The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has apologized to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Navanethem Pillay, for the “deeply offensive” remarks made against her by some ministers and others during her seven-day-tour of Lanka.
Addressing the media at the conclusion of the tour on Saturday, Pillay said that the President apologized when she said that such “wildly incorrect and deeply offensive” statements were never made in any of the 60 countries she had visited as UNHCHR.
She said that the Lankan media, three ministers, bloggers and propagandists had, on the basis of her Indian Tamil heritage, described her as a “tool of the LTTE”, as one “in their pay” and as a “Tamil Tigress in the UN”.
These people had really “gone over the top” Navanethem Pillay said on the concluding day of her stay in Lanka.
Lanka not victimised
Pillay denied that Lanka was being singled out for criticism while the West’s crimes were papered over. She pointed out that every one of the 193 UN members went through the Universal Period Review (UPR) and the most developed country (the US) was served with 300 recommendations. The UN had criticised surveillance and war prisoner treatment of the West.
Pillay said that although war had ended, suffering had not. Recalling the government’s attempts to prevent Tamil families from mourning members who had died in war, she said that wounds of war would not heal, if the state did not respect those who grieved. She said she would “closely examine” the government’s report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.