The investigation on Sri Lanka by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) follows a biased and flawed approach that is shrouded in impenetrable secrecy and infringes on basic norms of justice and fair play, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris said.
Minister Peiris expressed strong displeasure at the selective and biased approach followed by the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) when he met the Heads of Mission and Representatives of the main proponents of the Investigation on Sri Lanka and the High Commissioner ofAustralia on Tuesday (November 04). The Deputy Country Director of the UNDP also participated in the meeting representing the UN system.
Explaining his concerns the Minister said the OISL, which has funds for its staff to travel to Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and North America to access alleged victims and witnesses living outside the country, the OISL has not revealed details of dates and venues where such hearings are to take place.
The Minister disclosed that the OHCHR has indicated that such information is confidential and regretted that this process is shrouded in impenetrable secrecy.
"The failure to share such information makes it evident that the investigation is not freely accessible to the public," he said.
The Minister added that the impression created by such action is that the OISL will make arrangements to only interact with persons of their choosing which will provide them access to information of the nature that they wish to receive.
Minister Peiris elaborated on a series of concerns pertaining to the questionable process of the OISL and matters relating to its integrity and transparency.
Apprising the UN representatives and the diplomats on the recent arrest of a non-rehabilitated LTTE cadre, Sinnathamby Krishnarasa, the Minister told them that it has been discovered from the suspect that there is evidence indicating an association between prominent personalities of the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and another cadre named Alva Pulle Vijendrakumar alias Sun Master, who employed the suspect.
The discoveries that resulted from Krishnarasa's arrest reveal the manner in which interested parties are manipulating the OHCHR Investigation to deceive those affected by the conflict through luring them with false promises of compensation, and by taking advantage of their suffering to present distorted evidence to the OISL, the Minister emphasized.
He also charged that the OISL, which set a strict October 30th deadline to accept the submissions by individuals, organizations and governments, unofficially accepted submissions after the deadline on a request from Ananthi Sasitharan, a member of the Northern Provincial Council and the wife of a senior LTTE leader.
While stating that it is perfectly acceptable to extend a deadline openly, to do so in a clandestine manner, so as to benefit selectively a group of persons expressing a particular point of view, the Minister stressed, is unacceptable and expressed shock at the unprofessional conduct demonstrated by these developments.
Minister Peiris stressed that this flawed procedure infringes on the basic norms of justice and fair play.
He said that though Sri Lanka has rejected the UNHRC Resolution establishing an international investigation, it was only reasonable for the international community to expect, as the minimum requirement, that the investigation would follow certain fundamental principles relating to objectivity and fairness.
He said the Government of Sri Lanka will do everything in its power to protect the national interest in this situation.
Full statement by the Minister: http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/media/media-releases/5540-media-statement-by-the-ministry-of-external-affairs