Sri Lanka to cooperate during Navi Pillay visit

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 12:10 hrs

Colombo, Aug 21 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government will place no restrictions on the forthcoming visit of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a minister assured Wednesday.

Pillay, who is expected to arrive in the country Aug 25, will meet a range of government officials, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and is also scheduled to visit the former civil war-torn areas of Sri Lanka, Xinhua reported.

Sajin Vass Gunawardena, monitoring minister for the external affairs ministry, told the media that no attempt would be made by officials to intervene in these visits even though critical opinions of the government would likely be shared.

"The agenda of her (Pillay's) visit has been coordinated with the government and will happen under its preview. But we see no reason to restrict access to her and nor will we," emphasised Gunawardena.

During her stay, Pillay will meet members of Sri Lanka's main Tamil political entity, the Tamil National Alliance, to discuss the human rights situation in the country and the forthcoming northern provincial council elections.

Pillay and the Sri Lankan government have often bumped heads over the country's lacklustre human rights record since the end of a brutal three-decade war with the LTTE in 2009.

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