Sri Lanka strongly denied allegations that it intimidated the United Nations staff during the final stages of the conflict between the security forces and the Tamil Tiger terrorists.
Refuting the allegations reported in the media citing a UN report leaked to the BBC news service, special human rights envoy, Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said there was no intimidation of UN workers.
Minister Samarasinghe told a media briefing yesterday in Colombo he did not want to comment on the report which has not been made public yet by the UN and dismissed the allegation as absolute nonsense.
"No such thing. How can you intimidate them [the UN]? They don't get intimidated by anyone," the Minister said.
However, he said that if an official report regarding the UN role during the final stages of the conflict is published, the government will respond appropriately.
Minister Samarasinghe informing the press about the recently concluded United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka stated that a number of countries that had voted against Sri Lanka during the sessions held in March, had appreciated the efforts taken towards promoting human rights in the country, during their introductory remarks.
“Many of the countries that voted against Sri Lanka at the last session appreciated the efforts of the government towards promoting human rights. Austria, Belgium, Benin, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, Poland and Romania, were some of the countries that made comments and thereafter made their recommendations for improvement. However no country gave us an open ticket they said there was more that we needed to do to,” he said.
He further stated that 110 of the 210 recommendations made by the countries at the UPR had been accepted by Sri Lanka.
“We only accepted recommendations that were positive towards Sri Lanka and rejected those that did not fall in line wit the government’s agenda,” he said.