Unlike the previous Rajapaksa regime, the current Sri Lankan government will not follow the policy of confrontation with the UN over the human rights violations committed during the three-decade long civil war, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said today. Senaratne, who is also the Health Minister, was responding after Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe severely criticised the conclusions made by United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson at the end of his four-day visit last week. "We are aware how the former government was sidelined by the international community as a result of its policy of clashing with the UN.
We will not follow the same policy," Senaratne said. He said the government's policy will be diplomatic engagement and not clashes with the UN. Rajapakshe told Emmerson that he had been misinformed on the situation and that government would not cooperate with the UN rapporteur. The UN Rapporteurs were not welcomed during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's time who even failed to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council resolutions passed against Sri Lanka. Senaratne was asked about President Maithripala Sirisena's reported unhappiness about Emmerson's meeting the Tamil prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) during his visit. He said Sirisena had raised concerns on the fact that the Ministry of Defence which he holds had not been kept informed on Emmerson's meeting the Tamil prisoners. Emmerson criticised Sri Lanka's slow progress to address key human rights related issues. He even dubbed Sri Lanka as among one of the world's worst countries for torture in custody. Emmerson said that Sri Lanka's transitional justice commitments were inadequate to ensure real progress, and there was little evidence that perpetrators of war crimes committed by members of the Sri Lankan armed forces were being brought to justice. According to UN figures, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces during Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to the brutal civil war with with the defeat of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.
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