The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu has applied to fill a vacancy as an independent UN expert which falls under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
According to OHCHR, Saravanamuttu has been nominated among 10 candidates for the post in the ‘Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, member from Asia-Pacific States’ and the appointment of the most suitable candidate is to be made when the UN Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva next month.
In his application, Dr. Saravanamuttu states that having devoted his career to ensuring democratic governance in his country and to the establishment of a civilized and decent society as defined by Avishai Margalit, in which people do not humiliate each other and institutions do not humiliate people, he fully appreciate and recognize the pivotal importance of human rights protection, accountability and the rule of law to this endeavor.
He notes that the United Nations, through the Special Mechanisms of the Council, has a special responsibility to ensure that states uphold the very values and principles in their internal governance, which they agree to and endorse in their international relations. Raison d’etat and the imperatives of the national security state and its anti- terrorist doctrine must not be allowed to ride roughshod over the classic, liberal understanding of the raison d’etre of the state in the first instance as protector, provider and partner, facilitating an enabling environment for the realization of human potential rather than as a predator in respect of fundamental rights and freedoms.
“Arbitrary detention, unrestrained by reference to international human rights instruments and the rule of law, goes to the heart of the challenge of democratic governance in the twenty-first century. Rooted as it is in a narrow notion of the obligation of the citizen to the higher authority of the state, it strikes directly at the rights of the person. It leads to hopelessness and despair of the victims and their families, as the best years of their lives are lost to suffering and uncertainty. It sustains conflict and democratic deficit perniciously eroding both the legitimacy and legality of the state,” he added.
Dr. Saravanamuttu says he firmly believe in the roles and responsibilities of the Special Procedures and Mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council in facilitating and defending the enjoyment of human rights for all the peoples of the world and that his demonstrable commitment to human rights throughout his career and the experience and expertise he has obtained, equip him to make a contribution at this level of international relations and human rights protection. (Colombo Gazette)