( February 19, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) With a week to go before the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Commission) sessions in Geneva, and an expected resolution against Sri Lanka approaching, spearheaded by the US, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has now expressed her concern over the appointment of Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative and former commander of the 58 Division, Shavendra Silva, as a UN Senior Advisor on Peacekeeping Operations.
“It’s very disconcerting that someone with his background would be selected to serve on this advisory group. We have conveyed this to Member States as well as to the Secretariat. There are a lot of efforts underway to address (this); probably best not to be discussed publicly,” she told the media.
Rice also commented on Silva’s diplomatic immunity saying, “The State Department has to respond on 1-2immunity. He unfortunately or fortunately is an accredited diplomat.”
Meanwhile, the Army Commander has initiated a Court of Inquiry this week to look into possible civilian casualties in the last stages of the war in which Shavendra Siva was intimately involved as the key field commander.
Major General Shavendra Silva meanwhile says attempts to prevent him from serving in his new appointment as UN Advisor on Peacekeeping Operations, based on unsubstantiated allegations, are a violation of his own human rights.
“Nowhere have I been convicted, and those unsubstantiated allegations promoted by a few interested parties should not stand in the way of me serving, not only South Asia but also the world,” Major General Silva told the media speaking from New York.
Major General Silva was appointed to the advisory panel of UN peace keeping by Member States of the Asian regional bloc, which deliberated on the appointments for nearly four months.