2ND LEAD (Adds HRW link)

Third nobel laureate opposes Sri Lanka's bid to UN Rights Council

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 May 2008, 10:52 GMT]
Following objections filed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and South African Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, against selection of Sri Lanka to U.N.'s Human Rights Council, a third nobel peace laureate, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, from Argentina, in a commentary published by Página 12 in Buenos Aires, "compared the routine torture and the hundreds of 'disappearances' and extrajudicial killings committed by Sri Lankan government forces to the 'dirty wars' waged by various Latin American governments against their own citizens in the 1970s and 1980s," a press release issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of Nobel Peace prize 1980
“As Latin Americans know all too well, there are few crimes more horrible for a government to commit than summarily removing its own citizens from their homes and families, often late at night, never to be heard from again,” declared Esquivel, the report said.

“Latin American governments can do a great service to the people of Sri Lanka by rejecting their government’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council,” the report added.

The Nobel laureates added their voices to the Sri Lankan and international campaigns against the re-election of Sri Lanka to the council. Human rights organizations within Sri Lanka urged UN members to “hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for the grave state of human rights abuse in the country” by rejecting its candidacy, observing it “has used its membership of the Human Rights Council to protect itself from scrutiny," the release further said.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based rights watchdog, in a press release said: "The Nobel laureates added their voices to the Sri Lankan and international campaigns against the re-election of Sri Lanka to the council. Human rights organizations within Sri Lanka urged UN members to “hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for the grave state of human rights abuse in the country” by rejecting its candidacy, observing it “has used its membership of the Human Rights Council to protect itself from scrutiny.” "

Esquivel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his opposition to the “disappearances,” extrajudicial killings, and torture used by the military government of Argentina in combating domestic terrorists.

Elections to the 47-member council, the United Nations’ leading human rights body, will be held in New York on May 21, 2008. Six candidates – Bahrain, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste – are running for four seats allocated to Asian states. Council members are required to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights and “fully cooperate” with the council.


Related Articles:
19.05.08   Carter Center urges U.N. Assembly not to re-elect Sri Lanka ..
15.05.08   Sri Lanka not fit to be in UN Rights Council- Tutu


External Links:
Nobel: Adolfo Pérez Esquivel: Nobel Lecture
AHRC: SRI LANKA: UN: Vote Sri Lanka off Human Rights Council
HRW: Nobel Prize Winners tell UN: Vote Sri Lanka off Human Rights Council
Pagina/12: Sri Lanka y la ONU (Spanish)

 

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