COLOMBO: The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday deferred the submission of the Sri Lankan war crimes report from March to September this year on the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
However, the High Commissioner made it clear that the deferral of the report was “for one time only,” and guaranteed that it would be published by September.
“This has been a difficult decision. There are good arguments for sticking to the original timetable, and there are also strong arguments for deferring the report’s consideration a bit longer, given the changing context in Sri Lanka, and the possibility that important new information may emerge which will enchance the report,” Zeid said in Geneva.
“In addition, I have received clear commitments from the new government of Sri Lanka indicating it is prepared to cooperate with my office on a whole range of important human rights issues - which the previous government had absolutely refused to do - and I need to engage with them to ensure those commitments translate into reality,” he added.
The High Commissioner noted that the three distinguished experts, who were appointed by his predecessor Navi Pillay to advise the investigation, had informed him that, in their unanimous view, a one-off temporary deferral would be the best option to allow space for the new government to show its willingness to cooperate on human rights issues.
“I have therefore decided, on balance, to request more time to allow for a stronger and more comprehensive report,” Zeid said.
“There should be no misunderstanding. I give my personal, absolute and unshakable commitment that the report will be published by September,” he added.