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Thursday, June 22, 2017
The government yesterday said UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of the justice system, Monica Pinto, had produced a false report on Sri Lanka, distorting facts to undermine the country’s sovereignty.
Making a ministerial statement in Parliament, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said Pinto’s report had made false statements with a view to substantiating the claims made by some NGOs.
"I am sure that Pinto hasn’t compiled this report. That has been done by some local NGOs finding fault with government to get dollars. She has just put her name to the report," the Minister said.
Minister Rajapakshe said Representative Monica Pinto had submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Committee. She was in the country from April 29, 2016 to May 07, 2016. She visited Anuradhapura, Kandy and Jaffna. "She held talks with me, the Foreign Minister, Attorney General and several other key officials. She released her report on March 23, 2017 ten and a half months after her visit. It is surprising to note her statements. According to her Sri Lanka’s judiciary and the Attorney General’s Department are corrupt."
The Minister said that such a report could not be prepared after visiting the country for three to four days even if she was a genius. During her visit, she had called on him and he had told her about the independence of the judiciary. But, nothing he told her had been mentioned in her report, the minister said. "We register our protest against this report issued for the benefit of parasite NGOs."
UN Special Rapporteur Pinto had overlooked the positive developments and achievements the incumbent government had made during the recent past for the benefit of independence of judiciary. Some of her statements were baseless and the government couldn’t comprehend on what basis she had made those statements, the Justice Minister said.
The UN Special Rapporteur has found fault with the government for not doing away with the Prevention of Terrorism Act. "Now the developed countries in the West are introducing more draconian laws to prevent terrorism. Those western nations who found fault with us when we made use of the PTA to defeat terrorism are now compelled to bring about draconian laws which undermine human rights in view of emerging terrorist threats. Five days back, the Japanese parliament passed a new legislation, the Criminal Conspiracy Law, listing 277 offences which are considered acts of terrorism. Japan has given special powers to the police to arrest anyone anytime if there is suspicion of his or her involvement in those offences. They have also defined Facebook posts about violence as a crime but also responding to them by liking them as an offence warranting immediate arrest. It is in this context that Pinto is suggesting us to relax the laws meant for the protection of human race."
"She has suggested that we should amend laws enabling a suspect to have access to a lawyer the moment the he is taken into custody. We would like to ask how and why she won’t recommend that to Great Britain, which does not allow a suspect to meet his lawyers within the first 36 hours after arrest," the minister said.
"I would like to stress that the most powerful international organisation in the world, the UN, should look into qualifications of persons when appointments to high posts are made. We continuously question the lack of encouragement from the UN to end terrorism here during our 30 year long war against terror. We are happy that former UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon admitted at the time of his retirement that there had been serious mistakes and shortcomings on the part of UN with regard to Sri Lanka."