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Arbourís concerns already addressed -HR Minister

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights yesterday said that several key issues raised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in her press release, were areas which the Government had already initiated action.

The Ministry yesterday highlighting the issues noted that the Government had made arrangements shortly to introduce a Witness and Victim Assistance and Protection Act to Parliament as an urgent bill.

Furthermore a Parliamentary Select Committee is in the process of finalising its report with regards to the 17th Amendment, which would enable the reconstitution of the Constitutional, Council sources said.

With regard to the fields of investigation, prosecution and conviction, which the High Commissioner mentioned, the Government had already initiated action to develop appropriate training and institution building.

The Government has also initiated action on ensuring the collection of reliable and authoritative information on HR issues which the High Commissioner noted as vital, Ministry sources said.

It also pointed out that the demand by some groups for a UN Monitoring Mission or office was unwarranted and unacceptable as the UN High Commissioner had two offices in the country already, which was working with the UN country team.

The Ministry services noted that the Minister had pointed out that depending on the level of technical cooperation that would be made available, further projects could be discussed.

Quoting Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe the Ministry release said that, despite the very complex situation in Sri Lanka in the context of an ongoing struggle against terrorism, the Government by inviting Arbour had shown its willingness and commitment to work with the international community in a quest to promote and nurture human rights of all citizens.

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