Sri Lanka PR in Geneva kept in dark by ministry
June 11, 2012
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva. Tamara Kunanayakam said yesterday that she had been kept in the dark by the External Affairs Ministry regarding its preparations for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session scheduled for this month.

The session will start on June 18 and go on till the end of the first week of July. Though Sri Lanka’s issue is not officially listed to be taken up at this time, the Ambassador said, NGOs and international groups interested in the matter were likely to campaign against the country.

“NGOs might campaign regarding various issues such as accountability and suppression of media rights. They will try to juxtapose the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with the Darusman report. Anti-Sri Lankan elements allege that there is an accountability gap between these two reports,” she said.

However, asked about Sri Lanka’s preparations for the session to counter such propaganda, she said, “The question should be asked from the External Affairs Ministry and the head of the Sri Lankan delegation. I am neither consulted nor informed about such matters.”

Earlier, Ms. Kunanayakam also wrote a letter criticising the role played by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay over the role she had played in the adoption of the resolution against Sri Lanka in March, this year. Yet, the Ministry had said that it had no intention of taking action or responding to Ms. Pillay’s action in this regard.

Responding to these remarks by the Ministry, Ms. Kunanayakam said, “I am deeply troubled to see that the Government of Sri Lanka has chosen to protect the High Commissioner, rather than Sri Lanka’s own representative to the United Nations. It is clear that the political line of the ministry has changed from one defending our traditional Non-Aligned position to one aimed at finding a compromise with the United States and colonial masters.” She asked whether the ministry agreed with the Darusman report that had concluded that there were credible allegations of war crimes.

Meanwhile, Ministry Secretary Karunaratne Amunugama said that Ms. Kunanayakam had asked for leave for 20 days from June 10 and, therefore, the deputy head of the mission in Geneva would lead the delegation this time.

“We will closely monitor the speeches made by the representatives of other countries and the High Commissioner for Human Rights during this session. We are getting ready to answer them if anything is said about Sri Lanka. Besides, Sri Lanka will also make a statement,” he said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka