UN human rights chief Navi Pillay visit: Elilan wife Anandi Sasiharan requests meeting

Mahinda Sam    UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay will visit Sri Lanka later this month to take stock of the country’s progress on reconciliation with the Tamil minority since the end of the island’s ethnic conflict.

Sri Lanka is looking forward to Pillay’s visit, Human Rights Envoy and Plantation Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe said. Pillay is expected on August 25 on a week-long visit.

Samarasinghe said Sri Lanka was hopeful that Pillay would provide a balanced and objective report on the island to the UN Human Rights Council’s next session in September.

The Sri Lankan envoy added that Pillay would be able to see the progress made by Sri Lanka in the reconciliation sphere since the civil war with the LTTE ended 4 years ago.

Sri Lanka would also record the progress of its own Human Rights Action Plan and the progress in the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with the UN rights chief.

Pillay’s Lanka visit assumes importance in the back drop of two successive US-sponsored UNHRC resolutions against Sri Lanka.

Both resolutions were backed by India and they urged Sri Lanka to achieve progress on reconciliation with the Tamil minority.

Pillay has visits planned to the north, the former war zone, and will meet political leaders and civil society members.

Meanwhile Anandi Sasiharan the widow of a former top rung LTTE leader,Elilan said that she intends meeting the UN High Commissioner for human rights Navaneetham Pillay in order to present her the ‘real incidents’ during the final stages of the war.

Addressing a media conference in Jaffna Friday, Anandi Sasiharan said that she intends on stating facts of the last stages of the war.

“As a representative of the kith and kin who have been struggling for four years without knowing the whereabouts of thousands of family members who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan military in the final hours after the Sri Lanka Army had promised a general amnesty, and as the only woman taking part in the provincial council elections in Jaffna district representing the interests of war widows, I am looking forward for an appointment with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navanetham Pillay, who is scheduled to visit the island soon,” said Mrs Ananthi Sasitharan, the wife of Ezhilan, the former Trincomalee Political Head of the LTTE and a mother of three girls, when addressing the press at Jaffna Press Club on Friday on her participation at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections in the Jaffna district.

“We are the eyewitnesses of the war. We have been waging several protests to know the whereabouts of our family members. We have even gone to the LLRC and witnessed there. Nothing has happened so far. Now, after four years, we have decided to strengthen the political voice and are looking forward to secure an appointment with the visiting Human Rights Commissioner with the hope that we would be able to put forward all our problems within the allocated time to Ms Navanetham Pillay,” she said adding the appointment is yet to be confirmed.

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