Sri Lanka says threatening to bar UN Ambassador from panel is a ‘public lynching without trial’

Feb 24, Colombo: Comparing the action by the chair of a United Nations advisory group panel to bar the panel’s representative of the Asia Pacific Group, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Major General Shavendra Silva to a ‘public lynching without trial’, Sri Lanka Friday said the chair’s attitude is outrageous and high-handed.

The Chair of the Senior Advisory Group (SAG) to consider rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries panel, former UN deputy secretary-general Louise Frechette has advised Major General Silva, that his participation is not appropriate or helpful for the purposes of the group.

She has informed Major General Silva that she will not let him enter the room where the discussions of the SAG were being held and will have him removed from the room, should he insist on coming into the room.

The Permanent Mission to the UN in New York issuing a statement has said Frechette could not carry out this threat and the diplomat participated in the meetings as he had done before in the initial meetings of the SAG held on 19 and 20 January 2012.

Sri Lanka deplored the action by the UN official, who was once a very senior UN officer, saying that was “outrageous and high handed given that the United Nations is an Organization of Member-States governed by hallowed rules, regulations and etiquette.”

“You may have been nominated by the Asia Pacific Group, but I will decide whether you participate or not,” Frechette has been quoted as saying.

“Such an intolerant and superior attitude is fundamentally unacceptable in an organization which is representative of the entire international community,” Sri Lanka said.

The Mission also accused the UN official of trying to convince other members of the SAG individually to exclude Ambassador Silva, an act totally said to be inconsistent with her role as Chair.

The Sri Lankan government said Ambassador Major General Silva was appointed as a member of the SAG in accordance with GA resolution 65/289 and pursuant to the decision taken by the Asia Pacific Group after lengthy consideration and the Chair has no right to usurp authority to exclude him from the SAG, contrary to the normal practice of the United Nation.

“Ambassador Silva has not been charged before any court of law by any credible authority and to seek to exclude him from a position in the UN is unfair and contrary to the principles of the United Nations- a public lynching without trial,” Sri Lanka said.

Major General Silva was the commander of the Sri Lanka Army’s Division 58 during the battles to clear the north of the LTTE and was instrumental in the military capturing several former LTTE strongholds.

His appointment to the advisory panel by the Asia-Pacific countries has raised concerns among the human right organizations which accuse the Major General Silva of human right violations. Right groups relentlessly protested Silva’s nomination to the advisory group.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said that Major General Silva’s appointment to a UN advisory panel is a “matter of concern” and has addressed a letter of concern to the Secretary-General about his appointment.

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