Outgoing Human Rights Commissioner commends Sri Lanka at UN Council session

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Monday (18) praised Sri Lanka in his last global update to the UN Human Rights Council.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein commended Sri Lanka for allowing at least five visits by UN thematic mandate holders in the last five years.

Speaking during the opening of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al Hussein said that he was pleased to note a number of positive developments with respect to access for the Special Procedures.

“I note and commend the following States which have hosted at least five visits by thematic mandates in the last five years: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, the UK and the US,” he said.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that he departs an Office which is strong, absolutely committed to its gargantuan task, and which, in the face of heavy headwinds, has made progress.

“These new areas of access are a testament to the credibility of our operations and the justice of our cause. I remain convinced that the monitoring and reporting we have achieved; our capacity-building for civil society and States; and our clear, steady and impartial advocacy have been significant contributors to governance that is more inclusive and respectful of the rights of the people; societies which are more peaceful; and development that is broader, deeper and of more benefit to all,” he said.

He ended his last statement in the formal setting with a series of acknowledgments.

“This is the hardest, most challenging, most fulfilling responsibility I have held. It has been hard on my family and it has affected my relationship with the Government of the country of my birth – the country I had the honour of representing diplomatically for so many years, and it makes me sad this is so. However, this price is small in comparison to that paid by so many human rights defenders, and civil society more broadly, who sacrifice so much more, again and again, and who to me are the real heroes, genuine heroes of the human rights movement,” he said.

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