Sri Lanka ready to probe UN claims

Colombo, Sep 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka Sunday said it was ready to investigate the allegations raised by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who said that some people she met during her visit to the country had been threatened.

Government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, however, said Pillay's office must provide evidence to prove the allegations in order to investigate the matter, reported Xinhua.

Rambukwella said some groups may attempt to discredit the government by either threatening those who spoke to her or by making false claims.

"We take these claims very seriously," the minister said.

Pillay told reporters at a media briefing Saturday that she had received reports that people in villages and settlements in northern Sri Lanka were visited by police or military officers after she had visited the area.

She said that several people she met were subsequently questioned about the contents of the conversation she had with them.

"I wish to stress that the United Nations takes the issue of reprisals against people because they have talked to UN officials as an extremely serious matter. I will be reporting those that take place in connection with this visit to the Human Rights Council," Pillay said.

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