Sri Lanka rejects criticisms on human rights probe

Sept 22, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s attorney-general’s department has rejected criticism of the island’s human rights record made by an independent, international panel, saying that the government was doing it best to probe abuses in an impartial manner. A statement from the AG’s Department said a report issued by the Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) overseeing a government probe into human rights abuses appeared to have been timed to coincide with the ongoing 6th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland, and therefore to possibly influence its deliberations.

The statement recalled that previous IIGEP reports coincided with the 5th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

“I urge the IIGEP not to make public statements that directly and unnecessarily affect public confidence in the Commission of Inquiry and on other public institutions of Sri Lanka such as the Attorney General’s Department,” C.R. De Silva, the Attorney General said.

The AG’s Department statement was in response to a report by the IIGEP that accused Sri Lanka of failing to honour promises to investigate grave human rights violations and also accused the government of a virtual cover-up.

The 11-member International Indepe