Statement made by Ms. Yaso Natkunam at the UN Human Rights Council on March 20th 2013 on behalf of Pasumai Thaayagam

22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council March 20 2013

Item 2 – General Debate
OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka

Thank you Mr. President.

Pasumai Thaayagam wishes to express our sincere gratitude for the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka to this Council.

The role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is an extremely important one, and one of the strongest stalwarts our global community has for the safeguarding of human rights. Even while there are some who seek to undermine it for political purposes, today the Office of the High Commissioner continues to discharge its responsibility within the spirit of its mandate.

We wish to thank the High Commissioner for the dignity and courage with which she continues to undertake and fulfill her obligation to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world.

With respect to the OHCHR country report on Sri Lanka, we are incredibly disturbed by the details provided, particularly concerning the breakdown of the rule of law and the administration of justice. The report underlined on-going and widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture, detention and land-grab, severe threats to the right to freedom of expression and assembly, lack of demilitarization, especially in the Tamil areas of the North and East, as well as the eight long-outstanding visit requests by Special Rapporteurs appointed by this Council. Real victims, the majority of whom are Tamils, are affected when violations of human rights such as these and many others occur and go unchecked in Sri Lanka.

Mr. President, the international community represented by this Council has an incredibly important role to play in ensuring the realisation of human rights for all. Pasumai Thaayagam echoes the High Commissioner’s sentiments contained in this report that an independent and credible international investigation is the only mechanism that has the possibility to ensure genuine accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Thank you Mr. President.

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