Lanka slams listing on UK human rights report

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday slammed a British human rights report which listed the island among countries of concern over human rights issues.

Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera said that Britain had no right to accuse Sri Lanka of not doing enough to address accountability of the war just three years after the conflict ended.

The Human Rights Report for 2011 released by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Monday said that significant progress was still needed in Sri Lanka to address the institutional weaknesses that allow for frequent human rights violations.

The report also called on the Sri Lankan government to implement recommendations of a local war commission and address outstanding questions regarding accountability for alleged war crimes.

“How can they say we have not done enough? On what basis are they saying that? The Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) handed over its final report only in December last year so how can the UK report say we did not do enough to address the issues mentioned. We have started addressing them now and some of the recommendations of the LLRC are also being implemented,” Neomal Perera told Xinhua.

The British report also said UK will contribute to Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review under the UN human rights system in Geneva but Perera said Sri Lanka would have done a lot by then to address most of the human rights concerns.

“We are still in May and October is a long way ahead. They cannot prejudge us when we still have time in our hands and are already working on most of the issues,” said Perera.

He also said that a visiting European Union Parliamentary delegation which met him on Monday expressed satisfaction on the progress achieved by Sri Lanka in addressing most issues.

“They did say there were still some issues but overall they were happy with the progress,” he said.

Sri Lanka will on May 19 celebrate three years since the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated by the military after 30 years of war.  (Xinhua)