UNHRC High Commissioner Navaneethan pillai says that she refutes the charges levelled to the effect that the reports submitted with regard to the state of Human Rights in Sri Lanka had been prepared according to an agenda. The UNHR Commissioner said so while participating at the ‘Talk to Al Jazeera’ TV programme yesterday.
Pillay said that some of the information mentioned in her report and the UN Experts Panel report was similar to what was reported by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
“It’s true the country is reconstructing and wants to move forward but you have to address what victims ask. So I would reject the notion that this is propaganda and made up. These are facts mentioned to us and again and again we placed it before them,” she said. Pillay recalled that the Government was asked by the UN Human Rights Council to fully implement the recommendations of the LLRC yet the Government failed to do so.
Answering a question posed on the UNHR Commissioner tour about the statement she had made to the effect that the persons who had shared information with her during her Sri Lankan tour had been persecuted and harassment faced by some people, including a priest, who she met while visiting Sri Lanka last year Pillay said it was a low point in her career. She said such incidents left her with the conviction that people in Sri Lanka need international focus and international pressure.
The UN high commissioner for human rights shared her concerns about the state of human rights in the world today.
From Syria and Iraq, to Sri Lanka, Egypt, Ukraine and Gaza and Israel – accusations abound that human rights are violated.
Headlines and sharp rhetoric about war crimes and crimes against humanity seem so common that they raise this question: Are we as a global society in fact making progress in protecting human rights because of higher awareness, or are we actually heading in the wrong direction?
Perhaps no one is better equipped to answer this question than Navi Pillay, the highest official in the United Nations responsible for monitoring and investigating human rights abuses around the world.
Describing herself as the “moral voice” that the world created to speak “truth to power”, she is approaching the end of her term.
Asked about the situation in Gaza she says that even if Israel does not cooperate with the war crimes inquiry, her office can still conduct an investigation into human rights violations.
“Both sides [Israel and Hamas] were violating international humanitarian law and international human rights law, specifically the indiscriminate killing of civilians. International law is clear: You do not kill civilians …. Civilians in Israel, civilians in Gaza, children on both sides have a right to live.”
Navi Pillay talks to Al Jazeera about the world’s conflicts, her legacy, and the state of human rights today.