The Sunday Leader

Ravinatha Dealing With Pillay’s Office

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinghe is in touch with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay over a statement released to the media on Friday.

External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama told The Sunday Leader that Aryasinghe has been asked to seek further clarification on the statement.
Pillay had denied the claims attributed to Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding removal of the statue of former Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake from Independence Square.

Her office said that in the High Commissioner’s statement at the end of her mission to Sri Lanka on 31 August, she mentioned the unfortunate fact that at least three Government Ministers had joined in an extraordinary array of distortion and abuse during her visit.

“Unfortunately this practice has continued,” Pillay’s office said.

Her office said that a week ago, on 12 September,  a formal complaint was sent to the Government of Sri Lanka concerning the widely reported comments attributed to the Secretary of Defence that, during her meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the High Commissioner requested the removal of the statue of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister from Colombo’s Independence Square.

The letter from Pillay’s office to the Sri Lankan Government requested an immediate retraction and public correction of the misinformation which has aroused much disquiet in Sri Lanka.

“Firstly, we categorically deny that the High Commissioner ever uttered a single word about the statue of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at any point during her visit to Sri Lanka, let alone asked the President to remove it.  This claim is without a shred of truth.  Secondly, there has been a further distortion concerning comments the High Commissioner made to the President concerning a flag in Independence Square.  The High Commissioner discussed with the President her concerns with rising inter-communal tensions and incitement to violence on the basis of religion in Sri Lanka. In this context, she asked why the only flag flying, other than the national flag, in such a symbolic location was that of one religious community, and suggested it might be more inclusive to fly only the national flag which is a symbol that unites the nation, no matter who they are or what religion they adhere to. At no time did she request any flag to be removed,” Pillay’s office said.

Her office said that it is deeply regrettable that government officials and other commentators continue what appears to be a coordinated campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the High Commissioner or to distract from the core messages of her visit.

The High Commissioner will be updating the Human Rights Council on her visit and progress on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka on 25 September.

22 Comments for “Ravinatha Dealing With Pillay’s Office”

  1. ParakramaJ

    What right has a civil servant to comment on any flag that is flying at the Independence square…??There are so many western countries that has given other religeons and also god a special place under their constitutions.. why is she not commenting on them??Why can’t she notice the fact that the Sri Lankan flag has given a place to the minority groups in the old srilankan flag with the lion???I do not think that the South African flag recognize any minority community in their national flag!!! Her mindset is so lopsided she do not seem to understand what is happening in Sri Lanka.

    • your very correct.
      Australian Anthem says God Defend Australia.
      Is it approppriate which is similar to national flag in manuwell pillai concerne

    • Rama

      sinhala leaders are all notorious liars. they invent, manipulate and fabricate stories to discredit the person who they see as against them. ms pillai wouldn’t have said these things in a million years. you patrakrama is as ignorant as your leaders. don’t get carried away , think before you type. whatever said and done at the end of the day unhcr has deal with the war criminals.

    • Piranha

      Oi! boyo, the main issue here is the fabricated comment about the DS Senanayake statue. So, don’t beat about the bush. Gota is the culprit here. An unelected moron making stupid statements that caused the problem in the first place.

    • Saro

      She said what she said only because she understood that mosques, churches and temples were attacked or destroyed. After the majority rule in South Africa for which Navi Pillai alo fought there is no violence or ill treatment of minorities, linguistic or religious.

    • R.Nagarajah

      Ms. Pillay made a blunder in her statement and she should apologize to the people of Sri Lanka. Where did she see religious discord and tension in SL?
      Didn’t she see numerous temples, churches and mosques through out the length and breath of this country. Her statement is tantamount to asking to consider removal of the statue of the father of the nation and the first PM of SL. This is totally a biased statement and SL should take it up very seriously, not just leave it to Ravinatha Ariyasinghe to do a pep talk.

  2. Raja

    This is a fair request if she could request the same from Western nations, like the USA and UK to remove reference to faith in one religion only, when these countries have large numbers of Muslims and Jews. Or why not visit countries like Saudi Arabia to see what religious freedom could be.

    • R.Nagarajah

      There are faith based hospitals and social service organizations in the so called western world. What is she saying about those? There is no question she overstepped her position in making these uncalled for statements. Did she think D.S.Senanayake is a religious symbol?? Pathetic!

  3. Lal.Fernando.

    Dear High Commissioner now you can see what is hapenning in this Island Paradise.
    It is lies , lies and enuvendos, this is how this country is run.It is so sad things like this hapenning in this country.The reason being the country is run by un educated politicos.These politicos has no respect to anyone, except their own.When these politicos live in a lavish life style, an innocent person ar a family do not know when their next meal is going to come, that is if comes at all.

  4. Manuelpillai

    Be fair to an official from UN at least. Don’t do these things if somebody is a Tamil and don’t brand that person as one from the LTTE. We don’t consider everyone who has a Sinhalese name as one who is opposed to the Rights of minorities.

    • minorities cant demand more rights than majority. majority rules thats the democracy

      • Both majority and minority rule as the country belongs to all. That is democracy. If Sinhalese majority rule it is “Sinhalocracy” and not democracy.

  5. Jay

    This statement regarding the buddhist flag is inappropriate, she should have raised such issues even though her statement is explicitly tells the removal. I think she has overstepped

    • Piranha

      What about the statue? You have conveniently side-stepped the main point of contention. Typical Rajapaksa lackey!

    • indie

      May ne our officials from the Govt did not understant what she spoke in English.Must have interpreted wrongly.

    • Sooriaperuma

      The comments she made are very relevant and appropriate.The government talks about reconciliation ,fairness,human rights etc but act in flagrant violation of these.Buddha is not God almighty.He was a philosopher and preached tolerance and humility. He never preached his followers to amass wealth and power. He said “let all beings be happy.”

    • Mr Retort

      Perhaps, she would have requested to have flags of all important religious groups instead of just one. That is fair enough request.

  6. Pillay not only a sympathizer of Tamil diaspora, she is a “Biaspora”. There are many burning issues in other countries she should be concerned of. Why special interest on Sri Lanka?

  7. gamarala

    She was called a “tamil tigress” by ministers,and one said he would marry her.
    These ministers only disgraced themselves.
    From 1948 when independence was granted,there were no flags at the Independence Square. Only this government flew the ‘buddhist flag’ instead of the national flag. This country belongs to all,not only the buddhists.

  8. Navin Pillay is a very respectable officer of UN. Unlike our Ministers she doesn’t talk rubbish. Our Ministers are used to tell lies. I remember one minister said that Navin Pillay is in the pay pocket of LTTE. Another mental case Minister said he wants to Marry Navin Pillay. These remarks can be used to judge the standard of our ministers. Our politicians can lie to us and we have no choice other than taking it for good. Playing silly games with Navin Pillay can damage us and we should abstain from making third grade remarks about a senior respectable lady of UN. I hope Defence Secretary will think twice before he makes another statement about her in the near future.

  9. DJ

    Most Hon Pillai madam, can you make the same request from US president to remove the sentence “In God We Trust” from their all currency notes and coins.. please??

  10. gamarala

    Ravinatha is a former journalist and not a trained career diplomat.
    He cannot brainwash Pillay nor whitewash the evil regime.

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