Sri Lanka rights group says it was harassed after UN meeting

COLOMBO, September 2, 2013 (AFP) – A Catholic-run human rights group working in northeastern Sri Lanka said Monday it had been harassed by security personnel after meeting UN rights chief Navi Pillay last week. Pillay ended her first trip to the formerly war-ravaged country at the weekend with a stinging press conference in which she accused the government of becoming “increasingly authoritarian”.

Veerasan Yogeswaran, a 60-year-old Jesuit priest who runs the Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, said five or six plainclothes policemen visited him at midnight and before dawn, just hours after the meeting with Pillay.

“The concern is that they are going to homes at midnight and questioning people,” the priest told AFP from his home in Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo.

“This should not happen four years after the war has ended. People feel harassed and intimidated,” he said. “Just imagine the plight of the ordinary people when they are visited at midnight by the security forces.”

Pillay denounced the intimidation of people she had spoken to during her week-long fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka, which is under international pressure over its