Editorial

UNHRC is missing a head, it seems

Summary

She makes mountains out of molehills (e.g. Sri Lanka) and molehills out of mountains (e.g. USA). ‘Proportion’ is not her strongest suit.

Well, officially, they do. The name is Michelle Bachelet. She’s the Secretary General of the UN’s human rights body. She issues statements, some laced with hope and others with foreboding. Part of the story. Part of the role. It’s a drama after all.

Let’s leave all that aside. Maybe she turned over a new leaf at some point.

Now in her preliminary comments on the world’s human rights situation she had to devote a few lines to the hotspot-countries if you will, the temperatures laden with the agenda of the powerful of course. Meant to matters of crucial import flowing from or developing after her previous ‘review.’

Anyway.

The following is her Sri Lankan ‘para’:

‘In Sri Lanka, I am troubled that the new Government is swiftly reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1. Among other developments, the proposed 20th amendment to the Constitution may negatively impact on the independence of key institutions, including the National Human Rights Commission. The pardon given in March to a former Army sergeant convicted of participating in unlawful killings; appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity; and moves within the police and judiciary to thwart the investigation of such crimes, set a very negative trend. The surveillance and intimidation of victims, their families, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers should cease immediately. I encourage the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka, in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.’

We commented on this before (see ‘Ms Bachelet’s troubles’). Consider this an afterthought.

Now this para should be ‘essence’ of the diatribe that will follow. The 20th Amendment is still in draft form. DRAFT. Keyword there. When was it made public? Well, just two weeks ago! So, there’s nothing that’s bothered the lady since her last throne-speech if you will until the draft 20th Amendment was made public.

Mountains out of molehills. Hyperbole. That’s more like it. Not quite what one would expect from the head of a UN body. In fact it makes us wonder about the UNHRC’s overall anatomy.

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