UN human rights chief visits Sri Lanka

Colombo, Aug 25 (IANS) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday on a week-long visit during which she will study the post war situation in the country.

Pillay, who has been highly critical of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, will visit the island's north which has been battered by 30 years of war between the Tamil Tigers and the military.

The rebels were defeated just over four years ago but rights groups have accused the military of committing many abuses in an attempt to defeat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya said the government will be giving Pillay three separate briefings.

One of the briefings will come from Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on a plan on implementing the recommendations of a reconciliation committee.

Pillay is scheduled to call on President Rajapaksa and meet government ministers and officials.

She will also hold talks with senior judicial figures, members of the National Human Rights Commission and representatives of the civil society.

Some Sinhalese groups have said they will stage protests outside the UN office in Colombo Monday against Pillay's visit.

Pillay's impression of Sri Lanka at the end of her visit will be all the more crucial as the UN Human Rights Council will meet in Geneva next month and she is expected to make a statement on Sri Lanka.


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