GL ticks off Pillay

The government yesterday conveyed its displeasure to United National High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay over her statement that the Police Department should be placed within the purview of the Justice Ministry.

External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris met Ms. Pillay yesterday. During his meeting, he told her that her position in this regard was ‘fundamentally unacceptable’ to Sri Lanka and was not in accordance with the established procedure.

A statement from the Ministry said, “The Minister pointed out that the Police Department has consistently been under the Ministry of Defence and only briefly, 2002-2004, under an Interior Ministry. It has to be noted that most countries too have Police under Ministries other than Justice, and further, he indicated that the creation of the new Ministry of Law and Order under which the Police Department is now placed is in line with a recommendation by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

“Referring to Ms. Pillay’s concern on the rights of religious minorities, the Minister said, at Grandpass, all communities came together to resolve the issue over the location of the mosque. The Minister also explained that the Government is bringing about legislation to criminalize hate speech. Further, with regard to the incident in Rathupaswala investigations are underway and will bring to book those who are found to have transgressed the law.

“Also, the Minister stressed to Ms. Pillay that it was important to have an objective approach and extend equal treatment to all countries when fulfilling the assigned mandate.

“The Minister provided an update on matters relating to post-conflict development. On the aspect of accountability, the Minister highlighted the action taken by the law enforcement authorities and cited the instances of some members of the Special Task Force having been indicted in relation to the killing of five students in Trincomalee and status of  investigations with regard to  the Muttur incident involving the ACF workers. He further explained the difficulties encountered in identifying the perpetrators due to the conditions prevailing at the time of incidents, with regard to the ACF case.”

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