The Government says it has no issue with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson meeting Tamil political prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) during his recent visit to Sri Lanka.
Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that President Maithripala Sirisena had yesterday asked the cabinet what the procedure was for Emmerson to have got clearance to meet the detainees.
Senaratne said that the President was told that the Foreign Ministry usually gives such clearance and that Emmerson’s meeting with the detainees was approved.
The President has then said that in future to keep the Ministry of Defence also informed.
Senaratne also said the Government has no intention of clashing with the UN and will engage them in a diplomatic manner.
Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe had a verbal confrontation with Emmerson during his recent visit on some of the information he had presented.
Senaratne said the Government is aware of how the former regime was sidelined by the international community as a result of its confrontational attitude with the UN and the policy of the current Government is not to follow the same policy.
Emmerson last week slammed Sri Lanka’s slow progress to address key human rights related issues.
Emmerson said that none of the measures so far adopted to fulfil Sri Lanka’s transitional justice commitments are adequate to ensure real progress, and there is little evidence that perpetrators of war crimes committed by members of the Sri Lankan armed forces are being brought to justice. (Colombo Gazette)