Govt denies Sooka’s allegations

The government last week denied allegations of maintaining torture chambers in Sri Lanka, saying that the present government changed the country’s dark history two years ago.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government invited the Special Rapporteur on Torture to the country last year in keeping with its resolve to uphold democracy and rule of law.

It had not hesitated to invite UN special mandate holders for visits and engage with the international community in New York as well as in Geneva. The Minister observed that the Special Rapportuer on Torture, in his report, has not mentioned of any torture chambers still being in existence. He was responding to queries by media over the claims made by Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, and the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), Yasmin Sooka. In a recent interview with The Wire, she has said the security forces still operate with impunity in Sri Lanka. Sooka previously served on the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.

The Minister said he has invited the South African human rights defender to visit the country and that he would like to renew this invitation in the backdrop of her fresh allegations. 

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