Lanka hopes for better relations with new UN human rights boss

Sri Lanka on Monday today said it hoped the new UNHRC chief will carry out his duties in a "more balanced" manner after the country had an uneasy relationship with his predecessor Navi Pillay.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 01, 2014, 23:15 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Monday today said it hoped the new UNHRC chief will carry out his duties in a "more balanced" manner after the country had an uneasy relationship with his predecessor Navi Pillay.

Welcoming the Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, who assumed charge as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today, government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said they hoped the new head will carry out his duties in an unbiased manner.

Al-Hussein, first Arab Muslim to hold the post, replaces former High Commissioner Pillay, a Tamil of South African origin, who was often viewed as hostile to the island nation by the authorities here.

Rambukwella, also the Minister of Information told reporters in Kandy that the government' position on Pillay has been no secret and expressed hope that Al-Hussein's tenure would be impartial.

"We were open about our complaints that Pillay was biased against Sri Lanka. She was never impartial.

"We hope that her successor would be more balanced in his approach," Rambukwella said.

Lanka was subject to three UNHRC resolutions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 during Pillay's extended six year term since 2008.

The last one prescribed an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses by the government troops during the last phase of the war with LTTE.

Rambukwella also said the External Affairs Ministry will decide if Al-Hussein should be invited to Sri Lanka.