Image via UN Photo Geneva
Is worth a read. She’s taken a thoughtful look around and despite the government’s allegations that she’s biased, she was, well, not very biased. Even in the face of offensive personal attacks from within the government (Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva asking to marry her for example, others calling the South African diplomat LTTE) she’s given a pretty straightforward report. Here, to me, is the money quote:
I would now like to turn to a disturbing aspect of the visit, namely the harassment and intimidation of a number of human rights defenders, at least two priests, journalists, and many ordinary citizens who met with me, or planned to meet with me. I have received reports that people in villages and settlements in the Mullaitivu area were visited by police or military officers both before and after I arrived there. In Trincomalee, several people I met were subsequently questioned about the content of our conversation.
This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voices are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced. Utterly unacceptable at any time, it is particularly extraordinary for such treatment to be meted out during a visit by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. I wish to stress that the United Nations takes the issue of reprisals against people because they have talked to UN officials as an extremely serious matter, and I will be reporting those that take place in connection with this visit to the Human Rights Council. (Colombo Telegraph)
This government has little or no concept of diplomacy or even common decency. To slander a visiting diplomat is both stupid and embarrassing to the country. Threatening and intimidating people who talk to her is also similarly wrong and self-defeating. If they’re trying to project that there’s nothing to hide, the actions show the opposite. There is obviously stuff to hide and the country is becoming more authoritarian, though I would actually say mafiarian.
The UN is frequently useless, but in this case I don’t see much to object to is Ms. Pillay’s speech. In the speech and actions of our government in response however, I do see much to be ashamed of.