Lanka should implement commitments says Zeid | Sunday Observer

Lanka should implement commitments says Zeid

Top UN Envoy on Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein hailed the Sri Lankan Government’s constructive engagement with his Office, but insisted that this collaboration must be accompanied by implementation of key commitments the country has made at the United Nations, in a new report released ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session beginning this week.

In Zeid’s report to the Human Rights Council’s 37th session which will commence on Wednesday, February 28 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, he also noted that 2017 had been marked by intermittent inter-ethnic tensions.

“While the Government has managed to steer many of these worrying events in a positive direction, this type of violence in a country that has experienced cycles of extreme violence roughly every 10 years is deeply troubling, particularly when accompanied by hate speech, misinformation and agitation through social media and political manipulation,” the High Commissioner’s report stated.

The Sri Lankan Government delegation to the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council has not yet been decided, highly placed sources told the Sunday Observer.

In any case, the Government delegation from Colombo will only travel towards the tail end of the session, probably around March 20, said Secretary General for the Secretariat Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Mano Tittawella.

When the sessions begin, Sri Lanka’s delegation will be headed by its Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha.

The Government is expected to officially respond to the High Commissioner’s report during this session.

In his report to the Council this month, High Commissioner Zeid urges the UNHRC to continue to play a critical role in encouraging progress in accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

An authoritative source said a delegation from Sri Lanka might leave for Geneva towards the end of March when the written update will be presented by High Commissioner.

However, the sources said Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha who is Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva will lead the delegation at the sessions. This had been the practice last September as well. Unless there is a special reason to do so there will not be a special team from here at the UNHRC sessions, the sources added.

Ambassador Aryasinha is expected to return to Sri Lanka at the conclusion of the March UNHRC sessions, ending his term in Geneva.

The Central Committee of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) which met yesterday in Colombo welcomed the report of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

The ITAK also appealed to the Government not to deviate

from these commitments and deliver on the promises that the Government has made to the people of Sri Lanka and to the international community.