The United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York says it backs the work carried out by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, while she was in Sri Lanka. Farhan Haq, the Associate Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the UN also encourages respect for the work of all human rights defenders.
He was commenting at the daily UN press briefing when asked about reports that people who met Pillay during her Sri Lanka visit had been harassed by government officials.
The question raised on Sri Lanka at the briefing is:
Question: Well, here’s a question that you didn’t answer, and I mean, I wanna ask it. It has to do with, during the visit of Navi Pillay to Sri Lanka, she said it in her exit press conference that… that… that witnesses who spoke to her… who sought to speak to her were being intimidated and harassed immediately after, and she said the UN takes this very seriously, so I asked you about a specific case of a human rights defender who said that he was visited in his home at midnight by the Government after speaking with Navi Pillay, and I wanted to know whether the Secretariat has any comment on the intimidation of people for speaking to the UN.
Associate Spokesperson: Certainly, we believe that no one should face intimidation for speaking to the United Nations. We also encourage respect for the work of all human rights defenders. And we, needless to say, we respect… we fully support the work that Navanethem Pillay was doing while she was on the ground in Sri Lanka. We may have more to say on this down the line, but for now, basically, those are the standard principles.