Darusman report questionable

The government reiterated today that the report by the UN panel of experts remains questionable especially since no one knows the witnesses used to gather information for the report.

Government Minister and special human rights envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe, addressing the closing day of a defence seminar at the Galadari hotel today, said that the witnesses were given 20 years of anonymity by the panel.

However at the same time he reiterated that the government was not questioning the prerogative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a panel to advise him on Sri Lanka.

He said that the UN panel had an opportunity to visit Sri Lanka and gather information before making its final report but yet did not make use of that opportunity.

He also said that the government will meanwhile seek a fair assessment of its human rights record when the UN Human Rights Council holds the Universal Periodic Review in November.

Samarasinghe said that at the Universal Periodic Review Sri Lanka will share the progress it has made in addressing human rights issues following the end of the war.

The Minister said that through a national census carried out recently the government hopes to prove wrong the figures that thousands of civilians were killed during the final stages of the war.


(Report by Easwaran Rutnam for the Colombo Gazette)