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Pillay wishes her discussions with Gotabhaya were longer

2013 Sep 02

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday explained measures taken by the government to address grievances of the Tamil speaking people, when visiting United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay met him at the Defence Ministry at 9.30 a.m.

Earlier in the day, Pillay met a Tamil National Alliance delegation headed by R. Sampanthan, MP, at the Cinnamon Lakeside.

The Defence Secretary and the UN Commissioner discussed a range of contentious issues. Sources told The Island that Pillay had taken up with Defence Secretary some issues raised by the TNA as well as other matters pertaining to her mandate.

In addition to accountability issues relating to the war against the LTTE, Pillay also raised the recent army crackdown at Weliweriya leading to the death of three civilians and a spate of attacks on Muslims.

The Defence Secretary clarified the circumstances under which the army had been called in to assist the police.

The visiting dignitary was told how unruly mobs had attacked Dompe police station also in the same district some time back. was also told of the transformation of Sinhala majority Colombo into a city inhabited by all communities. He said this in response to allegations that the government was responsible for attacks on the Muslims.

Commenting on land as well as security issues in the Northern region, the Defence Secretary explained the gradual decrease in military presence with the military giving up many positions to facilitate the post-war resettlement process.

The Defence Secretary pointed out that civilians had access even to Palaly cantonment as well as the Kankesanthurai harbour.

Responding to allegations of sexual harassment, the Defence Secretary emphasised that the government did not protect those found guilty of such violations.

The Defence Ministry said that yesterday’s meeting was cordial and Pillay had remarked that she would have liked to have a longer meeting with the Defence Secretary.

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