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President Sirisena slams Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena launched a scathing attack Wednesday on the country’s independent Human Rights Commission (HRC), accusing it of obstructing the military as well as his anti-narcotics drive.

Sirisena told parliament that the HRC was delaying the issuing of mandatory clearance certificates to Sri Lankan soldiers chosen to participate in United Nations Peace Keeping missions.

The deaths of two Sri Lankan UN peacekeepers in Mali could have been avoided if the HRC had expedited reinforcements to Mali for the Sri Lanka army to carry out a turnaround of troops, he said.

There was no immediate comment from the HRC, but official sources said the delay was really due to the military itself dragging its feet in providing the necessary documentation to issue certificates of clearance.

All Sri Lankan troops deployed on UN missions must be cleared of any atrocities or abuses during their service before they can join the UN blue berets.

Sirisena said the HRC should be siding with the military instead of raising questions. He also accused the HRC of questioning the police Special task Force about the shifting of convicts from Welikada to Angunakolapellassa. He said convicts were being moved from Welikada to the southern jail as part of his crackdown on drugs.

Sirisena said the Welikada prison was the “headquarters” of narcotics in the country and he was determined to clean it up.

Sirisena said the HRC has become a thorn on the side of the law enforcement authorities. (COLOMBO, February 6, 2019 – SB)

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