Russia, China, criticise Pillay’s report; others commend it
Several countries including Russia and China criticised the report compiled by UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, during the interactive dialogue held at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva yesterday while a majority of countries including the US, UK and France commended the document and called on all countries to support the adoption of the resolution against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka received strong backing from Russia, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belarus and Zimbabwe, which criticised the report submitted by Pillay based on her fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka last August, as ‘imbalanced’ and one that ‘exceeded the mandate granted by resolution 22/1’.
Speaking during the interactive dialogue, representatives from Russia said they could not agree with the contents of the report as it exceed Pillay’s mandate and interfered with the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka. They went on to state that the absence of ‘explosions or civilian deaths’ for the past five years should be recognised, adding that, “Human rights should not be used as a means of settling political goals or gaining geopolitical advantage.”
China too criticised the report as one that had undermined the basis of international cooperation on human rights. “We support Sri Lanka to defend its national independent sovereignty,” the speaker representing China said, while calling on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to strictly follow its granted mandate.
“The report does not acknowledge the many achievements by Sri Lanka in reaching towards reconciliation and reflects the imbalance in verifying human rights issues in countries of the South,” the Cuban speaker said in his comments during the interactive session, and added that the proposed international investigation would only create a negative impact on Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process.
Meanwhile Pakistan in its statement said, “Sri Lanka should not be penalised for rooting out terrorism from its soil.”
Apart from these countries, a long list of Non-governmental organizations, including the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch Canada, World Evangelical Alliance, Amnesty International, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism and the International Buddhist Foundation also made comments during the interactive dialogue held yesterday at the 52nd meeting of the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva.