Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has called on members of the Human Rights Council to critically evaluate the content and scope of the OHCHR Report to ensure that an unhealthy precedent should not be established. In a statement delivered to the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council Geneva today on the OHCHR Report, the Minister urged the members to resist all attempts to use such a flawed and misconceived document to be the basis on which the Council contemplates further action.
The Minister who is also Sri Lanka’s special envoy speaking in Geneva on the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the report appears to be “the outcome of no more than an information gathering exercise that has served as launching pad for a fresh resolution.”
Calling the report a ‘flawed and misconceived’ one, Mr. Samarasinghe requested the participating members to critically evaluate the document.
“I request the members of this Council to critically evaluate the content and scope of this report to ensure that an unhealthy precedent should not be established. I would also urge you to resist all attempts to use such a flawed and misconceived document to be the basis on which this Council contemplates taking further action.”
Mr. Smarasinghe said the report was based on the report of the Panel of Experts which had neither ‘credence nor legitimacy.’
“The Report refers several times to the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Panel of Experts’ (PoE) Report on Sri Lanka. We requested the OHCHR to delete all references to the PoE Report as it was not referred to in the Resolution 19/2, and therefore reference to it in the OHCHR Report expands the ambit of the Report beyond the original scope and mandate of that Resolution. Furthermore, the PoE Report on Sri Lanka was commissioned by the UN Secretary General as a private consultation and is not the product or a request of the UN Human Rights Council, or any other intergovernmental process. Neither has it received the endorsement of any intergovernmental body. Hence, it has neither credence nor legitimacy. In its Report, the three-member Advisory Panel also makes it clear that the assertions set out therein remain unsubstantiated and require a higher standard of proof. For these reasons among others, the GoSL does not recognize the PoE Report, and is perplexed as to the rationale behind it being invoked extensively in the OHCHR Report” he said.