Sri Lanka will not participate in any investigation carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris said here on Monday.
“Nobody can come here without the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government,” Mr. Peiris told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association here. The country would however continue with its national process and remain engaged with the U.N., he added.
Following the U.S.-backed resolution — adopted on March 27 by the Human Rights Council in Geneva — that calls for an international probe in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government immediately rejected it. Explaining the decision, Mr. Peiris said Sri Lanka decided not to participate on account of reasons pertaining to the legality of such a probe, issues of fairness and equity and questions over the budget required for the process.
Legally, it was not within the scope of the OHCHR to carry out an investigation in a particular country, he said. “One of the basic requirements of any enquiry is that the person conducting it should be able to come with an open mind — it must be an independent and objective mind free from bias or prejudgment,” he said.
Sri Lanka was not convinced that was the case with the OHCHR, he said, pointing to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s call for an international probe a week after her visit to Sri Lanka concluded in August 2013.
Observing that there was no budgetary provision available with her office, Mr. Peiris said the motives of countries which may fund the process were questionable for much of the funding was likely to come from countries that were accusing Sri Lanka of rights abuse and war crimes.
On India’s abstention at Geneva, Mr. Peiris said it had strengthened avenues for dialogue. “If you go on supporting resolutions against Sri Lanka then a dialogue becomes more difficult because of the coercive nature of the means that are required… it [India’s abstention] is certainly helpful and we appreciate it.”
Asked to respond to how Sri Lanka sees its ties with India should a BJP government led by Narendra Modi come to power in New Delhi, he said: “I don’t wish to speculate on a speculation.”