News / Asia

    Sri Lanka Hits Back at UN Rights Chief After Visit

    Ethnic Tamil girl presents floral garland to welcome U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
    Ethnic Tamil girl presents floral garland to welcome U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
    Reuters
    Sri Lanka's government criticized the U.N.'s top human rights official on Wednesday for calling attention to accusations that police and soldiers had harassed people who met her during a visit to the country's former war zones.
     
    Navi Pillay, ending a mission to assess Sri Lanka's progress after a 26-year war between the government and separatist Tamils, said on Saturday she had received reports that people she had met in the north and east during her seven-day trip were questioned and intimidated.
     
    She said the U.N. viewed any reprisals against people who talked to its officials as an extremely serious matter and that such harassment "appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced."
     
    Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Pillay should not comment on accusations from people who fail to produce evidence.
     
    "If it has happened, it has to be reported to the police station," said Rambukwella, adding that the police had received no complaints. "Then inquiries can be conducted."
     
    "I have no evidence that she had inquired from authorities [about harassment]," he said. "She just said that because somebody has just told her."
     
    Pillay — a South African of Indian Tamil origin — said people were still suffering four years after the end of the war and there were signs the country was becoming more authoritarian.
     
    The government later said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had acted beyond her mandate with the comments.
     
    Her visit followed a U.S.-sponsored U.N. resolution in March that urged Sri Lanka to carry out credible investigations into killings and disappearances during the war, especially during its final stages.
     
    Family members of disappeared Tamil people holding pictures of their relatives protest during the visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.Family members of disappeared Tamil people holding pictures of their relatives protest during the visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
    x
    Family members of disappeared Tamil people holding pictures of their relatives protest during the visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
    Family members of disappeared Tamil people holding pictures of their relatives protest during the visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
    She visited the former northern war zones in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and the eastern district of Trincomalee, and met leaders in the capital, Colombo. The visit sparked demonstrations both supporting and opposing her mission.
     
    New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that Sri Lanka's government should promptly investigate the allegations that security forces harassed people who met with the U.N. human rights chief.
     
    Rambukwella dismissed the demand, saying: "We don't take Human Rights Watch seriously at all as they are totally biased."

    You May Like

    US Watching as North Korea Holds Biggest Political Meeting in 36 Years

    Workers' Party Congress set for Friday; Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Shiva from: Canada
    September 06, 2013 10:49 AM
    Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist Apartheid regimes have been denying fundamental rights, Human Rights, democracy, rule of law, Justice and equality to the Tamils since independence from the British in 1948. The current regime has been committing crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Tamils with the collaboration of other leaders /nations.

    The International community has failed to prevent genocide and war crimes and not taken any meaningful action to conduct an independent transparent international investigation of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity to date.

    It is time for the collaborators of the heinous crimes to deal firmly with the alleged war criminal Rajapakse regime and investigate all crimes and deliver justice. The Sri Lankan regime has been successfully covering up war crimes and genocide and also bullying, intimidating, threatening and branding those who demand for independent investigation inclduing diplomats, UN staff including Navi Pillay, Journalists and human rights groups as agents of the LTTE and on the payroll of the LTTE although LTTE was defeated and not existing today. Japan is mislead and supporting this regime despite it has committed serious crimes against humanity.

    The progressive leaders must jointly put an end the Sinhala Buddhist Apartheid menace that is only existing in Sri Lanka and bring democracy, freedom, Human Rights, Rule of law, justice, peace and stability to all.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora