-lanka/

 

State media in Sri Lanka lead attacks on Human Rights Defenders

June 4, 2013

According to a statement from the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on 4 June there is an ongoing attack in Sri Lanka on Human Rights Defenders, NGOs & opposition politicians through the Independent Television Network (ITN). The statement give concrete and detailed indications to show that ITN – in spite of its name – has continued to follow the government line and started a fresh round of attacks in May this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Correction: link to Sri Lankan Ambassador’s protest letter re Killing Fields film now working

February 26, 2013

With apologies to the early viewers of my post of today regarding the Geneva film festival and the showing of a documentary in the UN building on alleged war crimes committed by both sides in the conflict, the link to the Sri Lankan Ambassador’s letter was faulty. This is now repaired with: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/465065/Letter-to-the-President-Human-Rights-Council-2.pdf.

 

UN High Commissioner Pillay speaks out against harassment of Sri Lankan HRDs during Council in Geneva

March 23, 2012

The man pictured here is Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has tremendous helped the OHCHR during the last years to have a more penetrating presence in the media. On this occasion on 23 March 2012, it was to  warn that there must be no reprisals against Sri Lankan human rights defenders in the wake of a resolution calling on its Government to probe alleged abuses during the country’s civil war. The warning from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, follows the adoption of a resolution yesterday by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling on Sri Lanka to take “credible” steps to ensure accountability for alleged serious violations committed in 2009 during the final stages of the conflict between the Government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and to ensure accountability.

“During this Human Rights Council session, there has been an unprecedented and totally unacceptable level of threats, harassment and intimidation directed at Sri Lankan activists who had travelled to Geneva to engage in the debate, including by members of the 71-member official Sri Lankan government delegation,” said Rupert Colville, at a press briefing in Geneva. Mr. Colville said that intimidation and harassment of Sri Lankan civil society activists have also been reported in other locations around Geneva. Also, the Sri Lankan ambassador in Geneva received an anonymous threatening letter which is being followed up by the police and UN security.

At the same time, newspapers, news websites and TV and radio stations in Sri Lanka have been running, since January, a “continuous campaign of vilification,” including naming and in many cases showing images of activists, describing them as an ‘NGO gang’ and repeatedly accusing them of treason, mercenary activities and association with terrorism. “Some of these reports have contained barely veiled incitement and threats of retaliation,” Mr. Colville said. “At least two comments posted by readers of articles of this type have called for burning down of the houses of the civil society activists named in the articles, and at least one such comment called openly for them to be killed.”

The spokesperson said the High Commissioner had noted that some of the attacks on human rights defenders were carried in Sri Lankan state media and Government websites or were filed by journalists who had been officially accredited to the Council session by the Sri Lankan permanent mission.  “She is calling on the Government to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, to publicly disassociate itself from such statements, and to clearly uphold the right of Sri Lankan citizens to freely engage in international debate of this kind,” Mr. Colville said.

from: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41617&Cr=Sri%20Lanka&Cr1=