South Asia

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa criticises Navi Pillay visit

In this August 31, 2013 file photo, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay smiles as she listens to a journalist during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In this August 31, 2013 file photo, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay smiles as she listens to a journalist during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka.   | Photo Credit: Eranga Jayawardena

Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday claimed that UN human rights chief Navi Pillay’s visit to the island nation was influenced by propaganda from elements of the LTTE that was defeated in a civil war in 2009.

Mr. Rajapaksa, the powerful brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the “re-emergence of terrorism is still a threat” despite the end of the country’s nearly three-decade ethnic war.

Elements of the Tamil Tigers and their supporters are working to increase international pressure on Sri Lanka, he claimed.

“Their intention is the division of Sri Lanka and the establishment of a separate State for Tamil Eelam,” he said while addressing a seminar titled ‘Post Conflict Sri Lanka Challenges and Regional Stability’ here.

Mr. Rajapaksa said the country’s internal matters have featured “on the agenda of many international NGOs and even at the UNHRC sessions.” The visit by Ms. Pillay “is another instance of this attention,” he said.

His comments came after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, following her week-long visit, slammed Sri Lanka as a State which was increasingly heading towards authoritarianism.

She said that despite the end to the armed conflict four years ago, democracy has been undermined and the rule of law eroded.

A South African national of Indian Tamil origin, Ms. Pillay met Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and travelled to former war zones in the northern and eastern provinces during her visit.

Ms. Pillay, who was on a fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka, will submit her findings to the UNHRC later this month.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 12:56:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/gotabhaya-rajapaksa-criticises-navi-pillay-visit/article5089460.ece

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