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Don't rely on UN for Justice: Former UN official tells Sri Lanka

The 46th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be held virtually commencing from February 22 with Sri Lanka in the box seat of receiving a charge sheet of human rights violations.  

Impunity in Sri Lanka will appear prominently, with the long-awaited report by High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile, being presented in an interactive dialogue on the second day of the session.

In light of the report and other troubling developments, the HRC probably will produce a new resolution on Sri Lanka.

In the wake of these developments, a former United Nations (UN) official has told Sri Lanka not to count on the UN for justice.

Former Assistant Secretary General and former Chair of a UN Panel, Charles Petrie, said that the UN lacks courage to act on the Sri Lanka issue.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Global Tamil Forum, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice – New York University, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and the Canadian Tamil Congress, Petrie said that the UN cannot say it does not have the system in place to address the issue.

He said that there are UN officials in Colombo and elsewhere who want to do the right thing. However, he asserted that the UN lacks courage and so the Sri Lankan public must not depend on the UN.

He said that if the Sri Lankan public depends on the UN, they may end up being disappointed.

Instead, he said if the Sri Lankan public could count on their own resilience and the UN performs, it would be an unexpected win.

Petrie headed a panel appointed by then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to conduct a comprehensive review of action by the UN of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

The panel had found that the United Nations system failed to meet its responsibilities — highlighting, in particular, the roles played by the Secretariat, the agencies and programmes of the UN Country Team, and the members of the Security Council and Human Rights Council.

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