[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] criticized [text] the Sri Lankan government Friday for its continued attacks on the integrity of the current investigation into serious human rights violations. Zeid accused the government of attempting to discredit the UN’s efforts as well as hindering possible credible witnesses from submitting information to the investigative team by creating a “wall of fear” perpetuated by the government’s “surveillance, harassment and other forms of intimidation” against human rights defenders. The high commissioner also responded to allegations of investigative unprofessionalism, which stemmed from accusations of the UN accepting fraudulent submissions. Zeid called the claims “absurd” and assured that UN investigators are trained to identify questionable submissions and that UN investigations are based on “the principles of independence, impartiality, objectivity and protection of witnesses.” The high commissioner ended his statement by imploring the Sri Lankan government to engage with the investigation in order to address the central issue of human rights violations.
This is not the first time Sri Lanka and the UN have disagreed with each other. In April Sri Lanka’s foreign minister announced [JURIST report] that Sri Lanka would not cooperate with the UN investigation of alleged war crimes resulting from the country’s civil war. In June the former UN high commissioner for human rights made public her great alarm [JURIST report] of the inter-communal violence happening in Sri Lanka, which followed a long history of violent crimes in the country.