The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has rejected submissions as regards accountability issues in Sri Lanka on the basis the complainants couldn’t provide English, French, Spanish or Russian translations of all supporting documents.
Petitions and Inquiries Section of the OHCHR has ruled that those wanting to lodge complaints should meet three main conditions including translated documents.
A senior government official told The Island that the OHCHR hadn’t demanded supporting documents to be in English, French, Spanish or Russian when it called for submissions in accordance with a UNHRC resolution adopted in late last March.
Responding to a query, the official alleged that the OHCHR had deprived some victims of making submissions. The official pointed out that as the OHCHR had assured submissions could be made in English, Sinhala or Tamil; there couldn’t be any justifiable reason to expect Sri Lankans making submissions in Tamil to furnish supporting documents in some other language.
According to Petitions and Inquiries Section of the OHCHR, in addition to the condition relating to supporting documents, the Human Rights Committee has stipulated that those making submissions should specify the circumstances in which violations had been committed in terms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Human Rights Committee has insisted that supporting documents in English, French, Spanish or Russian, too, should be submitted.
Sources pointed out that the Human Rights Committee had emphasized that complaints shouldn’t be made unless all domestic judicial and administrative remedies had been exhausted. The particular condition would challenge the very basis of the external investigation being conducted at the behest of an influential section of the international community, they said.
Ministerial sources told The Island that the action of the OHCHR should be examined in the backdrop of a response given by OHCHR spokesperson to a query raised by the Sri Lankan media recently. Commenting on Oct. 30, 2014 deadline to accept submissions, the spokesperson had said that though the deadline wouldn’t be extended, late submissions wouldn’t be necessarily refused.
Sources said that the OHCHR ha made its position known soon after Northern Provincial Councilor; Ananthi Sasitharan requested the investigators to extend the deadline by at least a month.
The OHCHR is on record as having said that all submissions should be made on or before Oct. 30, 2014 as investigators need time to draft the report two months before its presentation in March 2015. (The Island)