Friday, March 28, 2008

Human Rights Council should examine matters holistically – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations speaking at the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council said that the Council must not give up the responsibility to examine human rights in a holistic manner.

He further stated that this includes discussing the roots and context in which violations of human rights take place.

Dr. Jayatilleka, addressing the Sessions prior to the adoption of several resolutions pertaining to human rights issues pointed out that what was required was “an office which will be a lighthouse of human rights, a lighthouse whose beam plays across the horizon back and forth. We do not need an Office which is opaque or indecipherable, standing above us like Kafka’s castle.”

He said that Sri Lanka supports the effort to make the Office more authentically representative of regions and peoples.

“We believe that in so broad-basing the Office, in making it a more accurate mirror of the planet, it will be able to discharge its functions far more effectively and it will find itself a more greatly empowered and authentically independent institution.

“Not independent of some but dependent on others, but independent of all above the fray and recognized as such universally.”

With respect to the resolution titled “Mandate of the independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights”, A/HRC/7/L.9, Dr. Jayatillake said that Sri Lanka will support the text because we do not agree with the criticism that much of the substance belongs elsewhere.

“We also know the famous divide between socio-economic and cultural rights on the one hand and political rights on the other. This is sometimes referred to as the distinction between individual and collective rights. We believe that this text attempts to bridge this divide.
It is a bridging exercise that is vitally necessary; bringing together the concerns of individuals and collectives, of North and South.”

Finally, on the Resolution titled “Mandate of the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity”, A/HRC/7/L.12, Dr. Jayatilleka stated the following:

“Sri Lanka intends to vote yes for two very simple but very fundamental reasons. Mr. President, we know the lamentable effects of the split between the three great slogans, the triad of slogans of the French revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. One part of the world privileged one of the three terms, and another part of the world, during the 20th century, privileged the other two. We think that the triadic nature of the three goals should be emphasized and we think this text by focusing on solidarity, brings back the dimension of equality and fraternity, linking it with the great goal of liberty.

“The second reason, Mr. President that we shall vote in favour is that we remember the words, the phrase, of the late Pope John Paul II who repeatedly spoke of the need for the globalization of solidarity. For these two reasons Mr. President, we shall vote in favour.”

Un Worker fined for drug offence

UN Worker fined for drug offence
A UNICEF consultant Ms Lisa Woods was fined Rs.8000 by a Colombo Court for being in possession of 80mg of heroin. A senior Government officials said Ms Woods, a US passport holder,had arrived in Colombo on March 5.
Police said they responded to an emergency call after the UNICEF Office in Colombo had contacted the Renuka Hotel, where she was lodging when Ms Woods failed to report to work on 12 March on the request of the UNICEF. The hotel management had opened room which had a ‘Don’t disturb’ sign on the door.
They had found her unconscious. The door had been op end in the presence of a foreign colleague of Ms Woods,he said She had been admitted to the intensive care unit where a routine check of her clothes by the hospital staff had resulted in the recovery of 80mg of heroin. It had been in one of the pockets of her denims,police said. Police arrested her on march 17 and produced her before a Magistrate who ordered her remanded till March 25. When she was produced before the magistrate on March 25, a fine of Rs 800 was imposed on her on the charge of being in possession 80mg of heroin.