Aug 26, Colombo: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who is on a fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka met with the island nation's Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem and Chief Justice Mohan Peiris Monday.
During the meeting, Pillay has raised the issues of accountability and the criminal justice in the country as well as legal and institutional reforms that the government has undertaken as a sequel to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report
Speaking to local media, Minister Hakeem said the UN High Commissioner wanted to know about the measures taken by the government to implement the LLRC recommendations and the National Plan and the abolishment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
She has expressed her concerns about the country's justice system and the accountability issue to the Sri Lankan Minister and the Minister said he has explained in detail the steps taken both by his ministry as well as the other state agencies which have the responsibility of implementing the recommendations.
She has raised the issue of taking the police department under the purview of the new Law and Order Ministry and questioned why the police department is not under the Justice Ministry. Minister Hakeem has explained that it was a government policy decision.
The Minister said he has assured her that the government is taking measures to implement the recommendations and it is an evolutionary process that cannot be done overnight.
"It doesn't become an evolution overnight, Time and space has to be given for the government to implement the recommendations," the Minister told local radio Hiru FM.
He has told the visiting UN official that with regard to the abolition of the PTA the government policy is to retain it since the government still has security concerns.
"We assured her that things are in place to fulfill our obligations, Hakeem said.
Pillay has also questioned the issue pertaining to recent incidents, particularly religious intolerances and Minister Hakeem has explained to her the collective position of all ministers representing the Muslim community in government.
He has told the High Commissioner that the government is happy to engage with her on all her concerns.
"The fact that she was able to come and freely go to any part of the country and meet anybody she wants is a matter of pride for us," the Minister said.
We have nothing to hide, and hope that her views would change by the end of her visit, he added.
Pillay also visited the Supreme Court complex in Hultsdorf and met with the Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and the Attorney General Palitha Fernando.
Later the HR High Commissioner met with Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara.