Sri Lanka Army general’s UN appointment is a matter of concern, UN human rights chief says

Feb 14, Colombo: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Monday that Sri Lanka’s former military leader Major General Shavendra Silva’s appointment to a UN advisory panel is a “matter of concern”.

While informally meeting the press after her statement on Syria to the 95th plenary meeting of the General Assembly on Monday, Pillay was asked by blogger Mathew Lee of Inner City Press what she thought about General Silva’s appointment.

“It’s a matter of concern,” Pillay said in response. “The United Nations has very clear policies on vetting and this is part of the work that my office does,” she added.

“We keep a list of individuals who are suspected of committing human rights violations and I have addressed a letter of concern to the secretary-general about this individual,” the human rights chief said.

The former Army general who commanded Sri Lanka Army’s 58th Division during the final war against the LTTE is the current Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.

His recent appointment to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s senior advisory panel on peacekeeping has raised concerns among the human right organizations which accuse the Major General Silva of human right violations.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York last week dismissed a lawsuit against Silva filed by the relatives of two Sri Lankan Tamils alleging war crimes.

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