Posts Tagged ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’

UN High Commissioner hits back in Sri Lankan disinformation campaign – and rightly so

September 22, 2013

Mahinda Rajapaksa, president...

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a statement which some claim unusual for a top UN official to direct at a UN-member country, took aim at Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and other government officials, just  after her visit last month to Sri Lanka. During the visit at least three government ministers “joined in an extraordinary array of distortion and abuse” which is continuing now, Pillay’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva: “We consider it deeply regrettable that government officials and other commentators continue what appears to be a coordinated campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the high commissioner or to distract from the core messages of her visit.” Pillay’s office sent a formal complaint to the government demanding that it immediately retract and publicly correct “misinformation”.

In the statement Pillay complained that the defence secretary made widely reported but false claims that she had asked President Rajapaksa during their private meeting to remove a statue of Sri Lanka’s first prime minister from Colombo’s Independence Square. “Firstly, we categorically deny that the high commissioner ever uttered a single word about the statue of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at any point during her visit to Sri Lanka, let alone asked the president to remove it. This claim is without a shred of truth,” Colville said. “Secondly, there has been a further distortion concerning comments the high commissioner made to the president concerning a flag in Independence Square.” Pillay asked the president why the flag of one religious community was flying next to the national flag in such a symbolic location, Colville said.

UN rights Chief hits out at senior officials and Gota for waging misinformation campaign.


The full statement is made available on the OCHR website

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:


4 Sri Lankan Professors gone to Britain accused of launching ‘anti-Sri Lanka activities’

August 16, 2013

The statement below was picked up from the Official Government news agency of Sri Lanka on 15 August 2013. I do not know who the professors in question are and therefore we cannot know whether they are human rights defenders, but in view of earlier retaliation by the governmental media in that country against those who testified before the UN mechanisms on human rights and the tone of the message, there is no doubt that those who speak out risk more than disagreement!  Read the rest of this entry »