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UK Deputy HC says she was monitored

2014 Oct 01

The British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo Laura Davies claims she was “watched” during a visit to the East recently.

In a blog posting on the British High Commission website,  Davies said that some of the people she had met during her visit were having follow-up visits or phone calls.

“But it gradually became impossible to ignore the fact that I was being watched. Worse, it was clear that the people I was meeting were having follow-up visits or phone calls, asking what I had done and said. Some of this was almost comic: I met with one individual who had invited a large press corps to capture the moment of our meeting. Towards the end of our discussions, he got a phone call asking him to report whether he knew who the foreigner was in town, despite the fact that his office had already released well-captioned pictures on social media. But other instances were clearly frightening to individuals and their families. I was saddened but not surprised that several people were too scared to meet me,” she said.

Davies said that some newspapers have speculated that during her visit to the East, she was seeking out testimony for the UN Human Rights Council investigation.

She noted that the British Government is interested in the progress of that investigation, and it’s a matter of great regret to her Government that the Government of Sri Lanka is not cooperating more fully with a report which is intended to look at allegations against all sides involved in the conflict.

“But we have absolute confidence in the investigation team’s ability to source and validate its own testimony: I’m not about to try to do their job for them.  And we’re equally interested in Sri Lanka’s domestic mechanisms for reconciliation and accountability.  In an ideal world, the two would be mutually supportive: it’s only by hearing and addressing the grievances of all of those affected by the conflict that Sri Lanka can achieve our common objective of long-lasting stability and prosperity,” she said. (Colombo Gazette)

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