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Pillay concerned about new ministry

2013 Aug 27

By Aisha Nazim

 


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, yesterday expressed her concerns to Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, about the police force coming under the purview of the newly-established Ministry of Law and Order. The Rights Chief was of the view the Police Department should come under the Ministry of Justice instead. However, Minister Hakeem had explained that it was a policy decision made by the government.

 

 

Briefing the media shortly after a discussion with Pillay, Hakeem said she had also queried about the steps being taken by the Sri Lankan Government to curb ethnic tension and religious intolerance.

 

 

Other issues brought up during the discussion included the steps taken by the government to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the National Action Plan, and the abolition of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

She was reassured on all points by Minister Hakeem, who claimed the government was taking all necessary steps to implement the recommendations.

 

 

"However, with regard to the abolition of the PTA, we stated the government's policy is to retain it, since we still have security concerns," Hakeem said, adding that Pillay also spoke about political issues pertaining to recent incidents of religious intolerance. "I explained the collective decision taken by all the ministers to take decisive action against the perpetrators of hate crime," he said, elaborating that additional measures which include steps taken by Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, to introduce hate speech as a criminal offence had also been highlighted. "We assured her that everything is in place to fulfil our obligations," Hakeem said.

 

 

Commenting on Pillay's concerns about the Right to Information Bill, he said it was explained to her the Law Commission, an independent body, has sent the draft Bill to the Justice Ministry, which in turn had forwarded it to the Media Ministry. Bringing it into law is up to the Media Ministry, he added.

 

 

Speaking further, he said it was a matter of pride for the government that Pillay could go anywhere she wished and speak to whomever she pleased in the country.

"We have nothing to hide, and hope that her views would change by the end of her visit," he added.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, yesterday expressed her concerns to Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, about the police force coming under the purview of the newly-established Ministry of Law and Order. The Rights Chief was of the view the Police Department should come under the Ministry of Justice instead. However, Minister Hakeem had explained that it was a policy decision made by the government.

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