UN rights chief to raise ‘concerns’ in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, August 25, 2013 (AFP) – The UN’s top rights official began her visit to Sri Lanka Sunday by brushing aside criticism that she overstepped her brief and vowing to raise human rights concerns with Colombo. Navi Pillay, who has previously called for a war crimes investigation against Sri Lanka, said she was only holding it to human rights standards agreed to by all nations.

“I am not writing my own statute. I am looking at the (human rights) framework that was also developed by Sri Lanka,” she told reporters as she began her first meeting with local UN staff in Colombo.

“If I raise criticism, it is on whether they (Sri Lanka) comply with those standards,” she added. “I have not come to criticise. I have come to raise human rights concerns.”

Her week-long mission will include talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and visits to the former war zones in the north and east.

The government’s U-turn in allowing her free access came as Canada leads calls for a boycott of a Commonwealth summit scheduled to take place in the Sri Lankan capital later this year.

A pro-government group said it will hold a demonstration outside the UN offices in Colombo on Monday to protest at Pillay’s visit. Th